It may go without saying that the Samsung Galaxy S II is an incredible phone. Actually, they are incredible phones. They’ve done so well that there are at least five variants available worldwide today, four of which you can purchase in the US. The Galaxy Note is the most different and largest smartphone on the market, just not the US market. Not yet, anyways. That’s going to change very soon.

The Galaxy Note is huge with a 5.3″ 1280×800 display. Powering that is a 2500mAh battery, but don’t expect better battery life than today’s smartphones. The larger screen and faster 1.4GHz processor will drain the battery faster than on smaller devices, but besides for that you get the same basic phone as the Samsung Galaxy II. Same high-powered GPU, same SuperAMOLED display, plus a few extras like a stylus for that massive touchscreen.

I played with the Note briefly, and the first thing that came to mind is that this is the perfect size for people who want a phone and tablet built into one. It’s thin and light, though that big screen has a high enough resolution to view full web pages while still fitting in your pocket. The stylus and drawing functions aren’t everything I want; like the HTC Flyer, you can write on anything, but all it does is create an image of the page. So business people can’t sign PDF documents or do higher-functions, but note-taking and written to typed text is available.

Is the Note a worthy phone? Based solely on my brief hands on and the Galaxy S II and Epic 4G Touch, there’s no reason to doubt the Note’s capabilities. Whether the bigger screen is right for you, and whether it is good enough to replace your current smartphone and tablet remains to be seen. But we’ll find out soon enough.

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.