Galaxy Note gets shown off during Superbowl, fanboyism ensues

I can’t really decide whether the Galaxy Note is a good fit for this site or not. A 5.3-inch smartphone with a 800 x 1280 display, active digitizer pen and Exynos chip is about as in between a phone and a tablet that you can get. I’ve played with one, and it’s a nice device – definitely something that could make a tablet pointless for many people.

Anyways, the Note is still news in the good old US of A (it’s been out in Europe for a while), so Samsung decided to go big and shell out cash for an ad during the country’s Superbowl event, which is apparently a huge deal. The ad follows an old Samsung style of showing people in line for an iPhone, and then one of them spots a guy with the Note. People get amazed by the pen and promptly burst into dance….eh yeah. Not exactly the best ad I’ve ever seen, as it doesn’t mention anything about what makes the Galaxy Note a great device; its huge, high resolution AMOLED screen, blazingly fast Exynos chip, huge 2500mAh battery and so on. It does show off the pen, but in a world where people don’t even understand the difference between capacitive and resistive touchscreens, the fact that this is an active digitizer pen complementing the existing capacitive touchscreen seems to have been lost on a lot of people.

What this lead to was a lot of spectacle on the internet. Some rather awkward articles popped up, some of them being so beyond uninformed that I couldn’t help but stare blankly at the screen for a second while my brain rebooted after first seeing them. An article on a site I won’t name (for its own sake) states that “The 5.3″ Galaxy Note, in homage to the Palm Treo and a handful of Pocket PC Phones from the early 2000s, comes with a stylus (…)”. Normally I just ignore uninformed articles online as I don’t think anyone has the right to complain in any way about free services, but I draw the line here. If you don’t know the difference between an active digitizer layer and a resistive touch screen, you really shouldn’t be allowed to write for one of the largest gadget networks out there. A stylus interacts with the touchscreen. The Note’s active digitzer pen interacts with a separate digitizer layer. It still has a capacitive touch screen and works perfectly well without the pen. Which can be stored within the device and replaced for less than $20, so the whole “Your chances of losing the stylus are probably pretty good, since most people lack pockets that are large enough to hold the Galaxy Note comfortably” (from same article) seems rather moot. And who the frack has pockets that small? I can fit the 7-inch Galaxy Tab into my normal pants pockets, and half an electronics store in the pockets of my cargo pants.

This was on an Apple-specific site, so the comments to the article also make fun of Samsung for making fun of Apple. And makes fun of the Note directly. And Samsung directly. Sigh. I wish that people would just pick something, use it, and be quiet about it. Both my iPad and Galaxy Tab are lying on my bed beside me right now, and here’s a newsflash to all the fanboys out there, they’re actually not fighting eachother. In fact they’re perfectly contempt with coexisting, so I don’t understand why their dedicated users can’t.

I’m not quite sure what my point here is, but after having banged my head against the wall since these stories about the ad popped up I needed an outlet for my frustration. If last year’s results showed anything, it’s that Samsung is capable of selling devices by the specifications alone. The company used to do that, but then it took an arrow to the knee or something, judging by that Superbowl ad. The fanboy war that ensued is even worse, and it pains me to see the reputation of an excellent device be ruined by reactions to a badly made ad. While well paid tech bloggers really should know the difference between a resistive touch screen and an active digitizer, I can’t really blame normal consumers for not getting that difference, seeing as though Samsung didn’t make any effort to explain it in the ad.

On a final Note, I just wanted to throw in some thoughts on the device. When my friend who owns it visited here, it essentially became the middle child in a family that consisted of my Galaxy S II, his Galaxy Note, and my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. All three run the same chipset (the Note has a slightly higher CPU clock speed), though the Note’s resolution, pixel density, AMOLED technology (which is technically inferior to the S II’s Super AMOLED Plus, but you can’t tell because of the resolution/size/density increase), and active digitizer pen makes it the winner in most comparisons (as long as you don’t mind the price and size). From a cell phone point of view, it’s a large one. From a tablet point of view, it’s a small one. It’s about as perfect a convergence device I can even imagine, and it seems to do just about everything right. The only thing that is a let down in some ways is that it doesn’t classify as a tablet, which affects the apps it can run and likely how Ice Cream Sandwich will look on it compared to e.g. the 7.0 Plus. The digitizer pen is pinpoint accurate, nothing like what you’re used to from capacitive or even resistive styli. It’s pressure sensitive and can draw so accurately that the 5.3-inch Note screen becomes like a 10-inch tablet when used for anything that requires drawing. It’s a worthy alternative for both smartphone and tablet buyers, and one of the most interesting and well made devices on the market today. It most definitely does not deserve Samsung’s portrayal of it, being compared with resistive touch screen devices, or getting a bad reputation because of the two former. Bad internet!

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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