Having released the latest iterations of the Note series just a day ago, it is worthwhile to have a look at the journey that the Samsung Galaxy Note series has had since its conception.
First off, the Galaxy Note line was the initial mobile device to be referred to as a phablet, in reference to the size and functionality that merges between a typical phone and tablet. In addition to the size, the galaxy Note line pioneered the introduction of a stylus, of which is loved and hated in equal measure. As such, all Galaxy Note devices ship with a stylus to complement usage and improve functionality. Without much ado, let us look at the iterations that have defined Samsung galaxy Note devices from the original Galaxy Note to the latest, Galaxy Note 4/Edge.
Galaxy Note (original).
The original Samsung Galaxy Note was announced in 2011’s IFA in Berlin. It featured a 5.3 inch screen, and most people were sceptical about the viability of such a massive device. Nonetheless, it was a commercial success, and sold over 1 million units in 2 months. Overall, it went on to sell over 10 million, up until the release of the next iteration. Generally, the original Note was praised for its performance and the snappy way that it handled most operations courtesy of its top-notch specifications.
Galaxy Note II.
As a follow up to the original Galaxy Note, the Note II was announced in August of 2012. Despite the cynicism regarding the size, it slightly increased the screen size to 5.5 inches, and the functionality of the stylus was improved. In addition, slight hardware improvements were incorporated to make it better. It proved to be more successful than the original Note, and sold over 5 million units within the first two months. It was also the first mobile device to pioneer split screen multitasking and Air View. These features have been very essential in the Galaxy line, and are slowly creeping up other devices under the Android platform.
Galaxy Note 3.
The third installment in the galaxy note line introduced various improvements particularly in the hardware front. The most notable is the faux leather stitching on the back cover, referred to as ‘plastic leather’ in certain circles. It was also considerably thinner and lighter than the Note II. Moreover, the Note 3 was the first device to come with support for USB 3.0. This improves data transfer rates in addition to charging the device. The Note 3 also incorporates a pretty powerful camera, which is the only one, at its release, that was capable of 4K video recording at 30fps (frames per second), though this is capped at only 5 minutes.
Galaxy Note 3 Neo.
This was a slightly downgraded version of the Note 3. It was released by Samsung in January 2014. It features an 8MP camera, down from the Note’s 13, 2GB RAM down from 3GB in addition to other software and slight hardware tweaks.
Galaxy Note 4.
The latest addition to the Galaxy Note series was announced just slightly over a day ago at this year’s IFA. The Galaxy Note 4 is the embodiment of mobile device supremacy in terms of specifications. First off, it features the latest from Qualcomm, the quad-core Snapdragon 805 chipset clocked at 2.7GHz. It looks just the same as the Note 3, only that it has a real metallic frame all round. It retains the screen size at 5.7 inches, but improves resolution from 388ppi of the Note 3 to 515ppi due to the Quad HD feature (2560 by 14140). This screen is subjectively better than that on LG’s G3. The specs don’t stop there as the device features the sensors on the Galaxy S5 such as heart rate monitor and fingerprint sensor. What’s more, there is also a UV sensor on board. The galaxy Note 4 also has a better stylus, with 2048 intensities of pressure sensitivity, twice the amount on previous models.
Galaxy Note Edge.
This new addition to the Note series is similar to the Note 4 in terms of hardware specs, but features a characteristic curved screen on one side. This necessitated the relocation of the power button to the top of the device. The use of the curved screen seems to be Samsung’s first attempt at incorporating the Youm flexible display that was showed off at CES 2013. However, it may not be particularly useful to left-handed individuals as it is optimized for right-hand use.
The Galaxy Note line has really been on a transformative journey. This has resulted in Samsung creating some of the best devices for the mobile world, and Samsung clearly deserves a pat on the back for their efforts. From the initial Note in 2011, to the latest of 2014, Samsung has proven that it can create a new entrant into the industry, and sustain it to a level that other players find it necessary to enter (read Apple’s looming release of a 5.5inch iPhone).
Disclaimer: This article refers to Samsung’s smartphones under the Galaxy Note series, and not the tablets under the same series.