Samsung Galaxy Note Better Gingerbread Tablet Than Phone

With a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, Samsung's Galaxy Note worked great as a tablet, but can be awkward as a smartphone, eWEEK discovered.

I would like to say my experience with Samsung's Galaxy Note, on sale Feb. 19 from AT&T (NYSE:T) for $299.99 on contract, was a super-success, but I cannot.

The truth is that making and receiving calls on this Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 2.3 Gingerbread-based smartphone in public made me feel quite self-conscious. Self-conscious enough that I didn't want to make or take a call, and that's a problem.

When I did take or make a call with this phone, its 5.3-inch display covered the entire side of my face. The Note boasts a 5.3-inch high-definition Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) screen, which makes it beautiful for accessing apps and watching video, but unwieldy for holding the device up to the side of a human face.

This is one of those emerging device form factors now known as a "phablet," as in part phone, part tablet. Check out eWEEK's hands-on with it here, and read the Note's specifications.

While using the Note to make calls, I felt like Don Adams, the actor who played Maxwell Smart in that spy comedy "Get Smart," which aired from 1965 to 1970. For those not old enough to remember it, Smart would make calls with his shoe. It seemed funny then, and it seems ludicrous now.

Well, now you know what it's like using the Note for calls. Okay, I'm exaggerating just a tad, but making calls is no fun unless you put the Note on speaker phone. I'm not the only one who felt awkward making calls the traditional way. Walt Mossberg wrote that making calls with the Note makes you look "like you're talking into a piece of toast."

Burnt toast, anyway. The Note I'm testing has a nice black textured back. Yet Mossberg and I are not alone. Boy Genius Report's Jonathan S. Geller wrote: "The phone is too big. You will look stupid talking on it, people will laugh at you, and you'll be unhappy if you buy it."