It's not something I often speak of, but sometimes it's hard to let them go. Too quickly time rolls by and before you know it, they're leaving you. Off to the next stop in their short lives, usually the grubby mits of another technology journalist.
It's understandable, right? After all, a smartphone is an integral part of a busy, modern life. It's among the first things I see when I wake up in the morning, it's with me throughout the day and it's an arm-length away when I go to bed again at night. A smartphone reviewer, testing a new phone each week can sometimes be a trying experience. If a phone is below par, I feel shackled to it until I have finished my tests. But every so often, a phone comes a long that just makes me smile.
The Galaxy Note will be hard to say goodbye to. For starters, the Note is a great Samsung smartphone. Measure for measure, the Galaxy Note is as good as the popular Galaxy S II, with a similarly fast web browser, the same TouchWiz user experience and a good collection of pre-installed apps. The S II has the edge in the photographer department, but otherwise they are very comparable devices. It's dual-core processor handles all the graphics-intensive apps we threw at it, as was more than adequate at providing a slick, seamless everyday user experience.
But there are three elements that make the Note a better phone than its predecessors, however, and they all work in unison to create a rather unique experience. The screen, the stylus and its 2500mAh capacity battery are all features of the Note that place it slightly ahead of the curve. Samsung chose an HD resolution panel for its 5.3-inch screen, with 1280x800 pixels. When you do the maths you find it offers 285 pixels per inch and if you remember that Apple's "resolutionary" iPad screen is 264 pixels per inch, you get an idea of how sharp images can look on this display.
To compensate for a screen 25 per cent larger than its previous smartphone displays, Samsung stuffs a 2500mAh battery into the Note. Luckily, for users, this turns out to be overkill. In our battery tests, the Note managed seven hours of constant video playback and five hours of web browsing, where the screen is set to 100 per cent brightness for both tests. These results, especially for video playback, are better than for most smartphones we've seen lately, where four to five hours video is the standard. For me, this equates to an easy two days of use between charges, though your mileage will surely vary based on how you use your phone.
Finally, the stylus will be missed, and yes, I'm surprised to be writing this. It was only two or three years ago that we were bagging stylus use with smartphones, mostly because those phones forced us to use them. With the Note, it's a welcome optional extra; not essential for everyday use, but nice to have when you need it. It's purely chance that the hit game Draw Something launched on Android at about the same time that the Note hit stores in Australia, but it certainly helped to show me how the stylus could add enormously to the smartphone experience in certain situations.
There are downsides, too, outlined in detail by my colleague Jessica Dolcourt in our review of the Note. For some, the size will be a problem — there is absolutely no way of using this phone one-handed while aisle surfing on a bus, for example. But for me, the times I've had sitting with the Note and using it with both hands far outweigh the others. If you're someone who only uses your smartphone for calling, messaging and email, the Note is probably not for you. If, like me, you add constant web browsing, video playback, games and social media to your everyday tasks, then the Note is definitely worth considering.
So it's adieu little Note. Thanks for the good times. You won't remember me — I'll be wiping your memory shortly — but I will remember you.