Samsung Galaxy Note series: The evolution of a revolutionary tool

Think about the biggest moment in your life and it is likely your smartphone had a role to play in creation and preservation of that memory. That is because the smartphone has evolved from being a simple tool for communication to an indispensable device that carries your work, play and home with you wherever you go.

From whiling away time at the airport, to calculators for foreign currency conversion while on the move or in the office when we need to get some work done fast – mobile devices are quickly permeating our lives in ways we cannot even fathom.

With such enormous responsibility pinned on a tiny device, it is easy to see why choosing a brand that delivers constantly and consistently on its promises is crucial. Tried, trusted and tuned to cater to the widest and most diverse people possible, Samsung is that brand.

Samsung, with its Note series, has become the perfect choice for a handy, durable and immensely functional work buddy – a personal assistant even with the capabilities of a supercomputer.

Designed as half-smartphone and half-tablet, the Galaxy Note series first hit the market in 2011 at a time when mobility became imperative and most computer manufacturing companies were trying to produce more compact devices. The device had a huge impact on the society with users very much impressed with the look and feel of the phone. Every version of the Note since inception has come with new and refreshing features that have kept the public excited and addicted.

As at 2011, smartphones with 4.3-inch screen were perceived to be big. However, when Samsung unveiled the first Galaxy Note featuring a massive 5.3-inch display, consumers were stunned and they excitedly welcomed this new Note. The S Pen, which was almost non-existence at the time, was also a distinguishing factor for the Note series. The speed of its 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and the benefit of such a large screen size also played a major role in its distinction and functionality.

Its successor, Galaxy Note II, which is slimmer than its predecessor, featured improvements to the original Note’s hardware with a quad-core processor and a larger 5.5 inches (140 mm) display, enhanced S Pen experience, an upgraded digitizer with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity for more precise pen input. Other exciting features introduced include the pen gestures, split-screen multitasking, and the Air View, which allowed previews of content to be displayed with the pen hovering above the screen, and a host of other outstanding features.

With the Note 3, Samsung upgraded the design by introducing a more “premium” faux-leather stitch pattern that adorned the edges of the rear casing with a screen size of 5.7 inch (145 mm) display, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP camera, 32GB or 64 GB storage, and expanded stylus pen functionality. Other firsts in the series also include the micro USB 3.0 port for faster charging and data connectivity, as well as a slew of new S Pen related functions. The new Air Command View feature does not only alert the user when the S Pen is removed from its slot; it also notifies if the S Pen is placed too far away from the phone. Its productivity became enhanced with the addition of Multi Window, which allows the user multi-task while using the device.

The Galaxy Note 4 is a regal phone featuring metal trimmed frame and a plastic leather back. Described as a beast of a phone, the Note 4 features a 5.7-inch (145 mm) Quad HD resolution, a 16 MP camera with OIS, improved S-Pen stylus, and an upgraded digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and expanded functionality. This edition introduced a rare feature amongst phones at the time, including the finger print sensor, which was embedded into the home button.

Several new changes came along with the fifth generation model, most notably the premium look and feel of the phone – thanks to its glass and metal construction. The Note 5 featured premium amenities such as a new, more responsive fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, and an updated S Pen as well. Also, a first time for the series, the Note 5 featured wireless charging – in addition to the “rapid charging” feature. It adopted an auto-eject mechanism for the S Pen to mimic the click you get with a pen. Even better, there was also a new feature that allowed the user to instantly jot down a note the moment the S Pen was ejected.

On 2 August 2016, the world’s most anticipated phone was officially released as a successor to the Galaxy Note 5. The Note 7 was described as an evolution, inheriting the hardware components of the Galaxy Note 5. The Note 7 was not just water resistant; it also came with a water-resistant stylus pen that acts as more than just a writing tool. The pen was IP68 certified with 0.7mm thin diameter, allowing users jot down or draw on the screen even without having to unlock the device by using the Screen-off feature and pinning the memo to the AlwaysOn display.

The device featured a 5.7inch QHD Super AMOLED screen delivering a bold and immersive picture on smartphone. It was ready to stream HDR video, enabling a cinema-like experience, ensuring users get the full experience the filmmaker intended. The Note 7 had a 12 mega pixel (MP) rear camera with optical stabilization and a 5MP front-facing shooter. The Note7 ran on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and came with a 3,500mAh battery, 64GB of internal memory, expandable storage and micro SD support up to 256GB.

On September 2, 2016, Samsung Electronics officially announced the Galaxy Note 7 replacement program due to a rare battery cell manufacturing error, which had led to few reported incidents. The isolated battery cell problem caused many Note 7 units to overheat and combust. On 10 October 2016, Samsung permanently discontinued the Galaxy Note 7 due to these repeated incidents. The company apologized humbly and promised to do better.

After the successful launch and subsequent unfortunate recall and discontinuation of the Note 7, some assumed that the Note 8 might never happen. However, the Note 8 has since been referred to as Samsung’s humble return to the Note series with a gorgeous design, incredible 6.3-inch screen, great software, excellent stylus. Consumers do not need to worry about the safety of the device as the battery has undergone Samsung’s 8-Point Battery Safety Check—the most rigorous in the industry.

The Galaxy Note 8 is the sleekest Note ever produced, combining amazing features from previous Notes to create a blend of telephony magic. With Galaxy Note 8, Samsung continues to defy boundaries of engineering to perfect the user experience through innovative design. Every edge, surface and detail of the device’s design has been refined to provide a comfortable grip, easier one-handed operation, and durability with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5.0. Whilst the Galaxy Note 8 features a large-screen, the unique front-to-back symmetrical dual-edge curve remains balanced and light with a sleek feel.

The device is also water and dust resistant (IP68). Users do not have to worry about getting the device damaged when accidentally dropped in fresh water, as deep as 1.5 meters, for up to 30 minutes. Built with 6GB RAM, a 10nm processor, and expandable memory (up to 256GB), the Galaxy Note 8 offers users more flexibility for browsing the internet, streaming videos, playing games, and multitasking.

The heart and soul of the Note series, the S Pen features new innovations that reinvent and modernize users’ note-taking experience. Thanks to the IP68 water and dust resistance feature, users can easily jot down thoughts and ideas on a wet screen without interruption, bringing ideas to life the moment inspiration strikes. With the S Pen, users can now translate full sentences in various languages, depending on country and region,  by hovering the S Pen above the sentence.

Another amazing feature of the Galaxy Note 8 is the dual 12MP rear cameras featuring a Smart Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) that counter-balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in poor lighting conditions. Thanks to the Live Focus mode, users can easily decide how much the subject of the picture stands out by adjusting the blur and focus of the background in real time. The background blur can be adjusted even after the picture is taken.

Over several generations, Samsung’s Note line is undoubtedly one of the most iconic handsets in the market; with a strong enough following to redefine the way in which the industry at large approaches screen size. That first generation’s 5.3-inch display introduced the word “phablet” as a mainstream product category. The screen size crept up in every edition, from 5.3 to 5.5 to 5.7 and now 6.3, with a healthy hardware overhaul happening roughly every year.

The Note 8 does an admirable job combining some of the best features of the Note and Galaxy S lines, while sprinkling even more exciting features. There is no doubt that the Galaxy Note 8 has a lot to offer.

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