"Dumped iPhone for the Note and I'm not looking back!"5.0 starson by TeamJamesDean
Pros: 1. Huge, clear and bright display
2. Android ICS
3. Google Play Store
3. No charge tethering
4. Freedom to change things on MY phone
5. Spare batteries
6. Great camera/video
7. Google Maps/navigation
8. Micro SD storage
9. Voice search
Cons: 1. Less than intuitive
2. Not a rugged phone
3. Not a one-handed phone
4. Infrequent Android updates
Summary: Having been a loyal Apple owner beginning with iPhone 3 I decided I would wait until the 5 was released and follow the path that most other iPhone owners follow. But as fate would have it my 4S broke on a business trip just a month before the 5 was released. I considered my options and decided to look at other phones.
I loved my iPhone but it was like a relationship gone bad. Oh it started out great... you know that feeling you get when you just can't believe you found someone so perfect. It was everything to me. It was my perfect match... my soulmate. It could do no wrong. I loved how intuitive it was. I loved all of the free apps and even a few of the paid ones. I loved the battery life. I loved the way it felt in my hand and the way people looked at me when we were together. But like every relationship, it's inevitable that my iPhone would eventually let me down. It's not perfect afterall. It's flawed, just as I am. And I'm no "spring chicken". I acknowledge that there will be compromises in any relationship. I'm mature enough to know that you have to accept a phone for what it is. But at some point you have to step back and take inventory of where you are at, where you are going, and if you are really right for each other. And that's where I was with my iPhone. I began to question if we were really right for each other. Were we going in two different directions? Did we really line up on the big issues? And were there problems that we just couldn't overcome?
At first it was little things. I made excuses for them. Why was I unable to send or receive pictures via MMS? I scanned the support pages and discovered that my thinking on this was ALL wrong. I should have been asking why other phones allow this? Email is a much better way to go and MMS was outdated technology and so limited. I was stupid for asking such a question in the first place. Apple later fixed that and I could send MMS messages, although I'm not sure why I would want to do that since MMS was so dumb in the first place. I guess Apple was making an exception for MY shortcomings. Why does the screen have to be so small? Why can't they give up some of their precious black space above, below and to the sides of the screen? I told myself that Apple knew better. "It's different", I said. But when others showed me their phones with their big, bright displays I secretly coveted them. Why did my iPhone 4 drop calls? I was holding it wrong! Of course, it was MY fault! Silly me... I should have known better. Why did my phone dial people randomly or hang up calls when I held it to my face? It was my fault again. I should be using a bluetooth headset. Besides, Apple would fix that someday. But it's not a 'fix' because Apple products don't have bugs. Why do I have to pick a memory size when I purchase the phone? Why can't I have a memory card slot? Apple engineers know better than me... those memory cards can't be trusted and I should be happy to have so much internal memory available, even if it does cost an arm and a leg. But what if I need more? Well then, I can pay a monthly Cloud storage fee. I'm so selfish! What is wrong with me? But what about changing my battery? If the battery goes bad, what do I do? Certainly this is a shortcoming, right? I mean... EVERY phone out there that I've ever seen or owned has a battery cover and if I need to carry a spare or if my battery goes bad I can change it. Again, I was thinking of it all wrong. I had to change my paradigm. This isn't a cell phone... it's an iPhone. You can't be opening up the cover on this thing! It's got things inside that could kill you just by looking at them. Ok, but what about tethering? I had owned phones before that allowed me to tether them and as long as I was paying for the data it didn't matter. AT&T even showed me how to tether it! And they said it was fine and dandy and if I went over my data plan they would be happy to sell me a larger plan. So now that I paid for the unlimited data plan, why are they charging me an additional $45/month? That's not the phone's fault, that's AT&T's fault. But why won't Apple allow tethering apps on the Store? If I jailbreak my phone then I can tether for free. No you can't... you're fooling yourself. You have everything you need on the Apple Store. But the browsing speed seems slow and it eats my battery. No, it's not slow. Besides, you should be using WiFi for that. But what about profiles? I had profiles on all my other phones. My pictures disappeared... my apps disappeared... I want to copy a file to my computer that doesn't have iTunes... the update process took 4 hours... ugh! It was time to call it quits.
So I went to the AT&T store and looked at several other phones. I felt wrong, but excited at the same time. What would it be like? iPhone and I had been together for over 4 years! Were there really other phones out there with touch screen interfaces? Did they have maps and navigation? Could you use them? I had heard horror stories of other phones from fellow iPhone users. Most of them were simply stories retold about phones with black and white sub-megapixel cameras, 9600 baud modems, text-based web browsers that didn't really connect to the internet but instead connected to the old AOL servers, app stores with dozens of apps... but then the Galaxy Note (i717) caught my eye. It was huge! I could read the display! I went to the Apple website and I could read the entire page on one screen! I felt so naughty... I bought it.
So what did I learn? Is it better? Are there things I would change? In general, I love it for all the reasons I hated my iPhones and I hate it for the few reasons I loved my iPhone. Yes, it's big. And size does matter. Call me shallow, I don't care. My baby is big and wide and ready to ride. And she's sexy. You can talk all you like about screen resolution numbers but I can shrink text smaller than I can read with my 20/20 vision and still see it with a magnifying glass. The screen is brighter than my wife's iPhone by far, and I have set an automatic profile which dims that display so it doesn't blind me when I open my phone in the middle of the night to check the weather. The Google Maps and navigation are better than anything I had on the iPhone. I have a 32GB micro SD where I store videos and pictures and if I like, I'll move my music to another one some day. I bought two extra large capacity lithium batteries and a charger for $12 on eBay and I swap them out in less than a minute if I'm traveling and don't want to be tied to an outlet. The Google Play store has every app (minus one) that I had on my iPhone and so many others that I could never get on the App Store... tethering for example, which I use regularly. The battery life is about the same as what I was accustomed to on the iPhone... it usually needs to be recharged in the afternoon if I'm using it a lot. I can customize the phone endlessly... screen widgets are very useful. The camera is way better than I had with my 4S... not sure how it compares to the 5 in daily use. Google Voice Search kills Siri. I can't believe some of the things it recognizes. I grew tired of Siri giving up on me with some cute response.
Are there downsides? Of course. It's not nearly as intuitive as the iPhone. If ease of use is the only criteria for picking a phone, get the iPhone. Android and this particular phone have way more options and some of those options are not intuitive, so it takes some digging at times. But for the daily tasks, most everything is easy enough to figure out. But these two phones are significantly different in their ease of use, no question about it. It's not a rugged phone. It won't take a fall like the iPhone. You MUST have a good cover if you ever drop your phone. For one thing it's big. Lot's of inertia when it hits the floor, and it isn't built with a chassis to take the impact. If you drop it you will be going to AT&T and paying the price ($300 deductible WITH insurance) or seeking out someone to fix it if possible. Investing in a ballistic case is a must IMO. Unless you are a professional basketball player (or semi-pro I guess) you probably can't use this phone with one hand. It's big. Really. But I quickly got accustomed to it. Having said that, there still are occasions when it's awkward. And the Android OS is awesome... but it's not updated as frequently as IOS and even when the updates are released, they have to be ported to each phone by the manufacturer. The latest release of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) was out in July but still not ported to the Galaxy Note, and there's really no guarantee that Samsung will deliver it at any point in time, although I've read we should expect it before the end of the year. That's the benefit of a closed operating system like IOS... if you build the hardware and the operating system so you can make OS compatible with the previous hardware much easier. There are ways to get Jelly Bean on your Galaxy Note ahead of the manufacturer's release, but that's not for the typical user.
In all, I'm very pleased with the Note. It's my new girl!