T-Mobile Galaxy Note is appealing at $250, but may be too late

Summary:T-Mobile finally rolled out the Samsung Galaxy Note, but it comes right as Samsung is getting ready to announce the next iteration of the phone/tablet.

T-Mobile Galaxy Note is appealing at $250, but may be too late

I bought an international Samsung Galaxy Note and wrote a review of it back in April. I ended up returning that Note a couple weeks later because I found I just wasn't using the S Pen as much as I thought I would and there were other upcoming devices I wanted to save up for instead. It is now almost one year since Samsung rolled out the Galaxy Note, with the likelihood that they will announce the Note 2 next week, and T-Mobile finally has it in stock and available for $249.99.

Updates in Android Ice Cream Sandwich

The original Note launched with Android 2.3.6, but this new T-Mobile one comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. TouchWiz is still prominent on this ICS device with the following S Pen enhancements:

  • S Note update with Formula Match, Shape Match, and Knowledge Search
    • Formula Match: Features math formula recognition and auto calculation. Write a formula or math equation and Note will convert it into an easy-to-read text version. You can even look up different equations and answers via WolframAlpha.com. Looking for the answer or what your equation looks like as a line graph? Press the Search (question mark) button.
    • Shape Match: Provides automatic shape correction. Draw a rough sketch of a triangle and Note converts it to a clean, clear triangle. Color in your shapes using the S Pen tool.
    • Knowledge Search: Takes your handwritten words and questions and looks for the answers. Write a word or phrase and Note will look for it on the Internet via WolframAlpha.com. After you finish writing, simply press the Search (question mark) button.
  • My Story digital cards creation application
  • Face Unlock
  • Android Beam

T-Mobile vs AT&T Galaxy Note

Screenshot_2012-08-20-19-55-50

I won't go through all of the same details I already wrote about in my look at the AT&T model, but there are a couple of slight differences. The T-Mobile Galaxy Note is the nearly the same as the AT&T model with four capacitive buttons along the bottom for Menu, Home, Back, and Search. There is no physical hardware button like the international version. The T-Mobile one includes support for WiFi Calling so you can make calls via your WiFi connection when at home or traveling where your cellular signal may be weak. This model also supports T-Mobile's 42 Mbps HSPA+ data network.

In terms of software, you will find some bloatware on this carrier branded device as well. It's definitely not as bad as AT&T, but does include 411 & More, T-Mobile My Accout, Bobsled Messaging, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV, Visual Voicemail, and TeleNav GPS.

Am I buying the T-Mobile Galaxy Note?

If T-Mobile would have launched the Galaxy Note back in April when AT&T did then I likely would have purchased one. However, the Galaxy S III launched in July and I find it a better performer overall and more useful for MY needs. The size of the Galaxy Note really isn't much of an issue for me, but I just do not use the S Pen enough to justify the cost of the device. It is a VERY nice Android phone/mini tablet and given that it runs $40 to $80 cheaper than the Galaxy S III there may be some people that make the choice for a more economical device.

It is highly likely that Samsung will announce a new Galaxy Note on 29 August with rumors indicating a slightly larger display, faster and more modern processor, LTE connectivity, and Android Jelly Bean. Given that it took nearly a year after it was announced for Samsung and T-Mobile to roll out the Note it is probably safe to assume it will be quite some time before T-Mobile customers can get the Note 2. However, as a gadget enthusiast, I know I couldn't be happy with an original Note knowing that a new, better one is out and available.

Related ZDNet coverage

Topics: Mobility, Android, Reviews, Samsung, Smartphones, Telcos

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.