Samsung Galaxy Note series

The Samsung Galaxy Note series is a discontinued line of high-end flagship Android phablets and smartphones developed and marketed by Samsung Electronics. The line is primarily oriented towards pen computing; all Galaxy Note models shipped with a stylus pen, called the S Pen, and incorporate a pressure-sensitive Wacom digitizer. All Galaxy Note models also include software features that are oriented towards the stylus and the devices’ large screens, such as note-taking, digital scrapbooking apps, tooltips, and split-screen multitasking. The line served as Samsung’s flagship smartphone model, positioned above the Galaxy S series.

The Galaxy Note smartphones have been considered the first commercially successful examples of “phablets”—a class of smartphone with large screens that are intended to straddle the functionality of a traditional tablet with that of a phone. Samsung sold over 50 million Galaxy Note devices between September 2011 to October 2013. 10 million units of the Galaxy Note 3 have been sold within its first 2 months, 30 million were of the Note II, while the original Galaxy Note sold around 10 million units worldwide.

In August 2021, TM Roh, Samsung’s President and Head of Mobile Communications, announced that no new Galaxy Note device would be unveiled at their 2021 launch event, which would instead focus on new foldable phones. “Instead of unveiling a new Galaxy Note this time around, we will further broaden beloved Note features to more Samsung Galaxy devices,” he added.

Samsung announced the original Galaxy Note at IFA Berlin in 2011. While some media outlets questioned the viability of the device due to its 5.3-inch screen (which, at the time, was considered extremely large for a phone), the Note received positive reception for its stylus functionality, the speed of its 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, and the advantages of such a large screen size. Like the Galaxy S2 from earlier that year, the camera has eight megapixels and can film in Full HD, 1080p, and the device features Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL to HDMI).

The Galaxy Note was a commercial success: released October 2011, Samsung announced in September 2011, that the Galaxy Note had sold 1 million units in two months. In February 2012, Samsung debuted a Note version with LTE support, and by August 2012, the Note had sold 10 million units worldwide.

Alongside with Galaxy Note 1

On 29 August 2012, at IFA Berlin, Samsung unveiled a successor to the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II. The new model, released September 2012, featured improvements to the original Note’s hardware (with a quad-core processor and a larger 5.5 inches (140 mm) display, a revised stylus that can reveal Air View tooltips through hovering, and an upgraded digitizer with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity for more precise pen input, a new hardware design based on that of the Galaxy S III), along with new features such as pen gestures, split-screen multitasking, Air View (which allows previews of content to be displayed by hovering the pen above the screen), and other new features also introduced by the S III.

On 4 September 2013, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 3, which introduced a more “premium” design with a plastic leather backing, and a 5.7 inch (145 mm) 1080p display, 3 GB of RAM, new 4K video recording capabilities at 30 frames per second (up to 5 minutes per video; availability varies per region), 1080p at twice the framerate (60fps “smooth motion” option), a USB 3.0 connector, an infrared transmitter for use as remote control, a third microphone for noise cancellation, multi-windowing, and expanded stylus pen functionality. Unlike its predecessor, it is not equipped with an FM radio. The speaker is placed at the bottom, while placed on the rear side previous model on the Note 2.

The Note 3 is the only Galaxy Note device to be equipped with thermometer and hygrometer sensors and Air View support for both stylus and fingers, of which the latter is achieved with an additional self-capacitive touch screen layer. It also had additional voice commands, including “Dismiss” and “Snooze” for the alarm, and “Answer” and “Decline” for calls.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 3

On 3 September 2014, at IFA Berlin, Samsung unveiled a predeccessor to the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 4. The new model, released in 3 September 2014, introduced a new design with a plastic leather backing and metal frame, a 5.7-inch (145 mm) QHD display, a 16 MP camera with then new Optical Image Stabilization, 15 Watts of fast charging using Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, revised multi-windowing, an improved S-Pen stylus, an upgraded digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and expanded functionality, fingerprint scanner, and other features taken from the Galaxy S5. However, Samsung Air View is only usable with the S-Pen, while it was usable with both fingers and stylus on the Galaxy Note 3.

The Galaxy Note 4 is uniquely equipped with an ultraviolet ray sensor, and the last Samsung flagship phone to be equipped with a user-replaceable battery.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Note Edge, which features a display with a curved portion that wraps around the up and right bezel of the device. The curved area can be used as a sidebar to display shortcut, smart select and live message.

The curved right side screen area extends the resolution of the display from 1440×2560 to 1600×2560.

The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge are the last in the Note series to use micro-SIM cards. Later models in the series use nano-SIM cards.

The Galaxy Note 5 was announced on 13 August 2015. It is based upon the specifications, hardware and exterior design of the Galaxy S6, including its metal frame and glass backing, but with a larger 5.7-inch 1440p display, Exynos 7 Octa 7420 system-on-chip, as well as a new spring-loaded stylus slot. As with the S6 and unlike previous Note models, the Note 5 does not offer a user-replaceable battery or expandable storage. Other removed features include support for Mobile High-Definition Link, a third microphone, and an infrared transmitter. The new “Screen off memo” feature allows the phone to be awoken directly to a note screen when the stylus is removed, and the camera app allows public and private livestreaming directly to YouTube.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 5

The Galaxy Note 7 was announced during a press event in New York City on 2 August 2016. It is largely based on the hardware of the Galaxy S7, inheriting its processor, camera, and the restoration of IP68 water resistance and expandable storage, but with a larger 5.7-inch 1440p display. It is also Samsung’s first device to feature a USB-C connector and the first water-protected device of the Galaxy Note series, having a water-protected stylus too.

The Galaxy Note 7’s display is curved across the sides of the device, and its stylus features higher degrees of pressure sensitivity (4096) and a finer tip. Samsung branded the device as the Note 7 rather than the Note 6 in order to synchronize its branding with the earlier flagship of the same year, the Samsung Galaxy S7 series.

Upon release, the Galaxy Note series earned criticism by a technology journalist of Android Police, criticizing that since 2015’s Galaxy Note 5, not much except a stylus sets the Galaxy Note series flagship apart from the Galaxy S series flagship released earlier in the same year, like it did with the first four generations of Galaxy Note devices.

The Galaxy Note 7 was afflicted by repeated manufacturing problems with their internal batteries, which led to incidents in which they overheated and combusted. After replacement models experienced similar incidents, the Note 7 was officially discontinued on 28 March 2017, and nearly all units were recalled globally.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was announced on 23 August 2017. It features a 6.3″ 1440p Super AMOLED Infinity Display, a 3300 mAh battery, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support, Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895 processor (depending on location), an iris scanner, IP68 dust and water resistance, a new dual-lens camera setup with a telephoto lens and support for Samsung DeX.

On 27 June 2018, Samsung sent out invitations for the next “Unpacked” event, showing a yellow S Pen image. The Galaxy Note 9 was subsequently announced on 9 August 2018 and became available starting on 24 August 2018.

The Note 9 is a largely refined version of the Note 8. The biggest change from the Note 8 was the addition of Bluetooth functionality to the S-Pen, allowing a user to control the camera, YouTube videos and slideshows remotely.

Internally, the Note 9 uses the Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 processor, with either 6GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, or 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of internal storage, and a 4000 mAh battery.

The Note 9 uses the same camera hardware seen on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, with a dual camera setup, a 12MP wide-angle sensor with f/1.5 and f/2.4 dual aperture and a 12MP telephoto sensor with the f/2.4 aperture for Bokeh effects at the back, along with an 8MP selfie camera.

On 1 July 2019, Samsung announced that it would hold its second Unpacked event of the year on 7 August at 16:00 Eastern in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ were unveiled at the show.

The Note 10 marked the first time Samsung offered a Plus model of its Note, with the Note 10 offering a 6.3-inch 1080p display Infinity-O Display and 3400 mAh battery, and the Note 10+ offering a 6.8-inch 1440p display with a 4300 mAh battery. The Note 10 has non-expandable 256GB storage, while the Note 10+ has expandable 256/512GB storage via microSD. Both phones added several new features from the Samsung Galaxy S10, including in-display fingerprint scanners, Wireless Powershare (enabling the phone to be used to wirelessly charge other Qi-compatible devices), and triple camera arrays consisting of a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens and 12MP wide angle and telephoto lenses. Both variants also saw the power button consolidated with the Bixby button on the left side of the phone, with the button now being reprogrammable to be used as a power button or to activate Bixby, and eliminated the headphone jack.

Also introduced with the Note 10 variants were 25 watts Super Fast Charging (with the Note 10+ also being capable of 45 watt Super Fast Charging 2.0), marking the first charging rate increase since the 2014 Galaxy Note 4.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 10

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra at a virtual Unpacked Event on 5 August 2020. Both came in variants with and without 5G connectivity.

Like the Note 10 line, Note 20 has lesser specifications to justify a relatively lower price point, while the Note 20 Ultra is positioned as a high-end premium device. In this case, the Note 20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch display, 120  Hz refresh rate, 4,500 mAh battery, and expandable storage. The Note 20 lacks several key features of the Note 20 Ultra, including the high refresh rate, microSD storage expansion and “periscope” zoom lens. Both phones have triple camera setups similar to the S20 line, with the Note 20 using two 12 MP wide and ultrawide sensors and a 64 MP telephoto sensor, and the Note 20 Ultra using a 108 MP wide sensor and two 12 MP telephoto and ultrawide sensors. On both models, the buttons and S-Pen have switched places from their positions on the Note 10, with the power and volume buttons now being on the right side of the phone, and the S-Pen dock now moved to the left side of the USB-C port.

Alongside the Galaxy Note 20

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is an 8-inch Android-based tablet computer produced and marketed by Samsung Electronics. It belongs to the second generation of the Samsung Galaxy Note series tablets, which also includes a 10.1-inch model, the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

At the Mobile World Congress 2012, Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 10.1, as an alternative to the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It has a 10.1-inch display and uses a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and supports the Samsung S-Pen stylus input as seen on the original Galaxy Note phone.

At the 2013 Samsung Unpacked Episode 2 event in Berlin and New York, Samsung announced the successor to the original Galaxy Note 10.1-inch tablet dubbed as the Galaxy Note 10.1 2nd Gen. Like its predecessor, it has a 10.1 inch display and now supports the improved Samsung S-Pen stylus input also seen in the Note III and it copies the design cue of its lower-end sibling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 which sports the unified Samsung design first used on the Samsung Galaxy Core.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung announced the first Pro line of tablets which included a bigger Samsung Galaxy Note Pro tablet with a 12.2 inch display and also comes with the same S-Pen stylus the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2nd Gen is sporting which is the standard on the Note Series. Its design is similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2nd Gen which has the Samsung standard simulated stitched-leather back.

Subsequently, released together with the first regular Tab A 8.0 and 9.7 models in 2015, Samsung released a model of the Tab A 9.7 equipped with an S-Pen stylus making it the first Samsung Galaxy device to be equipped with the Samsung stylus outside the Note series. In 2017 Samsung released another S-Pen device, the Tab S3. On 1 August 2018, Samsung launched the new tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with a new S-Pen. Subsequently, in 2019, Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab S6 with the S-Pen.

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