The Samsung Galaxy Note was officially launched at a veritable fiesta held at the Battersea Power Station. Samsung's biggest – literally – mobile yet is a 5.3-inch phone-or-tablet? (no, seriously, that's the way they're marketing it) that runs on Android Gingerbread and has a pretty brave USP – a capacitive stylus that lets you navigate the phone-tablet, or actually draw pictures. Very pretty pictures.
We got some hands-on time with it and even sketched some drawings.
The Samsung Galaxy Note clocks in at 146.9x83x9.7mm with an expansive 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display. It's been optimised to cover the 1280x800 pixel screen so technically, it's really a Super AMOLED HD display. What, no Super AMOLED Plus HD?
As 178g, it's easily palmed, but you probably wouldn't want to carry this on a night out. Scratch that, you wouldn't be able to carry this on a night out as it juts out of most pockets.
At the back sits the eight-megapixel camera with auto-focus and LED flash. Pictures you take with the camera can be drawn on with the S Pen.
The pen works in any app – you can use it instead of a finger to swipe through home screens and select icons. But when you press a button on the pen, that kicks it into drawing mode, and tapping on any screen immediately brings up S-Memo, the app that lets you write notes or draw pictures.
There's an impressive selection of pen and brush weights, colours, as well as special effects such as shadow.
The sensitivity of the pen is absolutely phenomenal, gliding over the touch-screen in thin or thick markings depending on how much weight you place on it.
Here's how one of our team displayed his secret talent for illustration:
So chuffed is Samsung with its pen technology, that part of the launch event showed graphic artists drawing actual pictures with the Note and Pen (get it!?) – including a caricature of yours truly.
Elsewhere on the Note, Samsung's familiar TouchWiz interface skins the Android Gingerbread OS.
The browser will automatically load full versions of websites, and you can choose to have a split screen so you can have more than one app open at once. This sounds like a better implemented version of the 'mini apps' Samsung had on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – a selection of non-customisable apps could be open on top of other programs, letting you have both open like on a desktop computer.
An interesting point Samsung chose to highlight was also the preloaded Juno Pulse app for remote-lock and wipe security. In fact, the Korean giant said it had partnered with some of the most prominent security providers in the business to ensure the Galaxy Note was as suitable a solution for enterprise as individuals.
Samsung is also opening up the software of the S Pen to developers so that new apps can make use of its technology – which means we should see some cool drawing-friendly apps available for this interesting new device.
Apps that have been specially designed with the S Pen in mind can be found in an offshoot of Samsung Apps, S Choice.
At launch, S Choice apps include Soonr, OmniSketch, ComicBook! and ZenSketch, which lets you draw in caliigraphy-style brush strokes whose thickness you control:
Along with drawing, the S Pen also works as an annotator in ebooks, PDFs and documents, or of course, as a hilarious moustache-adder in photos.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is available from Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse and O2 from 3 November in the UK.