The moment you enter a store, there are a plethora of smartphones for you to choose from: not just limited to the choice of brand but a vast galaxy of choice (no pun intended). But there are brands with their own advantage over things, a niche if you will that makes them special, and stand apart from the others.
Sony has their Xperia lineup focusing on being a Pro tool as of right now (which I will talk about in another article), but Samsung has the Galaxy Note, which is their ace in the whole. But that day just might have come to an end because the chances of seeing a new Samsung Galaxy Note are close to impossible. We might have to even say goodbye, but I am not ready for that.
The best Tool in your Pocket
Since its debut, the Samsung Galaxy Note has turned out to be a tool no one saw coming. It was the first sight of what a PDA like Palm from yesteryears would have been if we were to throw the smartphone element along with it. The next thing you know, it became the dream tool for many users. From artists that love to sketch on the move to businessmen that love taking notes or minutes on their phone, it was loved by many. That unique prospect the phone brought to consumers made it the best phone one could ever own. It was the dream tool and I wanted one.
Being a young kid, the Galaxy Note was impossible to own and so I told myself that one fine day I would own one and when I did, it was the best phone I had in my pocket.
My First Note: The Samsung Galaxy Note8
In many ways, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 still has a soft spot in my heart, in fact, it still is one of the few phones I have a special connection to, and I can’t seem to let it go. The phone had the highest screen-to-body ratio with none of those notch nonsense at the time of release, making it one of the most immersive phones you could use.
Eliminating buttons entirely was one but that phone had a “pressure sensitive” button hidden under the screen to wake the display which was just straight up genius. As for security, the phone did not just feature a fingerprint sensor but an Iris Scanner that properly scans and unlocks accurately. Even in 2022, I don’t see any phones that did things in such a unique way as the Note8 did.
That phone kicked off my journey with S Pen. Having to carry a digital stylus is one thing but being able to carry it within the device made it easy to rely on because it’s always there without taking up too much space. The pen had the capability of handling 2048 pressure points, so every time you use it, the pen reacts differently.
The thickness of a line, or what you write varies. That aside, the always-on taking note feature was great because you could whip the pen out and the phone would immediately launch the display for you to jot down notes immediately. It may seem like a simple thing the phone did, but it was good at it. The experience expanded throughout the UI with Samsung applications taking advantage of the S Pen in Calendar applications and so much more.
As a student, I even jotted down a bunch of notes on the phone when other kids were taking it down on tablets. And in spaces where it was congested, the phone took little to no space in being the perfect tool. From a work standpoint, I was filling out NDA forms and other applications through the phone rather than printing it, filling it up and sending it back – saving paper.
The S Pen Got Better at it
Generation after generation, the S Pen only got better with the Note20 being the last Note I used before I jumped over to the S21 Ultra – the pen’s responsiveness became more instantaneous, there were some fancy features where the Pen really became a Magic wand of sorts with the potential to do gestures, be a remote and more. It did not just get better, but it became more than it should have and at that point, it was the only stylus to do everything whereas the other stylus (Styli? English is weird – C.Y.) barely scratched the surface.
The First S Pen Supported S Series
The last Note to ever exist was the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Series and after that we didn’t see the Note come back in 2021, which was concerning for more reasons.
But Samsung did something interesting that did get our attention – the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra where it became the very first S Series phone to support Stylus which you have to purchase separately. I was using the S21 Ultra for a week and in that very week, I chose to spend that extra RM 400 to get the S Pen with the Case, because it was more than a tool, it was essential for me. But let me tell you something, it was not a noteworthy experience.
The S21 Ultra couldn’t replace the Note
The idea for the S21 Ultra to exist with support for S Pen is simple: it’s to give the S Series users a taste of what the Note could offer and have the option to purchase the tool to experience it. But not to replace it, because the Note had the upper hand in handling the S Pen much better because rather than being a separate part, it was one together with the phone. Which also means that the experience was just seamless, unified instead of being disjointed like what the S21 Ultra has. Which is why even in our review we mentioned that it isn’t good enough to replace the Note.
Even the Z Fold 3, which supports S Pen, doesn’t really deliver on the seamless experience promises that the Note provided.
But what Happened?
The whole story or rumors around the whole cancellation of the Note series is weird, and if I must put it in a better word, ambiguous. Samsung officially released a statement that they wouldn’t be cancelling the Note series last year, but it wasn’t a straightforward one either. Then sometime around December 2021, TM Roh finally announces that it is no more, which is as official it can get.
Honestly, this is sad, knowing that the one true unique smartphone in the market will no longer exist. But there are rumors pointing towards the new S22 that the “Ultra” variant will be a Note in all but name. I will take it but knowing that Note20 is the last to carry the name, makes the phone special and one that’s worth holding near and dear to our hearts.
Even if the rumored S22 Ultra is a Note without the name, I am still going to miss having the excitement around August for the next best thing, which is the latest page in the Note story. You will be missed my love; I am glad to have been able to experience it when you were still called the Note. In fact, I am lucky to be one of many happy individuals who have been able to experience the Note starting with the Note8 and it has all been possible thanks to Samsung Malaysia who has been graciously providing us with every iteration for review since.
This article is purely based on the writer’s opinion and the said brand in this content did not get any copy approval and they are reading it for the first time as you are.