Every year, we’re treated to a brand new iteration of smartphones, but it often seems to come and go with lightning speed. With this constant change, it’s easy to forget what our favorite smartphones looked like two or three years ago. Today, we take a stroll down memory lane and have a look at the evolution of Samsung's Galaxy Note series.
Samsung Galaxy Note
The original Galaxy Note first dropped at IFA 2011 and came with a revolutionary 5.3 inch display, a behemoth of its time. Not only that, but it was equipped with a dual-core 1.4 GHz chipset that set new standards and came equipped with a smart pen, something not seen since the Palm Pilot days. While some considered the Galaxy Note to be almost too big, the device soon proved any naysayers wrong and became a quick commercial success with over two million devices sold after only two months. To date, the original Galaxy Note has sold over ten million units. Samsung took an innovative risk with the Galaxy Note and it’s completely paid off since then.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The sequel was presented the next year at IFA 2012 and it quickly became clear: the Galaxy Note series would be the crowning announcement to come out of the IFA conferences. Samsung enlarged the screen to 5.5 inches and double the number of CPU cores in the device. Above all, the S Pen was further improved and helped established the Note series as the undisputed leader in the market of phablets. In the first three months, three million units were sold.
On the software side of things, Samsung was diligent in taken advantage to the large size of the Galaxy Note 2. They incorporated multi-tasking software to help with split-screen operation and introduced Air View. In addition, the Note 2 followed the new Galaxy S3 in a redesign to the Galaxy series which was also a commercial success.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
By 2013, the Galaxy Note series was well established and recognized as being unrivaled. The pressure and constraints of the early days were in the past and Samsung was moving full steam ahead. At IFA 2013, the Galaxy Note 3 saw the light of day and this time the design was once again tweaked. With a new angular design and synthetic leather replacing the standard polycarbonate backing, Samsung tried to position the Galaxy Note 3 into a more premium niche. While the design didn’t appeal the everyone, the hardware specs continued to impress as it was the first smartphone with 3 GB of RAM, a feat that has barely been matched by other smartphones today. Continuing without much competition, the Note 3 was again a commercial success for Samsung and sold ten million units in just two months.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Galaxy Note 4 is the latest in the line and Samsung has well established a winning formula for this smartphone. Despite its predecessors having commercial success with big changes, the Note 4 only presents a few new features or design changes. From the outside of the device, it is hard to tell it apart from the Galaxy Note 3. The display size has remained the same at 5.7 inches, the synthetic leather backing is still there, and the angular design remains.
With the Note 4, Samsung made the jump to full 2K resolution and borrowed a few design features from the Galaxy S series including a metal frame and fingerprint scanner. As well, the display on the Note 4 comes across as extraordinary not just because of the high resolution, but more due to goo color representation, readability in full sunlight and an increased viewing angle. And so, it goes: the Galaxy Note 4 remains relatively unrivaled in its fourth iteration.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung changed its strategy last year and decided to release its new generation before IFA in Berlin. It was also not sold in Europe either, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans across the Atlantic. We hoped this would change, but it unfortunately did not. Samsung preferred instead to sell it in South Korea and the United States, instead selling the Galaxy S6 Edge+ in Europe.
The Notes 5 introduced a sleek design of aluminum and glass. This meant that the battery was not removable, and memory was not expandable. The specs of the Note 5 were great, with 4 GB of RAM, a 5.7-inch QHD display and a quality 16 MP camera. But this was simply not enough to convince many Note 4 owners that it was worth an upgrade, with many instead holding out for the following generation, or looking elsewhere.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung decided to launch the Note 7 before IFA, once again, and this time on August 2. This time around, the company will sell it in Europe and it seems that the Note is better than ever. The Note 7 inherits some genes from the Galaxy S7 Edge, among which is the curved display. It maintains a metal and glass construction, so there is also no removable battery. Unlike the Note 5, however, users can expand internal memory via microSD card. The most interesting new feature is an iris scanner located on the front panel, which can be used to unlock the device.
The Note 7 has an AMOLED curved display (on both sides) and is 5.7 inches in size. It also has an octa-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and the same main camera that we find in S7 and S7 Edge. It doesn't come cheap, but this is indeed a premium phone – the best of the best.
Are you a fan of the Galaxy Note series? Let us know in the comments.
With contributions from AndroidPIT editor Jessica Murgia.