There is so much to love about Samsung smartphones, especially the displays and cameras. There are things that some may find a little frustrating too, like inconsistent performance over time. It was the latter that always drove me from keeping my SIM card in a Galaxy S series for any appreciable period of time.
However, the Note series was different, despite the same hiccups I would inevitably encounter as I put the device through its paces, those perfect moments where the S-Pen was handy would prove invaluable – not in a sense of professional productivity, but out of propensity to make jokes.
Those pretty displays and other goodies from the Galaxy Note series would eventually give way to the next big thing, but I always looked forward to the next generation. The Galaxy Note 5 was the stylus-packing line-up’s maturation point – build quality that had reached parity with the Galaxy S-series, and more refined features for the S-Pen.
The Galaxy Note 7’s feature set really impressed me. I pre-ordered as soon as I was able to and immediately fell for Samsung’s ability to entrance me with their AMOLED displays. Despite there being a Snapdragon 820 under the hood, it just felt like it was not running like a true flagship. In hindsight, it could have been related to the battery, or heat from charging. The battery mayhem surrounding the device did not impact me because I returned it before all that stuff starting making news.
When the Galaxy S8 came along, I gave that a whirl also, and the terrible fingerprint sensor placement was just too big an inconvenience for me to enjoy what is otherwise an outstanding piece of hardware with a well-executed Samsung Experience skin sending TouchWiz out to a long-overdue pasture. Still, I was a little worried that the next generation Note would follow in the S-series footsteps when it comes to that critical feature. From the looks of the news lately, it appears those concerns are well-founded.
When word got out about the rebuilt “Fan Edition” Note, I was interested because on the surface, it appeared that Samsung fixed what was wrong – the battery (obviously), the CPU (small bump), and software (Android 7 and Samsung Experience).
So, being the gadget geek that I am, and with little regard for the concept known as impulse control, I went online and ordered a Galaxy Note Fan Edition from a seller in Korea.
What’s in the box
There is nothing new to the packaging, other than a big heart on the box. Clearly aimed at showing appreciation to the purists that just wanted a current-era Note device, the rest of the packaging is familiar Samsung. With the phone, earbuds, charger, USB-C cable, OTG adapter, micro-USB adapter, and extra stylus tips.
About the Note FE and Impressions
We gave an overview of differences between the Note 7 and the Note FE. The battery is smaller (safer), and so far, charging has been wholly uneventful. The device even remains cool to the touch. The discrepancy in what we earlier learned about the Note FE is the silicon inside. Rather than a Snapdragon 821, the Note FE (or at least the one I got, which is KT branded) instead ships with the octa-core Exynos 8890.
Performance-wise, the Note FE does not feel like a throwback from last year, even though its spec sheet suggests it is. The camera fits Samsung’s typical modus-operandi, that is to say, excellent.
The new Samsung Experience UI is right at home on the 5.7-inch AMOLED display. The settings default the display to operate at 1080p resolution, and you can adjust it to 2K or 720p if you like. The UI action is smooth, though it is obviously nowhere near as fast as what we have seen from this year’s power players.
Think you want one too? Bring money
If you have a gadget hunger that is insatiable, there are dozens of reputable sellers on eBay who have stormed the retailers in Korea and bought a bunch of Galaxy Note FE devices in order to feed the addiction. The prices are high, ranging between $795 and $925. You will want to double-check the specifications regarding cellular connectivity in your area, just in case.
Most of the Note FEs for sale have free express shipping from Korea, and there no import duties on shipments to the United States. I pre-ordered mine a couple days before they went on sale. The seller shipped it on Monday, and it arrived at my doorstep on Thursday.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition is certainly not the hot hit for the summer of 2017, but it is certainly worthy of some notoriety, until we are drawn to the new gear yet-to-come from LG, Google, and Samsung. Yep, I’ll probably get a Note 8 when it comes out too.