Long-standing rumors that Samsung is putting its iconic line of phablets on the ice has been confirmed this week, as the company said it had no plans to launch the Note family phone this year.
The news sparked a buzz in the phone world, and for good reason. The presentation of the Samsung Galaxy Note has been a staple in the calendars of most tech fans for years, offering mid-year pleasure ahead of the launch of the respective flagships from Google and Apple. The iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 are expected to arrive this year.
The Note line is also the most widely recognized phablet family in the world, and only Apple’s Max and Plus lines offer equivalent brand awareness. This is why many of you may be wondering why Samsung decided to ditch this in favor of the much more niche and younger foldable devices, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3.
I was originally in this camp too, and my disregard for folding items was well documented on the website. But after thinking about this move, I actually think it makes sense for one key reason: Samsung has never figured out the Galaxy Note.
To be clear, I am speaking literally here. Samsung has always done a great job with the Galaxy Note on a hardware level. For example, last year’s flagship Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was the first mainstream phone to feature a truly variable refresh rate display.
Prior to this, the original Galaxy Note was a pioneer, offering a giant screen at the time and a never-before-seen S Pen docking stylus. As I unboxed the phone at the time, I remember being genuinely shocked that the company thought the 5.3-inch screen was what consumers really wanted.
Editor’s note: Raising my hands in the air, I was wrong about this particular movement. Check out the entries in our guide to the best phones and you’ll see that people definitely love big screen phones.
But for me, Samsung has failed to replicate this original wow factor because it hasn’t been able to get far enough from phone size year after year. Last year’s Ultra had a whopping 6.9-inch screen, but even it didn’t seem big enough to really take advantage of the Note’s biggest unique advantage: the S Pen.
As an aspiring amateur digital artist and someone who often has to edit photos on the fly, the S Pen has always garnered attention. But to date, every Note phone I’ve tested has been a bit disappointing due to the distinctly “phone” form factor of the device.
Photo editing in Photoshop Express for Android is still frustrating, even with the S Pen, especially when working with the larger desktop or iPad versions. The less said about trying to draw, the better, because to put it bluntly, no matter how responsive and quality the screen is, 6.9 inches isn’t big enough for anything other than easy drawing.
This is why it makes sense to me that Samsung is aiming to reclaim the Note’s potential with a foldable device like the Fold S3, which is deliberately designed to offer a larger screen and a shape that’s purpose-built for things like creative work.
The only downside is that it will still need to bypass the horribly bundled Android digital artist app library, which, aside from the lovely port of Krita, is nowhere near as good as Apple’s iPad OS, and my persistent build quality issues with folding screens. …