Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition: Unboxing and impressions

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 821 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.

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