Shopping for a new smart phone as a newbie or switching from one smart phone operating system to another? You've suddenly got some great choices, all 4G LTE, which is becoming the new normal, from every major phone maker (except Apple). And each has at last one special feature to set it apart.
What's The Big Deal: A 5.3-inch screen. Arguably the most controversial phone to hit the street in a while, the Samsung Galaxy Note is notable for its enormous 5.3-inch Super AMOLED screen. Why controversial? Is it too big for a phone and two small for a tablet? One wag referred to Note as a "phablet." Plus, you need an "S Pen" – a stylus – to take advantage of some of its tablet features such as S Memo, a multimedia application designed to capture notes that could combine photos, drawings, typed-text and hand-written notes. An interesting idea, but a stylus seems a technological step backwards. Spec-wise, Note runs Android 2.3, is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, includes 16 GB of memory, Wi-Fi, an 8 MP camera on the back and a higher-res-than-usual 2 MP camera in the front. I'll hopefully have more on Note after I get some hands-on time with it next week. Note is available in carbon blue or white from AT&T for $299.99 with the usual two-year contract.