Gadgets: Best of smartphones, tablets meet in one gadget

By Phil the Gadget Guy
From the March 15, 2012 edition

This is the week that new iPads (starting at $500) land in their owner’s hands. These early adopters usually pay whatever Apple charges.

If you’re not one of those people, and if you’ve also shunned the “economy tablet” sisters (Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook), the gadget for you may be Samsung’s Galaxy Note ($300 from AT&T with a two-year agreement).

The Galaxy Note sports an AMOLED 5.3-inch screen — one of the largest smartphone touch screens available — that has HD resolution (1280 x 800) to rival many tablets. Samsung boasts about this gadget’s S Pen, a highly responsive and precise stylus that can accommodate the creation of notes or doodles on your digital device just as you might have previously put them on paper. In fact, this Android device’s S Memo app is designed to capture drawings, pictures, voice recordings and typed text all in one document.

Built-in features include a phone, a pair of cameras (8-megapixel rear-facing capable of 1080p video and 2-megapixel front-facing), calendar, email, Web browser, music player, address book, messaging and connectivity to AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

You might not be able to call the Galaxy Note a tablet, but it’s certainly a tablet-like phone that you can fit in your pocket. No existing tablet can make that claim.

By now, you’ve read the reasons to buy (retina screen, 5-megapixel iSight camera, four times the graphic power and 4G LTE connectivity) or not buy (minimal increase in features and minimal decrease in expense) the new iPad. Most of the articles have missed the fact that Apple’s newest gadget is the first tablet that is Bluetooth 4.0-ready.

A while back, this column wrote about Find My Car Smarter, which is the first app to use the Bluetooth 4.0 technology to direct you back to your parked car. Bluetooth 4.0 will support an increasing number of low-power sensors and devices that will eventually come out in the form of music and video streaming gadgets, fitness monitors or security products.

You’ll pay tens of thousands of dollars for a Glashutte Original Senator Diary watch, the only mechanical wristwatch that allows a user to set an alarm up to 30 days in advance. The manufacturer of that gem has taken pity on us normal folk and released its free GO Diary iPhone app.

The app puts a graphic of the Senator Diary on your iPhone that displays the correct date and time. The app also makes sure you’ll never forget an important date again. Aside from an elegant watch on your iPhone, you’ll be able to tour the Glashutte collection, manufacturing process and stores on that same app.