Can you use a Samsung Galaxy Note without phone service?
December 20, 2013 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in getting a Galaxy Note (perhaps a used "Note II" version off of Craigslist) to use mainly as a sketchpad. Also, any other apps that happen to be helpful. I already have a mobile phone, so I wouldn't want to sign up for another account. Will the device function as just a hand-held computer, without cellular service? So for example, could I connect it to my home wi-fi network and use Dropbox, browse the Web etc?
posted by trevor_case to Technology (7 answers total)
Yes, you'll definitely be able to use it without cellular service, without a SIM card inserted at all actually. I would definitely recommend the Note II over the first version though, the S-Pen stylus functionality and sensitivity was significantly improved with the second version.
posted by Venadium at 6:52 PM on December 20, 2013

I believe this should be fine — the office I work in has a ton of SIM-less Android devices for testing/demo purposes. I don't think we have a Galaxy Note, but just last week I set up a Galaxy S4 in this configuration, and we also have Nexus 7 and Nexus 10s used w/o SIMs.
posted by Alterscape at 6:55 PM on December 20, 2013

I have a Note 2 and frequently am in places without cell phone service; it works fine.
posted by The otter lady at 7:00 PM on December 20, 2013

Yes, you can and you should have no real issues doing so.

I have the Galaxy Nexus I just stopped using as a phone and an old Moto Droid that I use in this way. I am taking the former on a plane tomorrow and using it as my media player/e-Reader so I can save my battery life on my actual phone.
posted by mountmccabe at 7:04 PM on December 20, 2013

Cool. Thanks a lot for the info.
posted by eeby at 8:11 PM on December 20, 2013

I'll add the caveat that you'll need to have it connected to wifi to set up your account. When I got my Note 8" (wifi only), I couldn't do the basic setup on the tablet without a connection. That's Android for ya.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:17 PM on December 20, 2013

oh how much do i love my Note 2? :)

look on (it's like a more reliable ebay for phones)...def more legit than craigslist.

if you get the sprint version you can get it activated on if you change your mind later...i use them and save a fortune over even boost and virgin (bill usually around $25/ pay only for what you actually use that month, and since I'm usually on wifi, my data usage is most expensive bill was $60, but that was only one month)...I think they're also the only carrier with free tethering and their customer service is simply amazing :) I really can't recommend them enough.

for art purposes, you want the black/dark grey (as opposed to the white one) because distracting/eye fatigue/contrast

for connecting with your computer, use's both an app and a go to the website on your computer and it displays a QR code, then you boot up the app on your phone, point it at the QR code and the web page turns into a 'desktop' of your phone...easy and nifty. (direct connection is by back and forth thru the 'cloud')

Drawing programs: Sketchbook Pro just got an update that (finally!) lets you specify larger document sizes than your screen size...very full featured and easy to use...makes great use of the pressure sensitivity.
More advanced, but not nearly as intuitive is clover paint...worth trying out the free version to see if you like it.
Don't bother with Infinite used to be good, but the developer keeps changing it in ways that make your older files unreadable...very frustrating.
I also rather like 'markers', 'magic doodle' (great color palettes), and 'LINE brush' (not very adjustable but the brushes all 'feel good')

2 favorite camera apps are 'mutable cam' (a slit-scan camera) and 'one-bit photo' (literally a Black, and White camera)

the s-pen is also fun for games, notably 'fruit ninja' and 'plants vs zombies'

oh...and an awesome feature that (for some reason) isn't on by default is in the internet browser...while in it hit the menu button>settings>Labs>quick controls...anywhere you sweep in from the side edges opens a 'fan' of controls ...super-duper handy.
and the camera has a voice activation feature that I use a lot...look in the camera menus...'smile!'
posted by sexyrobot at 2:26 AM on December 22, 2013

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