Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review: Jugger-note
From an experimental niche product to standard-setter in just three generations. The Note 3 boasts a beautiful large screen, cutting edge tech and hardware design that shows Samsung is finally taking looks seriously.
The Galaxy Note family is credited with not only starting the phablet craze, but also resurrecting the stylus. The S Pen is no ordinary stylus though - the special screen digitizer and a button on the S Pen work their magic to augment the thumb-on-screen experience, and rival it in terms of speed and options.
Other than that the Galaxy Note 3 phablet continues the tradition of being the current generation's Galaxy S phone on steroids - a large 5.7" screen (in a body the size of the Note II), choice of Snapdragon 800 or Exynos 5420 chipsets, 2160p (a.k.a. UHD) video recording, USB 3.0 (a first on a pocketable device) and Samsung's ever-growing list of software features available right out-of-the-box.
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; LTE (N9005 only)
- 5.7" 16M-color 1080p Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; Adobe RGB mode
- S Pen
- Android OS v4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
- N9005: Quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset
- N9000: Quad-core 1. 9GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7, Mali-T628 MP6 GPU; Exynos 5420 chipset
- 3GB of RAM
- 13 MP autofocus camera with LED flash
- N9005: 2160p video recording @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 720p @ 120fps
- N9000: 1080p @ 30fps; continuous autofocus and stereo sound
- 2 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
- Dual shot and dual video recording, Drama shot, Shot and sound
- Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
- 32GB/64GB of built-in storage
- microSD card slot
- microUSB 3.0 port with USB host and MHL 2.0; Backwards compatibility with microUSB 2.0
- Bluetooth v4.0
- IR port for remote control functionality
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Barometer, thermometer, hygroscope
- IR gesture sensor for Air gestures
- Smart gestures: Smart stay, Smart pause, Smart scroll
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Ample 3,200mAh battery with great endurance
- Smart volume and Adapt Sound features for the music player
- N9000 model (Exynos) lacks LTE and 2160p video capture
- Large size makes single-hand operation problematic
- No OIS
- No dedicated camera key
- No FM radio
- Shared camera interface makes framing tricky
Besides putting the Exynos-powered model in question, the list of disadvantages is grasping at straws - Samsung went all out with the Galaxy Note 3 and may well have created the best Android device to date.
Yes, it's large but ask anyone who has used a 5.5+ inch device - it takes a while to get used to, but after that regular phones feel like tiny toys. And it's not that big - it's the same size as the Note II except thinner and lighter.
The phone launches with the latest Android version available - 4.3 Jelly Bean - on which Samsung has grafted its government-approved security feature called Knox. Samsung is aiming hard for the "bring your own device to work" business crowd that BlackBerry and its secure services have now lost.
It helps that Samsung decided to quell the "glossy plastic" complaints with a surprising move to a faux-leather look that feels almost like the real thing - instead of being tacky, it adds a touch of class.
Samsung also invites power users to the Galaxy Note 3 with tons of bespoke features, customization options, easy expansion with a removable battery and card slot, not to mention two of the most powerful mobile chipsets available. The 2160p (or UHD) video capture is nearly unique and with millions of Note 3s to be sold, Samsung is setting up nicely for its UHD 4K TVs.
As you can see from the bulging list of features, we have plenty of ground to cover, so let's get started with a peek at the design on the next page.
Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review: Jugger-note