Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo review: Neoclassic

GSMArena team, 31 January 2014.

Tags: Samsung, Android

Introduction

Three generations on, the Notes are gadgets that people can't seem to get enough of so a new, less expensive, version must be good news for everyone. Well, except perhaps the Note II. Anyway, what was rumored as a Lite version of the Galaxy Note 3, seems to match the description with lower screen and camera resolution, but a brand new chipset with six cores operating simultaneously, sees the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo step out the shadow of its premium namesake.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo official pictures

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo is not a mini version per se - with a Duos version in tow, it's more like a new branch in the Note family tree. A fork down the road that shouldn't have been a surprise - Samsung would be fools to not try and capitalize on a popular and successful line of devices.

A six-core CPU based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, an 8MP camera with 1080p video and a SuperAMOLED screen are still solid credentials if you're not going to compete at the very top of the league. The S-Pen is of course a prominent part of the deal. Granted, the screen resolution is down but 720p isn't too bad. The screen is decently sharp, while promising to place less strain on the battery and keeping cost down.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; LTE Cat 4 (LTE+ model only)
  • 5.5" 16M-color 720p Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; Adobe RGB mode
  • S Pen
  • Android OS v4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
  • Dual-core 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7, Mali-T624 GPU; Exynos 5260 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash
  • 1080p @ 30fps; continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 2 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 16GB of built-in storage (11GB user available)
  • microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
  • microUSB 2.0 port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC
  • IR port for remote control functionality
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, hall, ambient light and proximity sensors
  • Smart gestures: Smart stay, Smart pause, Smart scroll
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Ample 3,100mAh battery
  • Smart volume and Adapt Sound features for the music player

Main disadvantages

  • Large size makes single-hand operation problematic
  • No dedicated camera key
  • No FM radio
  • Shared camera interface makes framing tricky

Another downgrade that's hard not to notice is 4K video recording - the Note 3 Neo does 1080p at most but, then again it's clearly targeting users who wouldn't spend over the odds just to get the latest tech - and that's the kind unlikely to have a 4K TV at home anyway.

Other than that, the spesc certainly arenn't bad for a handset that was known as Lite back in Rumorland. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo's spec sheet promises to bring all the Note 3 productivity and most of its multimedia goodness at a more affordable price and in a form factor that's a little easier to handle. You'll be missing on a few bangs and whistles but there are plenty remaining.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo at ours

Ready to move on? The physical starts right after the break. We'll look at the Galaxy Note 3 Neo's exterior and controls, and see if the new screen is really that much of a step back.

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