Samsung Galaxy Note 3 preview: Second encounter
There are a numbered few launch events in the year to count down the days to, and Samsung's Notes have long booked themselves a prominent spot on the list.
Samsung were the first to cross a line many thought would never be crossed. Of course, an onslaught of phablets was to inevitably follow - but not as soon perhaps as Samsung themselves must've thought. The original Galaxy Note was a shocker back in 2011 with a Super AMOLED HD display of the then whopping 5.3" diagonal.
Whether it was shock, surprise or disbelief, the competition didn't bother with a retaliation plan. Oh well, now everyone wants in on the phablet game, and there are even gadgets lately that have Note-killer written all across a bigger screen, better camera or a waterproof body.
But it may as well be Samsung's turn to act like they're not impressed. The Galaxy Note 3 made its scheduled splash at IFA, boasting a bigger display of more than double the resolution, the latest processing muscle, the groundbreaking 3GB of RAM, and all that within a tighter, thinner body.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at a glance
- General: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, penta-band UMTS/HSPA, 100 Mbps LTE
- Form factor: Stylus-enabled phablet
- Dimensions: 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm, 168g
- Display: 5.7" 16M-color 1080p (386ppi) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
- Chipset, N9005 LTE model: Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz quad-core Krait 400, Adreno 330 GPU
- Chipset, N9000 HSPA model: Exynos 5 Octa 5420, 1.9GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 + 1.3Ghz quad-core Cortex-A7, ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
- RAM: 3GB of RAM
- OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- Camera: 13MP camera; 2MP front-facing camera
- Video camera: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60/30fps, 720p@120fps video capture
- Memory: 32GB of inbuilt storage, microSD card slot, up to 64GB
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 3.0 port with backwards compatibility with microUSB 2.0, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
- Battery: 3,200mAh battery
- Misc: S-Pen support, S Note, Scrapbook, Action Memo, Air Commands software to take advantage of S Pen
Samsung didn't step out of their comfort zone in terms of screen size - and this has been stretched beyond belief by competitors rushing to make up for lost time. Instead of going for the latest in imaging and waterproofing, focus is on what the Note is all about - bringing the smartphone experience on a bigger canvas, and a pen to make good use thereof. This time the Note isn't only about scribbling over screenshots and taking memos.
Once the S Pen is pulled out, the Air Command appears on screen to give you options to draw and doodle around, but also place apps (more than one) on parts of the screen while you're browsing the app drawer, homescreen, browser, etc. The S Pen is now a genuine multitasking tool.
As far as the rest of the smartphone prowess goes, the Galaxy Note 3 has what it takes to call itself the new Samsung flagship. The device offers an improved camera, the screen carries all the positives of Super AMOLED and the processor is the best to have powered a droid.
There's a lot of ground to cover with the Galaxy Note 3 and the design and build is where we'll start. Follow us after the break for the whole story.
Disclaimer: The following preview is based on a pre-production Galaxy Note 3 and by explicit request by Samsung we won't be posting any benchmark scores and evaluation of the Snapdragon 800's scores. We won't be conducting our usual suite of tests either. We'll leave those for a later occasion when we get a retail review sample.
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