Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Size and build
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a new design over its predocessor boasting a soft-touch back that Samsung is claiming has been designed to evoke the connection between the smartphone and the classic notebooks of old.
With dimensions of 151.2×79.2×8.3mm the Note 3 is actually slimmer and thinner than the Galaxy Note 2 despite boasting a larger 5.7-inch display. Not only that, it’s only 168 grams – 12 grams lighter than its predecessor.
The back is nice to hold, soft but a bit tactile and the whole thing feels very solid. If Samsung products have had a reputation for being overly plasticky and a bit fragile in the past, the Note 3 is certainly going some ways to reversing that.
One thing that we noticed was that you need to press relatively hard on the screen with the S-Pen to get the screen to register – something that we’ll be testing out again once we have a full review sample to look at.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Camera
The Galaxy Note 3 features a 13MP camera that, as rumoured, will be able to shoot Ultra-HD 4K video at 30fps, FHD at 60fps and even Slow Motion at 120fps.
There’s a 2MP camera on the front as well for selfies and of course Samsung’s Dual Shot, Dual Recording and Dual Video Call features.
We had a quick go on the stand and it produced some sharp, detailed images. We’ll get a chance to test the full suite of modes in the full review.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Features
The Galaxy Note 3 has been given a serious hardware boost with the 3G model featuring the much-reported 1.9GHz octa-core processor whilst the 4G/LTE version will come sporting a 2.3GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor.
Setting a new benchmark for smartphone hardware the Note 3 also comes sporting an impressive 3GB RAM and will come with either 32 or 64GB of storage with microSD support up to 64GB as well. All in all, this makes the Note 3 the most powerful mobile device Samsung has ever made.
You’ll be needing all that power (especially the RAM) to run all the new S-Pen functionality and for multi-tasking apps.
There’s NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and an IR LED for remote control functionality, of course last but not least there’s GPS and WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.
The main additions to the Note stem from its power, and the brand new Air Command function. Hovering over the screen with your S-Pen and pressing a button on the side of the Pen brings up a new menu, with a number of new features.
First up is Action Memo, which brings up a simple notepad interface. Scribble your note and the Note will save to your Notebook app, where you can view all your notes. Then if you go in and select the note, the app will recognise what you’ve scribbled (within the boundaries of bad handwriting) and give you automatic options. For example, if you’d scribbled a name and number, Action Memo will automatically recognise that, and give you the option to put that straight into your contacts.
Screenwipe takes a screenshot, then lets you draw and edit it before sending, sharing or saving to Scrapbook. S-Finder is a powerful search engine that will find anything on your Note, from apps to photos to files and folders. It’ll even divert you to Google if you want to search online.
A quick drag inwards from the left hand side window brings up a column of apps, all of which are available in split screen. Tap on an app and it’ll start up fullscreen, or you can drag it across and it’ll happily take up one half of the screen. Once you’re running two apps side-by-side you can drag the partition up and down to adjust the balance.
We played with this a fair bit – every app ran smoothly, and we didn’t experience any slowdown whatsoever.
Finally, there’s Pen Window – which lets you draw a window on your screen, then select from a limited range of apps to use within that window. For example, we drew a small window in the top right, selected the calculator and, that’s it. There’s your calculator.
There’s so many functions here, and so many shortcuts to access what you need when you need it that it’s all rather overwhelming. We only had half an hour with the Note 3, but even after a month of use you’d have to pick things up very quick to really get the hang of it.
Samsung Galxy Note 3: Screen
The first thing many people will notice is the display, bumped up to 5.7 inches the screen is a Full HD Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1920×1080. Oh, and just for the record, we’re talking pixel density of 386ppi. That’s not quite the dizzying heights of the HTC One, but it’s nothing to sniff at.
As usual with Samsung’s Super AMOLEDs, the display is incredibly vibrant with deep contrast. The viewing angles are excellent too, we struggled to find anything to take issue with in our brief hands-on with the device.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Battery
Of course with all this tech on board Samsung have unsurprisingly seen fit to up the battery to 3,200mAh over the 3,100mAh found on the Galaxy Note 2.
We won’t be able to get a full idea of how it fares in day to day usage just yet so stay tuned for a full review to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the brand’s most poweful mobile device ever and finally the first Note with a build quality that reflects the price. We were very impressed by the speed at which the Note 3 runs when multitasking and we look forward to giving it a thorough test. Stay tuned for a full review.