Fast and smooth
Full HD display
Tricky to hold
S Pen still limited
Tacky plastic rear
Update September 12, 2014: So, the Galaxy Note 4 is just around the corner, and we’re expecting it to be bigger and much better than the Note 3. In the end, that’s just Samsung’s M.O. at this time, and we’re glad to see that it appears to be going for a real method of premium materials.
First, the hardware is indeed much better. Because of this first time, which is an enormous surprise to people, Samsung used metal because of its frame, in fact it is very noticeably metal. Samsung is notorious for using plastic throughout its smartphones, rendering it feel cheap and definately not premium. That changes with the Note 4.
If you are used to using the S Pen, or the stylus that is included with the Galaxy Note 3, you will discover some nice upgrades in the brand new version. The pen in the Note 4 is more sensitive to pressure, so if you are sketching or doing whatever takes a little finesse, it’ll workout better in the most recent iteration of the Note series.
Again, if you are considering investing in a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, wait simply a little longer for the Note 4 going to stores. We’ve already seen it in the flesh, there are a good amount of video reviews around the net, so just hang tight and it will be worth the wait.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is seeking to continue in the same vein as the initial Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2, proclaiming to offer you a phone that could almost be recognised incorrectly as a tablet and wants you to trust it’s both.
Let’s get a very important factor straight before we dive into this review though, the Galaxy Note 3 is merely likely to appeal to a narrow segment of users, it’s definitely not likely to have the broad selling point of the Galaxy S4, nor catch the attention of the fashion-conscious iPhone 5S purchaser.
The Note 3 isn’t pretending to be anything it isn’t. It knows it’s a big, some may say huge, smartphone and Samsung realizes that form factor will not be for everyone.
Having said that, with big size comes big price, and the Galaxy Note 3 will cost you a wallet-busting $800 SIM-free although hefty price tag could be softened to around $299 if you decide to select the Note 3 through to a two year contract.
In conditions of competition there’s not really a great deal which comes even close to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but its closest competitor happens to be the Sony Xperia Z Ultra which has a massive 6.4-inch which dwarfs even this handset.
An instant glance over the Galaxy Note 3 tells us it can accurately what we thought it could do: gets control the mantle as the world’s most effective smartphone, although the benefit will be a lot smaller this time.
First up we need to mention the display – it’s grown again because the 5.5-inch offering on the Note 2 to a palm busting 5.7 inches filled with a complete HD, 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display.That is the same resolution as the Galaxy S4, but as the screen is larger on the Galaxy Note 3, the pixel count isn’t as great at 386ppi, so it is nearly as pin sharp as its smaller brother. It still looks pretty impressive though – therefore it should for the purchase price Samsung is asking.
We’re still looking forward to Samsung to embrace the entire metal chassis we’ve enjoyed on the HTC One and the iPhone 5, nonetheless it is wanting something slightly different with the Note 3.
The Galaxy Note 3 has retained the metal frame from the Galaxy S4 playing around the edge of these devices providing a rigid body and a far more premium look, but it’s on the trunk where Samsung has tried something new.
Lay the Note 3 face down, have a quick go through the handset and it seems the rear is constructed of leather.
It is not, of course, it’s that famous plastic Samsung is indeed fond off. The final is textured to provide it the looks of leather which actually provides some essential grip.
Those stitches running across the outside of the trunk cover? Well that’s simply a pattern formed in the plastic. It may well not be everyone’s cup of tea and it looks a lttle bit tacky after closer inspection, however the Note 3 does feel just like a solid, well developed device.
On the plus side, the plastic cover could be removed giving you usage of the Note 3’s sizable 3,200mAh battery in addition to the microSD slot which is cleverly stacked along with the microSIM port – allowing Samsung to save lots of some space.
Somehow Samsung has were able to make the Galaxy Note 3 slightly smaller than its predecessor, measuring 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm. That’s still a significant sizable device, but considering it offers a slightly larger display, beefier processor and better 13MP camera it’s an extraordinary feat.
Those blessed with smaller palms will still battle to contain the Note 3 in a single hand, in particular when typing is involved, but because of its reduced weight (it’s 168g, down from 183g on the Note 2) it’s certainly the most manageable Note smartphone to date.
The sheer size of the Galaxy Note 3 means you will be constantly shuffling it along your palm as you try to reach the quantity rocker and power/lock keys located towards the most notable on the left and right sides of the handset and the menu keys below the screen.
As the buttons are responsive, we found we tended to hire our second hand to greatly help us out when moving from the power/lock key right down to the house, menu and back buttons.
Beneath the hood of our review unit sat an insanely powerful 2.3GHz quad-core processor, although a select few markets will be treated to an octa-core option which houses two quad-core chips.
Additionally you get 3GB of RAM and the choice of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, as the latest version of Google’s operating-system – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean – runs merrily along with all this.
From leading you’ll note there’s a pleasingly slender bezel running down either side of this monster 5.7-inch display, while below you get the customary physical home key flanked by two touch keys – menu on the left and back on the proper.
You can’t start to see the touch keys when the Note 3 is idle, as their backlights are just displayed when you unlock the handset or tap the region they’re located in.
They are incredibly responsive though, and you don’t need to worry about getting the finger directly on the logo, the region of recognition is wide enough to get even the most misguided stabs.
In addition to the questionable leather-effect rear the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers up little regarding design. Sure it looks a bit more premium compared to the Galaxy Note 2, and it can feel good made – but by the end of your day it’s just a little uninspiring.
People that have petite palms or a penchant for skinny jeans will have a problem with how big is the Note 3, but if you have been taken using its predecessors then you will be happy to hear it is the best looking Note smartphone to date.