Samsung created a new category such as “phablets” with extreme capacity and capability when it launched the Galaxy Note.There have been numerous critics speaking about the device and every good points made about it. It even inspired other device makers to launch similar devices though it has been hard for them to offer a differentiating feature where costs would also increase making it a greatly high-end device to opt for.
The Galaxy Note’s strength is the S Pen which is the highly intelligent stylus that comes along with the device and allows users to do more than just navigate the user interface and scribble notes. Since the Note 3 has come into the device arena, Samsung claims to take the experience at the next level and we try to ponder and analyse how it is and whether it is the best phablet in the market today.
Design and Build :
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 retains the same design that gave the Note series of smartphones and when we first layed our hands on the Note 3 it reminded us of the original Note. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 looks much more similar to the first-generation Note than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which was relatively more on the curved end.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is made of plastic but Samsung has cleverly disguised the finish of certain elements to give the smartphone a premium fit ans smooth finish. Even though it looks huge in the palm of the hand, the phone does not feel heavy and fits in the pocket in a better manner in comparison with the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available in three colour variants such as Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink which makes girls go crazy over it and we got a Classic White device as our review unit.
The front of the Note 3 is dominated by its 5.7-inch Full-HD Super AMOLED display screen and the Galaxy Note 3 is not beveled above and below the screen and is flatter sporting a textured dark grey finish unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The physical Home button and two capacitive touch buttons for Menu and Back controls are designed below the screen. The front camera, various sensors, notification light and earpiece grill sit above the Galaxy Note 3’s screen.
The Note 3 front panel is surrounded by a chrome frame which gives a premium feel to the Galaxy Note 3, but the edges have a faux-metal finish with a ribbed pattern to make it look more shiny like a rectangular diamond. The device sports a power button on the right edge, volume rocker on the left and a 3.5mm headset jack. An infrared receiver on the top and a new USB 3.0 port sits at the bottom of the device fauxalong with a small speaker grill and the slot for the intelligent S-Pen stylus.
There are major changes made on the back of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to give it a reformed and refined look. The device sports a leather finish which is completed by stitching. On the back is decked a 13MP camera lens with the LED flash right below it. The Indian version of the Galaxy Note 3 only features the Samsung branding at the back and there is a small speaker outlet towards the bottom of the device.
The back cover is removable and hides the micro-SIM card and microSD card slots that are stacked on top of each other and the removable battery which has pleased millions of Samsung users across the globe. About the complete build and design, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 looks much more refined than the Note 2 with its leather finish back and good weight to dimensions ratio even though it has got the same design.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is in a way Samsung’s other flagship device other than the Samsung Galaxy S4. Keeping the trend, Samsung has also upgraded the screen to full-HD by 0.2-inches at 5.7-inches. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a full-HD Super AMOLED display screen with a screen resolution of 1080×1920 pixels packing 386 pixels per inch. The Galaxy Note 3 has a big full-HD display which enhances the user experience by leaps and bounds.
Samsung offers what it calls Adapt Display which basically optimizes colours according to ambient light conditions around you. You can choose between four manual modes (Professional Photo, Movie, Dynamic and Standard) and good automatic modes if you select the Adapt Display option. The Note 3 also offers the option to adjust the screen tone automatically to conserve battery power greatly.
User Interface and Software :
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS and TouchWiz Nature UX which is Samsung’s own user interface that includes various custom apps in addition to the skinned interface.
Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has been panned for carrying out big, glossy and cartoon-like menus and icons. The main idea might be to make the user interface highly user-friendly, but ends up looking anything but pleasant. In current terms, the Smausng Galaxy Note 3 has a user interface which has been highly optimized for the S Pen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers a more enhanced version of multi-window that comes with support for launching two instances of the same app. It has also been made more flexible as you can place the multi-window on the left and right of the screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 takes a cue from HTC’s BlinkFeed notifications screen and allows users to read News across various categories, personal content and even different social network feeds on the Home screen in a magazine type format.
Just like the previous versions of the Galaxy Note, the Note 3 also features ‘one-handed operation’ settings allowing users to position not just the keypad and in-call buttons but also the calculator and screen unlock pattern on the left or right side as per their liking or convenience, but will also shrink the entire interface to one’s liking by an awkward left and right swipe gesture. One can re-size the device’s interface window to one’s liking and Samsung even offers virtual on-screen Home, Menu, Back and Volume control keys. This is a great feature for people who find the screen big for a daily use.
The gestures on the Note 3 include Quick Glance which lets users to glance at information like missed calls, time and unread messages count when you freely move your hand over the phone and Air Jump which lets users move up and down web pages and emails when you move your hands. Air Browse is essentially used to browse the Gallery, web pages, memo notes and music gallery and even accept calls just with a mere wave of the hand.
The ‘Scrapbooker’ Air Command feature lets users add content from the screen including pictures and YouTube videos and even add additional notes. The Screen Write function lets users write free hand on the screen while the S Finder lets users browse content created with the S Pen and comes with various predefined filters.
The ‘Pen Window’ Air Command on the Note 3 allows users to draw a box and invoke an app allowing you to multitask by even watching two YouTube videos through this unique feature. There are various says that the Samsung Galaxy TAB 3 also has the same feature which is proved completely affirmative.
The Note 3 also has ‘Smart Screen’ features include Smart Stay which keeps the screen on as long as you are looking at it. Smart Pause gets activated when you look away while watching a video and the Smart Scroll scrolls e-mails or webpages according to the angle at which you tilt your head or the device.
Motion commands included on the Note 3 allow you to tilt your phone to zoom in while looking at an image. or turn over the phone to mute while receiving a call.Integration of voice commands for accepting and rejecting calls, taking pictures and controlling music is supported on the Note 3 as we observed the functioning carefully.
Pre-loaded apps offered by Samsung on the Note 3 include Voice Recorder, S Planner, ChatOn messaging app, Samsung Apps, Samsung Hub, Samsung Link for transferring and syncing content to other devices via cloud services, S Translator, S Health, Story Album, Optical Reader, S Memo, and Group Play.
The Galaxy Note 3 features a 13MP primary camera that captures excellent shots in daylight and good artificial light. We notably found that pictures clicked with the Note 3 primary camera are anytime better than the Samsung Galaxy S3 or even the Galaxy S4 .The weakness lies in low-light shots where pictures come out distorted and noisy if it is too dark. Samsung has not included a night mode setting in the device’s camera application.
The Galaxy Note 3 features a 2MP secondary camera which does a decent job when it comes to video chats but pictures taken indoors are grainy at times. The Note 3 primary camera performs well in the video capture department.
Performance and Battery Life :
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor which is basically a set of two quad-core processors ( 1.9GHz Cortex A15 Quad-Core Processor and a 1.3GHz Cortex A7 Quad-Core Processor) that works together to optimize processing and speed. It has 3GB RAM decked with a Mali T628 MP6 chip for graphic processing.
With Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS on the Galaxy Note 3 the overall experience of navigation through the user interface is highly impressive and we have not faced any lag at all.There were no issues while launching apps, playing games, scrolling web pages or even switching between multiple apps. The Galaxy Note 3 offers Chrome in addition to the default browser, but the default browser does not offer Adobe flash so it is better to use Chrome.
The call quality on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is great and the device is able to latch on to cellular networks even in weak signal areas as per our testing. The sad part is that the Galaxy Note 3 lacks FM Radio functionality which will surely disappoint many especially looking in at an Indian audience on the back-drop.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is juiced and powered by a 3200mAh battery which lasted for a day as we charged the device in the morning at around 9:00AM IST and with medium to heavy usage including 1 to 2 hours of phone calls, three email accounts with push notifications activated, capturing some photographs, Facebook notifications and WhatsApp chats the device lasted a good 10-11 hours. We had turned off Wi-Fi and auto-brightness but the device was hooked to a 3G network with the screen brightness at the highest level.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the best big screen phablet available in the market at this point of time as it is packed with the latest hardware, an excellent full-HD screen, better build quality and a smart stylus that makes multi-tasking easier and just like a breeze. Looking at the price which is Rs. 49,900/- the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers almost every imaginable feature that a modern smartphone could offer. It is a large device that has great features but the question lies whether the device is really for you. Remember one famous quote – ” God made man , man made money, money made man rich ” so if you have got the money, you could go ahead and sport up your life with the Note 3.