Oh yes, the phone is notable, no question about it. It is huge, and while I realize that the size is the whole appeal for some there is no getting around the inconvenience of holding that 5.7 inch electronic mammoth to an ear for making a call. This incarnation is actually both thinner and lighter than the Note 2.
The phone features a faux leather backing with stitching all around it. It is tacky, but it works, and may even seem elegant from certain vantage points. It is better by leaps and bounds than the plastic looks of the Note 2. I have long disdained Samsung products for the simple reason that the company has no concept of style. Its phones - especially of late - actually have some really innovative ideas and groundbreaking software, but are housed in the cheapest-looking hardware to be found. Plastic is great for toothbrushes and combs. Not so much for mobile phones.
The CPU in the US versions is the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 @ 2.3, which is the fastest processor on the planet as of this time. It will perform well for years to come. A few other phones have it. The international version uses the Samsung Exynos 5 processor. It also has another quad core processors making it octa core, but it is still not quite as fast as the Snapdragon. The Adreno 330 GPU is the best on the market, a few other phones have it. It is 50% faster than the Adreno 320 in the Galaxy S4 which is a screamer. It's the only phone to come with 3 GB of DDR 3 RAM.
The Note 3 comes in either 32GB or 64GB. Samsung permits users to add an SD card up to 64 GB for extra capacity. The box comes with some a white set of headphones which work quite well for making and taking calls. The set itself features a very powerful 13 megapixel camera, and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera for chats and self-portraits. It also features several convenience buttons embedded in silver on the device: a volume button, a power button which can also be used to silence the phone, and a home button. The USB 3.0 jack is somewhat disconcerting since at first blush it looks like it is incompatible with a regular micro USB cord. But never fear, a standard micro USB cord will charge the phone, albeit at a lesser speed than the included USB 3.0 cord. Depress the home button twice, and Samsung's Siri junior will be ready to take orders. It is not as sassy or as useful as Siri on the iPhone, but I do not regret the divorce. As promised, technical details are not discussed at any length, but the phone is blazing fast.
This deserves its very own section, as this is one area where this phone truly excels. A cellphone is only as good as its battery. The Note 3 cannot be beaten for battery life on the Sprint network. You only need to charge it after 12 to 15 hours of moderate to heavy use; enough for complete liberation from a charger while at work.
Samsung has matured as a software developer. Although many of its software applications and innovations on the phone appear little more than gimmicks, the Note 3 is replete with a profusion of software that a user will doubtlessly appreciate. The camera comes in many clever modes. There's the Knox application which either allows the IT department at any office to isolate office information from personal information, or which just allows the user to deposit media files and such to a secured location that requires a password for access. There's the screen mirroring which allows one to `mirror' anything on the Note 3's screen on a different device like on a computer monitor or flat screen TV. There's the remote control application that permits the user to quickly and easily program the phone to serve as a remote for all electronic devices including the cable box, DVD/Blue Ray Player and TV. The remote application even allows different remotes within the application for different rooms.
Flicking a finger from the bottom of the phone upwards presents an amalgamation of news events. Waving a hand over the phone while it is sleeping reveals stats such as the time, missed phone calls, emails and texts; a subtle enhancement. Depressing a tab to the right of the screen produces a menu from which a user can select two seperate apps for simultaneous viewing. Using this feature, for example, one can fire off an email browsing the internet, or watching a youtube video on the same screen at the same time. The tab can be moved to the left of the screen if it proves to obtrusive, or can be gotten rid of all together by pressing the back button.
The stylus is not a gimmick. Jotting down quick notes on my phone is an added boon. Pulling out the pen activates the `Air Command' feature; a fan shaped menu that presents a variety of options, to wit: Action memo, Scrap booker, Screen Write, S-finder and Pen Window. Action memo had the most potential, but Samsung crippled it by not allowing the flexibility to manipulate notes in any manner. For example, writing down a number and name will allow you to save it contacts. Writing down an email address will allow you to quicky send an email to that address. But I cannot write a quick note, cut and paste it into an email, and fire it off. For that, I would need the 'S Note' application which is a much better option from a practical standpoint, but which is not featured in the Air Command menu.
The main advantages this phone enjoys over the iPhone particularly are:
1) Removable battery, which is not to be taken lightly; it is disheartening to find so many makers towing Apple's line and making batteries that cannot be removed from the phone. This eliminates the option of swopping the battery if it becomes weak or if it is drained during travel;
2) A standard micro USB will charge it;
3) An SD card will increase its capacity. An added advantage (over other phones, but not the iPhone) is its potential use as an international phone. There was a brief scare when it appeared that Samsung had hamstrung the device by only making it usable in the region purchased.
Final Impressions: The phone handles calls with clarity and is blazingly fast. Until Samsung learns that consumers like both form and function in a device, it will never maximize its full potential. Their devices have been entirely lacking the appeal that would render their devices the iconic artifacts that iPhones are. The Note 3 is close to being an exception to the rule; as garish as its fake leather might seem, it is still the best looking of their devices.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Specifications :
|2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - all models|
|CDMA 800 / 1900 - N9009|
|3G Network||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - N9005, N9002, N9006
HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 - N900W8
|CDMA2000 1xEV-DO - N9009|
|4G Network||LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 - N9005|
|LTE 700 / 1900 / 2100 - N900W8|
|Status||Available. Released 2013, September|
|Dimensions||151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm (5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 in)|
|Weight||168 g (5.93 oz)|
|- S Pen stylus|
|Type||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inches (~386 ppi pixel density)|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 64 GB|
|Internal||16/32/64 GB storage, 3 GB RAM|
|Speed||HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE, EDR|
|USB||Yes, microUSB v3.0 (MHL 2), USB Host|
|Primary||13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality|
|Features||Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR|
|Video||Yes, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps (N9005, N9002)/ 1080p (N9000), check quality|
|Secondary||Yes, 2 MP, 1080p@30fps|
|OS||Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (N9005, N9002)/ Exynos 5 Octa 5420 (N9000)|
|CPU||Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 (N9005, N9002)/ Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 (N9000)|
|GPU||Adreno 330 (N9005, N9002)/ Mali-T628 MP6 (N9000)|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture|
|Messaging||SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS|
|Java||Yes, via Java MIDP emulator|
|Colors||Black, White, Pink|
|- ANT+ support|
- S-Voice natural language commands and dictation
- Air gestures
- SNS integration
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Dropbox (50 GB storage)
- TV-out (via MHL A/V link)
- MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
- Image/video editor
- Document viewer(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
- Voice memo/dial/commands
- Predictive text input (Swype)
|Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery|
|Stand-by||(2G) / Up to 420 h (3G)|
|Talk time||(2G) / Up to 21 h (3G)|
Camera Samples :
The Bottom line: The Note has matured into a flagship phone, able to take in corporate and personal life with equal alacrity. Its powerful and removable battery will make it a favorite choice of intrepid travelers, and its huge screen allows it to bridge a gap previously unnoticed between phones and tablets.