The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a whooping 5.7 inch screen that may seem big a first glance, but overtime the screen real estate is welcomed. The phone is looking to continue down the same road as the Note 2, but improving upon some key features of the phone. The 5.7 inches screen with full HD, 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display, has crystal clear colors in any setting. The screen has grown .2 inches from the Note 2-However you can notice to difference at first glance. If you lay the Note 3 down on its face the back appears to be leather, but its a plastic. The sound of plastic leather may make the phone sound cheap or tacky, but the back feels very nice in your hands. The back, in my experience, has be mistaken for leather by countless strangers. The device is well built and feels solid, but it is light compared to other phones.
The Note 3’s large 3,200mAh battery as well as the microSD slot which is stacked on top of the microSIM port, allowed Samsung to save some space. The device has a 13Mp camera, faster processor, and larger display crammed into a device measuring only 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm. The large size of the screen means you’ll be shuffling the phone up and down your hand to reach either the top or the bottom of the phone. I found myself using two hands to use the phone, or using the S-Pen to navigate around the heavily skinned version of Android 4.3. Android is able to take advantage of the 2.3GHz quad-core processor. The phone is very responsive and was able to detect where I wanted to click with my finger, even if I was off a little. The S-Pen is amazing besides its horrible name, and Samsung greatly improved its uses. The idea of using stylus is still novel to many, but some find it great when taking hand written notes or doodling.
The 3GB of ram on the phone gave me the ability to run dozens of apps all at the same time, or use the split screen ability when playing a game and playing a video. The game nor the video lagged, and both were running with great graphics. The processing power of the phone never ran the battery down to quickly, and many normal users could make the phone last the day. I was usually able to get through most of the day without a charge, or a quick 30 min charge during lunch. This was surprising considering how bright the screen is, when the brightness is turned all the way down. The screen could be blinding if you were to turn the brightness all the way to high in a dark room.
The camera is 13MP with the usual modes Samsung includes in their Galaxy devices. The phone was awkward to hold when you were trying to shoot a photo of a friend, or something close to you. The camera appears to have a level of zoom automatically included, which was odd and many times annoying. The photos were clear, well light, and looked amazing on the beautiful screen. The picture quality does not compare to the Galaxy Camera but it comes very close. And apart from the Nokia Lumia 1020 the camera is one of the best on the market right now. The charger on the Note 3 is very different from most Samsung phones in how it uses a unique charger. It’s not the normal microusb that Samsung used in the Galaxy S4, but one that appears to combine to microusb together to form the Note 3 charger. This could be to charge the phone faster, which I did notice the phone can fully charge in around 1 hour. However, this caused problems because I have microusb chargers every where and none of the ones for the Note 3, except the one that came in the box.
Aside from the fake leather back the phone is spectacular. It’s large screen may cause you to use two hands, but it comes in hand when taking hand written notes or viewing pictures. The Note 3 is also the only device to support the Galaxy Gear, which is Samsung first try at a smart watch. We are working on a review of the device, but the Gear combined with the Note made life a little easier. I didn’t have to always reach in my pocket to see what type of message I got, and I was able to shoot pictures with the Gear. The Gear was not perfect, with notifications only showing you got a text from “Jenni” and not what the person said. It made me pull out the phone to check if the message was important or something that I could ignore till later.
The Note 3 draws attention when ever you pull it out of your pocket, if you were able to fit it in there in the first place. People asked if I had an iPad Mini in my pocket, or what tablet I was using. Besides the attention it draws its a solid phone that i would recommend to business users, people who like to take hand written notes, or power users. The battery can hold up to a power users taking full advantage of the screen and processing power. The phone is a wallet busting $950 off contract, and at many carriers $299. The phone will set you back a hefty amount, so you have to consider if its worth it. The little brother, Note 2, is $199 with many carriers and has about the same specs.
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the Note’s 5.7 inch screen, 2.3GHz quad-core processor, and the impressive 3,200mAh battery.