Expert Review of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9000 White
Putting much grist to their mill, Samsung has firmly resolved not to relent. Just after the launch of Samsung Gear, Samsung has officially launched Galaxy Note 3 - an upgraded version of phablet with top end specs thus cutting the ground off its competitors’ feet. Offered with new innovative features and software app support, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is an audacious synergy of extreme specs and top end technology engineered ergonomically. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED multi touch supporting capacitive touch screen display offering a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Under the hood, it comes with an avalanche of state of the art hardware specs including Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC 2.3GHz quad-core processor (for the LTE version) and/or Samsung's own Exynos 5 1.9GHz Octa Core processor. These are packed with ARM Cortex A15 chipset along with power friendly Cortex A7 (for the 3G version) which is backed up by 3GB of RAM and for internal memory terms, it is offered in 2 variants (32GB and 64GB), both featuring a capability to advance the storage capacity via its external microSD card slot (up to 64GB).
In addition to all this, it is loaded with the latest version of Google's Android Operating System v4.3 - Jelly Bean. The OS is revamped ground up with TouchWiz UI sitting atop it wherein, a lot of tweaks and turns have been done to greatly enhance its multimedia capabilities and make it truly an entertainment phablet. It includes software apps like Flipboard based magazines, integrated multitasking, and many scrapbooking and note taking apps. The Air Command menu gives way to quick and easy navigation for memos, search option, and scrapbook options. Featured with S Pen digitizer stylus, Samsung Galaxy Note allows users to select task options from half arc based shape select context menu under any application. Google Search and Google Maps are integrated in the bottom status bar, allowing users to drag and drop location or URL / web pages directly from them into their text / memo or photo app or on any other app for that matter.
In optical sector, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 boasts of a rear 13MP camera with BSI Sensor and Auto Focus, Smart Stabilization, and LED Flash. The camera comes with zero shutter lag capability. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also has a front facing 2MP camera featuring BSI sensor with Smart Stabilisation. Both the cameras support Full HD recording. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers a lot of data and network connectivity features, though there is some variance with regard to the model variant that is chosen by the user (quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3GHz under the 4G LTE version, or Samsung's own eight-core Exynos 5 Octa running at 1.9GHz for the 3G + Wi-Fi only model). All variants include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0 (with LE and A2DP) wireless data connectivity features. It also includes Infrared sensor, MHL 2.0, Near Field Communication Chip transactional facility, Geo Aided navigation over GPS/ GLONASS, and many other features. It is loaded with a highly effective 3200mAh lithium-ion battery offering a decent power backup even on a demanding schedule thus supporting its humongous screen.
User Interface and UI functionality
By firing on all cylinders, Samsung has launched Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with nuanced upgradations and greatly engineered ergonomics and it comes in great many color options. In terms of form factor, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is 8.4mm thick and weighs just 168 grams. Just like Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 possesses AMOLED display with an astounding 1080p full HD resolution support - a huge upgradation from 720p in Galaxy Note 2. It has vital stats of 152.4mm x 78.7mm x 8.4mm. These sleek dimensions are encased in a shiny cocoon of robustly built skin, which is both strong and classy. It is fortified with synthetic leather material protection that can be wiped clean easily. The 13MP rear camera sits at the center of the back panel. What is worrying perhaps is that the leather material becomes prickly after some usage over time.
The shiny plastic material has been done away with completely thus shutting down the critiques who have time and again, faulted the Korean manufacturer with complaints of cheap material build quality and UN-premium feel. It also reduces the weight of the device significantly and increases communication signal strength with enhanced noise cancellation at the same time. The faux leather build is lauded as compared to the metallic build of Apple smartphones. The back cover can be easily removed to place a microSD card and SIM. There is an accommodation for S-Pen stylus at the vertical back. The device flaunts its stereo speakers charmingly. The Galaxy Note 3 is available in three colours of Jet Black, Classic White, and Blush Pink. Users can customize their device's external looks via a range of leather-textured flip cover accessories. The flip cover has an optional “S View” window for previewing notifications such as time, missed calls, weather, etc. These flip covers are offered in a bunch of shades for the users to choose from.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 by all accounts, is a fully loaded entertainment and multimedia phablet. There are copious multimedia features and software applications featured in it. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz processor (in 4G LTE variant) or 1.9GHz Quad-Core chipset (in 3G only model) which is backed up by a powerful 3GB of RAM. Besides the above model classification, Samsung Galaxy Note also has storage variants for each of above two models - in 32GB and 64GB options. All variants come with expandable storage capabilities. It functions over Google's Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. The integration of S Pen makes it seemingly easy for a lot of tasks to be performed, which hitherto were difficult to perform. The most important basic multimedia feature is its support for multi-tasking.
As users use S-Pen, the framework of Air Command gets activated which gives those real easy shortcuts and space for clever maneuvers to be performed. Besides that, it also includes one-stop weather station alongside a barometer and geo-magnetic sensor, temperature and humidity sensory coupled with Hall sensors and the usual gesture sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensors. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 includes loads of applications such as Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View, Story Album, S Voice, S Health, S Translate, S Calendar among others. All of these features are integrated well across platforms to function at the slight instance of user's symbolic gesture with S-Pen. Just as the user hovers over Galaxy Note 3's screen with the S-Pen, a little dot appears, which is analogous to blinking cursor in Type Pads and clicking over that will open a half arc to give access to five in-built default options, so that the users don't have to switch back and forth between various applications. The arc shaped pie menu gives access to five options:
Action Memo - Allowing users to quickly scribble handwritten notes and execute tasks based on written commands (as there is an inbuilt character recognition and natural language processor). For e.g. Just by writing a phone number will initiate a phone call.
Scrapbook - It allows users to simply cut and paste information, pictures, text, links, and even maps or videos from various sources over one page leaf. It then allows scrapbook app to sync across Samsung devices - though it can't be accessed online. What could have been better was its integration with MS Note or Ever Note kind of third party applications.
Screen Write - This feature allows users to take screenshots (it was first featured in Galaxy Note), annotate the taken screenshots, edit out the images or shots and perform task over them - such as e-mailing them or sending them to gallery or other applications.
S Finder - An all-in-one search feature for finding content (files, music, videos, handwritten notes) on your phone. It is featured with various filters like time filter, size filter, among others.
Pen Window - Pen Window is the most advanced feature offered in Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It is a multi tasking framework that allows users to simply draw a window area and open applications in that designated area. It can be closed (by clicking the small "X" button), minimized or maximized under the parent or guest application or window.
Samsung Knox - It is the Samsung's security software that is featured in Galaxy Note 3. It prevents the smartphone from viruses, hacking and malware bites. It is a 5-star rated app with Pentagon approval.
The application called ‘My Magazine’ has been developed by Samsung in equal partnership with Flipboard (a content aggregator application). My Magazine application allows users to pull content from various news sources or their social media accounts. It is customizable and presents results in an easy to read format. It can be synced to various social network accounts of the user such as over Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a completely revamped file organization system which is very much familiar to Windows PC based file organization system that allows users to create files and folders easily, create subfolders, drag and drop them around, put documents in them, and do other such stuff. Besides that, as was featured earlier in TouchWiz UI, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 allows users to create up to 8 user profiles (with different profile space for each).
A number of productivity and entertainment apps are pre-loaded such as The New York Times, Bloomberg Business week, and other such news sources, Dropbox. Video formats supported are: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8, HEVC. Besides that, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 supports almost all important audio codec formats including: MP3, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, FLAC, and WAV. FLAC and WAV formats are featured with Ultra High Quality Audio recording feature (at 192KHz and 24bps). The tablet's display is bright and clear, which is good for watching TV or viewing photos. It also comes with stereo speakers and cameras on both its front and back sides.
Pictures and Video quality
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 flaunts a 5.7-inch full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED display screen which is capable to give a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a maximum pixel density of up to 386ppi. The display is vibrant and bright with the sensors allowing the display contrast to be adjusted according to the ambient light conditions. In the phablet market, this is definitely one of the best combinations on offer. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 13MP rear camera backed by BSI sensor, Auto Touch focus, and LED flash (with high CRI that is, much brighter than other competitors). It also features Smart Stabilization and zero shutter lag functionality. A very impressive fact about this is that device can record video in 4K resolution (or 2160p), a staggering real display quality, by all means. Besides that, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also features a front facing 2MP camera that allows users to capture self-portraits, and do video chatting with ease. The front camera is also featured with BSI sensor functionality along with Auto Touch Focus and Smart Stabilisation. Smart Stabilisation allows users to shoot photos and/or videos in low light conditions and giving stable and smooth output even during shuttering jerks. The front camera also supports full HD 1080p recording. Both cameras capture full HD recording at 30fps and support HDR recording.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features dual camera or dual photo shooting mode, dual video recording mode, and dual video call mode, which allows users to use, record, and share videos simultaneously from both the cameras. Many photo shooting and video recording modes are supported including UHD 30fps, Smooth motion (FHD 60fps), and Slow motion (HD 120fps). Apart from it, various camera modes are supported including Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Golf, Surround shot, and Live effect.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 supports many internet data network connectivity protocols including 4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) with up to 6 different band sets (on 4G LTE variant). The device also supports 4G LTE for accessing internet at high speeds with support for the fastest category 4G, 3G (HSPA＋ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz) (on 3G variant), and 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz). The wireless internet connectivity is also supported (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac).
Internal and External Memory
In terms of storage, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has been rolled out in 32GB and 64GB versions wherein, both versions have the option of microSD slot expansion of up to 64GB. The LTE variant features 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC chipset whereas 3G + Wi-Fi version features 1.9GHz octa core chipset. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has 3GB of RAM and variant internal memory.
Applications and Gaming
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers great performance in all exacting games and demanding applications with flair. Both chipset variants of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - quad-core (4G LTE) and octa-core (3G only) perform brilliantly. As is proved, the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor is currently the fastest processor available in the world. Navigating and opening apps is a breeze while running processes side-by-side do not seem to cause any slowdown whatsoever. The bigger screen size offers a larger video playback and an excellent gaming experience. It includes a number of pre-loaded applications such as Android, Google, Android Beam, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude, Google Play, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Places, and Google Navigation.
In Samsung Galaxy Note 3, there has been a minor upgrade from the 3100mAh battery, which was a part of Galaxy Note 2. Galaxy Note 3 has a 3200mAh battery that, with the power saving efficiency improvements of Snapdragon 800 CPU, can offer a great linear standby time and overall satisfying performance, even though it has a larger and higher resolution display.
According to the variant chosen, users will have the option of using 4G LTE cellular connectivity or 3G network connectivity. For regions with no 4G data network infrastructure, Samsung will ship HSPA+ variant. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Super fast variant). Wi-Fi Direct can be used to share files with other phones on the same network. It also supports Wi-Fi hotspot. Multimedia content can be sent to the user's TV via DLNA. Galaxy Note 3 features an infrared emitter, which when coupled with WatchON application, allows users to use the Note 3 as a television remote control. Just like most of its high-end devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also gets GLONASS support along with Assisted GPS. The device is shipped with NFC port, which ensures the user to engage in transactions at several locations.
Sparked as a "phablet,” Samsung Galaxy Note 3 includes all the high-end specs that are launched in Samsung Note 10.1 (2014 edition). It can be undoubtedly touted as one of the most competitive and coveted "phablet" available on counter. Its competitors like Xperia Z Ultra doesn't offer quite as much, both in terms of functionality or rich user experience. Its 13MP camera supported by Snapdragon 800 chip allows it to record 4K video clips and high quality 24bit 192KHz audio. Though same functionalities were featured earlier in Acer Liquid S2 and LG G2, both had failed to make their mark. On the downside, the device cannot record more than 5 minutes of 4K video (due to space constraint). Samsung has increased the screen size on Galaxy Note 3 by 0.2 inches over Galaxy Note 2's 5.5 inches. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features the same processor as does Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z1 but offers an upgraded Android version (4.3 Jelly Bean) and better RAM (3GB instead of 2GB of Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z2). Besides its processor (Snapdragon variant) has a better clock speed of 2.3GHz against Sony Xperia Z Ultra's 2.2GHz.