Friday, March 07, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Quick Hands-on Impressions

Click to enlarge all photos

The introduction of the Galaxy Note 3 reinforces Samsung’s dominance in the giant phablet sector. The Galaxy Note line also brought back the dated stylus into modern phones. Let’s see what Samsung has changed in this 3rd take of the Note series.

Galaxy Note 3 Notable Specs

  • Display: Super AMOLED, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inches, 386 ppi, Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash. Rear Camera – 2MP
  • Video: 2160p (30fps) 1080p (60fps)
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB with support for microSD, up to 64 GB
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 or Exynos 5 Octa 5420
  • GPU: Adreno 330 or Mali-T628 MP6

Hardware Build

For comparisons sake, I’ve used a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition to show the size of the Note 3. Both displays look great and the phones are thin and light as always (thanks to plastic)

While the Galaxy Note 3 display is a huge 5.7” Super AMOLED display, it’s PPI is only 386 compared to the S4’s 441ppi on a much smaller area. Though in paper it may look like a big step back, it’s still a big upgrade from the Note 2’s 267ppi display density.

The back of the Note 3 removes any traces of glossy plastic in exchange for the faux leather that Samsung now uses on it’s Galaxy S5 and Chromebooks. I’m not actually hunting down a variant of the Galaxy S4 Black Edition which has a similar black faux leather back plate to swap my boring plastic one.

This is how fake leather looks like. Still nice I should say but II /m not really sure about those stitches.

One  new thing about the Note 3 is the removal of the microUSB slot in exchange for the larger USB 3.0 Micro B power / sync port (similar to the ones used by portable hard drives like Seagate and Western Digital) The benefit however would be faster transfer rates due to USB 3.0 support and in effect, faster charging as well.

If you have a lot of spare micro USB ports, don’t worry, the new port can accept those and is backwards compatible. You can still borrow charges and plug it on the larger hole and it would work just fine.

The display has a matte screen protector so no glare on this one.

The S-Pen works the same as the Note 2’s. Still a great way to input handwritten notes and sketches.


I still can’t see myself using TouchWiz but I think it has improved since. A lot of great features of TouchWiz sadly isn’t available on my S4 Google Play Edition, specially the nice camera presets.

Overall, I find the Galaxy Note 3 a very nice and well-built device. The hardware may still be made of plastic and the software may still feel and look tacky but Samsung has gone a long way from making extremely slow and laggy Android phones to ones that look great and operate well. There is really a market for huge-screen phones and Samsung has cornered it so far with its Galaxy Note line.

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