First Impressions: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Arguably the crown jewel of Samsung’s Unboxing 2 event in Berlin today was the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which it apparently gave a complete smartphone makeover.

Now sporting a soft, leather-like back, the Note 3 feels as if you’re holding a leather-bound journal, while the grooves on the side of the phablet makes it far easier to grip than previous iterations. Does it match up to expectations and the hype? Well, first up, let’s take a look at the Note 3’s detailed specifications.

Cellular Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

LTE

Dimensions 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
Weight 168 g
Display Super AMOLED, 16M colors

1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inches, 386ppi

Memory 32/64GB Internal

3GB of RAM

microSD expansion slot up to 64GB

Connectivity GPRS, EDGE

WLAN, Bluetooth

NFC, Infrared, microUSB

Camera 13MP, autofocus, LED flash primary camera

2MP secondary, front-facing camera

Operating System Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
CPU 2.3GHz Krait 400 quad-core CPU (LTE variant)

1.95GHz Cortex A15 / 1.3GHz Cortex A7 quad-core CPU (3G variant)

GPU Adreno 330
Sensors accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture
Battery Li-Ion 3200 mAh

On paper, the hardware of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is just plain awesome. Being a phablet, the huge screen of the Note 3, measuring at 5.7” does not disappoint with its 386ppi pixel density. Compared to the Note, the Note 3 is slightly bigger by 0.2inches, though it is 15grams lighter and 10mm thinner.

With the leather-like back cover and stitching, the phablet exudes an aura of expensiveness and durability. Although a set of replaceable back covers will be sold by Samsung, the phone itself will only be available in black, white or pink.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

One of the Galaxy Note’s differentiating factors is the S Pen, and with the new Note 3, the stylus gives you more functionalities than ever. For one, the pen now unlocks a new feature called Air Command, which in turn opens five other new features: Action Memo lets you handwrite a note; Scrapbook lets you circle content you like, then automatically saves and organizes it into an easy-to-read format; Screen Write captures a screenshot which then you could annotate; S Finder, the Note 3’s search engine, to find chat messages, documents or other content on the phone; and Pen Window, which lets you access one of eight apps by drawing a box of any size on the screen.

Lastly, another notable feature, My Magazine, was developed in close collaboration with Flipboard, and it shows. The app pulls up new content from different web news sources based on subjects you’re interested in, and it formats the information in a user-friendly manner. Simply put, it offers a built-in means for Note 3 users to easily catch up with what’s happening in the world in one place.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appears to be another contender in the phablet market, building up on the reputation and success of its older sibling. However, for a truly in depth review and understanding of this massive device from Samsung, we would have to wait for the Note 3’s availability in the coming weeks.

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