Finally, the Note 3 is here. It’s thinner, faster and lighter yet bigger than its predecessor. It is all set to attract users, yet again, and this time around with a larger screen, faux leather back that makes it look gorgeous and a suite of new stylus-friendly software features. Most of us will agree that it does come across better than the Note 2. Now, let’s take a closer look at its specifications.
OS – Android 4.3 with TouchWiz UI
As expected, the Galaxy Note 3 gets the most recent flavour of Android – Jelly Bean v4.3. The new version of the OS brings a host of improvements. One will find features such as restricted profiles, enhanced Bluetooth, better power management, DRM changes and tighter hardware integration. It is highly expected to get the Android 4.4 KitKat as an early update as soon as Samsung tests it with its TouchWiz UI.
One of the biggest highlights is the new software called Air Command. It pops up each time you pull out the S-Pen. This software can also be launched by hovering the stylus on the display and clicking the built-in button. It serves as a hub from where one can access all the central S Pen features such as Action Memos, Pen Window, S Finder and Scrapbook. Action Memos turn handwritten scribbles into action like scribbling a number to make a call. S Finder lets one search through the content of written notes.
Just like HTC’s BlinkFeed, Samsung Note 3 introduces the new "My Magazine" interface for content, it serves as a sort of news aggregator and can be accessed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. Another interesting bit is the Multi Window functionality that lets you run/access two separate applications/browser windows on the display. This is further spruced by the Pen Window option that allows drawing a little area on the screen to float a mini-app atop it.
Samsung has finally announced the Galaxy Note 3
Cellular connectivity - 3G, LTE
As expected from a flagship in 2013, the Galaxy Note 3 comes with LTE connectivity. However, for regions with no 4G infrastructure, Samsung will ship the HSPA+ variant.
Display - 5.7-inch, 1080p
The Note 3 comes with considerable improvement in the display department compared to its predecessor. We didn’t want the Note 3 to feature anything below a full HD display, and Samsung hasn’t disappointed us. The device sports a large 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This increases the pixel density count all the way up to 386ppi which is quite impressive. The display looks quite bright and punchy, owing to the high saturation in that Super AMOLED panel. It could easily qualify as one of the best displays available in the market.
Form-factor - 8.3mm thick and weighs 168 grams
In spite of a larger display, the Note 3 has gotten thinner at 8.3mm and lighter at 168 grams. This also means that the bezel has gone smaller to accommodate the screen within its 152.4 x 78.7 x 8.4 (mm) dimensions. The slightly redesigned device looks classy. But what surprised us the most are the materials used for the chassis. It has adopted what looks like a leather back panel, but reportedly and thankfully it’s not real leather and just a synthetic material that can be easily wiped clean. The soft touch material has exposed seams on the edges which doesn’t look bad either.
Samsung also adds a dash of colour, probably it has been taking cues from the string of Apple rumours. Moreover, Samsung is preparing a slew of colour options for the interchangeable back panels.
The Note 3 supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and also the "ac" draft. Multimedia content can be sent to your TV thanks to DLNA, while Wi-Fi Direct can be used to share files with other phones on the same network. It also supports Wi-Fi hotspot.
Samsung has come up with two variants of the phone, each available with a different SoC under the hood. The first variant shows an improved version of the company’s Exynos 5 Octa-core chip clocked at 1.9GHz which packs an ARM Cortex-A15 chip with a more power-friendly Cortex-A7. The second version is equiped with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 SoC, with four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. So, the version you receive, will be depending upon where you reside. India is expected to get the Exynos chip as the S4 launched in our country also had the same one. The Note 3 gets 3GB of RAM.
Internal storage – Two options with microSD card slot
This time around Samsung has given the 16GB version a miss. The Note 3 will be available with 32GB or 64GB internal memory with the option to expand it to 64GB via a microSD card slot.
In a colourful range of covers
Camera – 13 megapixels rear and 2MP front-facing
Samsung has increased the megapixel count of the camera to 13MP and the module looks similar to the one found in the S4. The camera also supports simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and an HDR mode. The camera lets one shoots 2160p videos (or 4K) while the LTE model supports only up to 1080p videos. The 2MP front-facing camera also supports 1080p videos.
Sensors - The usual and more
Along with the usual suspects such as accelerometer, gyro, proximity and compass, it has thrown in a few more. One will also find barometer, temperature, humidity and gesture sensors.
Just like most of its high-end devices, the Note 3 also gets GLONASS support along with Assisted GPS. Expect location lock times to be drastically lower thanks to the GLONASS support.
NFC and Infrared
The Note 3 gets NFC as well as an infrared port. The NFC port will ensure that the user can engage in transactions at several locations.
The Note 3 gets a slightly improved 3,200 mAh battery. While this may not seem enough given the higher resoution screen and new camera abilities, Samsung claims that the battery life has in fact been bettered due to heavy optimisations. We'll just have to take their word for it for now.
The bottom line
The Note 3 seems to be a worthy successor to the mighty Note 2. It comes with a better set of specs including camera, display and battery life, and also cuts down on weight. The new stylus is user-friendly and supports a host of stylus-friendly features and shortcuts. Some online shopping sites hint at a price around Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 more than the Note 2 (currently selling for Rs 36,000). This means a price somewhere around Rs 46,000 to Rs 48,000. Obviously, it's way too expensive. However, we doubt it will stop the existing Note 2 users from upgrading to the new Note 3.