Samsung Galaxy Note 3 supports USB 3.0: here's the benefit

So, how do you move stuff between your phone and your computer, or vice versa? While there's more than one way of transferring content between these devices wirelessly, a significant fraction of users still rely on a cable and the old, trusty USB standard to handle the task. After all, the process is quick, easy, and does not rely on a Wi-Fi or a cellular network in order to work. But with the pace at which technology is evolving, the day when USB 2.0 just won't be fast enough is closer than ever. Thankfully, the speedier USB 3.0 is already a fact and it is now making its way into smartphone territory. Samsung was the first to announce and launch a USB 3.0 capable smartphone, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

What are the benefits?

Speed. It is all about speed. The USB 3.0 standard is, theoretically, about 10 times faster than its predecessor, so moving files back and forth should be much, much less time consuming. Sure enough, we tested the USB 3.0 transfer rates using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the results we got were positive, at least for the most part. 

The most significant speed bump is observed when large files are being transferred – movies or videos recorded with the device itself. Copying such files from a PC to a Galaxy Note 3 is about 2.4 times faster when USB 3.0 mode is enabled. When a lot of smaller files are being copied or written, however – files like music or photos, which are usually around a few megabytes in size – then the benefit is not as profound. As a matter of fact, files of under 1MB in size take longer to copy when USB 3.0 mode is being used. Thankfully, most users are not likely to ever find themselves in the latter situation.

Now, you're probably wondering why we could not achieve the aforementioned 10-fold data speed increase. Well, that's because this rate depends on a number of other factors. One of them is the storage medium which data is being read from and written onto – our computer's SSD drive and the smartphone's internal memory, in this case. Obviously, file size has an effect on data speeds as well – the smaller the file, the longer it takes for it to get transferred.

And now, the downsides

Surprisingly, there seem to be a few downsides to having USB 3.0 on the Galaxy Note 3. You see, there's a reason why USB 3.0 is not enabled by default on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – "it may sometimes interfere with calls or data when it is in use", as a notification message informed us when we tried to turn the mode on. This, hopefully, will not be an issue observed on future USB 3.0-enabled handsets. 

Another thing we're bothered by is the new connector. You see, USB 3.0 can be enabled only when a USB 3.0 cable is in use. Sure, one does come out of the box with the Note 3, but still, we don't like it that we'll have to buy a new cable in case we need a spare, instead of just using a USB 2.0 cable, the kind of which we have a few laying around already.  Besides, the thing is downright ugly. Thankfully, the new Micro USB 3.0 port is compatible with Micro USB 2.0 cables, as long as you're fine with USB 2.0 speeds. 


While the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the first smartphone compatible with the new USB 3.0 standard, it surely won't be the last. And its adoption makes sense now that the top handsets support a number of applications that require the handling and transferring of large files – "studio quality" lossless audio playback and 4K video recording, to name a few examples. Yeah, we know that the speed boost is not exactly groundbreaking, but it is there nonetheless and should be appreciated. As for the USB 2.0 standard, it is still fast enough for the needs of 99% of smartphone users. Therefore, while USB 3.0 might make an appearance on other high-end models in the future, including models by other manufacturers, we doubt that it will land on a mid-ranger anytime soon.

Note: For the speed test above, our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was connected over a USB 3.0 port to a desktop PC running Windows 7. Files were read from and written onto a 120GB Samsung 840 SSD.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 3
  • Display 5.7" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

I was surprise that Samsung didn't say anything abt this great feature

11. ihatesmartphone unregistered

Because it have too many features... :)

18. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

If it was Apple, you konw...

24. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Tim Cook will put a slide on stage and say its the first to offer 10x the transfer speed for media files and the only phone in the world that offers such speed. This unique feature would cut down your waiting time by half so you can have more time doing the important tasks and less time waiting. Apple is the marketing guru which everyone should learn from.

27. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

You forgot about drama in front of white background. :D

38. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

and Jony Eve with tears in his eyes in the background

2. wicpromd

Posts: 266; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Great Samsung and this Note 3 really feels and look so premium


Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Lol nice joke

5. wicpromd

Posts: 266; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

and so sad it is even lighter than Lumia 1520 a.k.a Brick or in simple.words JOKE :D

7. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

don't bother he is a die hard apple fan you can't talk sense to him!!

13. papss unregistered

What does a lumia have to do with this thread? Troll much?

19. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

LOL, that brick you are drooling your face to move to android. Ooops just saying, don't get mad. :)

22. x_maly_x

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Brick just land on your head....

29. sam_tek

Posts: 105; Member since: Feb 18, 2011

These are what the forums are all about people! (especially phonearena) Apple Fanboy takes a jab at a Samsung device. Samsung fanboy takes a jab at Nokia trying to defend Samsung. Nokia fanboy hits back at Android user! Btw, you guys all suck! My Blackberry Q10 rules! /jk (Disclaimer: Fanboy remarks above are a generalization

37. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Actually I'm REALLY loving my new Note 3... So far my opinion is that it might actually be the best phone I've ever used and I've used a lot of phones.

4. scriptwriter

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

i cant remember the last time i did anything with my phone connected to my PC. These days with cloud storage and the fact Google+ backs up all my photos,videos, contacts and music, there's really no need plug your phone into a PC for any reason other than rooting

16. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

The other billions of people in the world disagrees with you.

48. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

sure, trust google with all of ur info on their servers. u know if they wanted to erase someone off the planet, they could easly do so kuz storing ALL ur photos n stuff on Google n Facebook means privacy is dead. i try to keep a minimal footprint online but evin IM pfhcuked , as the lure of makeing my life "easier" has suckered me in to surenduring uneraseable footprints of my existance. so yea, good luck with all that :)

6. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

U didn't even mention another benifit which is faster charging times. That a big + for me.

8. Nick_T

Posts: 186; Member since: May 27, 2011

Actually your phone does not need USB 3.0 support in order to charge faster when connected to a USB 3.0 port. It is the port itself supplying the extra current, not the phone sucking it. Any phone charges faster on USB 3.0.

12. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Thx Nick_T, I just heard that it charges faster.

9. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Yep nothing to do with the phone. It's the USB 3.0 technology that raises the current per load (compared to 2.0) by 150mA, which is 50 percent more per load. Combining the six loads of USB 3.0 and its higher 150mA current per load nets you 900 mA for power supply. Also, the current can be spread among multiple loads with USB 3.0, so more devices can be charged at the same time (again, compared to 2.0).

21. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

USB 3.0 is only faster data transfer rate. Nothing to do with charging times.

36. almostdone

Posts: 449; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

USB 3.0 doesn't charge faster than a war charger because they usually have a higher output of at least 1000mA (1 amp) and you commonly see up to 2000mA (2 amp). BUT if you're charging say from a computer via USB then USB 2.0 is extremely slow as it only provides a theorectival max of 500mA where as USB 3.0 up to 900mA so via USB mode then it charges nearly twice as fast but still slower than a wall charger in most cases.

10. ilia1986 unregistered

Airdroid. Nuff said. :)

33. av911 unregistered

That depends on how fast/great your wireless connection (speed) is.

14. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012


15. exor430

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 17, 2012

I have one question. "For the speed test above, our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was connected over a USB 3.0 port to a desktop PC running Windows 7. Files were read from and written onto a 120GB Samsung 840 SSD." My question is, how about transferring files from microSD (in Note 3) to traditional HDD (windows) via USB 3.0 and vice versa? Does it bottleneck to MicroSD speed (4 or 10 Mbps depending on class)?

17. xfire99

Posts: 1206; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

err...What wrong with USB 3.0 will only enable íf USB 3.0 cable are plugged in? U wont get USB 3.0 speed if plugg in USB 2.0 cable anyway and how can this be a downside? Of course u need a USB 3.0 cable if want USB 3.0 speed.

20. Hallucinator

Posts: 391; Member since: May 24, 2010

I just picked up the Note 3 on Friday. I loved the Note2, but in my opinion the note 3 is in a league of its own. USB 3 is just one of MANY great features. No I'm not a fanboy, as I also enjoy Apple products. I had to choose between the 5s and the Note3. Well, not really a choice.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.