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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

Posted: , by Ray S.



Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo Review

For the first time in three years, Samsung is going downmarket with its Note line, releasing a slightly more affordable variation of the Note 3 – the Note 3 Neo!

So, what could make the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo a viable alternative to its larger sibling? Obviously, this would be the cheaper price, but naturally, we'll have to see if there happen to be any potential compromises that could put consumers off. Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo comes with a specs sheet that is a bit less imposing than that of the Note 3, but at first glance, the downgrade doesn't seem to big. There's still a fairly large 5.5” display, an 8 MP camera and behold – a hexacore Exynos chipset! So, yeah, it's going to be more than interesting to see what this configuration is capable of.

All in all, though, we have to say that the Galaxy Note 3 Neo stays true to the general concepts behind its full-fledged sibling. It has almost identical design, software features and, of course, the S Pen stylus, which is the signature asset of the Note family. We also get a fairly juicy, 3100 mAh battery that is just shy of the 3200 mAh unit in the Note 3, which bodes well for the perspective endurance. Fasten your seat-belts, guys, we're going in!


A smaller Note 3 with 5.5” display

If you thought it's high time for Samsung to finally surprise us with some real innovation in the field of design, you're right. However, this will once again have to be postponed for the future, because the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo is just another Samsung-ey phone. Very similar to the Note 3 in its external design, the Note 3 Neo comes with a light gray side rim and a removable back cover that resembles notebook leather, stitching accents along the edges and all. The removable back means you can quickly swap batteries, plus there's also a microSD card slot for more storage, in the best of Samsung's traditions. The S Pen stylus is tucked the same way you'd find it on the Note 3, at the lower right corner. Overall, the handset's looks scream “Hey, I'm a Note, too, just smaller!”

In terms of in-hand feel, the Note 3 Neo is not bad at all. It's comfortable to hold and use, though, needless to say, it's quite big (5.84 x 3.05 x 0.34 inches (148.4 x 77.4 x 8.6)), so be sure to take that into account. It's impossible to perform certain actions with one hand only. Still, we have to acknowledge that the Galaxy Note 3 Neo is more pocket-friendly and easier to operate than most other phablets with a similar display diagonal. When it comes to weight, the Note 3 Neo tips the scales at 5.73 oz (162 g), which fine, you know, especially for a device of this size, but it's not feathery light.

The physical buttons, which includes the home, volume and power keys, are a typical Samsung affair, meaning that they are of OK execution, but nothing spectacular. Hopefully they won't cause any troubles in the long run. Taking out the S Pen, which is found in the bottom right corner of the phone, is a bit harder than it should, but at least it sits firmly in its place, so you don't have to worry about accidental falling off or stuff like that.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
5.84 x 3.05 x 0.34 inches
148.4 x 77.4 x 8.6 mm
5.73 oz (162 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sony Xperia Z2
5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


All Super AMOLED quirks and virtues apply

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo sports a sizable 5.5” display, which has 720 x 1280 pixels of resolution, resulting in 267ppi pixel density. Now, this number may not sound especially pleasing on paper, but we have to admit that things do look pretty clear on the Neo's display. Sure, it would have been better if it had 1080p resolution, but 720p still manages to deliver enough density to guarantee a comfortable and pleasing viewing experience.

The screen size, which is just slightly smaller than that of the Note 3, is also quite impressive. At 5.5”, the Note 3 Neo has bigger viewing area than most smartphone flagships out there, which makes it ideal for all kinds of media consumption. Now we have to say that it's still of the Super AMOLED variety, so it will offer you oversaturated and inaccurate colors, but also very deep black levels and very good viewing angles. Identically to what's evident with Samsung's other AMOLED displays, the one of the Galaxy Note 3 Neo suffers from insufficient red color, as well as overly bright blue color. Delta E (based on grayscale) is a bit high at about 4.83, but it's not dangerously high. Because of the color imbalance, though, color temperature is 7500 K (reference point is 6500 K). As we said, this translates into cold, bluish visuals. At least the gamma is spot on, at 2.21.

In terms of maximum brightness, the Galaxy Note 3 Neo can get up to about 390 nits, which is pretty mediocre. Indeed, outdoor visibility isn't very good with this phone. Things are not unmanageable, but they could certainly be a lot better. Thankfully, at least the minimum brightness is quite good – it can go down to just 4 nits, which will enable a very comfortable viewing in the dark.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo 391
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 360
LG G2 438
View all

  • Options

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 09:11 4

1. vuyonc (Posts: 1062; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)

"Steamy video chats". Your diction is getting weird, Ray. Calm down.

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 09:38

2. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Good phone.

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 10:01

3. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

Good all-rounder.

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 10:24 2

4. PorkyBurger (Posts: 585; Member since: 18 May 2013)

Me likey. In Latvia, it only costs about 10EUR more than Note 2 LTE. If I would have the money, I would buy this. Of course, for a bit more I can get G2, but the S-Pen is killing me....I waaant it. :D

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 14:18

5. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

Better go for note 3 instead of neo... note 3 is really a very nice phone

posted on 06 May 2014, 00:47

9. Jinto (Posts: 436; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)

Wait for the OnePlus One.
It's cheap and has better specs that Note 3

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 15:21

6. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Wow, that GPU performance is disappointing. The Adreno 320 scores more than double what the Mali-T624 gets in Manhattan on 720p, I expected it to be at least on par.

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 19:39 1

7. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

Phonearena, why do you never conduct screens test for the newer Galaxies with the more accurate screen mode? It's inaccurate by default because if the technology, but it can be way better with the screen mode options! The inaccurate screen shouldn't even be a con as it can be changed...and the calibration Samsung has done with the screen modes is excellent...

posted on 29 Apr 2014, 19:41

8. GTR722 (Posts: 270; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)

8.5 with all those negatives...

posted on 27 May 2014, 11:14

10. blackberry_Boy (Posts: 213; Member since: 27 May 2014)

This would be a great GS3 replacement or for a person who don't want a big phone

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

OS: Android 5.1 4.4.2 4.3
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (267 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa, Hexa-core, 1700 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15 and ARM Cortex-A7 processor
Size5.84 x 3.05 x 0.34 inches
(148.4 x 77.4 x 8.6 mm)
5.73 oz  (162 g)

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