Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Preview

Interface and functionality

Samsung's latest TouchWiz Nature UX is painted over Android 4.3 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and at a glance, it looks exactly like what you'd see on other Samsung high-ends. We find nothing wrong with that, of course, as the company's interface comes loaded with plenty of cool tricks up its sleeve.

One of them, called Multi Window, takes great advantage of the phone's extra screen real estate. It allows one to have two apps open at the same time, each of them displayed in a window of its own. What's more is that on the Note 3, the same app can be opened twice, which means you are free to have two IM conversations open simultaneously.

Another feature we quite like is My Magazine, powered by Flipboard. Think of it as a smart RSS reader for your news feed, but integrated into the UI. And by integrated we mean you can launch it with an upward swipe from the bottom of the home screen, just like you would trigger Google Now on a stock Android device.

Some minor, yet noteworthy extras like Air View, Air Gestures, Smart Pause, and Smart Scroll are also present and you can learn more about them in our Samsung Galaxy S4 Review.

Since the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes equipped with an IR blaster, it can be used to control various home appliances, such as your TV or home entertainment system, which is pretty awesome. Perhaps you'd also be able to shut down that annoying TV they have at the gym.

We find the Note 3's on-screen keyboard more comfortable to type on using two thumbs as it is pretty wide. Alternatively, there's the swiping method at your disposal as well, in addition to the hand-writing recognition mode, which is actually the slowest input method of all, in our opinion. Typos can be corrected automatically as you go, but if you don't want auto-correct messing with your texts, feel free to turn it off.

S Pen features

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with an enhanced S Pen stylus, which is now more feature-rich than ever. As before, the accessory will be recognized by the phone as you hover over the screen with it, rendering a small dot on the UI. What's new, however, is that pressing the button on the S Pen displays a menu with a list of several new S Pen-related features. Some of them we find more useful than the others, to tell you the truth, but let's go over all of them anyway. So here's what's new:

  • Action Memo – think of this as an upgraded S Memo application. It is capable of reading your handwriting and, for example, if you scribble the name and phone of someone you just met, the app can intelligently create a new contact in your address book using that input. You may also shoot them an email or a text message instantly, assuming this information is provided in the note. Cool idea as a whole, but it requires you to give all your trust to the software's ability to recognize your handwriting accurately.
  • Scrapbooker – much like the name implies, this feature is for collecting bits and pieces of imagery from various sources. You can crop content from the web browser, YouTube videos, even parts the phone's interface, and organize them in a single note. Text can be added to these notes as well. This can be useful for taking visual notes, or even starting your personal diary.
  • Screen Write – this feature will take a snapshot of your screen and will allow you to add comments or simply scribble away on top of it. Simple as that.
  • S Finder – yup, you use this to find stuff. Write down whatever you need and the feature will search through your hand-written content saved in your notes and memo apps, or it will match it to symbols and formulas. It lists search results through not only notes, but also in your music, gallery, or video library.
  • Pen Window – now that's interesting. In a nutshell, this feature is for launching apps in a small window, such as the calculator, the address book, messaging app, and more. You draw a rectangle with the area where you'd like this app's window to appear. Strangely, the size of the window doesn't always match our specifications and the app's aspect ratio is off, but this could be just a software glitch that (hopefully) won't be present on a retail Galaxy Note 3 unit.

Processor and Memory

A smartphone of this class deserves to be powered by a top-of-the-line processor, isn't that so? In the Note 3's case, the silicon providing it with processing power will vary from one region to another. The LTE-capable version will get the Snapdragon 800 SoC and its 2.3GHz quad-core CPU, while the HSPA+-only model will sport a 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos 5 chip. We have the former on our hands and boy is this thing fast! To sum it all up, we have yet to witness a single hint of lag. The performance of the device is just flawless no matter how much we push it. Multitasking is also silky smooth, which comes as no surprise given the whopping 3GB of RAM tucked under the phone's hood.

There's plenty of storage on board the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – enough to store tons of music, photos, applications, and hours of high-definition video. 32- and 64-gigabyte models will be made available, with the option to add extra space using a microSD card of up to 64GB. And if that's not enough, Samsung is treating Note 3 buyers to 50GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years – ideal for backing up important and not-so-important files on the cloud.

Internet and connectivity

Needless to say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 excels when it comes to browsing the internet. It is not only fast, but its stock browser app reacts to our navigation and input very well, without any lag. That the web page goes into full-screen mode on its own, thus spanning across the entire screen, is a neat addition. We also like the so-called Reader mode, which clears all unnecessary content, leaving only the text and some images, for easier reading of lengthy articles. Whole web pages can be read without having to zoom in as the screen is detailed enough to display even the smallest of text. All in all, if you do a lot of browsing on your smartphone, then the Note 3 won't disappoint.

Samsung has several Galaxy Note 3 versions ready, each of them tailored to the needs of a specific market. The LTE model comes with a radio capable of reaching 150Mbps down, at least in theory, which is pretty neat, assuming your carrier can provide all that bandwidth. That very same model packs a 42Mbps HSPA+ radio as well. Some countries will get the non-LTE Galaxy Note 3 model, offering just 42Mbps HSPA+ connectivity. Of course, both these versions come with the regular set of connectivity features, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. In addition, the GPS radio is backed by GLONASS support, improving location detection in tricky areas. Assuming you have a USB 3.0 port on your computer, you'll be able to transfer files from and onto your Note 3 at high speeds as the smartphone supports the new standard.



1. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Waiting for YOU impatiently...

14. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

October 2nd can't happen any sooner. I'll skip my college classes and wait an hour before T-Mobile opens to get that phone if I have to.

26. LordDavon

Posts: 159; Member since: Sep 19, 2011

I'm still not sure. I've got to get it in my hand to decide. I've no upgrade, so I'd be paying full price, and then selling my Note II. Still on the fence. If I had the upgrade, I would probably jump at it without hesitation.

68. rizevnarastek

Posts: 349; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

Watch out for that camera protrusion. It's really a downer.

67. mbail18

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Not, to be rude, but, I say so, too Q?!

29. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Simply a Beast can't wait to get one :)

38. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

you mean YOUM

41. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Waiting for the 1520 patiently... The 1520 has much better specs, and way better hardware overall... WP is such a joy to use❗❗

43. DukeX

Posts: 327; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

You seriously need mental help. I won't even continue man

47. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

LOL, u need help....

54. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Much better specs? First, we don't even know what specs it will have officially. Second, even if we go based on rumors, the 1520 actually has the same chipset, same 1080p display (though bigger), and actually 1 GB less of RAM. It will have a better camera, but something that most Nokia fans I've talked to can't seem to understand that the camera isn't the only thing about the phone, and isn't a deciding factor, especially when the camera on the Note 3 is great by itself. Lastly, the 1520 will be running WP8, which we ALL know is less functional than Android, especially Android with Samsung's added features. Just because you might not use those features, doesn't mean it's just as functional.

61. almostdone

Posts: 449; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Just to add most phablet competitors produce tablet sized phones which nobody wants. A tablet does not fit comfortably fit into pockets. Samsung produce phablets which are about the perfect size. Sony Z1 Ultra and Nokia 1520 are too big. Samsung could fit a 7" screen into those monster footprints.

69. Android4Ever

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Are you remedial?


Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 15, 2012


83. werthedroids

Posts: 60; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

I can recommend a good phycologist

66. mbail18

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 28, 2013


2. McJobs

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

i love faux leather back with stitching elements

5. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Mee toooooo..... It's kinda stylish and different....

16. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I don't.

49. Long1

Posts: 399; Member since: May 18, 2013

I think it's most beautiful smartphone today. Looks classy. And this "leather" is not only leather pattern over the plastic , but also soft touch coating.

80. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

I don't like that leather look either. It's a deal breaker for me.

28. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

better than shiny plastic so stop complaining!


Posts: 436; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

its actually plastic made to look like leather. you tried it

48. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

off course he knows it's plastic.. he just said it's better than the shinny one like the note 2..

63. anglosaxonengland

Posts: 64; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

They should use HTC One X plastic

42. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

I love that 1020 in your profile picture❗❗

3. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

I can't wait to hold it in my hand. It seems too large but I love the faux leather back and the stitching.

4. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

Amazing phone! I can´t wait to hold it in my hands!

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I'm throwing my debut card at the screen but nothing is happening. :(

11. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012


* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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)

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