Camera


The Note II had a very capable main camera and we're expecting its successor to follow suit. On the back of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 we see a 13MP shooter with a BSI sensor and digital image stabilization, backed by a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) LED flash. The latter is touted as capable of producing highly-accurate colors when used. But before we get to the actual photo samples, let's say a few words about the camera's features and UI.

We find the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 relatively easy to take photos with as its shape makes it suitable for being held horizontally. The camera app loads quickly and exhibits little to no shutter lag, which is great for capturing events as they happen. All in all, the camera UI looks as it does on other recent Samsungs. It is well laid out, with easy-to-reach settings menus, and instantly accessible shutter keys. Naturally, the experience is enhanced with a number of shooting modes that have been thrown in, including HDR, Panorama, Burst Shot, and more.


Since the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 unit we're handling is running an early software build, we'd like to restrain ourselves from commenting on its photos in detail. Yet they did turn out pretty good, although we're hoping that a retail unit will capture images with less noise in them, especially indoors. The flash appears to be working fine as we don't see the typical for Samsung devices cold colors when taking photos in low light.



The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can record video in 4K resolution. That's 3840 x 2160 pixels, meant to match the native pixel count of those new, fancy 4K TVs. And the footage does look pristine – smooth and with tons of detail.


Multimedia


The gallery application lists image-containing folders on the left side of the screen, while thumbnails of the photos contained in the highlighted folder are displayed vertically on the right. New folders can be made, allowing one to make their own album. By hovering the S Pen over a given folder, one may get a preview of the images it contains, which is neat.

To be honest, we weren't expecting to see anything new upon launching the audio player loaded onto the Note 3. And our assumption turned out to be correct. Basically, the handset comes with the same Music app we know from the Galaxy S4 and its variations. But that isn't a bad thing, of course. The application is packed with a dozen of useful features, including lock screen controls, a home screen widget, an equalizer with tons of presets, and even voice commands for switching back and forth through the playlist. Furthermore, Samsung has not forgotten to include AdaptSound for fine-tuning the sound reproduction so that it would best match the user's earphones and hearing. Alternatively, Google's Play Music application is also present, for those who prefer that instead.

While we're at it, we must mention that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has been given support for 24bit/192kHz digital recordings, making it one of the very few smartphones capable of reproducing audio of such high resolution. Folks who are really into high-end audio will surely appreciate having this advantage, but we seriously doubt that the average Joe would be affected by it in any way.

As the case is with the Music player, the Video Player application we have on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the same one we've seen numerous times on previous Samsung devices. And we're okay with that. The app works just fine, after all, and can play back any popular video file format we can think of. Watching videos on the handset's 5.7-inch 1080p screen is a pleasure, as you might expect. High-resolution videos are played back flawlessly, with no skipped frames or lags when fast-forwarding.

The built-in mono loudspeaker on the Note 3 it produces clear tones at a sufficient volume level, and we like that it is positioned on the bottom side of the device, not the back.

Battery


There is a 3200mAh battery tucked inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – a decent capacity for a smartphone of this caliber. It is removable and can be replaced with a fresh one if exhausted. Official numbers regarding its longevity are yet to be announced.

Expectations


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is better than last year's model in every way imaginable, which makes it an ideal successor to a popular, easily recognizable device. And it is an awesome smartphone as a whole, as our examination goes to show, combining powerful hardware with tons of software features to attract buyers' attention with. We see great potential in it and we won't be surprised if the handset sells by the boatloads once it is released.

However, while the Galaxy Note 3 easily gets our thumbs-up, it leaves us craving for more. What we mean is that perhaps Samsung should have innovated further with the Note 3; it should have given it a more resounding “Wow!” factor instead of just treating us to the mandatory upgrades in the hardware department sprinkled with a handful of new S Pen features on top. After all, the time when the Galaxy Note stood in a league of its own is now gone. Sure, the Note 3 does seem to be one of the better large-screened smartphones to date, but the competition, aiming to grab a bite of the phablet segment, is steadily picking up pace.

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra, for example, is a well-made alternative to the Galaxy Note 3, with resistance to dust and water damage. Huawei, on the other hand, has the Ascend Mate, which is definitely cheaper than what the Note 3 will retail for. And then of course come the high-end handsets of slightly smaller caliber. The LG G2, to name one, comes with a screen that is nearly as large as the Note 3's and is just as capable in the hardware department as Samsung's offering.

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 3 release date already – that is set for September 25. Expect our complete Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review soon!


FEATURED VIDEO

82 Comments

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: 156; 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?

70. mobilespecs.pk

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

hahahaha

83. werthedroids

Posts: 60; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

I can recommend a good phycologist

66. mbail18

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 4 is WORTH THE WAIT.

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!

45. DONUT

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

Debit*

* 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)

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 https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.