In the smartphone industry having the sleekest thinnest device is everything; but over the last few years there has been a dramatic shift in conventional design. While smartphones continue to get thinner and lighter, the display size also continues to increase. Samsung was among the first to spearhead this change back in 2011 introducing the Galaxy Note, a series that has become a second flagship for the handset manufacturer, and helped promote the phablet sub-genre.
Today in New York Samsung introduced its newest iteration in the series the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. With an even bigger screen and improved S Pen functionality Samsung hopes to solidify its position as the king of phablets.
Does the Note 3 warrant that title? Read our full preview to find out.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II was widely held as one of the best smartphones on the market when it hit shelves last year and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 proves to be a return to form. The Note 3 improves on many of the specs featured in its predecessor including an even larger 5.7-inch Super AMOLED 1080p display, quad-core or eight-core processor (depending on region), 3GB of RAM, a 13MP rear-facing camera and Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). Simply put the Note 3 offers a sizeable boost in performance that overshadows every handset the manufacturer has released to date.
The first thing Brighthand noticed when using the device was how bright and vibrant the display was. Color contrast was rich and detailed; and the incredibly thin bezel that surrounded the display makes it appear as though the screen houses the entire front face of the device.
Best of all Samsung manages to implement the larger display within an even thinner form-factor. The Note 3 shaves away some of its girth recording a sleek 0.23-inch thickness and weighing in at an easily manageable 0.37 pounds. The sheer size of a phablet can sometimes make the idea of owning one a daunting task, but with its thin and lightweight design the Note 3 was exceptionally easy to hold and control.
The Note 3 employs a textured plastic back panel that is soft to the touch and easy to grip. The plastic cover certainly proves to be utilitarian in its approach, making the large handset even easier to hold and handle; but it’s hard not to find the plastic material wanting. The Note 3 screams high-end in almost every regard, making the handset’s plastic casing appear out of place. Instead, it would have been nice to see Samsung opt for metallic design like many of its competitors.
Equipped with a powerful 1.9 GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM the Note 3 is able to run Android 4.3 with an extreme efficiency. Unfortunately Bright was unable to test the actual limits of the Note 3 in our brief hands on preview, though the device was able to juggle three apps on-screen at the same time with no noticeable lag or drop in performance.
The Note 3 not only boasts an impressive array of specs, but a litany of features aimed at making the most of what the phablet has to offer. With that in mind Samsung introduced “Air Command” alongside the Note 3; a feature that allows users to open a reticle of fast-action commands with the tap of the device’s S Pen.
Besides controlling the Note 3 with a simple click of the S Pen, the fan-like command prompt also offers five new unique features centered on the device’s stylus. Most of the new features focus on increasing the capabilities of the S Pen; such as Action Memo, which allows users to write notes that can then integrated into the phone’s other processes. Something like a stored handwritten note containing a phone number can be used to make direct call or even create a new contact.
While most of these features fall under the quality of life or ease of use category, the new Pen Window function could prove to be a game changer. The function allows users to instantly open a new application on-screen by simply selecting the prompt and then drawing a window. The app will then appear on-screen within the drawn frame. With the ability to customize the size and placement of the new apps, Multi-tasking proves to be really easy on the Note 3. With this feature Brighthand was instantly able to watch a YouTube video, browse the web and make a phone call all at once. It is worth noting that Pen Window currently only supports a small selection of applications, hopefully Samsung will further expand on this feature overtime.
With improved specs, a sleeker design, and added functionality, the Galaxy Note 3 is gearing up to be an impressive offer. The Note 3 easily surpasses its predecessor and it’s difficult to think of many current handsets on the market that adequately measure up against it.
While it’s still too early to say for sure, it appears Samsung may have the next “must have” handset on its hands. Either way, we’ll know for certain when Samsung releases the handset on September 25th.