The Galaxy Note 3 is the successor of the indefatigable and very capable Galaxy Note II (read a review of the Note II here). The Note II was such a good smartphone (yes it is a smartphone) that I often wondered what the Note 3 really needed to do in order to be a worthy successor to such an awesome device. I think yester-night I found an answer to all of my unanswered questions. From what the Galaxy Note 3 could do better than the Note II to most of the issues I had with the Galaxy S4 as far as some features are concerned.
The Note 3 is unique from the Note II in that it has a companion device: the Galaxy Gear. Announced in the same event in Berlin, the Galaxy Gear pairs with the Galaxy Note 3 to deliver what Samsung calls “exceptional experience”. We’ll wait for the reviews to come in once the device is unveiled in most markets from September 25th going forward but for now, we’ll have to live by Samsung’s word. The other striking differences between the Note 3 and the Note II is found in the spec sheet and the add-on features. There are those of us who expected the Galaxy Note 3 to be a bigger Galaxy S4 with a stylus and nothing more. I think it is appropriate to say at this point that does not seem to be the case. With an enhanced design that is more of the looks of the good old Galaxy S II but upgraded a bit and not the pebble curves of the Galaxy S III that were toned down in the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S4, the Note 3 carves an image of its own. The leathery (faux-pas) stitched back even makes matters take a different angle. That is all I can say after watching the launch livestream yester-night.
Onto the features and the specs:
- A 5.7 inch full HD (1920 x 1080) Super AMOLED display
- Measures 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm. Slimmer than the Note II
- Lighter than the Note II. It weighs in at 168g compared to the Note II’s 185g.
- A 100 mAh bump to the Note II’s battery. The Note 3 has a 3200 mAh battery. Superb battery life was called out in the launch event. We’ll have to wait for real world tests and endurance ratings to know how true that is. If it is anything like what the Note II offers then that would be really good.
- A 13 megapixel camera with OIS (referred to as Smart Stabilization… finally!) and a CRI LED flash. Can record video upto 60 fps. Supports 4K video recording so that Acer Liquid S2’s glory was short-lived. Not sure about that though. The 13 megapixel rear camera is complemented by a 2 megapixel front shooter that is capable of recording video upto 30 frames per second.
- To be available in only the 32 GB and 64 GB versions. Will have a microSD card slot for expanding the memory. Hopefully the firmware with all the add-ons Samsung has put on the device won’t consume half the storage space as was the case with the Galaxy S4.
- The device will run Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box.
The S-Pen offers a wide range of features. It is more advanced than the S-Pen found in the Note 3’s predecessor. Some of the features include:
Air Command – a palette of features like:
- Action Memo (for handwritten notes),
- Scrapbook (works just like what you would expect a scrapbook to work with even better functionality or so says Samsung. Can collect URLs and info from other apps like Youtube and gallery and centrally places it for easy access when needed),
- Screen White (takes screenshots of the current page you are working on and allows you to make comments on it),
- S Finder (for universal search across the device) and
- Pen Window (an enhanced multi-window mode. allows you to draw a window of any size using the s pen and directly using it open another app like YouTube without interfering with whatever you are doing on your current screen.)
S-Pen specific features aside, there’s your usual barrage of S-somethings and other nifty additions that Samsung devices come with. There is no shortage of those on the Note 3. I just hope they have been well optimized to run smoothly and not bog down the device.
Here they are:
- A newly revamped S Note – allows syncing of notes with your Samsung account and Evernote too (there’s a partnership there by the way) thus your S Notes can be viewed on multiple devices
- Easy Clip – for clipping only certain parts of images or content by drawing around the image or webpage using s-pen and then it is automatically converted into an image. It was there on the Note II. It will be interesting to see how it has evolved.
- My Magazine – a partnership with Flipboard to bring personalized news, social media updates etc.
- Find My Mobile for those moments when someone makes away with your prized device. It will even prevent the thief from factory resetting the Note 3. You can track a lost Note 3 and erase its data as well.
- Knox – allows users to run sensitive apps in a secure environment inside what is being called a “container” where the data is protected from phishing, hacking and malware in the event the device lands in the wrong hands. The device is tailored as a BYOD (bring your own device) thanks to Knox (the IT guys in your office can manage your account through EAS – Exchange ActiveSync Server)
- Air Gestures, Story Album, Smart scroll, Smart pause, Air View, Samsung Apps, Samsung Hub, ChatON and WatchON (the Note 3 has an IR blaster), S Voice and S health also available.
- Adapt display, Adapt sound and ability to support glove touch baked into the device’s firmware too.
The Note 3 will be available in three colour options at first: pink, white and black. You can be sure some more colour options will follow.