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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Smarter, longer, faster, something else-er... this is an evolution and a half

Our Verdict

The phablet is here to stay and the Note 3 is the best out there - fast, powerful and supremely functional.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 13 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 21 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Fast and smooth
  • Great battery
  • Full HD display
  • 4G

Against

  • Tricky to hold
  • Expensive
  • S Pen still limited
  • Tacky plastic rear

Maps

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes equipped with the excellent Google Maps, which is the best mapping solution for mobile currently available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Firing up the Maps application the Note 3 was able to pinpoint our location in just a couple of seconds and maps rendered quickly, which is great as we've been left waiting for ages by other phones as they churn through all the data.

Panning and zooming is smooth and fluid, thanks in part to the powerful processor and decent chunk of RAM inside the Note 3, making browsing the maps and working out routes a pleasing experience.

The expansive, full HD display on the Galaxy Note 3 comes in handy when viewing maps, as more information can fit on screen at one time and the high resolution means even the more detailed parts of the map are clear.

If the standard map view is a little boring you can always open the menu on the left and select satellite for a birds eye view of the land, and if you fancy getting up close and personal Google's StreetView functionality is available too, allowing you to virtually walk along streets.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

You can save sections of the map for viewing offline, perfect if you're travelling abroad and want a map of the local area on your phone. Just tap the search bar and scroll down to the bottom of the suggestions and you'll find the "make this map area available offline". Tap this and the Note 3 will start downloading the map.

It can only save small segments of a map at a time, so you won't be able to save the whole of England, but we were able to save the whole of London in one go.

You can also use Google Maps to plan routes by car, foot, bicycle or even public transport, with it offering up three potential routes to your destination and estimated journey times for each.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

This is taken a step further with the free turn-by-turn navigation system included with Google Maps and we found the Galaxy Note 3 was a great sat-nav replacement thanks to its large screen and loud internal speaker for the verbal instructions.

It was able to keep track of our location in a built up town as well as in the open countryside.

Apps

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Unsurprisingly the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with Google Play on board, giving you access to over 900,000 applications and games.

There's a wide range of apps available for free - but watch out for hidden charges in-game - and paid for options start at a reasonable 69p/99 cent.

It's not just applications and games in Google Now, as we mentioned in our media section it also offers up movies, TV shows, music, books and magazines.

Taking all that onboard it seems like Google Play has everything pretty much tied up, but not according to Samsung which forces its own app store onto its handsets as well.

Samsung Apps provides a smaller selection of apps and while some of the bloatware found in Google Play has been removed everything available here can also be obtained from the Play store.

In some rare cases apps are actually more expensive in Samsung's store, so always make sure you check both before parting with your cash.

We'd recommend ignoring Samsung Apps altogether and focussing all your download efforts into Google Play instead.

Samsung likes to preinstall lots of its own applications onto Android smartphones in an attempt to add extra value, and the Galaxy Note 3 is no exception.

You get the apps such as S Note, Scrapbook, S Health, Knox and Story Album all included on the Note 3 out of the box.

My Magazine

The popular Flipboard application, which automatically curates a news magazine based on your interests and reading habits, has been baked into the TouchWiz interface on the Galaxy Note 3.

Slide up from the bottom of the screen, as you would to launch Google Now on the Nexus 4, and you're transported to the My magazine app, which uses the Flipboard backend to curate an enhanced experience for Samsung users.

As well as getting your general news posts from around the web and the social integration we've come to expect from Flipboard Samsung has added a "Personal" channel to My Magazine, which keeps track of the key things you've been doing on your Note 3 and suggests applications which may suit you.

It's had a slight design overhaul too, although it's not much of a looker and we much prefer the native Flipboard app in terms of functionality as well as aesthetics.

S Note

No prizes here for guessing what sort of app S Note is - yep that's right it lets you take notes. Pretty simple stuff on the surface.

It is a little bit more complicated than that though, thanks to the inclusion of the S Pen. With this you can handwrite notes onto the screen and then have it transformed into text. As well as transforming text S Note is also capable or recognising shapes and formulas.

You can select different styles of brush for the S Pen along with colours if you want to get really creative, plus you can add several pages to your notes, and even an index page, making them into folders of information.

There's the option to add media to your notes such as voice memos, images, video, maps and more, leading the humble note taking application into the 21st century.

S Health

Samsung is looking to get in on the growing fitness with its S Health app aimed at keeping people moving by tracking exercise and counting calories.

S Health comes preinstalled on the Galaxy Note 3 and monitors your vital statistics, such as weight and height, alongside your workout schedule and diet to give you various goals to aim for.

If you want to keep things simple you can just fire up "Walking Mate" (a pedometer) to make sure you're hitting 10,000 steps a day (or however many you want to do).

There's even a handy homescreen widget to keep you updated on the number of steps you've done so far.

For those of you looking for something a little more intense however then the S Health also has you covered with a wide range of activities to choose from.

Select the workout you're going to perform, cycling for example, and the S Health app will be able to monitor how many calories you've burnt.

Overall S Health is an intuitive application which will be great for anyone looking to do some exercise, but anyone who's more invested in workouts may want to look at third party options which provide greater detail and more options.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+
SAR Value0.29 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy Note 3
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time21 Hour
Product ModelSM-N9005
Screen Size14.5 cm (5.7")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)168 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density386 ppi
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height151.2 mm
Width79.2 mm
Depth8.3 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 Smartphone
Processor Speed2.30 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineGalaxy Note 3
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Barometer, Digital Compass, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Magnetometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Humidity Sensor, Temperature Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberSM-N9005ZWEBTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information **Please note this product can only be used in Europe**

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 adds delight to daily tasks and infuses innovative features that help consumers tell the story of their lives. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 delivers a larger and better screen for the best viewing experience and more powerful multitasking, as well as significant S Pen improvements that make everyday life easier and faster.

Bigger & Better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a wider (5.7inch) full HD Super AMOLED display, yet slimmer (8.3mm) and lighter (168g) hardware design and more powerful and longer lasting (3,200mAh) battery. Equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera with Smart Stabilisation and high CRI LED flash, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 enables users to crisply capture every visual story in their lives, even in low light and active situations. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers the latest LTE technologies - CAT4 Carrier Aggregation and supports the greatest number of multiple frequencies. Incorporating the industry's largest 3GB RAM, the Galaxy Note 3 also provides faster and more powerful performance.

Balancing Strength with Design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 delivers a new premium look and feel. Expanding on the modern Samsung Galaxy design approach, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 adds a soft and textured-touch back cover and delicate stitching. It also features a serration pattern on the side of the device that evokes a connection to the timeless and enduring strengths of classic notebooks and planners.

Click S Pen to make life easier, faster and more exciting
The new S Pen reinvents and modernises the classic note-taking experience by providing the ability to accomplish everyday tasks with just one click. The advanced S Pen is designed to be fully functional as a communication driver between the phone and the user by creating essential input and control features. It plays an integral role in how users interface with the device, making all daily routines easier.

A simple click of the S Pen button while hovering over the screen introduces users to Air Command, a palette of five powerful features that truly make tasks easier and faster. With the Air Command feature, there is no need to toggle between screens, memorise commands or look up different menus. The Air Command feature provides access to the following key functions:

Action Memo allows users to handwrite a note and automatically execute a function or convert that handwritten information into formatted content. Action Memo can instantly initiate a call, add to contacts, look up an address on a map, search the web, save a task to a to-do list, and more

Scrapbook enables users to organise or track down content and information from various sources including the web, YouTube and Gallery in one place so that users can easily look back at collected content all at once. When consumers save content for future use, Scrapbook also collects source material or URLs allowing them to easily refer back to the original source

The Screen Write feature captures the full screen image of the current page on the device and allows users to write comments or additional information onto the captured image

S Finder allows users to expansively search for content on their device regardless of the type. By putting in keywords or filters such as date, location and content type, users can search related documents, events, communication threads, and even the Help page - all in one place. In addition, users can also search for hand-written content in their Notes and memo applications, as well as symbols and formulas
Limited Warranty2 Year
Standard Memory3 GB