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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

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

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is alive and kicking and breathes yet more life into a mobile form factor many thought would be dead on arrival, ramping up the specs and the size to give us a new monolith of mobile.

It's size certainly won't appeal to everyone, but those looking for a super-powered smartphone with all the latest tech on board should definitely be checking out the Galaxy Note 3.

We liked

It may be big, but the full HD, 5.7-inch display is fantastic and the Super AMOLED technology makes everything pop from websites to movies.

You're able to fit a lot more on screen at a time and that means less scrolling in messages, on websites and down your long contact list and that can only be a good thing.

What really impressed us with the Galaxy Note 3 though was its battery life. With such a big screen and powerful processor we were half expecting to find ourselves dashing for the charger shortly after lunch.

Instead we managed to coast all the way to bedtime still with a respectable chunk of battery left after relatively high usage throughout the day.

That power also produces a beautifully smooth and fluid user interface, and coupled with the power of 4G you won't be kept waiting by the Galaxy Note 3.

We disliked

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The price is steep, but we always knew it would be. The Galaxy Note 3 is, after all, the most powerful smartphone currently on the market, but the price tag still makes us wince every time we see it.

Samsung is sticking by plastic, for now, and while that's not a terrible thing to do we have taken issue with the rather tacky faux-leather rear of the Note 3. While from the front and the side it looks like a premium device, it's really let down by the finish on the back.

We're also still not sold on the whole S Pen idea. There's a stronger case for its use on tablets with the bigger screens allowing for better usage, but at this size we find handwriting is slower than typing and it's generally just a bit of a hassle having to dig the S Pen out all the time.

The Air command features Samsung has included are clever, but we struggle to see why anyone would use them regularly, if at all.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a great phone and if you were to own one you wouldn't be disappointed. It provides a great onscreen experience - as long as your hands are big enough to reach across it - and its stuffed full of tech to almost warrant its lofty price tag.

Its size will be a real stumbling point for many and we'd recommend going into a store and just holding the Note 3 for a while to see if it's something you can cope with.

There will be some people out there who will love the inclusion of the S Pen, and it totally makes sense in the Asian markets where text input is greatly enhanced with a stylus, but in the Western world its uses are far more limited.

This is the best Galaxy Note smartphone to date and if you're a fan of the range then you'll love the Note 3 - but if you're looking for the best smartphone in the world you'll need to look elsewhere.

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
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density386 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedMicro
Height151.2 mm
Width79.2 mm
Depth8.3 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time420 Hour
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