Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review: The Phablet Refined
Design and Exterior
As we noted previously, the Galaxy Note 3 sports a 5.7" screen with a full 1080p resolution (1080x1920), a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC running at a swift 2.3GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera, and a number of other additional sensors and updates that allow for some interesting features.
Although the Galaxy Note 3 has a larger screen than the Galaxy Note 2, the Note 3 is roughly the same height and width, thanks to thinner bezels all around. It's only at the corners that the Note 3 is somewhat larger. The Note 3, however, is thinner and lighter than the Note 2. The Galaxy Note 3’s dimensions measure 5.95" x 3.12" x 0.33" and it weighs in at 5.93 ounces. According to Samsung, though the device is thinner and lighter, it is more ridged and stronger than the Note 2, due to tweaks in materials and design. The phone definitely feels good in the hand, and it is clearly more rigid than its predecessor. Torqueing / twisting the device doesn’t result in any squeaks or creaks, but we do think the chrome bezel running around the edge is a bit too soft. In only a few days of regular use, we've already discovered a couple of dings and we've treated the Note 3 with kit gloves.
In addition to better build quality overall, the phone’s full HD Super AMOLED 5.7” screen looks great. Couple those densely packed pixels and high resolution with excellent brightness and vivid colors and the Note 3’s screen is sure to impress. When placed side by side against a Note II, the superior clarity and brightness of the Note 3’s screen was obvious and it appeared to display white backgrounds more accurately too. There were no “off color” whites—there were just bright whites.
The Galaxy Note 3 is nice and thin at .33", and like the Note 2, it has a metallic band that runs along its edge. Button placement and configuration is the same as the Note 2 as well, though the tolerances are noticeably tighter on the Note 3.
The Galaxy Note 3 is going to be offered in black or white initially, and like other members of Galaxy family, it has a removable back cover so users can access the battery, SIM slot, and micro-SD expansion slot. The finish on the back cover is now textured to feel like leather, though it is still made of a flexible composite material. We should point out that under that cover lies a beefy 3200mAh battery, which offers surprisingly good battery life, despite the phone’s high-end specs.
The 13mp rear facing camera, which compliments the front-facing 2mp camera, is also a nice upgrade over previous models. In addition, the Note 3’s camera software offers a number of new features that allow both the front and rear facing cameras to be used simultaneously, so the person taking pics or video can be inserted into any shots being taken / recorded. The Note 3 also gives users the ability to embed audio into stills, should you want to send a message off to someone along with the picture, without having to send a much larger video file. We'll cover more of the camera's features a little later.
And we can't forget to mention the S-Pen. With the Note 3, the S-Pen now slides back into the device with less fuss. On the Note 2, the S-Pen only slid in one way because of a bezel at the end that needed to align properly with the edge of the device. The Note 3's S-Pen, however, will slide in properly whether or not the button is facing upward or downwards.