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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

The Korean phone maker's latest phablet is its fastest yet
Wed Oct 02 2013, 08:50

Product Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Website Samsung.com/uk
Specifications 5.7in Super AMOLED 1080x1920 resolution touchscreen, quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB storage expandable via microSD card, 13MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing cameras, GSM/EDGE/HSPA+/HSDPA, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, microUSB port, headphone jack, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, 151x79x8.3mm, 168g
Price £619


WITH EVERY YEAR that passes Samsung manages to increase the size of its flagship phone-tablet or 'phablet', the Galaxy Note. It's hard to believe that the South Korean gadget maker could maintain this growth with each generation, especially considering the smartphone's already enormous size. But it does, and as a result, we find ourselves yet again faced with breaking away from our modestly sized smartphone to review a large phablet, in this case the Galaxy Note 3, which like all phablets requires more than one hand to use.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 overall

The Galaxy Note 3 held few specification surprises when Samsung launched it at IFA last month, thanks to the months of leaks surrounding the handset ahead of its unveiling. It follows the success of the Galaxy Note 2, which managed to notch an impressive three million sales worldwide in just over a month after its release almost a year ago. It brings a few improvements, being 15g lighter and 1.1mm thinner than its predecessor while having an even larger 5.7in display.

Design and build
The one thing that Samsung probably should have changed when upgrading the Galaxy Note and releasing its third iteration was the material used in its design. But it hasn't. It's still made of a cheap feeling plastic material like the Galaxy Note 2 and, considering its price of £620, we were disappointed that Samsung didn't learn from its earlier mistake.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 back

This time Samsung added a faux leather backplate to the Galaxy Note 3, which makes the £600-plus phablet not only look like a budget device but ugly as well. However Samsung claims that this can be changed by buying a different backplate, which is sold separately.

One good thing about the plastic casing is that it makes the device really light and thin, weighing just 168g and measuring only 8.3mm thick, 1.1mm thinner and 15g lighter than the Galaxy Note 2 that measured 9.4mm thick and weighed 183g. On the top of the deivce is a headphone jack, on the left-hand side is the volume control and on the right is the power switch. Below the bottom of the screen is a physical Home button that sits between Back and Options buttons that work via haptic technology.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 top

Ergonomically, the Galaxy Note 3 just about fits in the hand and considering its ridiculously large size it doesn't feel so big that it restricts its use. People with larger hands will have an advantage when using the device, though, because they'll be able to reach more areas of the screen with their thumb if using one hand, without having to stretch as far. Those with smaller hands will need to use two hands to operate the Galaxy Note 3.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 side view

As with the Galaxy Note 2, we still felt a bit silly holding the phone up to our head to chat, as it looks like you're talking into a tablet.

To help operation, Samsung has maintained the presence of an S Pen stylus, which is housed in the device on the right-hand side. The stylus has the same build as the phone, feeling cheap and plastic, but is light and easy to hold.

Samsung has made the Galaxy Note 3 available in black, white and pink colour options.

Next: Display and camera.

 

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