King of the Big Phones: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

By on December 27, 2013, 3:07 AM

Many companies have tried to make a large, note-friendly smartphone, but none have succeeded quite as well as Samsung. While the first Galaxy Note was rather large and lacking in refinement, Samsung has steadily improved the line, this year releasing the brand new Galaxy Note 3, and it has some true competition for the first time.

Sharing similarities with the Galaxy S4 in design and hardware, the Galaxy Note 3 is impressive in many aspects. Depending on what model you choose you’ll be treated to a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 or Samsung Exynos 5 Octa SoC, a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, removable storage, a 13-megapixel camera and the ever-useful S-Pen.

I have both Galaxy Note 3 models with me for this review, making it an interesting comparison between the new Exynos 5 Octa and the trusted Snapdragon 800. Which model is best suited for users around the globe? Is the Note 3 enough of an upgrade from the previous Galaxy Note?

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 15

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

These devices are just too big and bulky for me to take seriously and even more so if you decide to carry it in a pouch. Even a 5" screen smartphone too big for my liking. I have a 4.3" phone in a case and that's as big and heavy as I wanna go.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The phone would be recognized before the person using it. Put an end to the rumors you are talking to yourself.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

If my contract was up this would be the phone I would get. Using the Note 2 and love it.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

One hell of a gorgeous device, wish I went for this over the S4. For traveling and being abroad, perfect phone. If you want a smaller device, S4 mini or HTC One mini are the ones to go with.

Nobina Nobina said:

It looks more of a tablet replacement than a smartphone replacement cause of it's size. I have a 4.7 inch phone and it's quite big but I got used to it. I can't see myself getting used to a 5.7 inch screen even if I could afford it.

JC713 JC713 said:

These devices are just too big and bulky for me to take seriously and even more so if you decide to carry it in a pouch. Even a 5" screen smartphone too big for my liking. I have a 4.3" phone in a case and that's as big and heavy as I wanna go.

Yeah it is way too big for my liking.

I wonder if the rumor about Samsung applying that "leather-like" material to their PCs is true.

Screenbyte said:

Hi Tim, you say the note 3 isn't the greatest smartphone money can buy, in my opinion there isn't a phone that comes close. However I would like to know in your opinion what is the greatest smartphone money can buy?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I had an S3 and my wife got an S4 to show me up. Then she gets worried that my job might upgrade me to an S4 so she gets herself a Note 3 a couple months ago and gives me her hand-me-down S4.

JC713 JC713 said:

I had an S3 and my wife got an S4 to show me up. Then she gets worried that my job might upgrade me to an S4 so she gets herself a Note 3 a couple months ago and gives me her hand-me-down S4.

Lucky!

1 person liked this |
Staff
Scorpus Scorpus said:

Hi Tim, you say the note 3 isn't the greatest smartphone money can buy, in my opinion there isn't a phone that comes close. However I would like to know in your opinion what is the greatest smartphone money can buy?

I'd prefer the LG G2 or Nexus 5 to be honest

Guest said:

Tim Schiesser, thank you for this review.

Please make a detailed (video) comparison of both note 3 variants snapdragon 800 vs. exynos 5420,in different application opening, like games, videos,pictures,zip files etc. Also make a camera comparison between the camera, sound and video performance of the two variants.

I have seen Chinese website that have compared the both variants, the exynos version was in fact a bit faster, but I could not understand what they were saying, so it would be great if you compare them both.

I have also noticed that there is also a tiny difference between the two note 3 variants, so please look into it

I can send you a link of the Chinese website videos.

Thank you.

Ghost410 said:

I don't talk on the phone all that much. I do like to pull up a spreadsheet sitting on a plane. Or answering emails at the mall. I also like to take notes during a meeting. Or sketch when things get boring. Compare to phones to phones. This is something else and it just works.

Staff
Scorpus Scorpus said:

Tim Schiesser, thank you for this review.

Please make a detailed (video) comparison of both note 3 variants snapdragon 800 vs. exynos 5420,in different application opening, like games, videos,pictures,zip files etc. Also make a camera comparison between the camera, sound and video performance of the two variants.

I have seen Chinese website that have compared the both variants, the exynos version was in fact a bit faster, but I could not understand what they were saying, so it would be great if you compare them both.

I have also noticed that there is also a tiny difference between the two note 3 variants, so please look into it

I can send you a link of the Chinese website videos.

Thank you.

I would have liked to, but I currently don't have a stable internet connection to upload videos

freexa freexa said:

Hi Tim, you say the note 3 isn't the greatest smartphone money can buy, in my opinion there isn't a phone that comes close. However I would like to know in your opinion what is the greatest smartphone money can buy?

I'd prefer the LG G2 or Nexus 5 to be honest

And yet, the Note 3 outperforms both. So I'd say it is definitely the best smartphone money can buy.

slamscaper slamscaper said:

I just got the Note 3 myself and I have to say I would have scored it a bit higher than Tim has. The hardware is absolutely amazing and the display is beautiful, even if it doesn't use a traditional RGB stripe (it's not really pentile either, but something completely different). I also love the faux-leather design on the back and most ppl I've shown this phone to love that as well. A metal design would be preferred of course, but I think the faux-leather back feels much better than the smooth plastic used on other phones like the GS4 and G2. It doesn't feel cheap at all to me. Quite the contrary actually.

I only have a few issues with the Note 3 so far and they are all software related. I noticed a few annoying bugs here and there with some of the software, but I'm sure these will get ironed out in future updates. Another thing I don't like is the sheer amount of bloat Samsung includes on the device, which is staggering. There are a few gems here and there, but for the most part Google already has a better solution for every single app Samsung includes. Samsung's bloat chews up a lot of resources as well, which is why rooting the Note 3 and removing it is a good idea. I've also experienced some wi-fi issues with the Note 3. It tends to disconnect and display a message about the wi-fi connection being unstable, however other devices are connected to the same access point with no issues. I believe this is another software bug because it seems to be a widespread issue.

Other than these issues (which are fixable), I think the Note 3 is amazing. In my opinion it's the best smartphone available right now, although there is some stiff competition from LG and HTC. Apple's iPhone 5s is excellent as well, but I believe it appeals to a different crowd.

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