Saturday, 19 April 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

Ever since Samsung has launched their phablet Samsung Galaxy Note, I have been interested in acquiring a phablet from Samsung. It did not happen until they released the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. My intention of writing up this article to look deeper into the hardware and the relationship between the hardware and the complimentary Android OS 4.4.2 Kitkat OS into the Samsung Galaxy Note 3[SM-N9005] (hereinafter SGN3). I will also be writing up in regard to the day-to-day userbility of the phablet.

What's Under the Hood

I am pretty impressed with the hardware of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I am happy that Samsung has placed a 13MP camera at the back as well as a 2MP camera at the front for video conference or for taking selfie pictures. The 5.7" Super AMOLED capacitive screen with 386ppi is ever so responsive and it is being protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device comes with microSD card support and for this review, I have used a Samsung Pro microSD card to conduct various tests. The Samsung Pro microSD allows a read speed of 70MB/s and a write speed of 20MB/s.

I am equally impressed with the 3GB RAM and the 32GB internal storage of the device. Please be careful as there are many versions of the device being sold in the UK so potential buyers will have to be careful before they make a decision to buy a SGN3. The list below will indicate the availability of the SGN3:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9000 - With 3G connectivity;
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9002 - With 3G and dual SIM card support;
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 - With 3G and LTE; and
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9009 - CDMA 2000.

The N9005 which I am using comes with LTE Cat4 download and upload with usb 3.0 support. The SGN3 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 which runs at 2.3 Ghz and it is a quad core Krait 400 cpu. The SGN3 supports A-GPS and GLONASS for the Russian GPS and its SAR rating for use in the EU is 0.29 watt/kg when using it closed to a person's head and 0.36 watt/kg if worn on the body. It comes with an S pen which is highly sensitive.

Android 4.4.2 OS KitKat

When you purchased the SGN3, it will most probably be equipped with the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. You will then be asked to update the OS to 4.4.2. I would suggest that users should update the OS first before installing any softwares on the device. Once you have updated the OS to 4.4.2, I would suggest that you should rest the phone and then you could start install your favourite apps on the device.

Advantages of using the SGN3

When you start using the SGN3, you might feel that the device is quite big in your hand. If that is the case, you could activate the phone's one-hand opetation within settings. This will enable users to execute a function by using one hand only. Users may also feel that the screen is a beauty. I am most impressed with the smoothness of the menu speed. The screen is readable under strong sunlight. You may also want to enable 'Developer options' via this way - Settings - General - About device. Once you are within 'Above device', please click many times on the 'Build number' until you are being told that 'Developer options' is available.

With the developer options, you could actually disable many animations to speed up the menu even further.

Besides that, I am also impressed with the performance of the 13MP digital camera. With the upgraded firmware to 4.4.2, I do not experience any lag when taking pictures. Moreover, with the video function, users can also enable the 'smooth recording' under 'recording mode' to enable 60fps recording. The result is ever so stunning! The pictures taken under normal sun light is ever so impressive, similarly with the video recording under normal sunlight. However, I think the Nokia Lumia 1020 produced better pictures and videos under low light. However, the Nokia Lumia 1020 suffered from 3 seconds delay in between taking pictures. The delay has been reduced to 2 seconds after the upgrade to Nokia Black. If you are an iphone user, you might find taking pictures or videos on the Nokia Lumia 1020 inconvenience. I hope that futher firmware updates on the Nokia Lumia 1020 will enable zero shutter lag on the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Despite many complaints about its inbuild wireless antenna performance, I do not find any problems when using it though. I like the fact that the SGN3 has many inbuild features eg: NFC, bluetooth 4.0 and other 2014 specifications, I have yet to try out many of its features except for Bluetooth 4.0. I am happy to report that the bluetooth 4.0 performed remarkably.

With the 5.7" inch screen, watching movies on the SGN3 is exceptionally marvellous. The screen is crisp and clear without any lagging. Moreover, the device supports many audio and video codecs. The speaker is good but I would recommend using a pair of loud speakers if you want to watch a movie on your desk with the phablet.

The removable 3200mAh battery has solid performance! Usually a single charge will allow me to use it for one day. This is good due to the fact that the screen on the SGN3 is huge!

I seldom use the S Pen so I could not really commend on it but it looks cool.

I can report that the day-to-day usage of the phone to receive and make calls is good. I don't have any problems with drop signals despite using SIM cards from many mobile network operators in the UK. The GPS lock is fast and I am equally impressed.


While I have not encoutered any problems with the userbility when using the SGN3, I find that the phablet may be slightly too big to keep it in my back pocket. On the other hand, the weight of the phone at 168g is way heavier than the iphone 5s which I am so accustomed to. However, I find that the 168g is nothing compared to my good old Nokia E90 which is weighted at around 200g with cover.


I feel that Samsung has done a good job in producing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. However, in anticipating the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S5 a week ago, I hope that the successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will include optical image stabilisation.

Keep up the good work, Samsung.

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