After plenty of hype, rumors and speculation, Samsung recently took the wraps off of the Galaxy Note 3. Not only is the handset coming to all four major U.S. Carriers in October, but over 140 global markets will see the device launch on the 25th of September. The Note 3 is a substantial upgrade to the Galaxy Note 2.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five things you should know about the Galaxy Note 3 before deciding if it’s the right device for you:
1. Note 3 Hardware: This Thing is an Absolute Beast
The Note 3 manages to pack itself into a slightly smaller-sized frame than the Note 2, at 151.2 x 79.1 x 8.3mm and weighing in at 168 grams. But don’t let that fool you, the Note 3 is absolutely filled with great new features and epic hardware. The Note 3 not only has a larger 5.7-inch Super AMOLED Full HD display, but it also has an ultra-fast 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor for the LTE markets, or a 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos 5 for those in 3G markets.
Samsung’s latest handset is also the very first smartphone to push RAM up to an impressive 3GB. Heck, there are many folks that only have 2-4GB of RAM in their PCs!
Some of the handset’s other specs include 32 or 64GB storage, microSD, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, an IR blaster, MHL 2.0 support, NFC, GPS, Wi-Fi and a hefty 3,200 mAh battery. There’s also Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Touch Wiz.
2. The Note 3 Gets A New Look!
Sick of the glossy black plastic that has become a tradition over at Samsung? Luckily, Sammy is switching things up a little with the Note 3. That’s not to say that plastic is gone, however.
Instead of glossy plastic, the Note 3 utilizes textured plastic which mimics leather. There is even faux stitching on the device’s sides. Not only does the new look give the device a more premium look and feel, it is also softer and therefore easier to grip.
3. Note 3 is Packed Full of New Special Features
The Galaxy Note 3 has more features than you can shake a stick at! Not only does the Note 3 build upon all the great apps found on the Galaxy Note 2, it also has just about every app from the Galaxy S4 as well – and many of them have been updated. And then there are brand new Note 3-specific features.
Some of the biggest new features include My Magazine, a new multi-window feature, and the Find My Mobile app. Of course the most impressive feature of all is the new Air Command functionality that helps improve the S-Pen.. but we’ll talk about that a bit later. Back to the other mentioned features, let’s start with My Magazine. This feature is a lot like HTC’s Blinkfeed, an app that takes your news and social feeds and filters them into a single place.
Then there’s the new multi-window function. While this technically existed in older Sammy devices, the new version allows you to run two instances of the same app at the same time, and dramatically improves the device’s multi-tasking experience.
Finally the Find my Mobile app lets users easily remote disable their handset when lost or stolen, and you can even erase data and more.
For a full list of the Galaxy Note 3’s new features, head here!
4. S-Pen Redesigned
For the Note 3, the S-Pen has been redesigned! In addition to a better grip, the stylus now has a rubber tip and recognized 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.
But the real ‘re-design’ of the S-Pen isn’t in the stylus itself, but in its vastly improved functionality thanks to refreshed S-Pen apps and the addition of Air Command. What’s that? Air Command is an exciting new S-Pen tool that allows you to activate five actions from a special menu. All you do is hover the stylus over the display. You then push the button on the S-Pen. A menu will pop up and there are is a pie menu containing Pen Window, S Finder, Screenwrite, Action Memo and Scrapbook.
These tools make the S-Pen much more useful than on the Note 2. An example of one of the features of Air Command’s tools would be the ability to scribble down a phone number and then have it sent over and stored in your contacts. For more details on what to expect from the Air Command feature, head here!
5. Galaxy Gear and Gear Manager
Probably one the most significant things about the Note 3 is that it is designed to work closely with the Samsung Galaxy Gear. For those that don’t know, the Gear is Samsung’s first smartwatch.
The device has a metal frame and a super AMOLED 1.63-inch screen with a resolution of 320 x 320. There’s even a camera and a battery that supports 24 hours of ‘normal use’. On the processor front, it has an 800MHz Exynos battery.
The Gear is designed to make life with the 5.7-inch Note 3 much easier, allowing you to use the device for making and taking calls. Receiving messages and so much more – all without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket.
When it comes to managing the Gear, the Note 3 include a Galaxy Gear manager app that allows you to delete apps or install them, change clock faces and more – from your Note 3.
That’s just five important things to know about the Note 3! With great hardware and tons of special features, the Note 3 is a pretty epic looking handset. How much will it cost? While the answer to that will vary depending on where you live, those in the U.S. can expect to pay around $300 for the Note 3, and another $300 for the Gear.
Looking for a new handset with a smaller display and plenty of contextual awareness features? You might want to check out the Moto X.
For those that already rock a Galaxy Note 2, the Note 3 is a major jump forward, but if you are still on contract, the Note 2 should still be more than enough to get you by for a while longer.
Overall, there’s a lot to love about the Note 3. If you are looking for a massive display alongside a handy stylus, you won’t find anything that comes close to besting Samsung’s latest flagship.