The Galaxy Note 3 is a marked improvement over its predecessor. For starters the Note 3 is slimmer, lighter and faster than the Note 2. Among large format smartphones, the Note 3 is packed with the latest of everything — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is top of the line, the 13MP camera shoots 4K videos, its Cat4 LTE radio is capable of download speeds up to 150Mbps and 50Mbps uploads. The 3GB RAM is an industry first as is the micro USB 3.0 port that provides faster data transfers and charging, and its 5.7-inch 1080p full HD super AMOLED display has a pixel density of 386ppi is over 120ppi more than the Note 2 (265ppi)
But has the Note 3 moved the innovation needle? Hardly.
The build quality is as plastic as any cheap made in China device. This is sad considering that the Note 3, like most if not all Samsung devices, is made in Korea. The leather textured back cover promises a premium feel but in reality, the Note 3 is unapologetically, unapologetically plastic and the leather texture does nothing to improve the tactile feel of the device.
In terms of hardware design, the Note 3 doesn’t deviate much from the Samsung template. Next to devices that boast hardware features like dual-front speakers with dedicated amplifiers or a fully water-proof design, the Note 3 looks decidedly plain. Basically, the Note 3 doesn’t feel or look special.
So do we recommend it?
For existing Galaxy Note users, the Note 3 is a worthwhile upgrade. If you use the S-Pen often, you’ll appreciate the many new features that Samsung has introduced in its latest device. In this respect the Galaxy Note 3 is set to maintain its dominance in the growing large format smartphone segment. While there are better built and better looking large format smartphones out there, there’s nothing like the Galaxy Note 3 when it comes to features and the sheer number of things you can do with a stylus.
And while the Galaxy S4 has lost much of its edge to strong competitors like the HTC One, the differentiation of the Galaxy Note 3 among its chief competitors is crystal clear — that is, a superb software feature set and the most extensive use of a stylus in a smartphone at the moment — and for that the Note 3 comes into the market strong with tremendous potential of being a class favourite for those who are really comfortable with using a stylus.
Bottom line, the Note 3 is a great all-rounder but it’s nothing special among more distinguished competitors.