Galaxy Note 3 by Samsung Mobile Phone Review – Bigger is Better


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 delivers high performance and striking screen quality in a portable yet sizable display plus it works with the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. This part phone/part tablet, or phablet, has a considerably long battery life, slim design, unique S Pen design and functions, clear call quality, fast quad-core processor, and sharp picture quality.

Models include Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9000 with 3G connectivity, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9002 with dual SIM card support, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9005 with 3G & LTE connectivity. The processor speed (2.3GHz quad-core SoC) is very fast, which enhances the interaction among the functions – a multitasker’s dream.

The Galaxy Note 3 has a thin, light build that weighs 5.9 ounces, measures 6 inches long by 3.1 inches wide and only 0.33 inch thick. This smartphone feels great in your hands, and the back cover’s faux leather-plastic provides a nice grip with no fingerprints. The cover sticks to papers in your pocket, so users might want a dedicated spot for this powerful mobile smartphone.


The Galaxy Note 3 has a removable Li-lon 3200 mAh battery to easily get you through the day and more. Typical use for me (medium to heavy) lasted two to three days before I had to charge up. Users can easily change the battery, SIM card, and microSD memory card by releasing the back cover lock by pressing in the groove. The SD card slot sits directly on top of the micro-SIM bay.

The main back features are the 13-megapixel camera lens and LED flash while the S pen, speaker, and charging/USB port are at the bottom. The USB 3.0 gives faster charge times and data transfer rates that are up to 10 times quicker than the older USB 2.0…as long as you have a compatible computer. Camera editing features are available on the phone.


On the top is the headset jack, speaker/IR blaster, and front facing 2-megapixel camera ideal for video chat and self-portrait pictures. Users adjust the audio volume at the top left side and the right side has the power/lock button.


The bottom has the visible home button…


while the middle while the menu (far left) and back (far right) buttons illuminate when touching the these or navigating through device.


Now for the main multi-touch display. First unlock by pressing the power/lock button then swipe your finger across the screen in any direction. Users can swipe across two panels to the left and right of the home screen for additional menus and features.

Gmail, google contacts, google calendar and other helpful features are already loaded to phone. Email options include Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and The visual voice features lets users listen or erase messages and the smartphone is Bluetooth compatible.


The status/feature buttons at the top include information on network connectivity, battery life, etc.


The S pens are not required for use (you can always touch by hand…well, finger), but helps when doing drawings, handwriting, and capturing screenshots. This convenient tool features 256 pressure points of sensitivity so you can write and sketch as if you were using pen and paper.


Users get a nice visual circle under the S pen motions so they can easily orient themselves on the screen and make their selections. Hold the S pen button and tap the screen twice for the action memo note-taking app. Pens can be edited and modified plus the erase options lets you edit any miscues. Press the S pen button and hold the pen against the screen to screen capture (audible click confirms capture) or use the scrap booker feature and press the S pen button and draw a line around an object then access the scrap-book content through the app. Users can also share these creations easily.

For the AIR command features, users remove the S pen, hold it near the screen and press the button. A menu appears with the following functions (listed left to right): action memo, scrap booker, screen write, S finder (search device content) and pen window.

These features are all conveniently organized under the AIR command fly out menu. Just remove the S pen, hold it near the screen and press the button or simply remove the S pen from the phone. A menu appears with the following functions (listed left to right): action memo, scrap booker, screen write, S finder (search device content) and pen window.

Action memo lets users email handwritten notes/data, save it to contacts, use it in a text, convert into list, transfer to apps (e.g. Evernote), or view on a map. The handwritten to text recognition/transfer (under the Swype system) usually works well though the occasional rewrites were inevitable. Keep track of those S pens because a replacement pen costs between $30 and $50. Thankfully you can easily replace the tips using tweezers.

Voice commands let users control music, make hands-free calls, take pictures, and set/stop alarms, take photos. This features works well on the go, but make sure it’s relatively quiet since you don’t have considerable noise cancelling capabilities.


The multiwindow features lets users use multiple apps on the current screen simultaneously. Just press and hold the back key (bottom front), press the multi window tab on the side and select. Hide again by pressing and holding the back button.

The global travel program features voice service in more than 220 countries(150 with 3G speed). This phone can determine location which is very helpful for navigation, shopping and weather. For safety the default settings acquire the current location when 911 is dialed.

The Note 3 contains accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, and gesture sensors. These sensors let user perform unique functions like the air gesture where you wave with hand over the Note 3 for quick peeks at essential information without activating the smartphone. Note 3 owners also get the S beam that allows them to share large video, photos, docs, music and other content by touching two compatible devices back-to-back.

The convenient air view feature lets users browse pics, messages, and calendar by hover your finger over content. The mobile HTML5 web works well and the S Note app features built-in news powered by Flipboard technology. TV fanatics will love the WatchON app that turns the Note 3 into a remote control for TVs, cable boxes, or DVRs.

The ‘do not disturb’ mode, called blocking mode (in settings > device), can be customized for specific times and contacts, so it’s easy to tailor-make the Note 3’s status at night.

Here are the specifications:

  • Processor:  Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 (N9005, N9002)/ Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 (N9000)Adreno 330 (N9005, N9002)/ Mali-T628 MP6 (N9000)
  • Operating System: Android OS, v4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • Memory: 16/32/64 GB storage, 3 GB RAM
  • Display: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, multi-touch (1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inches (~386 ppi pixel density))
  • Connectivity: LTE mobile broadband and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, EDR, Wi-fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac; mobile hotspot, USB 2.0 using microUSB, NFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA syn
  • Cameras: Primary – 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps (N9005, N9002)/ 1080p (N9000)Secondary – 2 MP, 1080p@30fps
  • Battery: 3,200mAh
  • Special Features: Java MIDP emulator, ANT+ support, air gestures, SNS integration, active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, Dropbox (50 GB storage), TV-out (via MHL A/V link), MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player, MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player, organizer, image/video editor, document viewer(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)

Is the third time charm in the phablet Note series? Definitely. Users get considerable improvements. Samsung users will notice even though the Note 3 has a larger display/battery it is slightly narrower and thinner than the Note II.

Still not sure about the Galaxy Note 3? Try the Android app called “Galaxy Note 3 Experience”. Samsung recommends that the device include at least a 1.4GHz processor, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and 1080p HD resolution. The app includes interactive tours of the Note 3 functions.

Galaxy Note 3 users can also take advantage of some great accessories like the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch (not reviewed here) with 1.63-inch touchscreen and 1.9 megapixel camera, which launched this September at approximately $329. This device’s functions work with the Note 3 via Bluetooth (a.k.a. smart relay). This smartwatch also includes app, pedometer, voice recorder, and special scheduler that links to the S Planner. Users can also offload smartphone functions to your wrist. The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch also works with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2 smartphones.

The Galaxy Note 3 is available in black, white and pink from Verizon AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and others. The price is fairly high for this high-quality smartphone.

MSRP: starts at $299.99 with a two-year contract; plans vary according the activations, contracts, etc.

What I Like: Appealing and massive display screen, large “phablet” size, fast performance, considerably long battery life, functionality with Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, S Pen design and functions, fast quad-core processor, clear calls, sharp pictures; Near Field Communication (NFC), blocking mode, WatchON app TV remote feature

What Needs Improvement:  Expensive, simpler navigation (interface functions occasionally overwhelming), back cover plastic material catches on items, better handwritten note recognition/transfer to text, particularly paper and especially in pant pockets, noise cancelling capabilities for voice commands

Source: Verizon supplied review demo unit

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2 replies

  1. I tried to like the Note 3 and used it for about a week before eventually returning it.

    1) It is still far too plasticky to cost as much as it does.
    2) Some of the user interface elements were annoying to me – smart menu item covering up part of the screen causing accidental activation of different features, etc. I must confess that I really don’t care much for the TouchWiz UI
    3) The ultimate deal breaker for me was the Bluetooth audio streaming to my car. There were noticeable hiccoughs in the streaming causing a short but noticeable interruption in the audio streaming. I’m not sure of the cause, but it appeared completely random and not related to anything the phone was doing at the time, as far as I could tell.

    Right now I am using the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and I’m liking it pretty well so far.


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