Samsung Galaxy Note 3 release date, specs and design: everything we (think we) know

The phablet to end all phablets? What to expect from Samsung’s third giant-screened phone
Galaxy Note 2

Galaxy Note 2

Samsung seems all but certain of unveiling the third edition of its Galaxy Note device in early September (not to mention the Galaxy Gear smartwatch), and as with its two predecessors we’re expecting it to fall squarely into the “phablet” category: bigger than a smartphone, smaller than a tablet.

We’ve already explored what Samsung needs to do to make the Galaxy Note 3 the best smartphone in the world, and now we've sifted through the rumours to bring you our best idea of what it might offer on launch day.

It’ll have the biggest screen yet on a Note

Note 3 leaked photo

Note 3 leaked photo

Some rumours point to the Galaxy Note 3’s screen spanning a massive 6.3 inches, which if that turns out to be the case would make it the largest display yet seen on a Note (the Galaxy Note 2 rocks a 5.5in 720p display). The Samsung Galaxy Mega, a maxi-sized version of the S4 phone, does have a 6.3in screen – so the company has some form in this field.

The Mega’s screen is a full HD TFT, but Korea Times claims the Note 3’s screen will use OLED technology instead. It will reportedly also offer a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

More recent claims suggest the screen may be smaller at 5.7in and would use Super AMOLED technology. That’d still make it the largest Note yet, but keep the hand-stretching to a minimum.

Check out our 7 ways to look good using a phablet to prepare yourself for using the Note 3 in public.

Its specs will impress

There’s been a lot of talk that the Galaxy Note 3 will feature the 1.8GHz, eight-core Exynos chip available on some editions of the Galaxy S4 phone. Note that the UK edition of the S4 has instead a quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU – we wonder if Samsung will follow the same course with the Blighty-bound version of the Note 3.

We’ve also heard the there’ll be 3GB of RAM (previously unheard of on a mobile phone) and 32GB of expandable storage, plus the possibility of a 64GB model as well as a bump up to 24-bit audio.

There’s also been talk that the Note 3 will come with the Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie operating system out of the box, although given that Google doesn’t seem likely to introduce this for a little while longer, we’re slightly dubious about that. Android 4.2.2 seems a little more plausible, with a Key Lime Pie update following in the near future.

It might be made of metal

Metal Samsung logo

Metal Samsung logo

Galaxy Note 3 leaked photo

Galaxy Note 3 leaked photo

Samsung has traditionally turned to plastic when it comes to the bodies of its Galaxy phones, tablets and phablets. SamMobile, however, claims that the praise heaped on the build quality of the aluminium-bodied HTC One has spurred the company into possibly using metal – most likely aluminium – for the Note 3’s exterior.

A recent leaked image suggests that this could indeed be the case. The photo shows a Samsung device with a shiny, possibly metallic edge.

Incidentally, the device in the photo also appears to have a very narrow bezel, which is good news if the screen does turn out to be 6.3in.

Its camera is revolutionary

Galaxy Note 2 camera

Galaxy Note 2 camera

Samsung is reportedly going to cram one of the most versatile cameras ever seen on a mobile device into the Note 3. Korean site ET News suggests that the snapper will feature a 13MP sensor (probably the same one found on the Samsung Galaxy S4), teamed up with optical image stabilisation anti-shake technology and, most surprising of all, a 3x optical zoom.

Both zoom lenses and optical stabilisation can add substantial bulk to a device, so we’re taking this rumour with a pinch of salt – but if it turns out to be true it’d likely make the Note 3 an excellent photo-taker. A zoom lens adds a lot of versatility to a camera, while stabilisation increases sharpness when shooting handheld, particularly in low light situations where the shutter needs to stay open for longer.

There are also rumours that the Galaxy Note 3 will be capable of 4K video recording.

The battery will be huge

According to PhoneArena, a tipster claims Samsung is readying a 3450mAh battery for the Galaxy Note 3. That’d be the largest battery ever used on a Samsung mobile device: the Galaxy Mega has a 3200mAh battery, the Note 2 3100mAh battery, the Note 2500mAh. It points to Samsung aiming for an “all-day” battery life, which fits the Note series’ focus on out-of-office productivity.

It’ll be unveiled this September

Samsung is gearing up to officially announce the Galaxy Note 3 in September, at Berlin’s annual IFA electronics conference. Stuff recently received an invitation to a 4th September event to see “the next Galaxy device”, so stay tuned for confirmation of all the above then, plus a UK price.