The third annual update to the Note line, the Note 3 sits somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet, sporting the largest, sharpest display on a Note yet: a 5.7in AMOLED screen with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Big screen, beefy specs
That big screen is backed up by big specs. This is the first UK-bound mobile device to offer an octo-core processor (a proprietary Samsung Exynos design clocked to 1.8GHz) and 3GB of RAM. Impressive stuff from a hardware point of view. There’s also support for 4G LTE data and high quality 24-bit audio, and 32GB of built-in storage (expandable via microSD). There’s also a giant 3450mAh battery, the largest ever used on a Samsung mobile device.
Wrapped up in Leather
The Note 3’s camera is also, er, noteworthy. It offers a 13MP sensor, optical image stabilisation anti-shake technology and, amazingly, a 3x optical zoom – something incredibly rare in the smartphone world.
On the design front, it’s the best-looking Note yet by some stretch, with Samsung taking things in a new direction by using more metal than plastic in the construction. It’s a welcome move from a company that has in the past come under fire for the somewhat creaky build quality of its pricey high-end smartphones.
No KitKat on board
Despite some rumblings that the Note 3 would come with the next version of Android (version 4.4 KitKat), it actually sports Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, over which Samsung’s TouchWiz interface is laid.
The S Pen is mightier than the S word
The Note 3 packs an all-new S Pen stylus, with an arsenal of new features. A new S Pen interface enables you to ping up an Air Command menu by clicking the button on the side of the stylus. This displays new controls arranged in a fan pattern – such as Action Memo, which lets you scribble phone numbers in order to call them, search the contact on a map or send an e-mail.
A "Scrapbook" command lets you copy and organise content by circling it – for example, copying text and images in a browser window, while Pen Window lets you open application windows by sketching a window over whatever you're doing on the device.
Release date and pricing info for the Galaxy Note 3 has yet to be revealed, but stay tuned for the latest news – and our hands-on review.