Big is beautiful: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 launches with 5.7in screen and all-new S Pen

It’s official: the 5.7in phablet is here with a scorching 8-core processor, brand new S Pen and... leather back?
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 3, the latest version of its stylus-wielding phablet, at the IFA tech show in Berlin.

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

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

That big screen is backed up by big specs: an Octo Core processor from Samsung clocked to 1.9GHz for the 3G version, and a four-core 2.3GHz processor for LTE phones (and, likely, some global markets). You also get a whopping 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 options for 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage (expandable via microSD), plus a giant 3200mAh battery, the same found in the Galaxy Mega.

Wrapped up in Leather

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Note 3’s camera is also, er, noteworthy. It offers a 13MP sensor, optical image stabilisation anti-shake technology – and 4K video recording.

And despite chatter that Samsung would opt for an all-metal build, instead it's taken things in a rather different direction, with the phone sporting a leatherette back (complete with stitches!) in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink finishes. Don't fancy them? Samsung's also introducing a line of swappable back covers and flip covers in seasonal shades, and is collaborating with Moschino on a line of hard cases for the phablet.

No KitKat on board

Despite some rumblings that the Note 3 would come with Android Kit Kat, it actually sports Android Jelly Bean 4.3, over which Samsung’s TouchWiz interface is laid.

The S Pen is mightier than the S word

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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.

The Galaxy Note 3 will be released on 25 September, and although pricing and contract info has yet to be revealed, UK carriers EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have already announced that they're carrying the phone. SIM-free shop Unlocked Mobiles, meanwhile, is offering the 32GB model in black or white for just shy of £600.

Want to know more? Check out our hands-on review.