In the past year the line between tablets and smartphones have gotten closer! In March when I used the Note 2 at SXSW I caught a lot jokes about how big the phone was and how I was holding an iPad to my ear! LOL Fast forward a few months, Samsung launches quite arguably it’s best phone yet, Galaxy Note 3 along with the Galaxy Gear watch and the jokes have gotten quieter! Large phone or not, it is the real McCoy! I decided to give them a test run for 14 days. Read more on how it stacked up!
Hardware: The Note 3 is huge, let’s just get that out the way.
At six inches long, the Note 3 is larger than even oversized devices such as the HTC One, but it never feels that way, I can easily slip it in the back pocket of my jeans’. Samsung makes great use of the “real estate” with a 1920 x 1020 screen that makes it easy to watch movies or read books. The screen is quite possibly one of the best I’ve been with vibrant colors that make Temple Run 2 look realistic! LOL
Samsung equipped the large phone correctly with Snapdragon 800 quad core processor and 3GB ram that makes the phone Jimmy John’s freaky fast! I’ve tried to run something on my iPhone 5, then picked up the Note 3 after waiting to have it load BEFORE the iPhone 5, even with multiple apps running. Even when it’s graphic heavy!
Samsung ditched the plastic covering for a more upscale faux leather backing that includes stitching, giving a rather regal if I must say so myself! It thinner body with upgraded cover gives it a more professional look and make its predecessor, the Note 2 or even the Samsung Galaxy S4, look cheap. With a 3.0USB slot and Micro SD slot, not including 32/64 GB that comes with the phone you can charge your phone quickly and download tons of books, videos, text messages, and etc! LOL
Software: The Note 3 includes the latest available version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.3) with Samsung own custom user interface TouchWiz, which I happen to dislike. Samsung offers a suite of applications that can now be found in the Samsung Folder (in our T-Mobile unit but I seen other brands with the same folder), it includes S Voice, Voice Recorder, Samsung Hub, Samsung Link \, S Translator, WatchON (hate the UI), Group Play, S health that launched with the S4, the new PEN.UP and the new applications accessible from Air Command Action memo and Scrapbook.
Samsung also partnered with Flipboard to bring an app called My Magazine to the Note 3. I used flipboard heavily after Google discontinued it’s reader. Now I’ve been using feedly for a while so My Magazine app would be outdated! Bummer.
Galaxy Gear Smartwatch + Note 3 = Fun times!
I had been reading up on the Galaxy Gear for a while and jumped at the chance to review it. To be clear, you can have the Note 3 without having the Galaxy Gear watch, but if you are geekie like me and want to be able to show off the latest gadget like you are personally apart of Star Wars or a secret government spy then by all means GET IT! LOL
Launching with the Note 3 the Galaxy Gear comes with a 1.6 AMOLED 320×320 screen and a camera that is not half bad. It’s setup to sync with the Note 3, last month an update allows S4 S3 and Note 2 connections as well, to get notifications, work as bluetooth, and read tweets. Just to name a few. Still some have a hard time shelling out $299 a heavy price to read text messages.
The Galaxy Gear runs on an 800MHz Exynos CPU and 512MB RAM. Alongside that is 315mAh battery and storage of 4GB for saving apps, photos and videos (15secs). The faceplate is of a stainless steel metal material with 4 small screens that give it a more rugged look that I like.
The smartwatch comes with a charging pod that has a plug for microUSB that is also used for NFC connection to initially setup the phone to the watch. I had a blond moment trying to figure out how to connect it, because like most of the geeks I know, I didn’t read the instructions first! LOL I mean who does that! The Gear Watch is managed via the Samsung Gear Manager app, which also takes some “getting used to.” The Gear Manager updated on average 1-2 times per week which required me to semi setup my Gear face again because I use Watch Styler app to customize the home screen.
As a bluetooth device I found that the phone works well. When I was in ATL last week I used it frequently so I didn’t have to take my hand off the wheel while driving and the people on the other end told me it was hard to tell the difference.
In my testing I had a few problems with the Gear smartwatch getting stuck and I had to reboot it. This happened about 3 times a week, which could be quite frustrating. I argued my sister down that it was 4:30 because that’s where my watch was stuck! I also found that some of the apps only showed snippets, like long SMS, and I would have to refer back to my phone to read the rest which some what defeats the purpose. I also would love to see it work with other apps like Google+ or Hangout!
The Note 3 is a solid purchase that is very justifiable. The Galaxy Gear is a “nice to have” accessory that is limited and undoubtedly will be upgraded in the near future to fit consumers. I want more from the Gear smartwatch and I love the Note 3. Check out tomorrow’s Smartphone Gift Guide, Note 3 is in the list!
Find out more about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 HERE