The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 belongs to that class of devices that straddles the line between phone and tablet. While it dwarfs average-sized smartphones, its 5.7 inch display compares well with my 7 inch 2012 Kindle Fire HD. Color and contrast render beautifully in Instagram, but the Flipboard user experience in particular is really fantastic. Amazing readability.
The Galaxy Note 3’s display size is a huge draw for this device. However, be aware that a larger display also means more real estate to pick up scratches. A larger device can also make it more difficult to type. I generally prefer to type with my thumbs, which was uncomfortable for me on the Galaxy Note 3. Swipe typing is the way to go on this device if you have small to medium sized hands. I didn’t think I was going to use the S Pen stylus at all, but I actually loved it and swipe typing with the S Pen was my preferred method throughout the demo.
In addition to the display, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a great interior. It’s fast and light at only 5.93 ounces. It has 3 GB of RAM for running multiple processes and ships standard from Verizon with 32 GB for all of your photos and apps. 16 GB is never enough for me so a device that comes with 32 GB standard is a major plus for me. I also tried out the sound. The speakers play at a decent volume and Pandora sounds surprisingly good.
The Galaxy Note 3’s camera comes in at 13 megapixels with a photo size of 4128 x 3096 px. It’s capable of shooting 2160p video, too, which is a neat feature but I’m not sure when you would actually want to shoot above 1080. I expected the camera to be a huge upgrade from my iPhone 4S’ now more than two-year old camera. The photo quality is a step up, especially when using zoom. However, I had trouble with focus a number of times in a number of different lighting situations. There are tons of shooting modes you can use in the camera app that you can have fun with, too.
I had the Galaxy Note 3 during Engadget Expand NY and used it to post to social networks. Expand is a consumer tech showcase that takes place in New York and San Francisco. It’s a popular place for both established companies and up-and-comers to showcase interesting products and gadgets. Thanks to Klout I got complimentary tickets as a tech influencer, and thanks to Verizon I got to take the Galaxy Note 3 with me. It was great having a 13 MP camera because my photos turned out well. All of the photos below were taken with the Galaxy Note 3. The last thing I wanted to do was carry around my SLR while demoing products.
I easily took video while demoing the littleBits Synth Kit and snapped photos of panel speakers and great new gadgets like the Sony Qx10. There were a lot of great quotes at Expand, but my favorite takeaway was from Ben Huh of Cheezburger who said that creativity thrives because of constraint– an idea that I’ve always applied to photography but have recently been seeing in other areas as well.
This review was powered by Verizon on 4G LTE. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available from Verizon for $299.99 with a two year contract.