Hands-on Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung GALAXY Note 3
Samsung GALAXY Note 3

Samsung GALAXY Note 3 smartphone and GALAXY Gear smartwatch has been launched in Malaysia on September 20, 2013. I was invited to the launch event and had the opportunity to experience the products. Read on for the GALAXY Note 3 features and hands-on review.


Samsung GALAXY Note 3 is the 3rd generation of the Note series – big size smartphone with a stylus (S Pen). Note 3 has wider Full HD (1980×1080) Super AMOLED display (5.7″), yet slimmer (8.3mm) and lighter (168g), with bigger battery (3,200 mAh).

Note 3 is powered by 2.3 Ghz Quad-core processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage with support microSD up to 64GB. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. Note 3 13MP rear camera can record UHD (4K) video with 30 fps and slow motion video at 120 fps. The 2MP front camera records Full HD video at 30 fps.

On connectivity, Note 3 supports WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, IR LED for remote control and MHL 2.0. With LTE CAT4 Carrier Aggregation, Note 3 “supports the greatest number of multiple (LTE) frequencies”, according to Samsung.


Samsung GALAXY Note 3 - Air Command
Samsung GALAXY Note 3 – Air Command

You can never talk about GALAXY Note smartphone without mention its S Pen stylus. Afterall, it is the main selling point of the big size smartphone. For Note 3, Samsung adds some new features to the S Pen. Now you can activate “Air Command” to show a palette of 5 features:

  1. Action Memo – allow you to handwrite a note and automatically format the hand written content to make a call, add to contacts, look up on map, search web, save to to-do list and more.
  2. Scrapbook – allow you to organize content and information from various sources, including web, YouTube and Gallery in one place.
  3. Screen Write – capture screenshot and allows you to write onto the image.
  4. S Finder – search for content on Note 3, including hand-written content.
  5. Pen Window – open small application window on top of other apps.

For non-S Pen features, Note 3 has integrated Flipboard app as your personal magazine on the large screen. Also, new Multi Window allows you to toggle between applications without closing window or opening a new page. You can now drag and drop content from one window to the other.

Improved Multi-Vision feature enables you to share and play content together simultaneously. Several Note 3 devices and connects together to create a “big screen” (video span across multiple displays).

Sounds cool? Read on for my personal hands-on experience after the Note 3 video below:

Hands-on: Samsung GALAXY Note 3

The first thing you will notice when you hold a Samsung GALAXY Note 3 smartphone is its leather-and-stitching back cover. It feels good to hold, though I am not sure it is genuine leather or not.

Samsung GALAXY Note 3 - back leather cover
Samsung GALAXY Note 3 – leather-and-stitching back cover

For the first time, Samsung dumps cheap plastic back cover for their smartphone. However, the Note 3 sides are shiny plastic (refer to photo gallery below).

Without curved corners like GALAXY Note 2, Note 3 is more square-look. My hand managed to hold Note 3 from side-to-side (151.2 mm width) but not comfortable.

You would probably hold Note 3 like a tablet – holding its left/right side, instead of stretching thumb to hold it side-to-side.

I am not a fan of stylus. Samsung S Pen is too small and too thin for me. I felt difficult to hold the pen still while scratching on Note 3. (Maybe it’s my personal problem as I seldom write with a pen anymore…)

You hover S Pen over Note 3 and press the S Pen button to activate Air Command. It works well and responsive. Action Memo can recognize my hand-written numbers. I didn’t challenge it to recognize my poor hand-writing words. My bad!

Pen Window is basically a quick launch menu to launch supported apps on top of screen. You select an app and draw an area on screen to launch the app. I think the drawing app area part is unnecessary, since apps do not opened in same size as the drawn area.

Note 3 performance is good, everything is smooth. I did a quick SunSpider 1.0.1 JavaScript benchmark, the result is 643.8ms (lower is better). For comparison, my iPhone 4S scored 1550ms.

Photo gallery: GALAXY Note 3

Check out the Samsung GALAXY Note 3 photos I took during the launch event:


Samsung GALAXY Note 3 is a good upgrade from Note 2. It is faster, slimmer, bigger, lighter, and bigger battery (not sure about battery life). The S Pen has more functions now.

If you are looking for a big smartphone with a smart stylus, I think GALAXY Note 3 is the one.

Samsung GALAXY Note 3 is available in Black and White colours. The recommended retail price in Malaysia is RM2399 (~USD$745). You can buy Galaxy Note 3 at all Samsung retail outlets, authorised dealers and telco partners including Celcom, DiGi, Maxis and U Mobile.

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15 thoughts on “Hands-on Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 3”

  1. damn it samsung 2699 for N5 not worth
    since u had remove the SD card slot and no longer remov batt
    u better drop the price or else i guess ur sales will be sloopy

    • You know what? As we all know that Note 4 is not waterproof. However, Note 5 is with waterproof function. It is such a huge improve from Samsung right?

    • Also, this time the selling point is the S Pen. The S Pen function added a lot and it brings a great convenience for people. Something is very attractive to me, and that is when your screen is locked, you still can record something on the screen, Note 5 will automatically record it for you. We have no rush as before like unlock the screen ASAP and then began to jot down the note.

  2. Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Silver Titan, White Pearl.
    You can refer to Samsung official website to find out more. Thumbs up


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