Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Galaxy Note 3 deep-dive: A plus-sized phone with perks and quirks

JR Raphael | Oct. 9, 2013
Samsung's new big-screen phone has a lot of great qualities, but a handful of issues keep it from reaching its full potential. So is it the Android device for you?

Galaxy Note 3

Citizens of the smartphone-using world, hear this: When it comes to what you carry in your pocket, size definitely matters.

Just look at Samsung's new Galaxy Note 3. The device is the latest in a line that brought big back into style — and now, plus-sized phones are a category all their own.

Lucky for Samsung, size isn't the only thing that sets the Note 3 apart. The phone's S Pen stylus opens the door to some interesting and innovative ways of interacting with a smartphone — and this latest model offers some meaningful improvements over its predecessors in both form and functionality.

While the phone has plenty of attractive qualities, though, it also has some noteworthy downsides. So all considered, is it a phone worth buying?

I've been living with the U.S. model of the Note 3 for several days to find out. Read on to see what the new Note is actually like to use in the real world — and whether or not it's the right device for you.

(The Galaxy Note 3 is available now on AT&T for $300 with a new two-year contract, Sprint for $250 with a new two-year contract, and T-Mobile for $0 down and a two-year $29.50/mo. payment plan. It'll be available on Verizon starting October 10 for $300 on contract. U.S. Cellular has said it will sell the phone sometime in October as well but has yet to announce any specific pricing or availability details.)

Body and screen
It may seem obvious, but it has to be mentioned: The Note 3 is a large device. Like, really large.

At 5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 in. and 5.93 oz., the new Note is significantly bigger than any standard-sized smartphone. As such, it's not going to be for everyone: The device can be rather uncomfortable to hold in one hand and even more awkward to hold up to your ear for a call. Depending on your gender and pant preferences, it'll range from being uncomfortable to carry in your pocket to impossible to fit in it at all.

That's not by any means to say it's an outright bad form; these days, plenty of people prefer a plus-sized device that's able to provide the benefits of a smartphone and the screen space of a tablet. I'd simply suggest stopping by a brick-and-mortar store and holding one for yourself to see how it feels to you.

For owners of past-generation Galaxy Note devices, the Note 3 certainly won't seem outrageous; in fact, it's pretty darn close to the same size as last year's model. And thanks to slimmed down bezels, it packs a beefed-up 5.7-in. display, up from the 5.5-in. screen on the Galaxy Note 2.

 

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.