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Galaxy Note 3: Even more features packed into a (slightly) bigger body

Florence Ion | Oct. 2, 2013
Samsung threw everything but the kitchen sink into its latest not-quite-a-phone, not-quite-a-tablet. No wonder it's so big.

Fast performance, long battery life
Samsung packed the Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and its own proprietary Touchwiz Nature UI 2.0 overlay. Inside, it's fueled by a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM—in laymen's terms, that means that at the time of this writing, it's one of the most powerful phones out on the market. You'll see its performance pay off today when multitasking, and you'll especially appreciate the future-proofing with the inclusion of a top-tier processor.

With its 3,200mAh battery, the Note 3 petered out after about 11 hours of constant video streaming. That's more than most of the phones out on the market right now, about on par with its the Note II's 3,100mAh battery pack, and the Motorola Droid Maxx beat it out by about two hours. You can flip on Samsung's Power Saver feature and disengage features like Smart screen to save a bit of battery life.

Like Samsung's last major release, the Galaxy S4, the Note 3 features a perfectly capable 13MP camera with a plethora of different shooting modes. Its most notable feature, however, is its 4K recording capabilities. It's mostly a ploy for marketing points, however, because not many televisions or monitors can play back the video at full resolution just yet, and the phone itself certainly doesn't have a 4k screen.

The phone is available with up to 64GB of storage, and you'll be able to add an extra 64GB through the microSD expansion slot, which should come in handy if you plan on shooting 4K video.

The key to unleashing all that power
Following in the footsteps of its older siblings, the Note 3 features the venerable S-Pen nestled tightly in its own little dock-slot on the rear-side of the phone. It's still one of the best features of the Note devices, though it's not without its own little quirks.

The S-Pen will leave faint traces on the screen after you use it to take notes in a meeting, and if you have sloppy penmanship or a penchant for meticulousness you'll be aching for the tactile feel of a ballpoint pen on paper after just a minute with this thing. But if you can stand the stylus, you'll be glad to know that Samsung tucked in a few new software features with the Note 3.

First up is the overhauled Settings menu, which dropped minor features available on the Note II, like the ability to choose a dominant hand setting. Other minor features, like Popup Note, have been cut in favor of the new Air Command features. You can still multi-task with Multi window, use Air view to hover for more information, and click the S-Pen's side button while drawing on the screen to make a selection.

 

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