Samsung is the company that really made the phablet category of phone popular. While the world’s biggest Android manufacturer wasn’t the first to make a device half way between a smartphone and a tablet, their Note range defined and popularized the product category. Samsung has recently announced their latest Note phablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note III, which goes on sale in less than two weeks. Here we take a hands on look at the device to see if it lives up to all the hype.
Announcement of Samsung Galaxy Note III
The announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note III was somewhat overshadowed at the IFA Berlin event by Samsung’s other major announcement – the Galaxy Gear smart watch. The phone shouldn’t have been ignored though, as it’s arguably just as innovative as the watch. With 50% more RAM than any other phone, this smartphone will be almost certainly the speediest Android phone on the market when it launches, and possibly faster even than the new Apple iPhone 5S.
3GB of RAM was the technical specification that everyone knew about this device prior to launch. Samsung had already announced they were making a 3GB RAM chip in the summer, and everyone knew the Note III would be the first phone to make use of it. When it comes to the processor things are a little more complicated as Samsung is using different processors in different versions of the phone.
Some will come with the 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor – one of the snappiest on the market – while other versions come with an octa-core processor by Exynos rated at 1.9GHz. It’s hard to tell which of the two will be fastest until we get our hands on both versions of the phone. Some have suggested that the phone might not run as fast as alternatives such as the LG G2, but this is more down to performance of the software than the hardware specs.
The camera has also been upgraded, although not to the high specifications that other manufacturers are revealing phones with. The 13 megapixels in the camera might not be as high as the 20.7 in the Sony Xperia Z1 or the 41 in the Nokia Lumia 1020, yet as we all know megapixels aren’t everything. The camera comes with some really smart stabilisation along with great auto focus and an illuminated sensor, meaning it can take amazing photos that look almost as if they’ve been taken on professional kit. The camera is also capable of recording at 1080p Full HD at a gigantic 60 frames per second. While it’s too early to see what kind of photos this will produce in the wild, from the spec sheet we expect the quality to be similar to the excellent photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy S4.
With a phablet, the display is almost everything. With a super large 5.7″ screen, we’re very happy to hear that it will come with 1080p Full HD and utilize Super AMOLED technology. However, the screen doesn’t appear to be much of an upgrade from the previous Note. What has changed is the S-Pen stylus which now has a new hover functionality. The screen looks better on the new Note because Samsung has been able to cut down the size of the bezel around it, making the phone appear more streamlined.
Overall the Note III feels like an incredibly polished device. It’s significantly more attractive than previous versions of the Note and comes with an awesome performance boost that makes it just about the fastest phone announced. If you’re looking for a high-end, large screened smartphone then this is probably the best option although it’s worth considering smaller devices such as the LG G2 which offer similar performance.