We’ve Seen The Galaxy Note 3, And It Is Good

GC-news-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3-previewGetting your hands on a Galaxy Note 3 is a familiar experience: it feels big, just like the Note 2 and the Note 1. Unlike its older brothers, the Note 3 feels faster, smoother, and more polished than ever before. This is the first Note to roll off the line that has us rubbing our hands in anticipation.

We only had a half-hour with this model courtesy of Samsung Canada, but we’re looking forward to bringing you a full review in the future. That said, the note is definitely going to turn some heads as it launches. Up front you can’t miss the big, beautiful 5.7” OLED screen; while some will say that OLED can be blotchy (and in certain circumstances it can) it’s absolutely gorgeous in action, especially when you give it plenty of colours to play with. We shot some test shots with the 13MP camera (which we couldn’t take with us) but they looked great on the device.

Under the hood there’s a quad-core Snapdragon 800 and 3GB of RAM, all powering Android 4.3. We zipped around the device, popping into and out of various apps, back out to home, and into media files without a hiccup. This is one of the most responsive Android devices on the market.

As far as feel goes… yes it still feels a little cheap. If you’re like everyone else on the planet you’re immediately going to get this thing into a protective case, but it still feels a little plasticky when naked. You can also swap out the back covers with a variety of premium options, which is nice even though it adds extra cost.

The big difference between this device and other portables out there is the S-Pen. It tucks away into the device when not in use and gives you precision control thanks to a new digitizer from Wacom. While we’d love to tell you we got some serious pen-time with the stylus, we didn’t. The brief moments we had were good, but haven’t convinced us that Steve Jobs was wrong about stylii and mobile devices.

The new charging port looks incredibly intimidating, but it’s just a regular USB 2.0 mini that’s been upgraded with some 3.0 tech. Yes, you can use your old cables! micro-USB 3.0 is great, but backwards compatibility is even better. Chalk one up for Samsung there!

We’ll always be fans of stock Android, but it looks like Samsung is really getting the hang of Android enhancements with their latest TouchWiz UI. All the usual S-apps are there, with some new apps like My Magazine, care of a partnership with Flipboard. It looks like a great way to browse your social networks and news feeds, so it gets a thumbs up for us.

The other device we went wrist-on with was the Samsung Galaxy Gear. We can’t say much right now, but it will definitely be interesting to see how the market in Canada responds to it.

Are you eyeing a Note 3? Giddy for the gear? Let us know in the comments below!

Graham Williams is a Canadian Tech Blogger and correspondent for GetConnected. You can follow him on Twitter at @thetechnogram

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