Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Australian Hands-On: Not Your Average Note

Ready to meet the most powerful Android smartphone Samsung has ever made? We've gone hands-on, and it's as amazing as it reads on paper.

Also: Samsung Unpacked IFA 2013 Live Blog: All The News As It Happened

The Galaxy Note 3 is a huge uppercut to the competition. It packs a huge hardware punch with a 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, super-fast Category 4 LTE/4G capabilities, all hiding beneath a beautiful 5.7-inch Full-HD Super-AMOLED display. The battery is more juiced than ever with 3200mAh taking you from pillar to post, as well as a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera to shoot your life along the way.

All this power and beauty has been packed into a smaller footprint than ever, with the device measuring in at a svelte 8.3mm case, weighing just 168 grams.

Samsung has also overhauled the S-Pen to take it from a novelty gadget into something you're probably going to use now, and in-fact, the Air Command feature will turn the S-Pen into something you need, rather than something you can use only sometimes. Air Command is a radial menu featuring a few new features designed to leverage the Note 3's giant screen and handy power

Air Command is fast, fluid and incredibly functional. Air Window allows you to drop funky widgets on your existing multi-window layouts, bringing the power of three tasks at once onto the single, 5.7-inch screen. You don't notice any slow-down the more you throw at the device: it welcomes the challenge and excels.

Likewise with Scrapbook, Action Memo and S-Finder. These are three incredibly useful features that can only be accessed with the S-Pen. It's now something you need everyday.

Click the home button once from your landing screen and you get access to My Magazine, which is a beautiful take on your content and the perfect hybrid of Flipboard and HTC's BlinkFeed, both of which we love.

The other killer feature is compatibility with the beautiful Galaxy Gear. For more info on that fantastic gadget, check out our other hands-on.

Finally, the Note 3 is the best looking handset Samsung has ever released. Cheap, flimsy plastics have been swapped out for premium leather-feel material, which is stitched and embossed to the device beautifully.

The design of the Note II informed the design of the Galaxy S4, so hopefully these premium materials will carry over to the next generation of Samsung gadgets: we're a little tired of plastic devices at premium prices.

The Note 3 will be out in late-September on Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. We'll bring you a more detailed review of the device shortly.

Samsung is telling us that the Note 3 goes on sale around the world on 25 September.

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin have all confirmed they'll stock the Galaxy Note 3. Pricing will be announced before pre-orders in coming weeks.

Also: Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Unveiled Overnight


    So no snapdragon processor?

      It's using a Snapdragon 800

    ummmm! faux leather? sorry but i would prefer plastic that looks like steel over faux leather. Hopefully the Note 4 will feature 'real' metal and snazzier looks... otherwise seems like a good device but I will pass on the Gear Watch ...I am gonna stick with the Xperia Z1 and Sony smart watch this time round.

      When you say, real metal, I hope your not hinting of aluminum. Aluminium is the stupidest material ever to make a phone out of. You'd might as well make it out of lead cause it's got the same scratch and dent resistance of lead. Carbon fibre would be the most intelligent material to hope for. It's light, doesn't dent, scratches are hard to see. Only an idiot would hope for an aluminium phone.

        I would still far prefer metal over faux leather.. which is about as easily markable.. and can infact get indents just by resting it on grains of something...

        I'd dispute as well that it's one of the most easily dented metals.. Though all metal does dent if you bash the crap out of it.. it should hold up fine to a drop or two.. and scratches really mean nothing to me if it feels solid - which leather definitely doesn't.

        I'd agree about carbon fibre, I just think your argument is extremely hyperbolic. And you'd have to be an idiot to be extremely hyperbolic (to parody you xD)

          I'd prefer my phone body to be iridium... but that'd drive the cost up a LOT and make it very heavy... But still, nicely indestructible.
          With this It wouldn't be too hard to replace the fake leather with real leather and there will probably be some Chinese suppliers who'll do just that.

          I can't stand the crappy plastic backs on the Note 2 and Galaxy S3 myself.

          I agree with you there. Brushed aluminium looks very nice when it's brand new, but with a few dents and scratches and signal loss, it no longer looks as good.

          And a pic of the beat up back cover before I disposed of it:

        Why not have both? The right materials in the right place.

          On the S2 - Titanium Silver Sweet Armor GS2
          On the Note 2 - Silver Draco Note 2 Aluminium Bumper

        Yeah pepee63 might be right on galaxy note since galaxy note is heavy enough with those plastic. Maybe on galaxy s5, but definitely not on note. Plus they had better sell than HTC (not being offensive to any HTC fan) on gs4 with plastic so... Yeah.

      I have to say, for all the backlash in the tech world over skeuomorphism, this has gone over relatively quietly. This is a proper example of skeuomorphism, stitched fake leather, and it's fairly disgusting. Plastic leather is still plastic.

        the backlash against skeuomorphism was mainly it's use within applications and operating systems.

        This is not skeuomorphism in the same sense as what we complained about with the iphone OS- artificial leather is still a substance that you can touch, light really does reflect of off it that way, it has real texture.
        It fits within the older definition of skeuomorphism, but that is irrelevant in terms of the previous debate where the complaint was the unnecessary imitation of real world 3D objects and effects on a 2D surface. In this case the back of the phone iS a real world 3D object, and so imitating aspects of other 3d real world objects is quite appropriate.

          It's not appropriate though, the real world material is available, and is more durable than a thin leatherette plastic. it's a functionless facade as it stands. I honestly prefer the normal plastic of other samsung phones.

            I'm sure it has real function: like leather it resists damage better than smooth plastic and this type of surface is also more easily gripable. It needs stitching so a to be properly affixed.
            The only reason for choosing a substitute over real leather is cost, which is fair enough. If I got one myself I would probably replace it with real leather.

      Just get a case.. Something like the outside of the phone shouldn't matter all that much to you if you at least like what the phone DOES.

    2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 or
    1.9GHz Exynos Octa-core

    I was looking at getting a note 2, but given the specs of this, the fact that it arrives just as my current plan runs out, as well as teh fact that its nice and squared off unlike teh S4... i think i'll be doing some more research on this and the gear watch, could be a very nice combo.

    This is just advertising. Gizmodo, are you even trying?

      I'm hanging out for this phone and even I think this is mostly advertising.

        I guess Luke can't win. If my memory serves correctly he used to be an iPhone fanboy? Guess even a converted fanboy is still a fanboy.

      I guess a free trip to Europe to fawn over their new watch earns a lot of uncritical boosterism.

    Keen for this phone.

    Wonder how much Vodafone will charge me to get this on my existing plan.

    I love the irony... Review of the Galaxy Note III brought to you by Nokia!

    Pretty sure this review is paid advertising. But anyway.. I'm really impressed by the hardware and software Samsung is pushing out on their Note lines (phone, tablet) lately. Although I personally feel the screen would be too large, other Samsung devices benefit from the experimentation.

      I think that for at least the last 2 years the Note line has become Samsung's premium line.

    Looks awful - when will Samsung get some good stylists?

      Think you're on drugs buddy, that look great.

      Last edited 12/09/13 4:00 pm

    we’re a little tired of plastic devices at premium prices.


    Nobody mentions the actual internal memory - 16 or 32gb??????
    All the carriers have the specs saying up to 32gb but it does say which version you get when you order - probably the 16gb

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