The Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Initial build and the Action Note function.


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Last week, we were invited to a unique first view of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, just after the devices was announced at IFA in Berlin. Now that we’ve gotten a little extra time with the device, we can give you a little more in-depth look at the new Korean phablet. The device might not be small by most standards; it does have a 5.7-inch screen, though manages to remain as narrow as its predecessor.

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It is very nicely thin, and manages to slip into the pocket with no real problem, even with such a large screen. It’s actually thinner than its predecessor. It’s also comfortably light, without feeling plasticky or cheap. I find I can keep it in my pocket without it being a bother or creating a huge pocket bump.


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The back is the same extremely bendy plastic that is found on the back plate of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Those who are worried about the feel of the back can sit back down. Samsung has given the back plate a nice leather texture that both adds grip and a bit of a classy touch. It works, actually, just don’t spend too much time staring at it, as it is, at the end of the day, still plastic. It’s a nice choice though, as it keeps the weight down, and the back cool. There is absolutely no creaking on the particular device I have in my possession, and it is of that familiar Samsung robustness that really inspires confidence in the durability of the device.


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The screen is crisp, bright and vivid. Readability is great, even in direct sunlight, and, being a phablet, it’s plenty massive, and great for viewing videos, photos and websites. After a weekend of using it as the primary device on which to view content, I’m not sure I can go back to my S4, and it doesn’t exactly have a small screen.

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The stylus is in its usual place, and is nicely recessed in the device. It’s not going to come out accidentally, though those with short nails might have a little trouble removing it from its bay. Still, I’d rather that than have to shell out for a new stylus, so I’m all for it. The shiny metallic trim and a little extra for a smart cover around the outside of the device is also made of plastic, and as such will likely wear with use. This might be a good device on which to spend a little extra for a smart cover.

At the live event, we were able to preview a few features, but because of the time, we missed one of the more useful abilities of the Note 3, Action Memo. With the app, you can write a name and phone number, then with a quick tap, select it.

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Once selected, you can tap the appropriate app associated with the info you scribbled down, say phonebook, and voila:

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We’ll be reviewing this in the upcoming October issue, but if you want more, keep checking back. We’ll be doing a few tests on the camera, battery life and a few other odds ad ends before the magazine comes out.

Initial impressions are good, though, and if it is as useful as we think it is, it might be time to start saving up for release day.