Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android phone (preview)

The Galaxy Note 3 is thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessor

Samsung has just announced the third-generation of its popular Galaxy Note smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3. It features a larger screen, a whopping 3GB of RAM, and has an upgraded camera, but still manages to be thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessor.

Officially unveiled at the annual IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany, the Galaxy Note 3 is highlighted by a new look and feel. While we wouldn't go as far as calling it "premium" as Samsung does, the soft, textured back cover with stitching around the edges looks like a nice upgrade from the company's usual glossy, slippery plastic. The Galaxy Note 3 also has a "serration pattern" on the sides that gives it a metallic look, even if it's still plastic.

The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7in Super AMOLED display with a full HD resolution of 1920x1080, making it 0.2in larger than its predecessor. Despite the slight increase in size, Samsung has managed to make the Galaxy Note 3 thinner (8.3mm) and lighter (168g) than the Galaxy Note II.

The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7in Super AMOLED display.
The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7in Super AMOLED display.

While a larger screen and a new design are highlights, Samsung is once again banking on its S Pen stylus and new software features to win over consumers. The key feature is Air Command, a circular menu that pops up every time you remove the S Pen from the phone, or when you hover the S Pen over the screen and press the command button on the pen.

From this Air Command menu, users can access four new S Pen features including Action Memos, Pen Window, S Finder and Scrapbook. Most of these appear to be typical Samsung gimmicks that you won't end up using very often, though Pen Window is likely to be the best of the lot. It allows you to draw a box of any size on the screen, and open another app inside the window as an overlay on the current screen.

The Action Memo feature is also notable, letting you handwrite a note, and convert it into formatted content. You can also action items, such as writing a phone number and then calling the number directly from the note.

Samsung's S Note app has been upgraded and now synchronises with popular note taking application Evernote. Perhaps the best feature is the fact the S Pen is now symmetrical. This means it can be stored back in the Galaxy Note 3 without having to sit the correct way up like the previous model.

The Galaxy Note 3 will sold in Australia through Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile and is expected to be available from late-September.
The Galaxy Note 3 will sold in Australia through Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile and is expected to be available from late-September.

Other software features include a revamped Multi Window feature that allows you to run two apps on the screen simultaneously. The feature now allows you to run the same application in two windows. As an example, you can send a message to someone on the bottom half of the screen, and read a message from someone else on the top half of the screen. You can also drag and drop content from one window to another.

The Galaxy Note 3 naturally has upgraded specifications. It's powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, has a whopping 3GB of RAM, and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. A microSD card slot underneath the rear battery cover allows for memory expansion. The phone runs the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean, and is skinned with Samsung's TouchWIZ UI overlay.

Samsung will sell an S View Cover accessory for the Galaxy Note 3.
Samsung will sell an S View Cover accessory for the Galaxy Note 3.

Other features include a 13 megapixel camera that can record 4K video, as well as 1080p video at 60fps, a large 3200mAh battery, and Samsung's KNOX enterprise security solution. Samsung also includes a Find My Mobile feature that allows users to disable the phone in the event it is lost or stolen.

Samsung will sell a number of accessories for the Galaxy Note 3, including interchangeable back covers in nine different colours, and a new S View Cover with a larger window than usual.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be available in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink colour variants. It will be sold in Australia through Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile and is expected to be available from late-September.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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