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A first look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

A first look at Samsung's hotly anticipated Galaxy Note 3 smartphone

  • Samsung's new Galaxy Note 3 is the company's third-generation Note smartphone, and it's set to be released on Thursday, 3 October in Australia. We've just got our hands on a review unit for a first look!
    The Galaxy Note 3 is packaged in Samsung's now familiar wooden-look box.

  • As you can see, our review unit is a 32GB model, the same that will be officially sold in Australia through Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile number. It carries the model number SM-N9005.

  • The Galaxy Note 3 comes with the usual accessories: an AC charger, headphones with in-line microphone, replacement silicone ear tips, a quick start guide and a new USB to microUSB 3 cable.

  • The microUSB 3 connector is the first of its kind we've seen on a smartphone. As you can see, it's much wider than a regular microUSB connection. The benefit here is that it will mean faster file transfers if you have a USB 3.0 port on your PC or Mac. It will also charge faster from a USB 3.0 port from your computer, though charging from the included AC adapter remains the same speed as always.

  • Thankfully, the microUSB 3 connector on the Galaxy Note 3 is backwards compatible with regular microUSB cables, so there's no need to throw out all your old cables.

  • 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 "serration pattern" on the sides that gives it a metallic look, even if it's still plastic. It's more attractive than glossy plastic, and also provides better grip, especially when holding the device single-handedly.

  • The S Pen is now symmetrical, so it can be stored back in the Galaxy Note 3 without having to sit the correct way up like the previous model.

  • Samsung has used a soft, textured back cover with stitching around the edges. The faux-leather finish is a nice upgrade from the company's usual glossy, slippery plastic. Our black review unit does attract fingerprints and marks, but the grippy surface means it doesn't easily slip out of your hands.

  • Despite the new finish, the back cover is still removable. The Galaxy Note 3 once again has a removable battery and microSD card slot for extra storage.

  • Looks can be deceiving: the Note 3's back cover remains the same flexible plastic as its predecessor.

  • The Galaxy Note 3's 13 megapixel camera can now record 4K video, as well as 1080p video at 60fps. 4K video is captured at a resolution of 3840x2160, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

  • Unfortunately, Galaxy Note 3 has the same home screen dock limitation as other recent Galaxy devices sold in Australia. The dock icons, by default set to phone, contacts, messaging and internet, can't be edited. A Samsung representative told us that the issue is a legal one based on patents, and that the company is trying hard to resolve the issue. Australia isn't the only country affected.

  • Samsung's S Note app has been upgraded and now synchronises with popular note taking application Evernote.

  • The Galaxy Note 3 has a new feature called "My Magazine", which is basically a Flipboard-style news and content aggregator. It's accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the home screen, or by pressing the home button when on the home screen.

  • You can swipe left and right for news, personal and social categories. The personal section includes your calendar entries and latest photos you've taken with the camera.

  • The interface is attractive, and the fact that you have to swipe to open it immediately makes it more appealing than HTC's BlinkFeed app. The animations are also smooth and fast.

  • The social category allows you to add Twitter, Google+ LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr and YouTube accounts.

  • The 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 from early October.

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