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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Note 3

updated 05:33 pm EDT, Thu September 5, 2013

Phone display stretches yet again

Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch may have been the center of attention at the company's IFA event, but the company also showed off its third-generation Galaxy Note phone. Its predecessors already blurred the line between phone and tablet, and the new model has an even larger 5.7-inch display. We had a chance to try out the new handset ahead of its general availability later this month.

Despite the larger Super AMOLED screen, the Note 3 is the same width as its predecessor. It actually feels easier to wield, thanks to a thinner 8.3mm housing and lighter overall build. Overall size being a matter of personal preference, it is certainly nice to have such a large display. The Note series has approached the maximum of what can fit in most pockets, so we welcome the thinner construction without making any apparent sacrifices.

We handled a Note 3 that had a leather-textured rubberized battery cover, which was very comfortable to hold. Upon closer inspection, the stitching appears to be simply molded into the plastic, but it fits with the look that Samsung is trying to go for. It is certainly a nice change from the glossy hard plastic that adorns the back of most Galaxy devices.

Aside from the larger size and thinner bezel, the display has also been upgraded to 1920x1080. Full HD resolution looks stunning, and the large panel takes full advantage of the extra pixels. As expected of an AMOLED screen, colors are extremely vibrant and the blacks are pure.

For anyone who already owns a Note II, they will find the experience to be a marginal improvement rather than a huge leap in design and usability. For those who are considering their first jump into a large phone, the upgrades clearly make the Note 3 more compelling.

Samsung will ship the Note 3 in black, white and pink colors, with 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Availability is expected on September 25.

by MacNN Staff



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