The thing about having the biggest, latest gadget in the market is that you start taking it for granted. It’s almost like a new spouse, in the beginning you love and appreciate every little thing about them, a few years (or months) down the line and you start taking the other person’s effort for granted. The privileges become rights. It’s like that with a gadget. With the Note 3, you forget to appreciate the screen size until forced to watch a video on a small phone, say Galaxy S4 or even the tinier iPhone 5s (sorry couldn’t help myself, what’s with the ‘s’ stuff?).
Galaxy Note III v iPhone 5
After about two months in my possession, I am now used to the huge size of the Note III and no longer fret about the impossibility of typing with one hand. Here are my 10 favorite things about the Note III, in no particular order:
1. The Attention
The looks of awe, envy and related adjectives that one gets when people admire their phone. They ask, is that a Note 2? And you balk and say, no no.. this is THE note III. But really, it’s awesome having the biggest phone around town with a matching Gear [link]. Watch your friends, family, colleagues, relatives, neighbours, clients (and everybody) get impressed and ask you to show them the features and what you can do with the Note and Gear.
2. The Spen (S-Pen) and S-Note application
The trademark of the Samsung Note series is the stylus, otherwise known as the S-Pen. There are cool tricks you can do with it, for instance if you need to quickly write something down, you just click on the screen by pressing a button the pen. The screen then becomes an editable image where you can jot down a quick note.
You can also grab an area of the screen as a snapshot for illustrating something. With S-Note, you can create memos that incorporate images, videos, links, and actions (otherwise known as action memos) such as reminders to send emails etc.
Creating an action memo with Note III
When going into meetings, I no longer carry a pen and notebook, not when I have a far more impressive and efficient way of taking notes. Besides with handwriting recognition, you can answer texts, emails by writing on the screen with S-Pen.
Direct input with S-Pen
Let’s not forget the sketches one can do when you have artistic talent. Need to illustrate a point to someone, draw them a rough map (or include a snapshot of the map from Google maps?). Do it with the S-Pen and S-Note.
3. Taking Photos
The Camera got upgraded to 13MP, with a host of other enhancements. The modes for taking photos include:
Note 3 camera modes
- auto (automatic settings for the lazy)
- sports (for fast moving objects)
- surround shot (360 degree panorama)
- Eraser (saves the best picture after erasing moving objects from 5 consecutive pictures)
- rich tone for enhancing the realism of pictures by increasing contrast of light and colour
- golf (you’ve got to see it to believe it)
- animated photo (picture includes animated parts)
drama (several shots of a moving objects and merges them into one)
- sound shot (picture includes a few seconds of background noise)
- best face (for that perfect selfie)
- best photo (the best picture from a series of consecutive shots)
- beauty face (enhances the facial features when taking a photo)
And despite all these, I still take shaky, blurry and poorly lit pictures. I surely suck as a photographer on most days.
However, if you have an interest in photography and Instagram, you can never go wrong with the Note III. Except if you have to take photos at night.. it doesn’t do too well at night even with the flash.
The video is capable of recording in HD.
There is a front camera for selfies. And you can have a dual shot (both front and back cameras at the same time.)
I have a resolution to read more books this year. I have contemplated buying a kindle but when I look at the size of the screen I have with the Note 3, really there is no point in adding to the weight of gadgets I am carrying around. The screen is perfect for reading, you can choose reading mode, you can adjust brightness, you can choose night mode depending on the app you are using for your books. Here is my current bookshelf.
Aldiko Book reader bookshelf
5. Videos and Viewing Photos
Want to catch up with the latest video from Miley Cyrus twerking? I kid! The horror, I know.. who would want to subject themselves to that? Bored in the car waiting for someone, plug in your headphones and watch an episode of Breaking Bad. You will appreciate the screen size then.
6. Playing games
Start with Temple Run and you will be hooked. Are you currently addicted to Candy Crush saga on your Galaxy Y? Well, if you upgrade to the beautiful and big screen that comes with the Note III, say goodbye to sleep!
Wave in the air to swipe the screen. Hover with your finger to preview an email. When reading, slowly move your eyes and the book auto-scrolls, no need to flip pages. As long as you are looking at the screen it will not go off, only going off when you look away. These features I admit that I don’t use as much, but they are worth showing off to others. Others include screen mirroring, NFC, S-Beam etc. All the cool stuff in S4 is also in Note III.
The shortcut to the settings of the cool stuff :)
8. Battery Life
When I am not using my phone, the internet is off, the GPS is off, all applications are terminated etc. I actively conserve power. When I had a Samsung Galaxy S4, I charged it every day. With the Note III and the same intensity of use, I can go two days without charging it. Bottomline, it can take you two days. But it’s a smartphone with a huge screen and a demand for the 3G+. Carry your charger always.
9. Design, Samsung User Interface and Apps
Above and beyond what Android 4.3 Jelly Bean offers, Samsung offers Note III users the TouchWiz Nature UX that is optimized specifically for the Note. This lends a glossy appeal for the icons and menu.
The Note III looks the price you bought it for! Some friends were complaining how the Note II looked cheap with the plastic finish, but Note III really looks classy with the faux-leather casing.
The back of the Note 3
Various colours available too!
Note 3 colours
And not only do you have access to the Google Play market, you can also access the Samsung Hub store for apps, books, and other media.
The Samsung Hub
10. The Connection with the Gear
The pictures say it all. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, you need to get the Gear to complement the Note III. Read my review of the Gear.
Note III with S-Pen and Gear..
For more detailed reviews of the Note 3, check out the review onGSM Arena and engadget.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will set you back by about Ksh. 75,000 (there is no absolute price, depends on where you buy it); and the Gear costs around Ksh 25,000-30,000.