The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes in two variants the Note 3 SM-N9000 and SM-N9005. This is a Note 3 SM-N9005 review that comes powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Krait 400 processor running Android 4.3 with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Model : SM-N9000 is currently being sold in India that comes with  a different processor and supports 3G. Both the Note 3 models have similar specifications except for processor/GPU, camera video recording capabilities and 4G/3G support.

Box Packing
Inside the box you will find the handset, earphone, battery of 3200 mAh capacity, power adapter, warranty card and user manual.

Design and Display
The handset is slimmer than the Note 2 and light weight too. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 weighs 167 grams as compared to Note 2 that weighs 181 grams. The Note 3 is 8.30mm thick (Note 2 is 9.29mm thick), breadth is 79.14mm and length 151.05mm.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

The rear side is faux leather (artificial leather) that feels good and gives a good grip. The stitching on the rear edges, is just a show off, unreal, but looks good. The S-Pen also got some makeover it is slimmer and different (look wise) as compared to the S-Pen on Note 2.

The 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top with a mic and on the bottom side another mic, followed by USB 3.0 port, speaker out (check the video review or image gallery) and the S-Pen slot. On the rear there is 13MP AF camera with LED flash. There is the power button on right side and volume rockers on the left.

Note 3 rear side view with 13MP AF camera

Note 3 is with USB 3.0 port, it is bigger than the usual USB 2.0 port that you have seen on almost all handsets including the Galaxy Note 2. However you can still use the old data cable with USB 2.0 pin.

Note 3 USB 3.0 cable

The screen has improved its Super AMOLED of size 5.7 inches and supports full HD resolution i.e. 1920×1080 pixels. The viewing angle is excellent, color reproduction is fantastic and images are sharper and vivid. Touch is smooth and responsive.

Most of the functionality of the S-Pen are similar to as found on the Note 2, the interface is a little different. There are some new features added, for example whatever you note down can be converted (handwriting to text), which is a cool feature. You can note down a number or address on the note pad using S-Pen in your own handwriting and then convert it and use it to dial the number or in other apps. This feature I believe can also be included on the Note 2. Note 3 also includes accelerometer, magnetic, gyro, light, proximity, humidity, temperature and gravity sensors.

Galaxy Note 3 with S-Pen

Memory, storage and OS
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with 3GB RAM (about 1.5GB free) and 32GB storage. System memory takes up 13.08GB and user available space is 13.72. Micro SD card of up to 64GB is supported. OTG is supported – I could connect my pen drive using the OTG cable. Note 3 runs on Android 4.3 OS and does support the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.

Inside the hood
It is single SIM, there is overlapping Micro SIM slot and the Micro SD slot in the battery compartment. As mentioned the Note 3 is available in different variants the one that I used for the review is different from what is available in the Indian market. In most of the stores (online / offline) you will find the Note 3 N9000 version.

Note 3 SM-N9005 (MSM8974) is powered by 2.27 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Krait 400 quad core processor coupled with Adreno 330 GPU.

Note 3 SM-N9000 is powered by 1.9GHz quad core (cortex A15) + 1.3GHz quad core (cortex A7) (octa core) (universal 5420 board – Exynos octa core) coupled with Mali T628 GPU.

The Note 3 N9005 Benchmark
Antutu Benchmark: 31982
Vellamo: HTML5 (2656), METAL (1178).
Nenamark2: 60.2 FPS.
Multi Touch: 10 point.
OTG: Supported.

I could not get the Quadrant benchmark results because for some reason it failed to connect to the net even when the net was working.

13MP Camera and Entertainment
There is a 13MP camera on rear with LED and 2MP on the front. The front camera can record videos in full HD resolution. Now on the Note 3 SM-9005 model you can record videos (using rear camera) in 4K i.e. 3840×2160 pixels resolution. This is not possible on SM-9000 model. On the SM-9000 model you can record in max 1080p resolution (Full HD) only.

You can also shoot still images (not in 4K mode) when the video shooting is on. The still picture quality and video quality is very good. You can check the sample images at the end of this Note 3 review. I was particularly impressed by low light output. Check the street light shot that I had taken using the Note 3 handset, it’s so much better than any other handset that I have reviewed.

You can watch full HD videos with ease. Sound is loud and clear.

I got the review unit for few hours and couldn’t check some high end games. You can check the gaming videos on Note 2, well Note 3 is more advanced and it can easily run all games that worked on Note 2 and many more high end games.

The SM-9005 supports 4G and the SM-9000 model supports 3G. I could not check the GPS but rest assure you will get the lock in just 2 to 3 seconds (GLONASS / A-GPS). Wi-Fi, Bluetooth worked well – no issues.

On the SM-9005 I found reactivation lock feature wherein users can stop other people from reactivating the device after it has been reset. I am not sure if the same is available on the SM-9000 model.

3200 mAh Battery
The battery is of 3200 mAh capacity, it’s removable and gives a good backup time. The battery on Note 2 is 3100 mAh. I used the Note 3 handset for approx 28 minutes running benchmarks / checking apps etc. the battery level dropped by 16 percent. Max temp was 36.8 degrees.

3200 mAh battery on Note 3

The Note 3 is powerful, stylish and more advanced than the Note 2. The SM-N9000 model is available for Rs. 47,900. The note 2 is available for approx Rs. 30,000 and Note 3 for approx 18K extra. No doubt Note 3 is expensive at the moment; probably the price will come down within few months. A good buy if you can afford, but if budget issue, Note 2 is not a bad option.

Note 2 is capable of running Android 4.3 and I believe all the new S-Pen feature can be passed on to the Note 2. However, Samsung would not want to do that now as that could affect the Note 3 sales.

Note 3 Image Gallery

Sample images shot using Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

4K video sample using Note 3 (available only on SM-9005 model)

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By Rajeev Rana

Founder and Chief Editor -