Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Taking advantage of its consolidated comfortable position in the smartphone market, Samsung hasn’t considerably upped its ante, choosing the rehash route rather than the major upgrade.
Or how about this: it isn’t worth upgrading to the latest Samsung flagship device, as it’s not a game-changer in any key way and does not innovate as past spearheads of the company? Sound familiar? I know it does, since it’s essentially the tune every single Galaxy S4 reviewer sang last spring, being on the verge of repeating itself now that the Note 3 is (almost) out.
And since I myself was a GS4 skeptic (the HTC One was much closer to my heart), I was ready to make a recital of how the Galaxy Note 3 is a pithy update to the 2012 Note 2. But I can’t. I simply cannot. Which is why I’ve decided instead to compile a list of everything that’s changed between last year and now and all that’s remained the same. Here goes:
Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 2 – What’s new
- Bigger, brighter display with higher resolution and pixel count
They’re going to tell you Full HD doesn’t really make a difference. That 119 ppi more (386 now vs. 267 last year) is nothing. That it’s the same Super AMOLED screen of the Galaxy S3, just bigger. But what do they know? Meanwhile, what you should know is Note 3’s panel is big yet not uncomfortably so, uber-crisp, rocking fantastic colors and just excellent for anything from watching video clips to browsing.
- Compact, lighter body and thinner profile
Samsung’s engineering work has been more than once in the past few years mind-boggling, but the Note 3 manages to take it all one step further. How did these artists manage to boost the usable screen real estate by 0.2 inches yet still shave 15 grams off the phone’s weight, 1 mm off its thickness and keep both the height and width in check? One word – aliens.
- Faux leather battery cover
Plastic or metal? How about faux leather? In a nutshell, I imagine that’s how this bold design decision was made. And let’s face it, it was a pretty big gamble. But by the looks of it, it paid off. I’ve not yet had a chance to play with a Note 3 in the flesh myself, though I don’t have to in order to tell the back cover is smooth, elegant and for once premium-looking. What else could you want?
- Zippier processor and one extra gig of RAM
The GNote 2 was already a beast, capable of handling even the longest, heaviest Android gaming sessions, so the Note 3 didn’t really need a speed boost. Which is why it’s so incredibly awesome to see Samsung always want to be on top of its game, always thinking ahead, always taking care of you.
Is there any limit to what the quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU and 3 GB RAM can do? Let’s just put it this way – the laptop I’m currently writing these lines on features less memory than this phone.
- Better rear-facing camera, Android 4.3, redesigned interface
Moar megapixels is always better, but for the time being, before seeing reviews and sample pictures, there’s no way to know how much better the 13 MP snapper on Note 3’s back is compared with Note 2’s 8 MP unit.
Meanwhile, on the software front, most of the tweaks and bumps are barely noticeable, although there are also plenty of important new S Pen-related features, such as Air Command or Pen Window. And a new, tastier, smoother Jelly Bean flavor.
Note 3 vs Note 2 – What’s the same
- Design language
There are those that say the Galaxy Note 3 borrows heavily from GS4’s design and even GS2’s looks. But I don’t see it. Sure, it’s sharper around the edges and whatnot, but on the whole, it’s exactly how I would have pictured an evolved Note 2. Which is not a bad thing, mind you. Quite on the contrary.
- S Pen
Again, not a bad thing, but Note 3’s accompanying S Pen accessory looks almost identical to Note 2’s. In terms of design, but also capabilities, versatility and functionality.
- Battery life
I’m going out on a limb here, as the battery tests for the “next big thing” are not yet in, but since the capacity is only upped with 100 mAh, the display is both larger and higher-res and the CPU faster, I’ll assume the real-life autonomy will be more or less identical. Maybe even worse for the GNote 3, though I certainly hope not.
- Storage, connectivity options and “gimmicks”
Still no fingerprint scanner (who needs one after all?), still 32 or 64 GB of on-board storage with microSD expansion (the 16 GB model appears to have been ditched), plus all you’ll ever need as far as connectivity goes and more (i.e.: 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, infrared port).
There’s really nothing Sammy could have innovated or upgraded here and I for one am fine with that. How about you? Do you think the Note 3 is worth buying? Is it all that you dreamed of or not that big of a deal? The floor is all yours.