We’ve pitted it against its forefather, we’ve had its (theoretical) speed compared with Sony’s Xperia Z1, LG’s G2 and Apple’s iPhone 5s, we’ve rounded up some of the best, most thorough and conclusive reviews online, all of which leads to one conclusion and one conclusion only: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is the best smartphone money can buy.
But where to buy it? And should you buy it now or wait a little longer? Those, my friends, are bigger questions than Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”. If you make the decision on your own, because there is an easy as pie way to get rid of some stress.
Namely, let us do the heavy lifting for you and bring together some of the best, wisest and most lucrative options to score a Galaxy Note 3. In the US only, but if you’re good we might revisit this roundup and add a few extra nations (Canada, UK, maybe Australia, you name it, we’ll do it). Before anything though, a quick reminder of Note 3’s specs and features:
- 5.7-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution Super AMOLED touchscreen
- 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 or Exynos 5 Octa 5420 (four cores clocked at 1.9 GHz and four at 1.3) CPU
- Adreno 330 or Mali-T628 GPU
- 3 GB of RAM
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- 3,200 mAh battery
- S Pen stylus
- 16/32/64 GB on-board storage with microSD support
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 4G LTE, infrared port, microUSB 3.0
- 13 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
- 2 MP front snapper
- 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm dimensions
- 168 grams weight
US availability and pricing – Carriers
Up for grabs via T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T, the Note 3 is cheapest when purchased through America’s sole “Uncarrier”. T-Mo doesn’t charge one single penny upfront for buyers of the 5.7-inch phablet, but you do need to cough up $29.50 a month for two full years. Or $708 right off the bat.
Meanwhile, AT&T and Sprint will both need you to pen a 2-year contract with them if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg. Ma Bell charges $299.99 for the black or white Note 3, with a limited-time deal shaving $200 off a Note 8.0 or $150 off a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Or, if you’d rather do it that way, the off-contract monster is $724.99. Or free on AT&T Next, with 20 monthly installments of 35 bucks a pop.
Sprint has a little promo ongoing too, with the 32 GB Note 3 technically going for $350, but dropping to $250 if you bring your number to the provider from the competition. Furthermore, the Now Network also offers to bundle your Note 3 together with a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which you’ll get for $200 off, or a measly $150.
All three seem to have enough stocks to handle both on and offline demand going forward, though it can all change at the flick of a switch. As for Verizon, they only have the “next big thing” available on pre-orders, with October 10 (i.e. the day after tomorrow) slated for a shipping start.
Big Red sells the GNote 3 in black and white for $299.99 with 24-month pacts or $599.98, alongside a complementary overpriced Galaxy Gear smartwatch. No deal, Verizon, no deal!
Finally, US Cellular is to also start selling the hottest Android in the world by the end of October, but unfortunately no details on a release date or pricing structure have been uncovered as of now. Pre-orders are not even live yet, so the pushing back of the launch to November may be in the cards after all.
US Retailers – Amazon, Best Buy, etc.
I’m pretty sure you know already carriers are not the only channel you can go through to purchase a mobile device, with retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy or Negri Electronics often going out of their way to snatch clients from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile.
That’s not really the case here though, as every American’s go-to online shop, Amazon, hasn’t even started to sell the on-contract Galaxy Note 3. They do offer the factory unlocked flavor, with 32 GB of internal storage space and in both white and black, but I’m afraid even that thing is terribly overpriced, at roughly 740 bucks.
Best Buy looks to be handling the biggest release of the fall (at least until the Nexus 5 drops) a little better, stocking the Note 3 in Sprint and AT&T-branded models, plus unlocked (more or less) and SIM-free. The downside is once again pricing, as the Sprint Note goes for $350, the AT&T $300 and the SIM-free $800.
Which brings us to Negri, probably the only trustworthy online store stateside with the Exynos version up for grabs. Pricey, at $750 unlocked, but still. The Snapdragon 800 model, also SIM-free, goes for $770, the pink one (!) with Exynos is $850 on pre-orders and the dual-SIM (!!) with Snapdragon is $911.50 (whoa), also on pre-orders.
Finally, if for some sadomasochistic reason you’d rather get the beast on T-Mobile with pacts instead of sans any contractual obligations, Wirefly sells the Note 3 in this old-school kind of deal for $299.99. Also through Wirefly, the Sprint Note 3 is $249.99, with contracts, but not just for folks bringing their existing numbers to the network.
That’s a wrap… for now, with the best advice I can give Note 3 cravers out there being “patience”. I know, you have an itch and need to scratch it badly, but think about it a little. Black Friday is coming, Christmas is coming and will you really ever forgive yourselves if you splurge $300 on the on-contract bad boy now only to see it drop to $150 or so in a couple of months? I know I wouldn’t.