AT&T customers who are due for an upgrade and are considering this beast of a smartphone may want to know a few things before taking the plunge. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is solid, reliable, has excellent battery life and a nice display.
However, it's also loaded with a bunch of AT&T apps, otherwise known as crapware or bloatware. It's unavoidable for most carriers, but if you're looking to pick one up unlocked and avoid this mess, you may want to take that route.
Back on track, the Galaxy Note 3 is a solid performer for AT&T. In areas where we had good LTE coverage, speed tests were satisfactory. When we tested it in our offices in San Francisco, we averaged around 12Mbps down and 6.6Mbps up. Elsewhere, we've reached peaks of 22Mbps down and 17Mbps up, and we saw lows as rough as 4Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up.
Your mileage may vary, so before you go jumping onto AT&T's network if you aren't on it already, be sure your place of residence and work has good coverage. Any speed or call quality issues will boil down to the network, and not the phone itself.
That said, the Galaxy Note 3 did have better speaker quality than a lot of other smartphones we've tested. The differences are almost negligible if you aren't comparing them side-by-side, but they're there when you are.
Like other Galaxy Note 3 models, the AT&T one has the fake leather backing with the company's logo emblazoned on it. Luckily, that's the only spot you'll find AT&T's logo, unlike other carriers who like to slap their labels all over the place (e.g. Verizon).
You can get the Galaxy Note 3 at AT&T for just $199.99, or you can buy a refurbished one for $99.99, which AT&T likes to tag "Certified Like-New," like cheesy used-car salesmen. For the same price, however, you can buy the new Galaxy S5, which has a slightly smaller display and lacks the S Pen, but is slightly more powerful and runs Android 4.4 KitKat instead of 4.3 Jelly Bean.