Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Smarter, longer, faster, something else-er... this is an evolution and a half

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review
The next step in the Note family?

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As is customary on Android devices these days we're treated to two internet browsers on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - the stock Internet offering and Google Chrome.

There's not a great deal of difference between these two options and you'll get a decent web surfing experience which ever one you plump for.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Chrome is a marginally cleaner offering with a light grey colour scheme and just the URL bar and tabbed browsing icons on display at the top of the screen, while the Internet browser also squashes in back and forward keys and a shortcut to bookmarks in this top bar.

Minimalism versus functionality then - take your pick.

Thanks to the beefy quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM stuffed inside the Galaxy Note 3 browsing speeds are pleasing quick, with the desktop version of TechRadar fully loading in just under seven seconds over Wi-Fi and 3G in both browsers - although you can start moving round the page and clicking links after four.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Mobile sites take around three seconds to load on a strong Wi-Fi or 3G connection, and you can take another second off all these load times if you're rocking a 4G connection on the Galaxy Note 3.

So load times are impressive putting the Note 3 up there with the best of them, and if we had to choose between the two browsers we'd say Chrome was a shade faster - but it's hard to tell.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Open a desktop site in Chrome and you'll see a zoomed out, full width display of the page, but in the Internet browser it automatically zooms in on the page, meaning you have to pinch the screen and zoom out manually to see an overview.

We prefer having the full width of the site shown to us when we visit, as it makes it easier for us to zoom in on the relevant area.

The 5.7-inch full HD display means text appears sharp and images well defined, but the clarity doesn't quite match the likes of the Galaxy S4 or HTC One.

Sadly there's no automatic text reflow in either browser. A double tap on an area of text will see the Note 3 zoom in so the text fits the width of the display, but it will still be too small for some.

You can zoom in further, but you end up having to scroll sideways to read sentences as well as down. You can adjust the text size of sites in both browsers, just hit the menu button below the screen and select settings.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

The stock Internet browser does have an ace up its sleeve in the form of Reader mode though. You'll see a green icon appear in the URL bar and if you hit that the Note 3 will strip out all the page furniture from the article you're viewing, serving you with just the text in a far more manageable form.

Both browsers support multiple tabs, allowing you to have several websites open at the same time, and it's easy to switch between them, add new ones and delete the ones you've finished with.

There's an icon in the top bar of both browsers providing a link to your open tabs, with neat little thumbnails showing which sites are open in each window.

If you need to do some private browsing then both clients support incognito mode, and an added benefit with Chrome is its ability to sync with Chrome on your other devices such as a laptop or tablet, allowing you to access the same favourites and have the same tab open on multiple devices.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.