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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The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is alive and kicking and breathes yet more life into a mobile form factor many thought would be dead on arrival, ramping up the specs and the size to give us a new monolith of mobile.

It's size certainly won't appeal to everyone, but those looking for a super-powered smartphone with all the latest tech on board should definitely be checking out the Galaxy Note 3.

We liked

It may be big, but the full HD, 5.7-inch display is fantastic and the Super AMOLED technology makes everything pop from websites to movies.

You're able to fit a lot more on screen at a time and that means less scrolling in messages, on websites and down your long contact list and that can only be a good thing.

What really impressed us with the Galaxy Note 3 though was its battery life. With such a big screen and powerful processor we were half expecting to find ourselves dashing for the charger shortly after lunch.

Instead we managed to coast all the way to bedtime still with a respectable chunk of battery left after relatively high usage throughout the day.

That power also produces a beautifully smooth and fluid user interface, and coupled with the power of 4G you won't be kept waiting by the Galaxy Note 3.

We disliked

The price is steep, but we always knew it would be. The Galaxy Note 3 is, after all, the most powerful smartphone currently on the market, but the price tag still makes us wince every time we see it.

Samsung is sticking by plastic, for now, and while that's not a terrible thing to do we have taken issue with the rather tacky faux-leather rear of the Note 3. While from the front and the side it looks like a premium device, it's really let down by the finish on the back.

We're also still not sold on the whole S Pen idea. There's a stronger case for its use on tablets with the bigger screens allowing for better usage, but at this size we find handwriting is slower than typing and it's generally just a bit of a hassle having to dig the S Pen out all the time.

The Air command features Samsung has included are clever, but we struggle to see why anyone would use them regularly, if at all.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a great phone and if you were to own one you wouldn't be disappointed. It provides a great onscreen experience - as long as your hands are big enough to reach across it - and its stuffed full of tech to almost warrant its lofty price tag.

Its size will be a real stumbling point for many and we'd recommend going into a store and just holding the Note 3 for a while to see if it's something you can cope with.

There will be some people out there who will love the inclusion of the S Pen, and it totally makes sense in the Asian markets where text input is greatly enhanced with a stylus, but in the Western world its uses are far more limited.

This is the best Galaxy Note smartphone to date and if you're a fan of the range then you'll love the Note 3 - but if you're looking for the best smartphone in the world you'll need to look elsewhere.

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.