Samsung Galaxy Note 3: User Review
by Christopher Sayon
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was one of the most hyped devices during it’s time. My model was the SM-N900 and is currently running Android 5.0 lollipop. I had actually got this as a present from my uncle overseas which was extremely convenient as my old phone was on the verge of dying. I didn’t exactly choose this phone but I don’t regret using and having this phone beside me for the past four years. Naturally, after four years of repeated abuse from me, the phone is a mere dusk of its former self but still doing me good.
Battery life & Charging
Back in the days, the battery life on this thing was amazing. Compared to your average smartphone, the Note 3 had a whopping 3200 mAh battery. In the past, it could go on for at least 3 hours on heavy-performance games; unfortunately, the phone doesn’t even last an hour now. On casual use such as surfing the internet, listening to music, calling friends would barely last the phone a day due to it’s withered battery. It has now become a huge annoyance to now, more often than not, charge the phone constantly. I usually have to bring a portable charger because the Note 3 runs out of battery too fast!
Performance & Design
In terms of performance and design, the Note 3 is, or was, amazing. The Note 3 SM-N900 version has a Exynos 5420 Octa-core processor with a 3 GB RAM. This could easily handle the most intense games that had 3D graphics. After four years, there isn’t much lag when doing simple tasks such as surfing the web; however, in terms of heavy-performance games, there is now a slight amount of lag which ruins the user experience. Also, when the phone is under battery-consuming activities, you can feel the battery heating up to extremely warm thresholds.
The phone screen has a 5.7-inch screen which shows the size of the phone, you can comfortably wrap your hand around and hold It; it might be a problem for people with smaller hands. Unfortunately, when holding the phone on its side and playing games is sometimes an inconvenience as my hand occasionally slips and touches the button by accident.
Strength & Durability
This tiny device is a durable brick. The back of the device is made of plastic which doesn’t shatter easily when it gets dropped, whilst the front is Gorilla Glass 3. I have numerously dropped this phone multiple times from about the waist to the ground and this phone is still standing strong despite all of the torture it has taken. Although, with age, the phone has a few scars on the sides which are very visible; strangely enough, the marks on the back, which is made of plastic, cannot be seen unless viewed from certain angles with some lighting.
One of the best features about this phone would be its S-pen which comes along with the Galaxy Note 3.
When the S-pen is taken out of the phone, a tiny widget appears asking which note-taking/writing program you need. The S-pen has a tiny button near the tip which you can think of as a right click which you can press and drag across the screen and select items. I have found that for people like me with shaky hands slightly struggle to write with this as the surface of the Note 3 is slippery unlike normal paper and pen.
The camera on the Note 3 has a 13-megapixel camera which can take 1080p resolution photos and video. In addition, you can edit the tones, contrast and the Note 3 has pre-selected modes to take different types of pictures such as a face mode, sports mode, HDR, etc.
One thing that I particularly favor about this phone is the little shortcuts this phone provides. When you swipe from the top to the bottom of the screen, you get to a list where you can change a few settings like Bluetooth, the brightness, and see the notifications all at once which isn’t a hassle all at once when you’re on a big screen; you can also access the setting menu immediately at the top right icon.
The S voice is Samsung’s attempt to replicate Apple’s Siri. Initially, Samsung decided to automatically set this to pop up if you double-tap the home button which I do unwittingly to get exit my apps. At first it wasn’t a huge inconvenience, but after repeatedly having S Voice pop up with the same dull-horrid computer voice, I got fed up and turned it off. The S Voice was just something I never needed, if you already know the ins and outs of your phone then the S Voice is not needed.
The motion control is absolutely pointless, I’ve never had any situation where I needed to use it. Why on earth would you move your swipe your hand over the phone and wait for the phone to register that action when you can just swipe the phone screen directly? The air gestures succeed only about 80% of the time as well which is annoyance if you have to repeat the action again.
The camera, even though I stated was one of it’s best features, is absolutely horrible in low-lighting conditions; what appears on the screen is complete black, nothing can be made out.
In my overall experience, I am pretty happy with this phone. To be honest, I’m surprised this phone has lasted this long as I don’t really treat the phone with care. The pros of this phone definitely outweighs the cons; when Samsung made phone at the time, they definitely outdid themselves. I unfortunately now have a sentimental attachment to the phone and will be keeping it till it breaks down. The phone can still everything it did before, just slightly slower. The people who would truly appreciate this phone’s worth are the people who like to take notes wherever they please, wherever they go with the Note 3’s handy S-pen. To be completely honest, the majority of the time I have spent on this phone was for gaming, and even now, I still use it for gaming. Props to Samsung for making this wonderful smartphone!
My overall rating for this product is: 8.5/10