Having been born and raised in Texas, there's a catchphrase that I've heard since I was young―”Everything is bigger in Texas”―and I figured that this would be a good place to start with my initial impressions of my newest smartphone...the Samsung Galaxy Note III. Now, I'm perfectly aware that this magnificent little...well big... device came out some time ago. That being said, I have always lusted after a device that possessed the flexibility to allow me to write or draw with it.
Upgrading from an old Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, the first concern that entered my feeble mind, was the size of the damn thing. I've heard phones called bricks before...but this thing could be the whole facade of a castle built by William the Bastard, after the Norman Conquest of 1066. My concerns over the girth of the Note III quickly abated when I went to the AT&T store, and experienced my first truly hands-on experience with the device. Despite its size, the Note III is surprisingly light, and its thin construction represents a fine technological achievement from a country which lacked electricity, in many sectors, a mere 50 years ago!
The phone is massive for a reason, the 5.7 inches of screen real-estate are tantalizing! Like a stripper in Vegas, it's bright colors and vibrant movements intoxicate the user with every input. The Super AMOLED screen provides a crisp image, boasting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The color display is crisp and alluring. All concerns about its massive 5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inch dimensions fade from the mind.
Also like a Vegas stripper, the Galaxy Note III costs a pretty penny, if you want to take it home with you. Without the authoritarian two-year contract with AT&T this phone will set you back $769.99―and that's before you figure in taxes, so worthless crack-whores can be given a phone on your dime (but, that's a different issue for a different time). All in all, with the contract, plus all the goodies that you need with the phone, it comes out to around $500.
I know that this price still causes one's jaw to drop, but for that amount of money, you're purchasing a very capable phone, with a fantastic screen, 3 gigs of ram, and a processor that has enough power to serve as the primary server for Healthcare.gov...and not crash! In addition, this phone weighs a minuscule 5.93 oz! That's amazing, when you consider the phone has a surface diameter that, like the Great Wall of China, can be seen from outer space!
The Note III comes with two cameras...which isn't innovative in the modern era, unless you're upgrading from the stone-ages (i.e., you own a Blackberry device). What is nice are the specs of the main camera. It is a 13 megapixel marvel. The list of features bundled with this camera are as robust as the phone itself is large. The front facing one is a 2 megapixel camera, which is capable, but I wish Sammy had included a higher resolution option for this camera. Nevertheless, the Note III rivals many point-and-shoot cameras out there. (Maybe that's one reason why Kodak went bankrupt!)
Moving on, the hardware of this phone is nothing short of phenomenal. It boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 system chip. In other words, a quad core 2.3 ghz processor, and a stunning 3 gigs of ram. This device is more like a computer with those specs than a mobile phone! The graphics processor is the capable Adreno 330. As a result, the display is stunning, videos look fantastic, and the phone screams with speed.
Furthermore, the Note III comes standard with 32 gigs of built-in storage which can be expanded by an additional 64 gigs, via the microSD bay. I wouldn't suggest getting that much storage, unless money is no problem for you, as a 32 gig microSD card runs in the range of $50, which may not seem like a lot, until you recall the stripper-like price tag of the phone itself!
Added to this is its 4g LTE data support, NFC, and even an HDMI connector for TV-out, via its microUSB 3.0 port. Again, this is amazing, considering the fact that this device is mobile, and just-compact-enough to be “hand-held”. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to the delight of the main oddity of the Note III...the S pen. I'm not sure why Sammy decided to name it the S pen, which―should you flip the order of the words―sounds like “penis”...but, stupid name aside, this aspect of the device is a true delight.
The handwriting recognition software is smooth, and even recognizes most of my chicken scratch, which could be confused for cuneiform writing from Ancient Mesopotamia. The other nice feature of the S pen, which rests in the bottom of the phone, is that it alerts you when the S pen is pulled out. Thus, losing the S pen is a difficult task. Drawing wise, the Note III is fun, and reminds me of a Wacom tablet, which is a good thing!
Its battery is good too! Boasting an alleged talk time of 25 hours, and a 4G stand-by time of 380 hours, or 15.8 days. Google's Android 4.3, “Jelly Bean” runs smoothly, when not marred by Sammy's worthless “Touch-wiz” interface. Nevertheless, this device is a pleasure to use, and though ungainly in size, after adjustment, I think I might fall in love with the size too!