Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Challenge, Day 6: Size and Design

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| October 14, 2013

Over the last few years, we've watched as our phones have grown in size -- practically wish reckless abandon. Phones with 3.5-inch displays, or right under four inches at the very most, were all the rage back then. People seemed content back then. Devices with 5-inch displays or bigger were safely in the tablet category, and everyone seemed okay with that.

And then all of that changed, and we've got this self-induced "phablet" category we can't seem to get away from. Our phones have become more advanced, which is a good thing, but at the same time they've also received a permission slip from the whole world to grow in size. 3.5 inches is just too small these days. Just ask Apple. Finding phones with screen sizes around 5 inches is practically the norm, and it doesn't look to be any different any time soon.

There are still options out there for those who don't want huge displays, thankfully, but they seem to be slimming pretty quickly. There are certainly more options, especially here in the States, for anyone looking to get a phone with a big screen. One of those devices just happens to be the handset that started the whole entire revolution. To be more specific, it's the third-generation of the series, and with it comes the largest display yet, but with plenty of changes to make it a worthwhile handset.

The Galaxy Note 3 is available now, and I've already reviewed it, but I felt like I needed to dive into it a bit more. I'm already in my sixth day with the Galaxy Note 3, and today we're going to talk about the size of the phone with tablet inspired applications.

As I mentioned above, the Galaxy Note 3 from Samsung is the largest of the Galaxy Note smartphones so far. With a 5.7-inch display, it's big and there's no way around that. If you're coming from any device with a smaller screen, then jumping up to the Galaxy Note 3's display may be a shock. There's plenty of room, and that's obviously what Samsung was aiming for. They want you to use this phone like you'd use your phone, but also with features that make its size make sense. That's why using two apps at the same time makes sense on the Galaxy Note 3, and wouldn't on other devices with smaller screens.

In truth, the Galaxy Note 3 feels really good in the hand. It's not necessarily built to be used with one hand, and there is no doubt that the most comfortable option is to use it with two, but I've grown accustomed to sliding my hands along the back of the device to get my thumb where I want it on the display. I can do that because it's big enough, yes, but also because of the other changes Samsung made to te design.

The Galaxy Note 3 feels great in the hand not because of its big display, but because of its lightweight design and thin frame. Indeed, the Galaxy Note 3 is surprisingly light despite its size, and that goes a long way to make sure that using a phone with that screen size for extended periods of time is worthwhile, and not frustrating.

Other than the change in screen size, the biggest change that Samsung brought to the Galaxy Note 3 is the backplate, or battery cover. In previous iterations of the Galaxy Note lineup, and every other Samsung device to date, it's been a slick plastic cover that served as a punchline for Samsung. This time around there's a textured back cover, which is designed to look like faux leather thanks to a stitching that runs along the edge of the cover.

It's new, it's different, but more than anything else it's a nice change of pace for Samsung. The back cover is still plastic, mind you, but the textured surface does so much to make sure it doesn't feel like plastic when you're holding the device. It also means that your phone isn't covered in fingerprints anymore. Not on the back of it, anyway.

The Galaxy Note 3 may have a bigger screen, but Samsung has done what they can to make sure that it's comfortable to hold, lightweight and thin. With my time with the device so far, I haven't had any reservations about using the bigger display. It could very well still be too big for some, and that's understandable. With a 5.7-inch display, the Galaxy Note 3 is a big phone. Fortunately for Samsung, it's not unbearable to hold or use.

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