Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Challenge, Day 10: Performance and BatteryEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
In today's market, there are some devices that need to have a lot of battery life, or great performance, and not simply because customers expect it from new devices in 2013 (and moving on to 2014), but because of past devices. When you make a new handset, say from the Galaxy Note II to the Galaxy Note 3, you can't go backwards or people will jump off the bandwagon. It has to be better, even if it's only a little bit.
Is the Galaxy Note 3 better than its predecessor? While I've been spending time with the device, that's one of the questions I've been asking myself. I get asked a lot whether or not someone should upgrade to the Galaxy Note 3, and that's a sound question. Not only is it new, but it has a specifications sheet that should make any tech fan drool. But, that doesn't mean the Galaxy Note II suddenly became worse, and when it launched it had its own fair share of attention in the specs limelight.
So, I'm on day 10 with the Galaxy Note 3 and I figured it was the right time to start talking about the overall battery life of the device, and how the performance has been over the last week or so. As I said above, I've been holding the Galaxy Note 3 to plenty of expectations, and so the device has had to not only perform well, and last throughout the day, but it's had to do all of that "better" than the Galaxy Note II.
Did it succeed? Yes and no.
Keep in mind that all of this simply based on the last ten days, and everything about it could change at the end of my 30-day challenge with the Galaxy Note 3. Over the course of the last ten days, I've varied my usage with the Galaxy Note 3 from heavy to light, letting the battery drain completely before I put it back on the charger. Just as with any one of my phones I use as a daily driver, the Galaxy Note 3 served as my music player,, which is a notorious tax on batteries.
The Galaxy Note 3's battery, which is up from 3100mAh in the Galaxy Note II to 3200mAh, is as big as it needs to be and it offers up plenty of juice day-in and day-out. For the first few days, when I was out and about the most, it could easily go over 20 hours on a single charge, and that was with music (stored on the device, not being streamed), some video watching, and plenty of social interactions and phone calls.
As you can see from the image above, with light usage the Galaxy Note 3's battery is a sleeping giant. At just over two days of usage, most of which was in standby mode, I never really had any fears that the battery was going to die on me. I took some phone calls, answered a lot of text messages, and scanned through a lot of Twitter during those two days, too. What's more, that's with all of the "Air Gestures" turned on, and plenty of time using the S Pen, too.
I've heard through others that the Galaxy Note 3's battery starts to lose some of its strength after a couple of weeks (based on their usage), so I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I haven't seen anything like that quite yet. So far, the Galaxy Note 3's battery has impressed me in a big way, just like the Galaxy Note II's before it. That little extra boost in size and juice helped quite a bit, it seems.
The spec sheet for Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 is an impressive one, no doubt. They shoved a lot of technology into the device, and that's always welcomed. However, if it doesn't translate to real world results that make a difference, there really isn't a point. I can say that out of the box, and over the first six days or so, the Galaxy Note 3 performed like a champ. No slow downs, no lagging, and no application crashes.
Over the last couple of days, though, I've noticed some hang-ups here and there, even just transitioning from one home screen to another. I've also noticed that the device can eat up quite a bit of RAM throughout the day, and when I would see some stuttering, or watch a couple of apps crash, I felt compelled to manage the RAM directly through the software.
It isn't worse than the Galaxy Note II, however. Not by a longshot. There aren't a lot of apps that have crashed, and the stuttering is random and never consistent. It may take some time to open an app occasionally, but it's never a constant issue. The power and resources inside the Galaxy Note 3 are obviously meant to offshoot the software, and Samsung does a good job with that. But I can't help but wonder if I should be putting a lot of the gratitude towards the hardware, rather than any optimizations to the software.
The issues that I've noticed have been so random that I've never considered not recommending the Galaxy Note 3, though. Based on my time with the device so far, it really is a thin, lightweight handset that offers quite a bit with that large display and the S Pen. Basically, the Galaxy Note 3 hasn't let me down yet, especially in the battery department, even if there have been so momentary grumblings with the software.
So far, my time with the Galaxy Note 3 has been going well. Do you own a Galaxy Note 3 yet? If so, how have you liked the device so far? Have you noticed a lot of RAM usage, or seen some minor stuttering in transitions or app crashes? Or has your time with the Galaxy Note 3 been flawless so far? How's your battery life? Let me know!