Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Challenge, Day 30: The ConclusionEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
I'm at the end of my time with Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, at least as far as this 30-day challenge is concerned. When I started this, I was going in as a fan of the Galaxy Note lineup. I'm not just talking about the smartphone/tablet hybrid, either. I like the idea that Samsung created with their Galaxy Note lineup: put a focus on the stylus, and put a ton of features in there to make it worthwhile. One of the things I think a lot of tablets out there are missing, even the most popular ones, are built-in support for stylus. The bigger screens just make them make sense.
Of course, there's been a stigma around stylus for a long time, and I can say that I was part of that movement for quite some time. As we moved away from resistive touchscreens and embraced capacitive technology, the need of a stylus just didn't seem to fit in. Our fingers worked better, thanks to the technology underneath them.
Now that we're several years past that, tablets like Samsung's Galaxy Note lineup, their smartphone/tablet hybrids, along with Microsoft's Surface Pro (and 2!), and plenty of other devices from other manufacturers have learned to embrace the stylus for what it is: a particularly good accessory for certain things. Adding support for the little thing can't hurt, but it does add plenty of benefit.
Which is why the Galaxy Note lineup won me over. I can tell you, straight faced, that I'm not a huge fan of Samsung's TouchWiz UI and that's why I don't carry devices like their Galaxy S smartphones. Even the added features in those handsets can't sway me. But the Galaxy Note II, and by extension the Galaxy Note 3, have continued to win me over thanks to the S Pen. Taking notes has never felt better on my phone, and in most cases where I'd use the stylus, it's just so much faster than using the keyboard.
I've gone back and forth with the Galaxy Note 3. I know I have. And I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon. I do know that it's gotten better with time, though. I started out with trepidation, and now I look forward to picking it up.
For one or two things I like, there are one or two things I don't. I know that you can probably say that about any phone, and it's certainly not "worse" on Samsung's latest effort in their hybrid device.
The one thing I can say that I do like, and I could very well be in the minority here, is the build quality of the device. It's stable, durable (based on real world scenarios -- I'm not throwing the device down stairs or anything), and it's lightweight and thin. And, without question, I'm a big fan of the camera.
I was on the fence with it all when Samsung unveiled it, and the faux leather back cover is still something that I find myself staring at sometimes, just because it's so strange to see. But the truth is the Galaxy Note 3 feels great in the hand. It's got a massive display at 5.7-inches, but it doesn't feel massive. The Galaxy Note II felt big in your hand, but the Galaxy Note 3 still manages to feel like a phone, rather than a "small tablet."
Out of the box, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 is a powerful, full-featured device that doesn't leave a lot to the imagination. There's almost a point where the settings have settings. But Samsung does a good job of making the overall quality come close to the amount of features it provides in the software. They're one step closer to that destination, and perhaps that will be the ultimate result with the next Galaxy Note.
The Galaxy Note 3 is a worthy annual upgrade by any shake of the stick, as far as I'm concerned. If you are looking to upgrade your Galaxy Note 2, and you bought it last year, then you won't go wrong with the Galaxy Note 3. There is enough new here to make it worthwhile, especially with the S Pen. If you like TouchWiz, then you'll be happy to know that I have still not experienced any lag or stuttering in my daily usage with the device, which is a new experience for me. The phone is stable, takes great photos and video, and it's a great combination of a phone and tablet.
In the end, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 will be my daily driver for a little while longer. It's made that type of impact during my thirty days with it. I can't say that I'm all that surprised, though, considering the Galaxy Note II basically did the same thing, and it may have taken a bit longer with the previous version. I'm happy with Samsung's latest iteration, and I like the direction the company is going with the device lineup. It certainly isn't perfect, but no phone is. Fortunately, there are a lot more positives than negatives.