Samsung Galaxy Note 3: A phone or a tablet?

, posted: 2-Dec-2013 23:23

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is slated as a phablet – a device that sits between a mobile phone and a tablet – something of a size that it functionally can be both. How well does it succeed?

Well it doesn’t do a bad job!

It is highly useable as a phone, and does not look stupid – obvious, but not stupid. You won’t need to feel embarrassed to be holding the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to your face and using it for calling. And it has the now familiar Android phone interface so if moving from another Android device you’re not going to feel lost.

At 168gm it isn’t the lightest phone out there, but the weight is not a turn off, and the size (just) isn’t. The 151mm x 79mm x 8mm of smartphone fits in the average pants or shirt pocket (just) but care needs to be taken. As with any smartphone, you need to make sure it is well protected so that it isn’t going to get damaged in your pocket or bag.

One handed operation in normal mode for the simplest tasks is just possible for you if you have a larger hand, but you are certainly not going to be able to get stuck into all of the Galaxy Note 3’s functionality with just one hand like you can with the smaller smartphones. BUT WAIT… Samsung have thought of this and the Note 3 sports a fantastic mode called One-handed Operation. Enable this and with a small reverse swipe gesture the entire screen contents is shrunk to put everything in reach! In One-handed Operation you can still swipe through all the screens, run all your apps – everything I tested certainly worked – and do all your social networking. The Menu, Home and Return buttons are available along the bottom of the One-handed Operation screen along with volume controls. Even Multi-Windows is available. The Note 3 need not end your ability to multitask with 2 hands! And flicking back to full screen mode is easy – just touch the full screen icon or use the S Pen stylus.

For me two handed operation is the norm as well as being much easier and far more comfortable. With the size of the Note 3 the S Pen stylus is certainly not required for most operations, and especially not the basic ops.

So, as far as being a phone, it is a great modern mobile that is super responsive and very handy. It is comparatively very light, but it is BIG.

As a tablet, the Note 3 is just so darn handy! This is where the Note 3 really comes into its own. It handles most things people do on their tablets with ease. Browsing the web, reading forums, social networking, research, doing email, watching videos, reading books, browsing photos, playing games – no sweat. If you feel like you are missing out on something when browsing the mobile version of a website, switch to the desktop version with no issue! The definition of the screen means you still get a great quality experience whether you need to zoom in and out and you move around the page, or not.

All this for only a fraction of the weight of most tablets and with ample more portability! And, unlike a tablet – it is with you wherever you go so if you have an unexpected requirement to do/use something on your tablet, or some downtime, then you have it there to jump on.

The light weight of it means it is easy to sit down and hold the Note 3 in one hand, whilst blasting out email replies, watching videos or playing games for hours – without getting a sore hand/wrist. No more shaky, tired hand whilst trying to read emails.

Whilst on the web with the Note 3 I find I don’t need to zoom in/out anywhere as much as I do on other phones – both because of the screens 5.7 inch size, and its stunning Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels! Combining these two factors makes Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen something truly incredible to use!

My only gripe using the Note 3 was going to be using a couple of desktop websites (where no mobile alternative was available) for doing some web based ordering. It was a pain because of having to constantly zoom right in to make sure the right information was being entered into the correct fields and zoom back out to move around. But, in the Notes defence – I’d normally do this on a desktop and was caught short without a desktop or tablet in sight, so even though it took 4 times longer to complete, it saved a significant trip across town, and I was able to get the job done with the Note 3. Bravo.

So all in all, the Galaxy Note 3 is a fantastic big phone and an awesome small tablet – but combined together the portability and convenience of only having the one device, and having it everywhere you go makes it a winner in my books!!

My name is Craig and I am an IT Manager and System Engineer  for a nationwide refrigeration systems company. I’m based in the Wellington region and have worked in IT in both public and private sectors for the last 20 years. I was a lurker on Geekzone for five years before I finally signed up as “keewee01” 4 years ago. I’ve used phones across all networks and almost all brands and OS over the years. I am a current user of iOS and Android devices.



Other related posts:
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Gear Combo: my initial impressions






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Telecom New Zealand
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New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

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