The Galaxy Note 3 is finally here and, after months and months of rumors, we’ve had a chance to take the device for a drive. It features a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box with Samsung’s custom software on top, which we’re still calling TouchWiz for the sake of being consistent. There’s also a 13-megapixel camera, 3GB of RAM which makes it much faster, a new processor and more.
We also noticed that the device, which has a faux leather back, feels noticeably thinner. That’s because, despite the beefier internals, it’s just 8.3mm thick. It also weighs about 15 grams less than the Note II. Samsung totally revamped the design language here; it picked up the skeuomorphic designs that Apple recently ditched, so you’ll note the stitching around the leather-like back. It also feels really solid and not cheap at all.
Samsung has a new core experience with the Note 3, most of which takes advantage of the S Pen. That’s all from a radial menu called Air Command with different options, including Action Memo, which is actionable and can recognize phone numbers, addresses and more, a Scrapbooker that’s sort of like an Evernote or Pinterest clone that lets you save pictures and text from sites (complete with tags and more), Screenwrite, which lets you write on the display at any time – even when the camera is open, S Finder for searching notes or universally across your phone and more.
Samsung’s Pen Window also lets you run two apps at once, though it’s more powerful than before. You can set it to pre-launch two applications, like the gallery and your text messaging app, for example, or an email client and YouTube. The whole radius can be accessed from the home screen when you remove the S Pen from its socket.
There’s also a new feature called My Magazine, which is basically a clone of HTC’s Sense BlinkFeed and FlipBoard. It’s almost exactly like those clients, as a matter of fact, and can be accessed by dragging up from the bottom of the screen. Swipe through horizontally to view new categories, or vertically to access feeds in each category.
We’re definitely digging what we see so far and can’t wait to spend more time with the Note 3. It will launch around the world and in the United States on five U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, though a specific launch date and pricing hasn’t been detailed.