Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is a speedy phablet

The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the biggest smartphones around and can be classed as a ‘phablet’. Somewhat surprisingly, then, it’s respectably thin at 8.3mm. The thin plastic back that provides access to the battery has a textured leather-look fi nish, and there’s a grooved metal rim around the edge that makes it feel well put together and sturdy. 168g is light for a device this big.

The Note 3 has staggering specs and performance to match. It pairs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 3GB RAM. And it shows in benchmarks and from a user perspective. Games and video worked well, with no lag.

If you like playing games and watching video then the huge 5.7in full-HD screen will suit you well. Vibrant colour and deep hue are standout characteristics. The touchscreen is snappy and sensitive, too, although prone to fi ngerprints.

Storage-wise the options are 32- and 64GB, and there’s an SDXC card expansion slot for up to another 64GB of storage. The S Pen stylus is included for freehand writing, drawing and a range of other tasks. The Galaxy Note 3 is the fi rst device we’ve seen with Micro-USB 3.0 for faster data transfers.

The Galaxy Note 3 has two cameras, a frontfacing 2Mp camera for ‘selfi es’ and video calling, and a 13Mp rear-facing snapper for more serious photography and video capture. The latter is a serious piece of compact-camera kit, o ering such features as image stabilisation, Ultra HD video and slow-motion capture.

Taking advantage of the larger chassis used to house a large display, Samsung has included a huge removable battery. In our tests of the Note 3 we’d say battery life is a strong point. We could easily get through 24 hours and beyond on a single charge.

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean installed, as well as Samsung’s own TouchWiz interface. It’s feature-rich, but sometimes overwhelming from a user perspective. There’s access to all the media and apps that Google Play can o er, plus Samsung’s own app store.

The Galaxy Note 3 is a high-quality portable, albeit enormous, device that could serve as a smartphone and tablet in one. It o ers excellent performance, a stunning screen and reasonable build quality.