New Delhi: As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is in India just weeks after it was first unveiled in Berlin. Priced at Rs 49,900, the Note 3 will be available in India starting September 25.
During the India launch event I got an opportunity to experience the device for a while and that was enough to get a glance of the first-of-its-kind back cover, its improved features, spot the gimmicks and test the performance of the Air Command feature.
While the Galaxy Note II is made of polycarbonate, the Galaxy Note 3 - which comes with a soft, textured-touch removable back cover - has a slight competitive advantage over the Note II. While the back cover looks as if it is made of leather, it only has a faux leather covering over a plastic panel. To me it didn't appear to be as attractive as Samsung wants us to believe but it wasn't also a disappointment.
Though the phone has a 5.7-inch display, but it has been designed in a way that it does not become uncomfortable to hold in the hand. It's ancestor, the Galaxy Note had a smaller a 5.3-inch screen, but it was too wide to hold it comfortably with a single hand. The rounded edges on the Note 3 also make gripping the device easier. Though the phone looks bulky, it is light in weight and also slimmer than my Nexus 4.
The Note 3's back is something we have not seen on any other phone, the front reminded of the Samsung Galaxy SII. Samsung has launched the 32GB variant of the Galaxy Note 3 in India. Out of 32GB, 6GB is consumed by the system memory and the rest is left for the user to use. The phone lets you expand memory as it supports a microSD card up to 64GB. Samsung says the 64GB variant will not come to India.
The 13 megapixel camera on the Note 3 captures rich pictures in low-light conditions, but I did not get a chance to capture pictures in outdoor conditions. Also, its 2 megapixel front camera is of good quality. Though we are yet to test the performance of camera in different lighting conditions. The display is impressive and viewing angles are great.
Samsung's newly introduced feature - Air Command - is, according to Samsung, one of the highlights of the new phone. The Air Command feature is totally based on the S Pen, which this time is symmetrical. As you take out the S Pen out of its silo, Air Command gets activated. Air Command is a paletste of five features - Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window.
I tested all these five features one by one starting with the Action Memo feature. As I am not in habit of using the S Pen, I had to struggle for a while as the Air Command feature demands you to press the button on the S Pen, on and off.
I opened the Action Memo feature, which lets you convert the handwritten content into formatted content and wrote a name and number. I linked to action and tapped to add that contact to the phonebook, but results were not as expected. The Action Memo feature neither comprehended the name nor the phone number correctly.
Scrapbook lets you track down information from different sources in one place, but then it is nothing new. There are many such apps that let you do the same. The S Finder allows you to search content including handwritten notes on your device. It worked perfectly and it searched the handwritten note I had a little earlier saved on the device.
I found the Pen Window feature a little interesting and it was fun using, but at the moment there are only a few apps compatible with the Pen Window feature. Once activated, you can open a small application window by drawing a window of any size with the S Pen. The Pen Window feature currently supports Calculator, Clock, YouTube, Phone, Contacts, ChatON, Hangouts, and the built-in Web browser.
The sound produced by the speaker at the bottom is audible, but not loud in noisy areas - my expectations were high given the price at which the phone will be selling.
While Samsung is extollinge the addition of video sharing to Group Play, this again is only a mere gimmick. Would you like to view a video on a screen formed by three or four Galaxy Note 3 devices placed next to each other?
Having got my hands on the device, I have not found anything awe-inspiring on the device. But I would like to hold my final verdict until I have the phone for a much longer period to use and play.