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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 proves that the company is the king of iteration (hands-on)

It’s easy to think that the Note 3 is a predictable upgrade over last year’s 5.5-inch device, but the subtle differences become far more apparent once you actually spend some time with the device. We’d go as far to say that this is Samsung’s true flagship product, not the Galaxy S4.

Still, Samsung has used the same tactics for the Note refresh as it did with the S4. The bezel surrounding the display has been drastically cut down, allowing the company to include a 5.7-inch display without increasing the physical dimensions introduced by the Note 2. As you would expect, the Super AMOLED panel is very vibrant. Colours are extremely saturated (overly so, in our opinion), viewing angles are excellent, and blacks really are black.

But the biggest change is on the back. Samsung has swapped out the glossy plastic found on the S4 for stitched soft touch leather instead. That tells us two things: first, that Samsung is listening to criticisms, and second, that it’s more than happy to act upon suggestions. Frankly, it’s a massive improvement. It makes the handset nicer to hold, and more importantly, it just looks much better.

Spec wise, all the boxes have been ticked. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, and options for 32GB or 64GB of storage. That textured back plate is removable, with a microSD card slot and 3,200mAh battery lurking underneath. The most surprising inclusion, though, is USB 3.0, spotted by The Verge. That should lead to speedier file transfers – assuming that Samsung has used high quality flash memory – as well as faster charging times when plugged into a computer.

And just like the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, the software has been taken one step further. The S Pen has seen further improvements, with much more accurate handwriting recognition and Android integration. Multi Window has been tweaked as well, and Samsung’s Knox encryption means the handset is perfectly suited for corporate environments.

Samsung will be offering the Note 3 is white, black, and pink. The phone is currently pegged for a September 25th release in the UK, but we don’t have firm pricing information just yet.

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