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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Battery Life, Call Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Battery Life

The Galaxy Note 3 has a large battery – its capacity is 3,200mAh. That’s 100mAh up from the Galaxy Note 2, in order to compensate for the larger, higher-resolution screen.

In use, this increase doesn’t really seem to cover the upgrades, though. Stamina is acceptable, but we found it to be less remarkable than the second Note. You’ll have to charge every day with moderate use, as each day we were down to 50 per cent battery life or lower by mid-afternoon.

There is a Power Saving mode that’ll help to get the maximum running time out of your mobile, though. It throttles the CPU, turns off haptic feedback and offers a low-brightness screen mode. The removable battery cover gives you easy access to the battery - letting you take around a spare if you need to the phone to last a particularly long time away from a charger.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Connectivity

As you’d expect from a phone that packs-in every software feature under the sun – including features most of us have never thought of before – the Galaxy Note 3 has every connectivity feature you could ask for.

Aside from the smartphone standards, you get NFC, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, and IR transmitter and MHL. Samsung also offers a few apps that try to make better use of the lesser-used connections. Samsung Link is a Wi-Fi-based connectivity app that lets you speak to other Samsung Link devices. Group Play uses NFC to let you share music with other Samsung phones. There’s also a Wi-Fi Direct sharing option within the Gallery – Wi-Fi Direct uses a Wi-Fi signal, but doesn’t require internet connectivity.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Call and Sound Quality

The Galaxy Note 3 offers solid call quality, with a reasonably loud, clear earpiece speaker and active noise cancellation thanks to the secondary pinhole microphone that sits on the top edge of the phone. As the phone's outer is made entirely of plastic - aside from the glass screen front - the Note 3 avoids the signal issues that can crop up in metal phones.

Given the size of the Note 3's body, though, we were a little disappointed by the quality of its internal speaker. There's a single speaker grille for the speaker on the bottom edge, and while top volume is decent, sound quality is nothing to boast about.

It's quite thin-sounding, and with just a single speaker outlet, it's an entirely mono speaker. We'd ideally like to see Samsung incorporate a DSP mode to improve sound quality - we don't rate using DSP with headphones, but they can improve the tone of a tiny mobile phone speaker no end. Note 3

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 3?

The Galaxy Note 3 is a mostly safe, predictable entry in the Note series. It’s more powerful, it has a larger screen and more features than its predecessor. And the stylus is more useful than ever before, with an improved app selection to make use of the S Pen stylus.

You need to buy into what the Galaxy Note 3 is all about, though, as it’s significantly more expensive than a Galaxy S4. It smaller sibling is available for around £420 SIM-free, where the Note 3 will sell for £600-650. That’s a lot to pay for a pen, some extra screen space and some slightly upgraded internals.

Still, this is a phone type that the competition still hasn’t managed to successfully replicate – a bit of a surprise given that the Note series has sold in excess of 38 million units to date. It's also worth considering the Note 2, which is available for just under £300 less than its replacement. It's less powerful and has a screen that is slightly dated specs-wise. But if anything we have fonder memories about that phone, not least because of its longer battery life.

SEE ALSO: Best phones round-up


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 successfully continues the one Samsung series of phones that no other manufaturer to date has really managed to touch. Stylus phones aren't for everyone, but we have to applaud the lengths to which Samsung has gone to in order to try and make the thing feel useful. However, the ridiculous number of features mean this is not a phone for smartphone beginners.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Calls & Sound 7
  • Camera 7
  • Design 7
  • Performance 9
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Software 9
  • Value 7


September 5, 2013, 8:34 am

Hmmm can anyone help me decide whether to purchase this to replace my old winpho7 HTC HD7, or upgrade to a Nokia Lumia 1020 and get the Note 10.1 (2013) edition as a combo? This phone may be a little large, and I can get my app "fix" with the tablet (considering how many apps aren't on WP8). I do want the 1020 for its camera though. Advice?


September 5, 2013, 9:16 am

I have the original Note phone. I find it a great all rounder, and use it for web browsing at home when I can't be bothered to fire up the PC, or around the house. I don't have a tablet, but the problem I would have with a tablet is that it would sit on a coffee table and so not be to hand. It is quite possible to read the BBC news site in desktop view un-zoomed, but more comfortable if zoomed a bit (double tap screen). e-Books are also very readable, and it's a great screen size for sat-nav. For me the Note really does manage the feat of combining the purpose of tablet and mobile phone into one device.
I've also found I take pictures with it, not something I ever anticipated doing. But it is always in the pocket, the regular camera isn't. So I do regret that the camera isn't better - I'd love the camera of the Lumia 1020.

However, my offspring has a WP7.5 phone, and unless WP8 is lightyears improved then the Lumia's OS would drive me bananas. I was very pro-WP when it was mooted, but found it a serious disappointment. SImple things like setting different volumes for ringtone than for games, not possible. Mute the games and the phone won't ring. Maybe they fixed that? Or the byzantine notification system - it is still a mystery to me how to discover if/how you have been messaged or contacted. You have obviously lived with WP for some time, so maybe you would find the reverse to be the case, and be bamboozled by Android?


September 5, 2013, 2:18 pm

I heard in India 3G version of Samsung Note 3 will be available with exynos octa core processor. Can anyone please answer my following questions.
1. If I purchase LTE Qualcomm 800 version from US will it work smoothly in India, if and when 4g is available?
2. Does processor make a lot of difference?
3. Is it true that 4K video recording is not possible with exynos version?
4. What other major differences will be there in two versions?
5. Lastly why two versions at all?


September 5, 2013, 3:10 pm

There is nothing unusual about the leathery back. The blackberry bold had it years ago. And it's nice. I don't understand what's so "old" about leather. Old MONEY maybe lol


September 6, 2013, 1:36 pm

You say "This one's been approved by the Pentagon so it must be good."

Are you being deliberately naive?

Perhaps this "approved" software has a back door for NSA "monitoring" purposes?


September 6, 2013, 2:47 pm

Haha! You're right. Suddenly "Government" grade encryption has lost its aura.

Cat Astrophy

September 7, 2013, 12:36 am

Why does the URL say review and it links to a preview?


September 7, 2013, 6:59 am

There's no mystery about the price. It's on the Samsung website and you can pre-order one there as well - £649.


September 7, 2013, 7:11 am

There's no mystery about the price. There are these things called websites. Samsung has one. The phone can be pre-ordered there for £649.


September 7, 2013, 8:37 am

Hey I'm on AT&T and pre-ordered last night. The final page states that your card will not be charged until the phone is ready to ship. (On or around Oct 1) So I hit submit and completed my order. I noticed today that AT&T has already charged my card. I call in to see why I was charged so early and was told my expected ship date is between Sept 11- Sept 13. Nice. Did anyone else have this happen?

Steve Malone

September 8, 2013, 8:46 pm

Samsung phones are very buggy I'm not a big fan.

Steve Malone

September 8, 2013, 8:47 pm

Sorry Samsung not for me anymore they are just too buggy.


September 8, 2013, 8:52 pm

Check out LG G2 Amazing phone!!


September 9, 2013, 1:04 am

I got the same email, and I preordered mine on Friday . So I called AT&T and I was told the same thing. S I guess we will have our devices by Friday .


September 9, 2013, 9:44 pm

Not interested in the LG phone.


September 9, 2013, 10:13 pm

Yeah, I'm gonna guess the real culprit is user error by the guy who double posts lol.


September 9, 2013, 11:22 pm

I have a Note 1 and am quite happy with it. Its still going strong and whilst 1 poster indicates samsungs are buggy - Ive found it pretty good and reliable. (as I have the other samsungs Ive bought for the rest of the extended family over the last few years). HOWEVER due to my travel - FM radio IS a requirement. Without it - I will need to look elsewhere. once I would have said a changeable battery was as important - but as long as there is a battery cover available - I just swap that.... So the FM radio is a show stopper (and no - you CANT stream when there is no network - and the cost of straming multimedia data when travelling overseas - would break many national budgets.. SO did they bring back the radio ??

Richard Yarrell

September 15, 2013, 1:47 pm

Yeah this dude doesn't have a clue what so ever. Nothing beats Samsung period.

Richard Yarrell

September 15, 2013, 1:50 pm

Lg is the copy cat version. Nobody wanys copy cat stuff when you can have the industry leader in the android space. Samsung rules period..


September 15, 2013, 7:19 pm

These past 2 years, Apple has copied tons of stuff from Android, Windows Phone, and even BB10. And yet they still sell tens of millions of devices every quarter.
Not to mention, the original Galaxy S looked quite a lot like the iPhone, and it sold pretty well too. Stupid hypocritical moron.


September 16, 2013, 3:16 pm

which is a better processor on galaxy note 3 octa or quad?


September 16, 2013, 3:17 pm

wre you able to get some answers?


September 22, 2013, 5:06 am

Most phones you were able to use the FM-reciever on actually had the receiver in the headphones. Maybe there's a similar solution to buy somewhere? Apparently people are supposed to be willing to waste their precious megabytes on something that previously didn't need an internet connection :)


September 23, 2013, 7:37 pm

I don't know everything but I'll try to help
1. Not sure :(
2. The snapdragon is more powerful but I don't think it will make much of a difference power wise.
3. 4k works only on the Snapdragon
4. Again, I don't think there will be much of a difference.
5. My opinion is that Samsung is easing itself into making its own chips popular, but maybe they don't trust the U.S. market with those chips? Maybe the US market it too big to risk it.

Hope that helps! Either way I'm sure you will be just as satisfied!


September 24, 2013, 12:02 pm

I've always had an FM radio on my phone since my first feature-phone, and the headphones always did double duty as an aerial, but never did the headphones house the actual FM receiver itself. I guess it would be neat if they did, for phones without a biult in FM radio.

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