While the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is only a few months old here in the United States, there are already rumors regarding its likely replacement, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. And while we likely still are more than a few months away from the release of the Galaxy Note 3, we’re taking a close look at what consumers should and shouldn’t expect from Samsung’s phablets.
In the latter part of 2012, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 arrived on the scene, replacing the original Samsung Galaxy Note, a device that rose to prominence amidst criticism over its screen size and its bundled S Pen stylus. The device improved over the original Samsung Galaxy Note in a number of different ways.
Improvements included the introduction of a new ergonomic S Pen, improved software including the Multi-Window View feature that allows users to divide the display into two halves for use with two separate apps, and an improved design that saw Samsung increase the display size from 5.3-inches to 5.5-inches all while slimming the device down from its original frame.
Samsung also followed the successful launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on a host of U.S. carriers rather than just two. The original Galaxy Note had arrived on just AT&T and T-Mobile, the latter only a few months before the arrival of the Galaxy Note 2.
Since its arrival last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has become one of the most popular Android devices on the market, not surprising considering its one of the best Android smartphones available. And thanks to that, we are seeing rumors of a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 successor emerge well ahead of its actual launch.
The Galaxy S3′s success and prominence were big contributors to the pre-launch hype and rumor machine that followed the Samsung Galaxy S4. And we are starting to see the same thing from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the device that is rumored to be coming to replace the Galaxy Note 2.
Rumors have not yet painted the entire Galaxy Note 3 picture but already, we’ve gotten a glimpse at what to expect from the Galaxy Note 2′s eventual successor. Of course, just because the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is on the way doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Note 2 will vanish. Instead, the Galaxy Note 3 will likely join the Galaxy Note 2 on shelves.
That said, we’ve already taken a look at what consumers can expect from the brewing match up between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy Note 3 and now, it’s time to take a look at what consumers should not expect from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 versus the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Difference in Release Tactics
With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung has proven that it’s still fairly predictable when it comes to its release tactics with its Galaxy-branded smartphones.
First, it announces the smartphone at an Unpacked event in a major city like Berlin or New York City like it did with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S4 respectively. It fails to announce any kind of specific release date, leaving that to the carriers to announce at a later date. In the U.S., that typically means confirmations of the device, followed by a period of uncertainty.
About a month or so later, we finally get confirmation of a release date, then two, and then the rest follow. This is how Samsung released both the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S4 and that’s how we expect it to go with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
What this means is that those expecting something different from the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of a release will likely be disappointed. Instead, if rumors hold up, we’ll likely see the device announced in early September coinciding with IFA, release dates from carriers in October, and actual release dates emerge in late October, just like they did with the Galaxy Note 2.
The Same Exact Devices
We’ve already detailed what we think will be the major differences between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but simply put, the Galaxy Note 3 is going to be a vastly different device than the Galaxy Note 2.
From a hardware standpoint, we expect the device to feature a tweaked design that is both thinner and lightweight than the Galaxy Note 2. The material is still up for debate as Samsung is apparently testing several different prototypes. However, don’t expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be much larger than the Galaxy Note 2, even if it sports a bigger display.
Don’t expect Samsung to slouch on the processor or the camera either. Those too will be upgraded from the Galaxy Note 2 with a Exynos 5 Octa and a 13MP sensor likely being featured on board.
From a software standpoint, it’s clear that Samsung loves to introduce new software with its flagship devices and the same should be expected from the Galaxy Note 3. Expect it to have different software.
Don’t expect the Galaxy Note 3 to shed its entire past though. We expect it to have a removable back like the Galaxy Note 2 and come with a microSD card slot for expanded storage. Consumers just shouldn’t expect these devices to be the exact same.
No S Pen Improvements
One of the most unique features of the Samsung Galaxy Note is its bundled S Pen stylus that not only allows owners to write and draw on the display, but also take advantage of a number of applications including the device’s heralded S Note application.
With the Galaxy Note 2, we saw the introduction of a number of new software features for the S Pen and we saw Samsung upgrade the stylus with a new ergonomic design. And while details of S Pen improvements for the Galaxy Note 3 are scarce, consumers should not expect Samsung to hold back in terms of upgrades.
We have heard that it may be using different screen tech to increase the performance of the S Pen, specifically when it comes to its on-screen accuracy. Display technology that we saw at CES showcased just how Samsung might do this so it’s entirely possible that we could see the Galaxy Note 3 emerge with an extremely accurate S Pen.
Consumers also shouldn’t expect Samsung to slouch on S Pen applications. The company will need to not only expand but improve on the applications that it already has in order to keep the Galaxy Note 3 relevant in a sea of big-screen smartphones.
Thus far, Samsung and the carriers that carry its devices have shown zero commitment to bringing 64GB devices to the United States. Samsung and the various carriers skipped 64GB for the Galaxy S3 and it’s looking like carriers will be skipping it, along with 32GB, with the Galaxy S4.
AT&T is the only carrier that has committed to the 32GB Galaxy S4 and despite an outpouring of frustration from consumers, there is still no guarantee that other carriers will offer a 32GB model in the future.
As for the 64GB model, there has simply been zero talk and thus, we don’t expect Samsung and the carriers to bring a 64GB Galaxy Note 3 to the U.S. at any point.
As we’ve pointed out, a 32GB is certainly possible given the concerns that users have relayed post-Galaxy S4 launch, but a 64GB Galaxy Note 3 model is certainly less than possible given that no U.S. carrier has ever offered one, thanks to the microSD card support that Samsung devices usually have on board.
Lack of Long-Term Support
Later this year, consumers are going to have a tough choice to make: Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Remember, the Galaxy Note 2 is going to continue to be relevant, even with the arrival of the Galaxy Note 3.
One big reason is price. The Galaxy Note 2 will be much cheaper than the Galaxy Note 3. Maybe the biggest reason though is longevity. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will live on thanks to software updates from Samsung. Unlike manufacturers like HTC, Samsung offers long-term support for its mainstream Galaxy devices. Case in point, the Galaxy S2, which arrived in 2011 is on Android 4.1, the same software update as the new HTC One.
So consumers should not expect Samsung to let them down when it comes to long term support for either the Galaxy Note 2 or the Galaxy Note 3. These devices will be upgraded for the years to come and thus, owners will be able to ride out a contract.
Devices That Are Hard to Find
Those looking to get a new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy Note 3 later on this year will have no trouble finding them. That’s because they will still be available through an assortment of carriers and retailers throughout the year.
For the Galaxy Note 3, it will be through retailers and carriers, the latter of which will likely include all of the top names in the United States. Unlike the Galaxy S4, we don’t expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be hard to find on release day. Instead, we expect the in-store and online sales to easily handle those looking to buy the phablet.
As for the Galaxy Note 2, it will be an old device, but it will still be easy to find as retailers and carriers will offer it at a discount. At first, it will be easy to find. However, in the months after the Galaxy Note 3′s arrival, look for it to become harder and harder to find. Those looking to get it later this year over the Galaxy Note 3 won’t have a problem though.
Shortage of Galaxy Note 3 Accessories
As we saw with the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung is determined to get on the same page as the iPhone when it comes to accessories. That is, to offer a wide selection. Samsung took it upon itself to offer a number of great-looking Galaxy S4 accessories, the type that didn’t arrive with the Galaxy S3 or even the Galaxy Note 2.
Don’t expect Samsung to quit with the Galaxy Note 3 and offer a line of accessories for new Note owners to choose from. Need a sign? The fact that Samsung’s new game pad supports devices that have screen sizes up to 6.3-inches in size. So at the very least, we’ll see the game pad released for the Galaxy Note 3. Don’t expect that to be it though.