Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Making Sense of the Rumors

If the success of the original Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is any indication, there are quite a few consumers that are excited about the prospects of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Over the past few weeks, Galaxy Note 3 rumors have begun surfacing on a daily basis, so many, that it’s likely been hard to make sense of it all.

Towards the end of last year, rumors of a Samsung Galaxy S4 started to heat up, coming to a boil in the first part of the new year. Thanks to the success of the Samsung Galaxy S3, anticipation for the Samsung Galaxy S4 was sky high and consumers began eating up the rumors that emerged on a near daily basis in regards to Samsung’s new flagship.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is on track for later this year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is on track for later this year.

Many of those rumors, as it turns out, were true. We saw the Samsung Galaxy S4 emerge with a 5-inch 1080p display. We saw the company put a Exynos 5 Octa processor on board some Galaxy S4 variants around the world. We saw Android 4.2 and we saw a 13MP camera, an upgrade from the 8MP shooter on board the Galaxy S3. All of these things were rumored well before the Galaxy S4’s arrival.

There were, of course, rumors that were off base. We didn’t see Samsung Orb arrive on board the Galaxy S4’s software. We didn’t see any major design changes. We didn’t see a flexible display.

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung’s rumored Galaxy Note 2 successor, we are seeing the same thing happen. The success of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, combined with a great deal of rumors, have made the Galaxy Note 3 one of the most anticipated devices of the second of half of the year.

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Like the Galaxy S4 rumors, there will likely be some that turn out to be true, and there will be some rumors that turn out to be false. Here, we do our best to dissect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 rumors in an effort to paint a better picture of Samsung’s upcoming phablet.

Galaxy Note 3 Release Rumors

Those following along with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 rumors should know that the device has been rumored, numerous times, for arrival in September, just ahead of the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, Germany. A rumor from Android Geeks claims that Samsung has an Unpacked event planned for September 4th but that, along with the September launch, remain unconfirmed.

While nothing is confirmed, these rumors are likely partially accurate. First of all, Samsung has used IFA as a launch pad for the Galaxy Note series in the past. Both the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note arrived around the time of IFA though Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 2 at an Unpacked event ahead of IFA, though it showed the phone off, in the flesh, at the trade show.

Given Samsung’s relationship with IFA 2013 and the fact that we’ve started to see it pass through certifications, September is the most logical launch month for the Galaxy Note 3. September 4th is a bit flimsy as it’s still extremely early and there is guarantee that Samsung has settled on a date. It’s a possibility though and the Galaxy Note 3 should be expected to launch in and around that date.

How about its release date? Korean publication ETNews states that Samsung may be looking to release the Galaxy Note 3 in late September, no date mentioned. While this seems a bit early, this does make a whole lot of sense.

First, Samsung has been trying to close the gap between announcement and release. With the Galaxy S3, we saw it announced and released in May, about a month later. With the Galaxy S4, it was announced in mid-March and released around mid-April. And with the Galaxy Note 2, we saw it announced August 29th and first released on the 26th of September.

What this means is that the first release date for the Galaxy Note 3 could very well land in September. We just don’t expect that date to hold for all American carriers.

American carriers typically release devices with staggered launch dates. We saw it with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 so there is no reason to think that we’ll see a common release date in the U.S.

With the Galaxy S4, we saw the U.S. get an earlier launch than normal and it’s possible that we could see one or two Galaxy Note 3 carriers launch their devices in and around late September.

Design Rumors

Early rumors suggested that Samsung was looking at three possible Galaxy Note 3 models. One with a flexible display, one with a premium design, possibly metal, and one with a plastic design like the Samsung Galaxy S4. A rumor out of the reliable SamMobile suggests that the company decided on a design like the Galaxy S4 (and its other Galaxy devices) though that has been thrown into doubt by a report from ETNews.

ETNews claims that Samsung could be coming out with several iterations of the Galaxy Note 3 including a premium model and a cheap model. The cheaper model would be made of plastic while the premium model would be made of something else, again, perhaps metal.

This seems unlikely. For one, the Galaxy S series is the company’s best-selling flagship, not the Galaxy Note series. It would be strange to see the company trump the Galaxy S4 like that. What we could see is a variant in the same light as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active which offers a water and dust resistant plastic design. This seems more likely.

A metal Galaxy Note 3 concept. Don't expect the real Galaxy Note 3 to look like this.

A metal Galaxy Note 3 concept. Don’t expect the real Galaxy Note 3 to look like this.

Samsung is likely playing around with a bunch of different prototypes but we don’t expect anything other than plastic for the Galaxy Note 3. And while it may seem like a bad thing, it’s not. Samsung has perfected its plastic designs and the Galaxy S4 feels more durable and sleek than any of its previous designs.

As for specifics, the Galaxy Note 3 is said to be 8mm thin and about 182 grams heavy. That would make it much thinner than the Galaxy Note 2 but a little heavier. This makes sense. Samsung has been continuing to slim down its devices and with the larger display, we’d expect the overall footprint to be a tad larger and thus a tad heavier.

Indeed, we’ve seen several purported Galaxy Note 3 photos emerge though consumers should not read into them, at all. It’s far too early for leaks and while we should see the Galaxy Note 3 ahead of schedule, it won’t be until much closer to its launch date.

Display Rumors

Early Samsung Galaxy Note 3 rumors fixated on a 5.9-inch to 6-inch 1080p display. Current rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will come with a 5.7-inch display, or .2-inches bigger than the Galaxy Note 2, with 1080p resolution.

One thing is for sure. The Galaxy Note 3 will come with a display that is capable of showcasing 1080p quality content. Not a chance Samsung releases this without a full HD display. As for the size, it’s extremely hard to say at this point.

What has us hooked on 5.7-inches at the moment is the fact that the company has increased the size of display on the Galaxy Note series by .2-inches each year. The Galaxy Note sported a 5.3-inch display, the Galaxy Note 2 a 5.5-inch display. So, 5.7-inches seems like the logical play here, not a massive bump up to 5.9-inches or 6-inches.

The Galaxy Note 3 display is said to be larger than the Galaxy Note 2's.

The Galaxy Note 3 display is said to be larger than the Galaxy Note 2’s.

Rumors unfortunately can’t agree on what type of display Samsung will use. Rumors suggest that the company could use a mix of LCD, AMOLED and flexible Samsung Youm technology. If true, this would be a drastic departure from its previous releases and one that would serve to confuse and annoy consumers.

Would all three screen variants launch in the U.S.? And on which carriers? And for how much? It just seems like too much, too soon, for a company that has gradually built its Galaxy series into a recognizable juggernaut.

Look for Samsung to opt for the safest, most logical route, and that’s a Super AMOLED HD display.

Camera Rumors

Rumors have suggested that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will sport a 13MP camera in the rear, something that was seemingly backed up by a photo that appeared on Picasa, courtesy of a device called the SM-N900, a device thought to be the international Galaxy Note 3.

A 13MP camera on the Galaxy Note 3 makes a whole lot of sense. The Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note 2 both utilized an 8MP sensor. The sensors were good, but they weren’t great. In other words, the Galaxy Note series is due for an upgrade.

The Galaxy Note 3 is thought to have a 13MP camera.

The Galaxy Note 3 is said to be getting a camera upgrade.

We saw the company release a Galaxy S4 with a 13MP sensor that can shoot good low-light images and that, and the fact that just about every rumor has pegged it as having a 13MP camera, makes this likely.

We say just about because a recent rumor claims that Samsung could be tacking on an 8MP camera sensor to a cheaper version of the Galaxy Note 3. We still feel like a four variant release of the Galaxy Note 3 seems unlikely though even if it does occur, consumers should expect at least one model with a 13MP sensor.

Processor Rumors

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 arrived with a quad-core Exynos processor, across the board. This was and is vastly different from Samsung’s Galaxy S series which has seen variants launch with different processors, most recently, the Samsung Galaxy S4 which arrived with a Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor in some areas and a Exynos 5 Octa processor in others.

Galaxy Note 3 rumors suggest that Samsung could be looking at potentially at using either a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor from Qualcomm or an internal Exynos 5 Octa processor. A discovery from Japanese site RBMen, suggests that the Galaxy Note 3 processor could be a new, upgraded version of the Exynos 5 Octa.

None of this is out of the question. The Snapdragon 800 is ready for prime time, the Exynos 5 Octa is ready to roll and it’s entirely possible that Samsung has upgraded the Exynos 5 Octa for the Galaxy Note 3.

However, consumers shouldn’t be quick to buy into the idea of two different processors. Samsung used two different processors in the Galaxy S4 to ensure the device would be unaffected by shortages, something that caused an uproar amongst consumers who wanted use of Samsung’s octo-core chip, the Exynos 5 Octa.

The demand for the Galaxy Note 3 should be far less than it is for the Galaxy S4 and that should mean that it won’t have to use two different processors.

At this point, these three processors are the most likely candidates with a Exnyos 5 Octa being the most likely.

Software Rumors

We really haven’t seen a whole lot of rumors in regards to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 software though we have seen two minor leaks emerge. The first, from Android Geeks, states that a Android 4.2 Photo Sphere like feature called Samsung Orb will be coming to the Galaxy Note 3. The second, from Samsung-Updates, alludes to the Galaxy Note 3 is currently running on Android 4.2.2. Neither rumor is far-fetched.

Samsung Orb was originally rumored for the Samsung Galaxy S4, but for whatever reason, the company did not include it in the final version of the software. Perhaps it needed more time, perhaps it wasn’t real. We lean on the former due to the fact that the Galaxy S4 doesn’t have Photo Sphere, one of the bigger features found in Android 4.2.

Photo Sphere taken with the Nexus 4.

Photo Sphere taken with the Nexus 4.

The company has done a fantastic job with its Photo app, it’s better than the stock Android app, and adding a feature like Orb would only stand to make it better. Don’t count out Samsung Orb with the Galaxy Note 3.

As for the device running Android 4.2.2 and not Android 4.3 or Android 5.0, this isn’t surprising. With Android 4.3 still unreleased and likely in its early stages for non-Nexus devices, it’s not surprising to see Samsung testing the Galaxy Note 3 with a more stable version of Android. And just because it’s testing with Android 4.2, doesn’t mean that it’s going to arrive with it.

In fact, there is little chance that it will arrive with Android 4.2 thanks to an Android 4.3 release date that will likely emerge in July and Samsung’s penchant for launching devices with the latest Android software on board.

Carrier Rumors

A recent leak from Samsung-Updates paints a familiar picture for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in terms of what carriers it will be heading to. While nothing is confirmed yet, the information suggests that there are several different variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with four of them heading to the United States.

Here is how it breaks down:

  • SM-N900 – International version based on Samsung Exynos SoC
  • SM-N9005 – International version based on Snapdragon SoC (Possibly Snapdragon 800)
  • SM-N900A – AT&T Galaxy Note 3
  • SM-N900T – T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3
  • SM-N900V – Verizon Galaxy Note 3
  • SM-N900S – Sprint Galaxy Note 3
  • SM-N900R4 – Unknown
  • SM-N900P – Unknown

It’s impossible to say whether these model numbers are accurate, but given how many outlets believe the SM-N900 series to be the Galaxy Note 3, they appear to be credible.

As far as the carriers are concerned, while we still don’t know where the Galaxy Note 3 is headed for sure, it’s pretty clear that these four carriers will more than likely be on board.

They all carried the Galaxy Note 2 and achieved success with the big screen smartphone and they all carried the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3. AT&T also carried the original Galaxy Note. So its clear that Samsung has struck up a relationship with these carriers and it would be surprising to see this rumor turn out to be false.

And while it’s not on there, we expect U.S. Cellular to get the Galaxy Note 3 as well based on its past with the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2.

What to Expect

After digging through the rumors, here is what we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to look like when it arrives later on this year:

  • September Launch Date
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Inspired Design
  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED HD Display
  • Exynos 5 Octa Processor
  • 13MP Camera
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile/U.S. Cellular/Verizon
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We expect several more weeks of rumors but even so, that’s what we’re guessing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will look like.

Comments

  1. ryan says

    Everything above is most likely but i still think some models will use snapdragon 800.mainly europe.im hoping they do as these snapdragon are better for battery.i believe the note 3 will match the note 2 size yet be 5.7 screen.full hd and more ram.the problem samsung have is the s4 is perfect size for many.lot of note buyers have went to s4 and find it a great compromise.on size yet compact.5.2 inches seems perfect.full hd.800 snapdragon.and pen and people would be happy between s4 and note 3.i had note 2 now have s4.been used to note 2 found s4 slightly small yet note 2 very hard to pocket in jeans.tracky bottoms.make s5 5.2 and be perfect phone or make note 3 5.5 again full hd yet make it smaller just a little bit bigger than s4.samsung will use plastic no doubt.it seems to be best material.signal strength much stronger in s4 and note 2 than htc one i sent it back after 3days use.metal body in my opinion effected signal especially mobile internet.s4 was much much better and s4 hd screen looks better.i think samsung shud bring out a s4 xl model 5.2.same shape.screen even closer to bezel.snapdragon 800.3gig ram and a pen and wipe floor with anyother phone

    • Crix says

      Love this comment. I’m still on my gs2 and was drooling over gs4 leaks but now find myself holding out for note3. Very interesting what you say about pocketability of note 2/3 vs sweet spot of 5.2″ with small gs4-like bezel. Also thinking that s600 is maybe a little weak to push so many pixels on the s4 and wondering if it’s just waste of resources for a 5″ display… 720 would look just as good with half the burden to the device. The display on the 5.5″ Optimus pro looks great and 1080 will look even nicer on the 5.7″ note3, strangely, due to the fact that the ppi is wasted on smaller screen sizes. So s800 with note2 footprint, 5.7″, and 2Mpixels sounds like a winner…. My only concern still being pocketability.

      Oh and while I’m here: plastic phones kick ass. So sick of the rah-rah “premium material”

  2. ChecksHisFacts says

    Good article but one issue that might usher Samsung in the direction of using premium materials is the competition from the HTC One Max. More broadly, one big difference in the phablet market that Samsung will have to address for the third iteration of the Note series is that, third time around, it will have competition, and lots of it, from HTC, LG and Sony at least. So what will Samsung do to clearly differentiate the Note 3 from its competitors?

    • shannon says

      really good point. I like the note 2 and am holding out for the 3 because of the functionality available for business use. if the competition is going to be cheaper with similar functionality that may be an option. however the sheer length of time that the device is supported may be a determining factor as well. at least in my case. the multiple apps on one screen is great for having docs signed on the spot.

    • ukandroid says

      let’s hope that it will also be available with more than 16Gb of internal memory. Here in Europe we can’t buy 32Gb models of the Note, Note 2, S3 or S4. will be a big disappointment if we can’t buy a 32Gb Note 3.

      • Rey Nemaattori says

        Simply buy it abroad, as long as it has english as default(or at least installed) setting, u’ll be fine ( i did the same when i bought my note 1, it wasn’t available in my country yet, so i got it elsewhere).

  3. Tomika says

    That phone will be the bomb if the camera had more mp… Maybe like 20.. Windows have a phone with a 41 mp camera… ijs.

    • Wes says

      That’s what I’m saying too man I would be really disappointed if the note 3 is only 5.7″, I have a note 2 and that would be a miniscule upgrade in terms of screen size, the note 3 should be 6.3″. Basically Samsung should put the upgraded specs of the note 3 into the body and size of the Samsung galaxy mega 6.3.

  4. sarang says

    If samsung is not going to make any new addition inspite of increasing screen size then we have to think 4 sony xperia z ultra

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