Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 Impressions & Performance (AT&T)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update is available for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and other carriers bringing small, but important fixes to the large smartphone as part of a free update that gets the Galaxy Note 3 on the latest version of Android. The AT&T update rolled out last week as users wait for the Verizon Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update to arrive.

There are a number of important new features in the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update including immersive mode, new emoji options and a slightly new Android style. Users can also now pick their default messaging app as Hangouts or another alternative. The AT&T Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2update also includes an important fix for GPS problems. There are also other small changes to sound and the lock screen display.

After using the Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.4.2 for about a week I want to share the performance and my first impressions of this Android 4.4.2 update to help you decide if you should install it. I am focused on the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 update, but experience should be similar on other carriers.

Here is an early review of the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update.

Here is an early review of the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update.

 

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Installation

Installing the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update was much simpler than the Galaxy S4 update in February. After waiting a day for the Galaxy Note 3 to see the update on AT&T’s servers I was able to download the update quickly and install it with no problems.

The Galaxy Note  3 update downloaded quickly over WiFi and installed without any black screen errors or missing apps. I did not have many apps installed on the Note 3, so this could still be an issue for some users.

Performance

The Android 4.4.2 update from Google delivers improved multitasking performance as part of system updates. This is not the Multi-Window mode that lets users run two apps at once, but the built-in app switcher. The Galaxy Note 3 multitasking feels fast after the update but it was not sluggish before either. Here is a look at how the Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update performance compares to the older version of Android.

Apps

After installing the Android 4.4.2 update on the Note 3 I checked several common apps like Hulu plus, Netflix and HBO Go, all of which I regularly use while working out on an elliptical. I prefer the bigger Note 3 screen over the iPhone or other smaller devices. I also set Hangouts to act as the default messaging app, so that my text messages and chats are in the same app.

So far i have not found an app that crashes or does not work after the Android 4.4.2 update, though an SD Card change could be an issue for some apps as I explain below.

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Battery Life

The new version of Android is supposed to deliver “smarter power use” according to AT&T. In my week with the Galaxy Note 3 on Android 4.4.2 I did not notice a major change in battery life. Before the update the phone would last all day, and after the update it continues to last all day. This is a good sign that there are no show stopping Android battery life problems hidden in this update.

Connectivity and Speed

I don’t notice a major change in speed while using the Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.4.2, but that is not entirely surprising since the phone was running smoothly before the update and is only six months old. The good news is that the update did not slow down the device, though I saw lag arrive after using the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update for two weeks so I will keep an eye on performance.

Connectivity and call quality remains the same after installing Android 4.4.2. I am able to connect to 4G, 4G LTE and WiFi without problems and Bluetooth functions as expected. I did not experience the Galaxy Note 3 GPS problems some users complained of, but I can say that the Note 3 finds my location quickly and holds it even if the display goes to sleep.

Galaxy Note  3 Android 4.4.2 Problems

Micro SD Card

Overall I am not experiencing any system wide Android 4.4.2 problems with the Galaxy Note 3 that I cannot work around. The biggest issue is a change in Android that limits some access to the SD Card. While using FX File Explorer I cannot transfer files to and from the Micro SD card, but I can transfer file using ES File Explorer.

Some apps cannot write to the Micro SD card on Android 4.4.2 on the Note 3, but there are alternatives.

Some apps cannot write to the Micro SD card on Android 4.4.2 on the Note 3, but there are alternatives.

Tap & Pay

Android 4.4.2 brings improved Tap & Pay support to most smartphones, allowing the owner to make payments at PayPass and terminals by touching the phone to a area on the credit card reader. This is one of my favorite Galaxy S4 features that came with the Android 4.4.2 update, but it is not an option on the AT&T Galaxy Note 3.

Should You Update to Android 4.4.2?

For most users the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4.2 update is a great update that will bring small but important new features and will fix a major GPS bug for a good number of AT&T users as well.

The lack of Tap & Pay support is a frustration, but not a reason to avoid the upgrade. Google’s Micro SD card change is a potential deal breaker, but there are apps that work around this. Check for any special needs regarding Micro SD card use before update.

The majority of AT&T Galaxy Note 3 users will benefit from the Android 4.4.2 update and there is no pressing need to avoid installing the update today.