As 2013 marches on, we get closer to a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 successor, a device that is currently thought to be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. In typical Samsung fashion, the rumored next-generation phablet has been unable to stay immune from leaks as a torrential downpour of rumors has begun flooding consumers over the past few months.
In November of last year, the last of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 variants for the United States emerged with Verizon Wireless becoming the last major wireless carrier in the U.S. to offer the Galaxy Note. The launch on Verizon put a stamp on the largest Galaxy Note launch yet as the five biggest carriers, all of which carried the Galaxy S3 and now carry the Galaxy S4, made the device available on their network.
This should have come as no surprise to anyone. For months, those not on AT&T pleaded with their carriers to release the original Samsung Galaxy Note, a device with a 5.3-inch display and a smartphone that received a lot of criticism prior to its official arrive. Before the Galaxy Note arrived, Samsung was peppered with questions from critics: “How can this device compete with such a large display?” “Does anyone need a bundled stylus?”
Those questions were of course answered when AT&T became the only carrier to release the Galaxy Note (T-Mobile’s ill-fated release doesn’t count), a launch that was immediately met with criticism from consumers who wanted their pick of litter when it came to Galaxy Note carriers. It also helped that the Galaxy Note sold millions of times around the world.
Fortunately, Samsung and the others did not let consumers down and the five largest providers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon – launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a device that remains on the premier Android devices on the market, even now.
The life of all good smartphones comes to an end at some point and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is likely to be replaced this year by another Galaxy Note model that, like the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4 before it, is generating quite a bit of attention pre-launch.
That device of course is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a still unofficial, still mysterious phablet that is thought to be coming in the next few months to replace the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
Here, we take a look at the most recent and most credible rumors when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 release date and features.
Rumors have been swirling in regards to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 announcement and its subsequent release date. So far, most signs have pointed to an arrival in September at the IFA conference in Berlin, the same conference that Samsung announced the previous Galaxy Note models, and one that falls in line with Samsung’s near-yearly cycle for its devices.
September 6th has been thrown around as a possible launch date, a launch date that should be Samsung’s Episode 2 for its Unpacked events, but a more recent rumor has unfortunately blown the release date wide open.
According to Digitimes, a hit-or-miss publication that relies on Asian supply sources for its information, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 could launch as early as July or August instead of September. Samsung launched the Galaxy Note in August before but with IFA taking place in September, it seems unlikely this time around.
Still, the publication has been accurate with its information before and with Samsung skipping trade shows for its own events, an August launch isn’t out of the question for Samsung’s new phablet.
Unfortunately, while there has been a wide swath of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 rumors, the device itself still hasn’t emerged from the shadows. This is on par with a Samsung launch however as the company typically keeps a tight lid on the designs of its big name smartphones, often keeping them concealed until just before their launch event.
Those that follow along as a device moves from rumor to reality can appreciate the lengths that Samsung goes to to keep its designs a secret. In a world where leaks reveal just about everything prior to a launch, it is to be commended. That said, those hoping for a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 leak ahead of schedule are, at least at the moment, empty-handed.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have a bead on what to expect though. The reliable SamMobile has suggested that of three prototypes – a brand new design, a flexible display and one like the Galaxy S4 – the company has decided to go with, unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Note 3 design that rifts off the Galaxy S4’s plastic design.
Whether it’s just a bigger Galaxy S4 or not is up for debate at the moment but rumors have suggested that it will be about 8mm thick, thinner than the Galaxy Note 2 and almost as thin as the Galaxy S4, and about 182 grams heavy. That’s about the same weight as the Galaxy Note 2, but remember, the Galaxy Note 3 is supposed to be larger than the Galaxy Note 2.
If the Galaxy Note 3 is indeed plastic, then consumers can expect the usual bells and whistles of a Samsung design. A microSD card, a removable back for extended batteries and of course, support for wireless charging.
So far, just about every single rumor in regards to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has pegged the display size as being larger and better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s 5.5-inch 720p display.
Rumors have aligned, stating that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display is going to check in at around 5.99-inches or 6-inches in size. That’s about .5 inches larger than the Galaxy Note 3 display. Furthermore, rumors suggest that it will boast 1080p resolution, like the Galaxy S4, with a whopping 367 pixels-per-inch.
Samsung delivered a larger, better display with the Galaxy S4’s 5-inch screen and a larger, better display on the Galaxy Note 3 seems likely as the company attempts to further separate the Galaxy Note series from the Galaxy S series of smartphones.
While a specific size hasn’t be determined, the Galaxy S4 display was pegged at 4.99-inches all along so it would not be surprising to see the Galaxy Note 3 arrive with a 6-inch display. Rumors are simply that, rumors, but when all of those rumors match up, it’s hard to argue.
Like the display rumors, rumors of the Galaxy Note 3’s camera have aligned as well, pointing to a big upgrade on the upcoming phablet. Thus far, every single camera rumor in regards to the Galaxy Note 3 have suggested that the device will come with a 13MP camera sensor. If that’s true, it would share that in common with the Galaxy S4.
According to ETNews, the sensor could come equipped with some powerful functions including optical image stabilization and a 3X optical zoom. Optical zoom is not a common spec on modern smartphones so it could be that this will be one of the Galaxy Note 3’s biggest selling points.
A possible sample photo from the Galaxy Note 3 emerged recently but if real, it likely does the camera no justice. It also fails to confirm any of the rumored camera add-ons.
Many of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s other specifications remain a mystery. There have been whispers about 3GB of RAM to help with the heavy multitasking. There also have been several rumors out about the device’s processor.
Currently, the Galaxy Note 3 is thought to have one of three processor, or perhaps, a combination of them. The first, the original Exynos 5 Octa processor. The second, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chip that debuted alongside the Exynos 5 Octa at CES. The third, the Exynos 5420 which was recently discovered by RBMen and may be Samsung’s upgrade from the Exynos 5410, the original Exynos 5 Octa.
Other specifications including the device’s battery size remain firmly in the shadows though we expect them to emerge well ahead of the device’s launch later this year.
Thus far, there has only been a couple of rumors in regards to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The first, a rumor from Android Geeks that suggests that the Galaxy Note 3 will be the first Samsung device with a feature called Samsung Orb, a Photo Sphere-like feature that was rumored for the Galaxy S4 ahead of its arrival.
The feature is said to be like Android 4.2’s Photo Sphere with the ability to take 360-degree panoramas, but it’s said to boast Facebook integration as opposed to Google+ integration. Samsung’s Photo app is one of the best out there and it would not be surprising to see it tinker with it in time for the Galaxy Note 3’s arrival.
The other rumor came in the form of a benchmark that suggested the Galaxy Note 3 may have Android 4.3 on board. Benchmarks are easily faked but Android 4.3 is thought to be the next version of Android. Samsung outfitted the Galaxy Note 2 with Android 4.1, which was the latest version at the time, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Galaxy Note 3 emerge with the latest.
Whether that’s Android 4.3 or the rumored Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie isn’t clear but with a Nexus 5 not likely coming before September, Android 4.3 is the safest bet at this point. That’s not to say KLM is an impossibility. A recent rumor from @evleaks indicates that HTC’s phablet, the rumored HTC T6, may come with Key Lime Pie on board. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say when the HTC T6 will come out.
No word yet on other Galaxy Note 3 software, including unique applications for the device’s S Pen, but consumer should expect tweaks and improvements within Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX user interface.
We’re still very early in the game and that means that there haven’t been any carriers mentioned for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, despite its launch only being a few months away.
Consumers should suspect that it will arrive on the usual suspects AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon simply because the Galaxy S4 landed on all five.
It’s clear that the Galaxy series of smartphones is a smashing success in the U.S. so look for the Galaxy Note 3 to emerge for a number of U.S. carriers including the big five.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 price hasn’t emerged yet and we don’t expect it to for months down the road. Typically, Samsung leaves price to the carriers that offer its devices meaning we could have a similar situation to the Galaxy Note 2.
That means pricing for individual carriers likely won’t emerge until weeks after the initial launch. As for a specific price, given that carriers kept the Galaxy S4 on par with the Galaxy S2, and given that the Galaxy Note 2 was a hit, look for carriers to offer the Galaxy Note 3 starting at $299.99 which seems to be a perfect price point for the large-screend smartphone.