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Galaxy Note 3 rumor roundup – everything we think we know [Update]
The Galaxy Note 3 will be officially unveiled on September 4 during a special Samsung media event scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany, a few days ahead of the IFA 2013 show.
As you expect, the web is filled with Galaxy Note 3 rumors and leaks, with more reports appearing day after day – even Samsung has mentioned the product’s name a few times on certain pages of its website. With less than three weeks to go, we’re going to tell you what we think we know about the device based on these unconfirmed reports mixed with educated guesses on the matter.
While rumors about an upcoming device aren’t always on the same page, we’ll notice that in the past few months there were some very conflicting rumors out there regarding certain design aspects including screen size, and the kind of materials that will be used to build the handset.
That said, here’s what we can expect from Samsung’s upcoming flagship extra-large smartphone.
The Galaxy Note 3 is expected to be somewhat similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 2. Some reports claim that the handset will have exactly the same size as its predecessor, but the display will be increased from 5.5-inch to 5.7-inch.
Based on what we’ve see from Samsung in recent years, we expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be slim and all screen (slim bezels that is). Furthermore, we expect round corners and a Home button to be found on the phone. An S Pen stylus should also be found inside.
[Update August 27, 2013:] Images showing the alleged front panel of the Galaxy Note 3 have been leaked (see image above), and while they can’t be confirmed at this time, they’re certainly interesting. According to them, the Galaxy Note 3 will have slim bezels and will be similar in size with its predecessor, albeit we expect it to pack a bigger display.
Display size matters
Speaking of the display size, we’ll remind you that early Galaxy Note 3 rumors claimed that the phone will have a 5.99-inch Full HD display.
But in the last few months we’ve heard time and again that the device will come with a 5.7-inch screen. At some point, we even seen reported evidence that suggested Samsung was testing three display sizes for the handset: 5.5-inch, 5.7-inch and 5.9-inch.
The most recent reports that have offered a more complete rumored specs sheet suggest the phone will come with a 5.7-inch (actually 5.68-inch to be more precise) display.
Too flexible or not too flexible?
Samsung was rumored more than once to consider launching the Galaxy Note 3 with a flexible display, but the rumors have been shot down by other reports claiming that Samsung isn’t ready to mass-produce the necessary amounts of flexible displays for a handset that will most likely sell like hot cakes – even though it won’t match Galaxy S4 sales.
Samsung has been teasing flexible displays for years now, and while the Galaxy Note 3 may not be the first device to get such a panel, there’s a Galaxy Gear smartwatch in the works that could have such a screen. The Gear is also supposed to be unveiled on September 4, right alongside the new Galaxy Note model.
[Update August 27, 2013:] A Samsung exec has confirmed that the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear will be launched on September 4, adding that the Gear smartwatch will not pack a flexible display after all (something other recent reports have hinted at).
Plastic is still fantastic
In addition to flexible display rumors, we’ve seen plenty of rumors suggesting that the Galaxy Note 3 might come with a metal design – seen as Samsung’s response to the competition’s design advancements.
But then we’ve seen plenty of rumors saying that Samsung will still use plastic for the handset. Will a waterproof Galaxy Note 3 also be announced later this year to compete against Sony’s products? We wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen, considering that Samsung is known to make a phone for every need.
Show me the pictures
Unfortunately, while there were various leaks and alleged sketches of the Galaxy Note 3 in the wild (you can see some of them above and below), we don’t have any confirmed images of the handset for you at this time.
In fact, considering all the aforementioned contrasting rumors, we’d have no idea whether to believe any of the leaks we’ve seen or not. From the looks of these rumors, Samsung kept changing its mind on the design of the phone – or didn’t make up its mind until the very end; it’s likely we’ll never find out.
Various reports claimed that there will be a variety of Galaxy Note 3 models out there. Some said four, other said eight, while recent unconfirmed information provided indirectly by an Indian logistics site revealed that there may be quite a few different Galaxy Note 3 models out there (at least when it comes to model number).
No matter what Galaxy Note 3 versions you’ll get – the model number for the Galaxy Note 3 family starts with SM-N900 – chances are the overall design will be the same, with internal components expected to differ, which is exactly what Samsung did with other flagship handsets in the recent past.
Specs and features
Those different Galaxy Note 3 models will obviously be available in different regions, so depending where you live, you may end up with a device packing either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor or an Exynos 5 Octa CPU.
While design rumors were often conflicting, specs rumors for the phone usually mentioned the same hardware: Snapdragon 800 or Exynos 5 Octa CPU, 3GB of RAM, camera with optical image stabilization and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Speaking about CPUs, we’ve seen plenty of alleged benchmark results for the Galaxy Note 3 already, but we’ll take them with the appropriate grain of salt. First of all, if genuine, those benchmarks were performed on test units, which means we should be more interested in the score of the final versions. But considering Samsung’s recent benchmark mini-scandal, should we trust benchmarks for its devices anymore?
[Update August 27, 2013:] A fresh, but unconfirmed, report claims that the initial batch of Galaxy Note 3 shipments will only be Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based models, with Exynos 5 Octa Galaxy Note 3 versions expected to launch later on.
That said, here’s what we expect from the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of hardware:
- 5.68-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1920 x 1080 resolution)
- 1.8GHz octa-core Exynos 5420 / 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor (depending on region)
- ARM Mali-T628 MP6 / Adreno 330 (depending on SoC)
- 3GB of RAM (most likely the made in-house Samsung 3GB RAM the company announced not too long ago)
- 13-megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- LTE support
- 16/32/64GB of storage
- microSD support of up to 64GB
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
- 3200mAh battery (most likely user-replaceable; one rumor said the phone will pack a 3450mAh battery)
- S Pen support
When it comes to software features, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean will apparently be in there since launch (as previously rumored), with TouchWiz on top, of course.
We expect the new Note 3 to pack some of Samsung existing Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4 apps – some more useful than others – and we expect the company to introduce more software features of its own, particularly S Pen-related.
Just like the LG G2, the Galaxy Note 3 is expected to have a main camera with optical image stabilization – purported Galaxy Note 3 camera samples have been leaked a few times, although we’ll be waiting for the handset to become official to better assess its camera powers. Expect some camera-related Samsung software features as well from this Galaxy Note model.
[Update August 27, 2013:] New reports reveal that the Galaxy Note 3 will not offer camera optical image stabilization features after all, with the Galaxy S5 said to receive it in the future. However, the camera of the new Note may pack a unique camera feature, 4K video recording. Additionally, the Galaxy Note 3 is also rumored to offer 24-bit/192kHz music playback quality.
Launch date and pricing
At this time, we have no idea when the phone will launch, but we expect it to hit plenty of markets in the near future. We also expect the handset to be available in a variety of colors (with more color options to be rolled out in the coming months) and we expect dual SIM versions of the Galaxy Note 3 to be launched in certain Asian markets – after all, that’s how Samsung does business.
However, we’re going to remind you that unlike in previous years, there’s going to be quite a war in the “phablet” market. The Galaxy Note 3 will have some tough adversaries including the already launched Sony Xperia Z Ultra (see our review here) and the rumored HTC One Max.
Does that mean Samsung will have an added motivation to launch the device as fast as possible after its IFA introduction? We wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen. Some reports did say that Samsung may be interested in releasing the Galaxy Note 3 as quickly as possible to make up for the poorer than expected Galaxy S4 sales.
The phone was also said to start mass production this month – which seems like a logical move for the company.
For what it’s worth, the Galaxy Note 2 was unveiled on August 29 and launched on September 26 last year. The Galaxy Note was announced in September 2011, and started selling in late October 2011, with the U.S. only receiving it in early 2012.
[Update August 27, 2013:] Since publishing our rumor roundup, the Galaxy Note 3 has been spotted at the Bluetooth SIG, which can only mean the launch is near. In fact, a new rumor is saying that the Galaxy Note 3 could ship as soon as September, with Samsung said to launch only 32GB and 64GB versions of the handset. As for colors, the phone is expected to be available in black, white and pink in the first months.
[Update September 1st, 2013:]∫ Since the last update, we’ve received information on the release date of the Galaxy Note 3. Details inside! It looks like the Galaxy Note 3 will be arriving in first tier, premium markets like the UK and Hong Kong as early as September 16, with a public release to occur as early as September 21st]
Make no mistake, the Galaxy Note 3 rumors aren’t going to stop. We expect to see more leaks in the coming weeks, and we’re going to update this rumor roundup accordingly.
One thing is clear though, the Galaxy Note 3 is one of the most expected Android handsets of the second half of the year. The question is, will Samsung’s new Note be able to surprise us with anything? What do you think?
Will you buy the Galaxy Note 3, or are you getting a different extra-large smartphone this year?