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So I had half a weekend to play with the Note 3, what did I think?

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NZtechfreak
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(Last edited by NZtechfreak; 17th September 2013 at 10:57 AM.)
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Default So I had half a weekend to play with the Note 3, what did I think?

Hi everyone,

I got a good few hours with the Galaxy Note 3 over the weekend, so I thought I might drop a line about my experiences with the phone

This was the S800 version, and it had the AB binning of that SoC

[UPDATE]

Actually I looked into the bin situation some more after some of the enquiries here. The network guy I was in contact with said it was the AB binning as it was clocked at 2.3Ghz. I took that as read and hence posted that information here, however it looks as if even at the 2.3Ghz clockspeed there are two binnings for the GPU speed. Bottom line I can't categorically state this is AB bin, my apologies for the lack of clarity there everyone.

Here is what the Voodoo Report says, as you can see it depends on whether the 0007 revision corresponds to the AB bin:

Hardware : Qualcomm MSM 8974 (Flattened Device Tree)
Revision : 0007


Firstly, while its very subjective I really loved the faux-leather back. I like that there is now no 'correct' orientation for inserting the S-Pen, and that the S-Pen works with the capacitive buttons. The screen was set to the Film mode and was very good, no complaints whatsoever about pixel density, seemed a fair amount brighter than my S4 when out taking shots with it. It flew with the S800 of course, hardly surprising given it wasn't loaded with apps and has that much power at its disposal. Finally going to the widgets section didn't lag like crazy as per previous versions of TW. Although there were only a handful of contacts loaded, which may have made a difference, I did revel in seeing no lag whatsoever launching the contacts app (finally!). Running PPSSPP as a graphics stress test it managed ~23fps on Tekken Dark Resurrection, which is starting to get up into the playable realm (my Octa S4 for reference manages only ~11fps). On less demanding games results even better - Disgaia Afternoon of Darkness was basically perfect running full speed with sound and with frameskipping turned off (which makes me extremely happy). The S800 still isn't up to playing 1080p 10-bit video, which was to be expected. It did manage it slightly better than older SoCs though, so perhaps in the next 1-2 generations of SoCs we'll see this become doable. My time with it was too short to make any sensible comment about battery life, sorry.


Here is the RAM situation, seems the Exynos version has about 300Mb more free RAM going off Sammobiles, but here is a screen from the S800 version:




Free storage ~25Gb, a pleasant surprise as I expected less:




I was really surprised (and pleased) to find rapidly accessible defaults management is available:




It let's you choose the colour of the screen visible in the S-View cover:




The have further expanded one-handed use settings, in this slightly strange one you can run everything in a little window with onscreen buttons if you wanted (!):




I made a camera comparison and the shots are up at Flickr here. Included with the Note 3 are the Xperia Z1 I also had and an S4 and Pureview 808. Methods: All shots on auto, all shots taken at same time in same position, lens cloth used to wipe lens covers clean prior to every shot, several shots captured on each phone and best selected for the comparison (if you take one shot only and get one with a completely aberrant focus/white balance etc, in other words a poor outlier not reflecting the cams usual quality, then that isn't especially useful for a comparison like this). Caveats: In all likelihood neither the Z1 or Note 3 on release firmwares, the light in the outdoors scene a bit variable due to moving cloud cover. I have my own thoughts on the photos, but if you haven't seen those on Twitter already better to let you draw your own conclusions before I say a word.

I took a 31s 4K video and was quite impressed at how smoothly it handled fairly quick panning, that 31s cost 177Mb in storage and was recorded at 48Mbps (see mediainfo screen below). The Note 3 was having quite a bit of trouble playing this video back it is worth noting, probably also worth noting that my laptop would not play it AT ALL!



The following information I put in a dedicated thread in the accessories forum, but probably of interest to folks here too:

A few findings of mine from the weekend:
  • External drives work, but unfortunately NTFS formatted drives still don't work on stock ROMs. It had the power to spin up a 1TB Seagate drive! Unfortunately the drive was NTFS formatted so couldn't do more to see how well it was working, but definitely was powered with a solid indicator light. Promising.
  • The Smart Dock works with the Note 3
  • The S3/Note 2 MHL adapters definitely work
  • The Samsung MHL 2.0 adapter works without needing a charging input plugged in and IS outputting at 60Hz
  • USB audio working, I tried several DACs. The ones that worked were the HiFimeDIY, Tiny-M, HeadAmp Pico. Unfortunately Apex Glacier did not work (did not work on the S4 either).
  • USB keyboards/mice working as they did with the older Samsungs
  • PS3 controller working over USB OTG
  • Ditto for the Xbox 360 for Microsoft controller (which required an app on older Samsungs in order to work)
  • Logitech F310 controller works too
  • Ditto the Logitech F710
  • It also worked with a cheapie gamepad from Ebay (like $6), although button mappings seemed limited and did not have time to try it in emulators etc to see whether all could be mapped.
  • BT keyboard and mouse working, as expected
  • IR blaster via the inbuilt app works great with my LG TV
  • MHL and USB OTG do not work together using the Samsung MHL 2.0 adapter
  • Moga Pro gamepad working well
  • Tried several ethernet adapters, none work.

Unfortunately the one I had did not have the USB 3.0 cable/charger, so could not benchmark read/write speeds or charging speeds using that connectivity.

The Z1 seemed quite large in comparison given the disparity in display sizes:

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BarryH_GEG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post
I got a good few hours with the Galaxy Note 3 over the weekend, so I thought I might drop a line about my experiences with the phone
Let's talk camera. I'm guessing the PureView was "baseline." The N3 and SGS4's cameras seem pretty comparable. The color balance on the N3 seems a bit off; especially on greens. Your Octa SGS4 has the Exmor RS sensor in it, do you think the N3 is using "R" like the S-600 SGS4 is? Was the one you were playing with final or pre-production? From the SGS4 camera discussions I know you know cameras. What are your thoughts?

Also, did you get to do any low-light testing? At the launch event Samsung called-out better low light performance as a feature. Smart Stabilization (stupid name) was thought to be a s/w OIS equivalent but appears to be tied to capturing better low light pictures.

Smart stabilisation: Set the device to automatically detect darker conditions and adjust the brightness of the photo without the flash.


The size comparison to the Z1 is pretty shocking; especially with the N3's chassis having a slot to store a 4" pen.
 
NZtechfreak
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I will definitely post my own thoughts on the camera, but it's waaay past time I was asleep, so that will have to be tomorrow sorry.

Quickly in relation to the other things: yes, size comparison was a bit shocking! I think this was final hardware, but I don't think it was quite final firmware. No idea about particular sensor in use here, my partner in crime sent Supercurio a Voodoo Report, so hopefully he can help us out there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post
[*]The S3/Note 2 MHL adapters definitely work
[*]The Samsung MHL 2.0 adapter works without needing a charging input plugged in and IS outputting at 60Hz
Hi, thanks for the review! I just wanted some clarification on these two points:

Are you saying that you were able to use the official current Samsung Note 2 MHL adapter without needing the charging input plugged in? I ask, because if there is no reason to buy an official Note 3 MHL adapter (which will probably be released soon), then I'll just use the adapter for my Note 2. Just wanted to make sure...
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post
Hi everyone,

I got a good few hours with the Galaxy Note 3 over the weekend, so I thought I might drop a line about my experiences with the phone

This was the S800 version, and it had the AB binning of that SoC

Firstly, while its very subjective I really loved the faux-leather back. I like that there is now no 'correct' orientation for inserting the S-Pen, and that the S-Pen works with the capacitive buttons. The screen was set to the Film mode and was very good, no complaints whatsoever about pixel density, seemed a fair amount brighter than my S4 when out taking shots with it. It flew with the S800 of course, hardly surprising given it wasn't loaded with apps and has that much power at its disposal. Finally going to the widgets section didn't lag like crazy as per previous versions of TW. Although there were only a handful of contacts loaded, which may have made a difference, I did revel in seeing no lag whatsoever launching the contacts app (finally!). Running PPSSPP as a graphics stress test it managed ~23fps on Tekken Dark Resurrection, which is starting to get up into the playable realm (my Octa S4 for reference manages only ~11fps). On less demanding games results even better - Disgaia Afternoon of Darkness was basically perfect running full speed with sound and with frameskipping turned off (which makes me extremely happy). The S800 still isn't up to playing 1080p 10-bit video, which was to be expected. It did manage it slightly better than older SoCs though, so perhaps in the next 1-2 generations of SoCs we'll see this become doable. My time with it was too short to make any sensible comment about battery life, sorry.


Here is the RAM situation, seems the Exynos version has about 300Mb more free RAM going off Sammobiles, but here is a screen from the S800 version:




Free storage ~25Gb, a pleasant surprise as I expected less:




I was really surprised (and pleased) to find rapidly accessible defaults management is available:




It let's you choose the colour of the screen visible in the S-View cover:




The have further expanded one-handed use settings, in this slightly strange one you can run everything in a little window with onscreen buttons if you wanted (!):




I made a camera comparison and the shots are up at Flickr here. Included with the Note 3 are the Xperia Z1 I also had and an S4 and Pureview 808. Methods: All shots on auto, all shots taken at same time in same position, lens cloth used to wipe lens covers clean prior to every shot, several shots captured on each phone and best selected for the comparison (if you take one shot only and get one with a completely aberrant focus/white balance etc, in other words a poor outlier not reflecting the cams usual quality, then that isn't especially useful for a comparison like this). Caveats: In all likelihood neither the Z1 or Note 3 on release firmwares, the light in the outdoors scene a bit variable due to moving cloud cover. I have my own thoughts on the photos, but if you haven't seen those on Twitter already better to let you draw your own conclusions before I say a word.

I took a 31s 4K video and was quite impressed at how smoothly it handled fairly quick panning, that 31s cost 177Mb in storage and was recorded at 48Mbps (see mediainfo screen below). The Note 3 was having quite a bit of trouble playing this video back it is worth noting, probably also worth noting that my laptop would not play it AT ALL!



The following information I put in a dedicated thread in the accessories forum, but probably of interest to folks here too:

A few findings of mine from the weekend:
  • External drives work, but unfortunately NTFS formatted drives still don't work on stock ROMs. It had the power to spin up a 1TB Seagate drive! Unfortunately the drive was NTFS formatted so couldn't do more to see how well it was working, but definitely was powered with a solid indicator light. Promising.
  • The Smart Dock works with the Note 3
  • The S3/Note 2 MHL adapters definitely work
  • The Samsung MHL 2.0 adapter works without needing a charging input plugged in and IS outputting at 60Hz
  • USB audio working, I tried several DACs. The ones that worked were the HiFimeDIY, Tiny-M, HeadAmp Pico. Unfortunately Apex Glacier did not work (did not work on the S4 either).
  • USB keyboards/mice working as they did with the older Samsungs
  • PS3 controller working over USB OTG
  • Ditto for the Xbox 360 for Microsoft controller (which required an app on older Samsungs in order to work)
  • Logitech F310 controller works too
  • Ditto the Logitech F710
  • It also worked with a cheapie gamepad from Ebay (like $6), although button mappings seemed limited and did not have time to try it in emulators etc to see whether all could be mapped.
  • BT keyboard and mouse working, as expected
  • IR blaster via the inbuilt app works great with my LG TV
  • MHL and USB OTG do not work together using the Samsung MHL 2.0 adapter
  • Moga Pro gamepad working well
  • Tried several ethernet adapters, none work.

Unfortunately the one I had did not have the USB 3.0 cable/charger, so could not benchmark read/write speeds or charging speeds using that connectivity.

The Z1 seemed quite large in comparison given the disparity in display sizes:

How you know it was the s800AB soc?
 
koeni
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(Last edited by koeni; 16th September 2013 at 04:09 PM.)
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Default Snapdragon 800 AB

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post

This was the S800 version, and it had the AB binning of that SoC
Thank you for this extremely informative post.

How did you find out that the Note 3 uses the AB binning?

Can you confirm that the GPU runs @ 550 MHz? And what about the memory clock speed?
 
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Verry onteresting post. Now its almost impossible to wait....curious to grab that beast in my hand
 
MohJee
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Thank you for sharing your thought. It seems you know tech very well.

The nicest thing I've read the the reduced lag in touchwiz. I hope it's true. From videos I've seen, it still seems to lag in certain areas such as S Finder, S Note,

Also the little difference in size between note3 and z1 is because the latter has much unnecessary bezels on sides, top and bottom.

Can you confirm if the audio quality is better/louder than note2? Does the bottom placed speaker grills make a difference?
 
hockeyfan
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I found one thing that was interesting in this review. The screenshot of the RAM statistics shows a total of only 2.38 GB. My N2 has a total of 1.75GB. I know that some RAM is reserved for system/OS use, graphics, etc., but when the N3 was announced to have 3GB of RAM, I assumed this meant that the total available RAM would be something like 2.75GB, not 2.38GB. That's about a 370MB difference, which is not trivial.

I'm curious if the different variants of the N3 will have different total RAM numbers...
 
takkk7
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Originally Posted by MohJee View Post
Thank you for sharing your thought. It seems you know tech very well.

The nicest thing I've read the the reduced lag in touchwiz. I hope it's true. From videos I've seen, it still seems to lag in certain areas such as S Finder, S Note,

Also the little difference in size between note3 and z1 is because the latter has much unnecessary bezels on sides, top and bottom.

Can you confirm if the audio quality is better/louder than note2? Does the bottom placed speaker grills make a difference?


Yes that one , also please tell us if there was any other option in sview settings..like having more screens at that window!For example ,having calls logs , dial pad etc

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