The IFA consumer electronics trade show officially  starts on Saturday but many of the large manufacturers have scheduled their high-profile launches ahead of time. Samsung is among those eager to debut new tech, today holding its "Unpacked 2" event where it launched the latest model in its line of high-end "phablets," the Galaxy Note III. 

At first sight, the new Note doesn't look that much different to its predecessor, the Note II. But if you look more closely, the differences become obvious. The Note III has adopted the slightly more angular design and metal edge of its smaller sibling, the Galaxy S4, and comes with a leather covered back, which, combined with one of the optional front covers, gives it a real notebook look and feel. 

The Note III was announced at an event in Berlin's Tempodrom today.
The third generation is the first Note to sport a leather back and make it (almost) look like a real notebook.

Under the hood the changes are more obvious. The processor has been upgraded to a new version of Samsung's Exynos 5 Octacore processor (Snapdragon 800 for LTE markets) and the Mark III is the first note with a 1080p resolution screen. The latter has slightly grown from 5.5 to 5.68 inches but overall the new device isn't any larger than its predecessor as the bezel size has been reduced.

3GB of RAM should allow for snappy execution of apps and even for running two apps at the same time on the large screen. Other notable features include a fingerprint reader that works with KNOX, Samsung's US Ministry of Defense approved security platform, and an improved S-Pen stylus that now allows for easy access to memo, scrapbook and multitasking features.

The Note III itself is available in classic white, blush pink or jet black ...
... and covers are available in a multitude of colors.

From a specification point of view with its 13MP sensor the camera module looks very similar to the Galaxy S4, which we were quite pleased with in our review. The camera also offers simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection and an HDR mode, making the Note III an interesting option for mobile photographers with a weakness for large screens. 

Key Photographic / Video Specifications

  • 13MP camera
  • 1080p video
  • HDR video
  • Dual-shot

Other Specifications

  • Exynos 5 Octa-core processor 1.9GHz / Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz quad-core (for LTE markets)
  • Android 4.3 
  • 1080p 5.68-inch Super-AMOLED screen (386 ppi)
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32/64GB memory options
  • microSD cards up to 64GB
  • S-Pen stylus
  • NFC
  • jet-black, classic white, blush pink color options
  • 3200 mAh battery