The Galaxy Note III is Samsung's latest "phablet" just launched at the Korean manufacturer's "Unpacked 2" event in Berlin. It sports a new, more angular design with a leatherette back and all the internal components have been upgraded to the latest generation, making for, at least on paper, a powerful high-end device.
The Note III is the first Galaxy Note with a 1080p resolution screen. Compared to its predecessor, the Note III has grown slightly from 5.5 to 5.7 inches, but thanks to a reduced bezel, the overall dimensions have not increased. The new model is even 1mm thinner than the Note II.
In terms of camera we should expect the same performance we have seen from the Galaxy S4 smartphone but the Note III adds 4K video recording to the mix, making it the first mobile device to offer this option. We've now had a chance to spend some more time with the device. Read on to find out how we got on with it.
Key Photographic / Video Specifications
- 13MP camera
- 4K video
- HDR video
- Exynos 5 Octa-core processor 1.9GHz / Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz quad-core (for LTE markets)
- Android 4.3
- 1080p 5.7-inch Super-AMOLED screen (386 ppi)
- 3GB RAM
- 32/64GB memory options
- microSD cards up to 64GB
- S-Pen stylus
- jet black, classic white and blush pink color options
- 3200 mAh battery
Body & Design
The size and shape of the Note III are very similar to its predecessor, the Note II, but upon closer inspection some differences become visible. The new model sports a more angular design and the metal strip around the edge we first saw on the Galaxy S4 smartphone. It's also 1mm thinner than the Note II and approximately 20 grams lighter.
The brushed metal front gives it a premium look and feel, but the real news is the faux-leather covered back. This feels quite pleasant in the hand and when combined with one of the optional front covers makes the Note III look like a real old-school notebook.
The control layout is the same as on previous Samsung devices. The home button underneath the screen is the only control on the front of the device. The power button is located on the right side of the device and the volume rocker is on the left. To the left and right of the home button you'll find two more capacitive buttons but they only light up when touched, so you'll have to remember where they are.
Camera module & hardware
From a specification point of view with its 13MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor the camera module looks very similar to the Galaxy S4, which we were quite pleased with in our review. It captures images on a 13MP sensor, but unlike some competitors doesn't offer an optical image stabilization system. The aperture is F2.2 and the equivalent focal length 31mm.
The big imaging news on the Note III is the 4K video capability though. Unless you're one of the few owners of a 4K television set, you won't be able to view your output in its full high resolution glory but with this recording feature now appearing on mobile devices, it's only a question of time before 4K screens start conquering living rooms across the globe.
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.
We hope to get a reviewable unit back to our offices soon, but for now we've taken a couple of shots at the Samsung booth in Hall 20 to give you an idea what the Note III's camera is capable of. Click on the thumbnails below to open the original image.
A look at the other hardware specs leaves no doubt that the Note III is a high-end device. The processor has been upgraded to a new version of Samsung's Exynos 5 Octacore processor that is clocked at 1.9 GHz (Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.3 GHz for LTE markets) and 3GB of RAM, which should allow for snappy execution of apps and multitasking. Other notable hardware features include a fingerprint reader that works with KNOX, Samsung's U.S. 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 is the first Note with a 1080p resolution screen. It has slightly increased in size from the Note II's 5.5 to 5.7 inches but thanks to the thinner bezel the outer dimensions of the device have not grown. With its pixel density of 386 ppi the Super AMOLED screen looks very sharp and is a pleasure to view and work with. The increased screen real estate helps making use of the Note III's capability of running two or more apps side by side.
Camera UI & features
The camera app on the Note III is pretty much the same we've seen on the Galaxy S4 and other previous Galaxy devices. Shutter and video buttons are located on the right side of the screen. The little settings icon on the left gives you access to a range of parameters such as flash, video recording mode and sound recording. A second tap on the settings icon takes you to the menu. You can focus by tapping anywhere on the live-view image.
The mode dial on the bottom right opens up the mode selection screen with all the options we've seen on the Galaxy S4 including Rich Tone (HDR), Animated Photo for creating gifs, Eraser for removing unwanted objects from the frame or the Panorama mode. Surround shot is a new mode and seems to be a slightly modified version of the Photosphere feature that Google introduced with Android 4.2.
Surround shot stitches a sphere out of a multitude of frames you take from the same position. Your framing is guided by a dot target on your screen. Once you have completed the sphere the final result is stitched together and then can be viewed on the device. We would assume the Surround shot images can also be uploaded to and viewed on Google Play, just like Photospheres, but we still need to confirm this.
Galaxy Gear smartwatch
The Galaxy Gear smartwatch was launched together with the Note III and is meant to be a companion device. As a standalone device, it's basically a fancy digital watch, so you'll need to use it in conjunction with the Note to unleash its full potential.
The Gear runs Android 4.2 and is powered by a 800 MHz processor. It features a 1.63-inch AMOLED display with 320x320 pixels and connects to the Note III via Bluetooth. In its wristband there's also a camera with 1.9 MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor.
The Gear notifies users incoming messages or calls and gives you a preview of those messages. You can then decide if you want to accept or ignore a call or read the entire message on the screen of the phone. Like many Samsung mobile devices, the smartwatch can also be voice-controlled. For example, you can make calls, draft messages, create new calendar entries or set alarms by voice.
The Galaxy Gear's built-in 1.9-megapixel camera allows you take snapshots of your environment or video-chat without getting the Note out of your purse or pocket.
The Note III makes a step forward from its predecessor in every respect. The metal frame gives it a sleek, premium look and personally I prefer the more angular shape over the previous generation's more organic design language. The leatherette back feels nice to hold but might not be everybody's cup of tea.
Inside the Note III you'll find all the ingredients for a high-end device and won't need to worry about sluggish performance or latency in operation. Looking at the camera specs we should be able to expect pretty much the same results we've seen on the Galaxy S4. It also offers 4K video recording which you might find useful if you're one of the few people to actually own a 4K screen.
So overall the camera doesn't look bad at all, but it seems that other manufacturers, such as Nokia with the Lumia 1020 and Sony with the Xperia Z1, are currently putting more emphasis on camera development in their mobile devices. In the case of the Z1 we don't know about the results yet, but it would be nice to see Samsung jump onto the same train and surprise us with some really innovative imaging technology in one of their next devices.
The Galaxy Gear companion smartwatch is a real differentiator for the Note III but at a suggested retail price of $299 it remains to be seen if consumers are willing to spend the extra cash for the additional control over your Note from the wrist. Whether you use it with the Gear or on its own, there's no doubt the Note III is an absolutely solid high-end device that you can't really go wrong with.
- Canon EOS R533.0%
- Canon RF 70-200 F4L IS USM8.2%
- Fujifilm X-T423.4%
- Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm F1.2 S12.5%
- Sony FE 20mm F1.8G10.3%
- Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM12.5%
The next-generation AAT system can identify more objects in photos, perceive where each object is located relative to each other and provide more detailed descriptions.
US face recognition developer has been found to have used pictures from the Ever storage app without permission, and now has to delete all its algorithms.
Winners, runners-up and finalists were recently announced for the 7th annual Monochrome Photography Awards.
Irix's new 45mm F1.4 Dragonfly lens is fully-manual and ready to be used with Fujifilm's GFX 50 and 100 camera systems. It's currently available to pre-order for $795.
The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 is a fast, large aperture zoom for Sony E-mount APS-C cameras. Does it hit the sweet spot between price and performance for an everyday zoom lens? We tested it to find out.
If you're a Sony APS-C shooter in search of a versatile, walk-around zoom lens, the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 should probably be on your short list. Check out our sample gallery and judge image quality for yourself.
Exploredinary has published a video tour of the Ilford photographic film and paper factory in Mobberley, England. The factory, operated by Harman Technology, which trades as Ilford Photo, has been operating on the same site since 1928. Ilford Photo traces its roots back to 1879.
Qualcomm has introduced its new Snapdragon 870 5G, a faster version of the aging 865 mobile platform that brings support for 200MP single cameras and 720p slow-motion recording at 960fps.
Is it really necessary to pay for photo editing software when it already comes included with your camera purchase? We test Nikon's own editing apps against the industry go-to.
The new tool uses AI to automatically remove unwanted objects from image backgrounds, but it's only available on the new Galaxy S21 smartphones.
The lens is optically identical to its black and silver siblings, but spices things up with a bright-red paint job and a custom lens cap to celebrate the Year of the Ox.
Join filmmaker John Webster and his team as they voyage into the beautiful Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho with Manfrotto's Befree 3-way Live Advanced tripod.
The inclusion of in-body stabilization in Fujifilm's X-S10 means it's able to offer a lot of the features of the flagship X-T4. So, price aside, what are the differences between the two models, and how much of a bargain is the smaller camera?
We've updated our 'best cameras for portraits' buying guide, and Canon's EOS R5 narrowly edges out the also-excellent Sony a7R IV.
Which high resolution mirrorless camera is best for you? This week, we compare the Canon EOS R5, Sony a7R IV, Nikon Z7 II and Panasonic S1R to answer that question.
As part of CES 2021, Canon launched a new website allowing users to view select locations on earth from the Canon CE-SAT-1 satellite. Using the onboard Canon 5D Mark III and Canon telescope, you can zoom in and see our planet from a fresh perspective.
The new Pro+ and Platinum+ plans cost $150 and $300 per year, respectively, and add additional benefits over the complimentary 'Pro' plan Nikon Professional Services offers. These NPS plans are limited to residents of the United States and U.S. territories.
Considering getting your hands on a Soviet film camera? Good for you! There's quite a few quality options out there and many can be had for a reasonable price. But before you go and pull the trigger on a Zorki-3C rangefinder, we suggest reading the guide below, from our pals at KosmoFoto.
Fujifilm cites issues with sourcing raw materials as the reason for discontinuing the film stock in both its 35mm and 120 formats.
Although the announcement wasn’t set to be made public yet, we’ve been able to confirm with Venus Optics the details of its four ‘Argus’ F0.95 lenses set to be released throughout 2021.
Samsung has unveiled a trio of new Galaxy smartphones, the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. The S21 and S21 Plus incorporate new cost-saving measures amidst a variety of improvements. The S21 Ultra, on the other hand, showcases what Samsung can do with a $1,200 price point.
MacRumors has come across a bit of code that suggests Apple may soon show a warning in the Settings menu when the camera modules inside iOS devices have been replaced with third-party components.
We've been pressing on with our review of Panasonic's Lumix S5, and have put it in front of our studio scene to see what it can do. Spoiler alert, its JPEG engine and high-res mode are both really impressive.
Our team at DPReview TV recently published its review of the new Sony 35mm F1.4 GM lens. How good is it? Take a look at the photos they took while reviewing the camera and judge the image quality for yourself!
Costco has informed U.S. and Canadian customers that all in-store camera departments will be shut down on February 14, 2021. Costco’s online printing services will still be available.
It's been a long time coming, but Sony has finally announced a G Master series 35mm lens for its full-frame mirrorless system. This compact alternative to the Zeiss version has some impressive spec: click through to learn more.
Dora Goodman got her start customizing existing analog cameras. Since then, she and her team launched a company offering open-source designs for 3D printing cameras and selling customers 3D printed parts and fully assembled cameras.
We've been busy shooting around with Sony's brand-new, compact and lightweight FE 35mm F1.4 G Master lens and initial impressions are quite positive: It's extremely sharp wide open across the frame, and controls ghosting, flaring and chromatic aberration with ease.
The 35mm F1.4 GM brings one of photography's classic focal lengths to Sony's G Master series of lenses. How does it perform? According to Chris and Jordan, it's pretty darn good.