Samsung announces Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear smart watch and Galaxy Note 10.1 refresh, coming in October

Daniel Bader

September 4, 2013 1:17 pm

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, a device that promises to be demonstrably faster than its predecessor while keeping the tradition of being thinner, lighter and more compact than the Note II.

The 5.7-inch device has been upgraded to 1920×1080 pixels, and at 168 grams and 8.3mm thick, it’s actually thinner and lighter than the Note II. It comes with a soft-touch, textured backing in three colours, black, white and pink. Running Android 4.3 with TouchWIZ, the Note 3 looks like a mix of the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note II, and embraces the skeumorphic idea of the device being a “living notebook.”

The Canadian version, when it debuts in October, will sport a 2.3Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32-64GB internal storage with microSD slot, a 13MP camera with 4K shooting capabilities and image stabilization, Category 4 LTE support with carrier aggregation, Bluetooth 4.0 LE support and a 3200mAh battery that promises 40% more uptime than the Note II.

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The Note 3 also comes with a few interesting software features, including Air Command, an on-screen portal to four specific features:

  • Action Memo - Quick handwritten notes that can be converted into actions. For example, you can write out someone’s name, phone number and address and the software will automatically parse the data and add him or her to your address book.
  • Scrapbook - Basically a mobile Evernote Web Clipper, this allows you to grab pieces of web page — text or photo — and save it in various notebooks
  • Screen Write – Full screen memos with annotations
  • S Finder – Finds content online or in the phone just by entering keywords
  • Pen Window - Arguably the most interesting piece of the puzzle, it allows users to open a separate app in a window size of your choosing, overlaid on top of another app. For example, if you’re chatting about expenses with your wife or husband in the SMS app, you can overlay a calculator on top and perform the addition without leaving the app.

There’s also a new and improved Multi Window feature, which now allows for data sharing and interaction between apps. This was the one piece of MW that I sorely missed in the Note II and can’t wait to see how developers use it.

Samsung has finally implemented KNOX security into the Galaxy Note 3, the first device to officially support it out of the box, since it was announced earlier this year. KNOX actually containerizes the Android experience, separating apps and data into a secure area that cannot be accessed even if the phone is stolen or compromised.


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The company is also debuting a new Galaxy Gear smart watch, which has many of a smartphone’s capabilities such as voice input and calling when paired to an Android device. For $299, the Gear comes on a little strong, but the aluminum frame and large display promise to add value to the computer-on-a-wrist.

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The Gear interacts with your Galaxy Note 3 out of the box, and will be compatible with the S3, S4 and Note II with a software update coming in October.

Gear actually offers its own app store, and has a 1.9MP camera for quick snaps on the go. When connected to a smartphone, it shows incoming messages and notifications from popular apps — Path and Life360 are launch partners — and the built-in speaker blends seamless calling with hands-free usage. S Voice interaction lets users search for information and make inquiries — “What’s the weather going to be tomorrow?” — and answer calls without touching the screen.

Speaking of the screen, the Gear has a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 320×320 pixels, a 1.9MP camera, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB RAM and a 315mAh battery. It weighs 73.8 grams and comes in at 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm. It has two microphones for noise cancellation and a loud speaker.

Out of the box, Galaxy Gear will be compatible with a number of apps, including Evernote, Banjo, Path, eBay, Glympse, Line, Pocket, RunKeeper, TripIt and Vivino Wine Scanner.

While Samsung claims that it will have all-day battery life, a concern with early users is that the device does not seem to reach that mark. Also interesting will be to see how Samsung manages its own Gear app store independently from Google’s Android store, and whether it will be able to convince developers — beyond the initial launch partners — to design apps for the $299 device.

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Lastly, in a relatively unsurprising “one more thing,” Samsung has also announced a refreshed Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, with a 10.1-inch 2560×1600 Super Clear LCD display, a faster processor, better imaging and exclusive content.

It comes with a 1.9Ghz Octa Core Exynos processor, 3GB of RAM, an improved S Pen, 16-64GB of internal storage, an 8220mAh battery and Android 4.3.

All three products will be available in Canada later this year, though pricing and specific available has not been announced.

Rogers, Bell, TELUS, MTS, SaskTel, Videotron, Mobilicity and WIND will be carrying the Galaxy Note 3 later this year, likely in October with the US carriers, but we can’t offer any specific details just yet.

  • EvanKrosney

    Soft touch back? THANK YOU SO MUCH SAMSUNG!!!.

  • alphs22

    The Gear “has many of a smartphone’s capabilities such as voice input and calling when paired to an Android device”.

    Your phone is already with you. Why not use your phone?

    • J-Ro

      That makes too much sense. You have to think outside of the box.

    • Dimitri

      i understand it BUT why the hell would you use your watch to talk instead of taking your phone out of your pocket & use that? Or bluetooth or a headset. I like the idea but not many would buy it..

    • J-Ro

      People will buy it, they just wont use it for very long. It it just another toy targeted at the audience with most money, ADULTS. Phones already do most things computers can do, now we have the option of a watch that does the same.

    • Dimitri

      Honestly tho, i really doubt it will sell that much as Samsung & others think it will. I wouldn’t waste my money on a watch i will barely use you know?

      People will spend money to buy it, then either take it back or never use it which i find useless.

      It does seem like a nice smartwatch, but its a no go for me.

      As for the Note 3, I am looking now between the LG G2, Sony Z1 & Note 3. i shall make my decision when i see them all out & test them at the store.

    • J-Ro

      The LG G2 looks like a gem this year but the Note always has new and cool features.

      As for the watch. For the same price they will likely be, you could get a really decent regular watch.

    • Travis Chalmers

      I think the Pebble has the right approach to a smart watch: notifications, some lite information, enough that you don’t have to pull your phone out constantly to check these things. And also it displays the time.

      I think I agree with the other commenters here that the extra features are kinda useless, though. I wonder if it will have a soft keybord…

    • grantdude

      Because sometimes you don’t want to take the phone out of your pocket.

      You may be on a crowded subway and it’s inconvenient.

      You may only have one free hand and your phone happens to be a Note 3 which is difficult to use with only one hand.

      You may want to take a picture of a hot girl at the mall without her noticing, which is difficult to do with the phone. (Assuming the watch can take photos)

      You may be a fan of Knight Rider and you think you can call Kitt over by talking to your watch.

      See? Lots of reasons.

    • themattyg

      Wait… you get signal on the subway?

    • grantdude

      General term themattyg, general term.
      I live in Vancouver and I ride the skytrain. But for people outside of Vancouver “skytrain” doesn’t mean anything.
      And yes, I get signal while I’m on the skytrain.

    • Dimitri

      Just point it out that Skytrain is outside, not underground. So thus this is why you get signal. Normal subways underground will not get signal.

    • downhilldude

      Some subways do, if they install repeaters down there.

    • BaconTelevision

      I’d like to point out that Canada line is an LRT service in Vancouver that runs (majority) underground and has repeaters set up for the big 3

    • themattyg

      Fair enough. :) There’s been talk about getting repeaters in the Toronto Subway system for years. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.

    • J-Ro

      Lol they can barely get our subways to work well. Repeaters would be nice when your stuck in the tube for an hour.

    • JohnT

      Signapore subways have excellent signal.

    • J-Ro

      1 of those reasons is illegal and creepy (you know which one I mean). The others are decent enough to justify a buy.

      I just want smart watches to be a big hit and lower the prices of regular watches. Lol I am hoping for discounted Rolex’s to compete with smart watches. A man can dream.

  • Jean-Francois Messier

    I’d like to see an update of the Android for the existing Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets. Mine is still at Android 4.1.2.

    • thas ★

      The Canadian variant stopped getting updated after being updated to 4.1.2. I switched mine to the German ROM & CSC since they at least get stability/performance OTA updates every few months.

    • Jean-Francois Messier

      How can I get it ? Do you have an URL tat you can email me ?

    • thas ★

      To change to a German ROM you’ll need a program to flash it called Odin. You can switch to the German one without wiping, but in order to get OTA or Kies updates you need to change the CSC to DBT(German region code). In order to do that last bit you need to be rooted.

  • John_JJP

    So, why is it when there is an Apple event, every moment of the discussion is plastered on every website.. every little scrap of information, etc… But this is one of the shortest, least informative stories I’ve read today? (Yes, it mentions some information, but no real details, etc)..

    I am not against Apple even.. In fact, I generally pay attention to their big announcements, anticipating what they might have coming.. but I just find it weird how they are pandered to and given insane amounts of press when others get a couple pictures and a few short comments?

    • J-Ro

      Apple is good for traffic and traffic is good for ad revenue.

    • alphs22

      Few reasons:

      1) Apple is the most valuable publicly-traded company in the world. Their product launches carry a lot more weight.

      2) Apple’s public events are far and few in between. Samsung has so many announcements throughout the year – they somewhat dilute the value of their own announcements.

      Also – this story is covered by every single tech website and newspaper that I read. What makes you think it’s under-reported? Care to specify which major news outlet hasn’t reported on it?

    • Daniel Bader

      John, this article has been updated several times. When a product launches we put up a stub article just to get something out there, and constantly update it as more information becomes available.

      Hope that helps explain the initial shortness of the article.

  • Super_Deluxe

    You forgot to add that it’ll rock a 3200mah battery, Daniel. And also what’s the pricing on contract or has it not been announced yet?

    • alphs22

      The Gear has a 315 mAh battery.

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      I have to be honest, that’s the one thing about it I really do not enjoy.

      I was expecting a little bit bigger battery. Im notorious for not charging my Nexus 4 or SIII for two days, so the Gear might be a little to short of a battery life. Might have to check out the Sony Smartwatch first.

      On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is simply blowing my mind right now. Incredible unit, I must say.

    • Super_Deluxe

      I was refering to the Note 3.

  • SaberX

    I’ve been following the phone and tablet market for quite some time now and I have to say that it’s no wonder why Samsung has moved to the top of the industry. They have created a complete digital environment for you with great features that no other manufacturer can touch.

  • OMFCody

    Now to see what HTC will bring to the table!

  • grantdude

    Faux leather eh…

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    I hope we can do more with the Gear smart watch, because the font and colors used on the presentation are not very appealing. I rather have something like the render that was shown here a few weeks ago.

  • fidosucks

    Really love the design of the galaxy watch.

  • IanDickson

    Gear…lackluster. I’ll continue to pull my phone out of my pocket to answer calls, take pictures, text, watch movies, track my workouts, listen to music, etc..

    On the fence on the Note 3. Looks nice…MIGHT want…

    Just get 4.3 for my Note II and I might be good for awhile.

  • Alex

    Gear Watch – for people too lazy to reach into their pocket.

  • awaisjaffery

    “a 13MP camera with 4K shooting capabilities and image stabilization”

    im pretty sure it has 1080p recording..

    • Grant Jeffrey

      4k is only about 8MP. I just think it won’t be popular because it will fill up your memory really fast.

      Edit: it looks like the lowest bitrate for 4k 60fps is about 10mbps so if 30fps gave you 5mbps (low estimate) you’d be looking at over 300mb for a 1 minute clip.

  • Many

    Does anybody know if the galaxy gear smart watch will get google now, if it does then it might be interesting, if not wait to see what google does with their smart watch version.

  • downhilldude

    I’m going to use it for the health apps, controlling my music when I’m working out, and for S Voice queries.

  • jonnny

    the question is, should I buy the note 8 now, or wait for the note 10?

  • Jake

    I like the watch to be able to take calls and track my health status, but that’s about it. $300 is really not worth it. I may buy one with a humongous phone to work in tandem when the price is below $100.

  • d a

    I’ll bet my left nut the battery doesn’t last a full day for serious users, just like my Note 2 doesn’t with a regular battery and at $299 for the watch, Samsung has got to be smoking, At between $50-$100 and leaning more towards $50, maybe but at 3 bills? No freaking way.

    With that phone price for what I see as a redundant device, I can’t help but think someone at Samsung thought, lets just throw a ridiculous price out there and see if it works. What they’ve forgotten is, we’re not Apple zombies that just buy anything Samsung or Android just because it’s new. Nice try though.

  • danbob333

    Finally more than 2GB RAM on a phone. What’s the point in having a quad-core 2.3 GHZ CPU and a 1080p display with so low amount of RAM?

  • Nachotech

    I admit, the watch looks much, much better than I anticipated. $299 is way to much for what you’re getting, but let’s remember that it’s a first gen device and it will likely get much cheaper if/when they start mass producing them and get their costs down. For 99 bucks, these things would probably sell like crazy.
    Assuming it’s waterproof (which I would hope it is) people would have an all weather device that you could use in the rain or snow, and dropping it if it gets slippery obviously isn’t a concern. I could see it being quite popular among joggers and outdoor oriented people, which is a good sized market.
    The downside is pretty obviously the battery life. For something like this to take off, I would think the battery has to last a couple of days at least, especially when people aren’t in the habit of charging their watches at night.
    These will probably become ubiquitous in time (pun intended) but for now the price is too high and the battery life not nearly good enough for mainstream use.

  • Stormkroe

    So glad we’re getting the Snapdragon 800 version in our Note 3. After using a 2013 Nexus 7 for a bit, I’m amazed at the power of that thing. Can’t wait to see how much more responsive Photoshop is vs. the exynos in my Note 10.1 for speed painting.

  • Dize Odisu

    Samsung remains the KING of value. Highend parts and chock full of features… plus you can add more storage and swap batteries… brings all the convenience of a mid range phone but with superior parts! I sneer at their competitors who just cant compare

  • Kyle M

    Why does it not tell your heart rate??? Way more important then knowing how many stupid steps you take.

    • Superphone88

      Well actually there apps like instant heartrate in Google Play that allow to use you camera to measure your heartrate.

  • saad

    is the watch within the box or a separate accessory???

  • tk

    Ok so why would you use your watch to make a call while your phone is around? Defies logic..but you can fool yourself saying luxury, hi-tech, innovation..blah blah.. sounds like it’s just a fashion statement..you just want to be all “Geared up”!