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printed October 2, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for Verizon

Form Performance Basics S Pen Extras Wrap-Up Comments  14  

Screen

The Note 3's display measures 5.7 inches across the diagonal and includes 1920 x 1080 pixels. Samsung continues to use Super AMOLED panels in its displays, and the Note 3's impresses. The Note 3's screen isn't quite as pixel-dense as the GS4's display, (which has the same resolution, but is smaller,) but it's still an excellent screen. The Super AMOLED technology over-saturates colors a bit, but it offers incredible brightness and amazing viewing angles. There's no brightness drop-off or color change when the phone is tilted side-to-side. What's more, it is easily viewed when outdoors, as long as you use the auto brightness feature. Last, the screen works with gloves on. I had no trouble with big swiping gestures when wearing a pair of gloves, but you're better off pulling out the stylus if you have small buttons or screen elements to press. It's a good screen, one of the best for watching HD movies, browsing the web, or viewing slide shows.

Signal

We tested the Verizon variant of the Note 3 in and around the metro New York City region. Thanks to Verizon's strong LTE coverage, the Note 3 was always connected to 4G. It never dropped to 3G, even in areas with weak LTE coverage. It connected cails on the first dial, didn't drop any calls, but did miss a couple. Data speeds over LTE were decent, but not the fastest I've seen. Data speeds were a hair slower in areas with poor coverage. The Note 3 performs on par with other Verizon devices as far as the network and signal is concerned.

Sound

The Note 3 is an excellent voice phone. The phone calls I made over Verizon's network were loud and clear. The earpiece, in particular, offers excellent volume and sharp clarity. Voices could perhaps have been a bit warmer, but hearing conversations in noisy environments was quite easy. The speakerphone is incredibly loud, at the expense of quality. When set to its loudest setting, the speakerphone can fill a large meeting room with plenty of sound or overcome whatever background noise might be nearby. I thought the quality suffered though, due to distortion caused by the volume. People with whom I chatted via the Note 3 said I sounded clear. The ringers and alert tones can all be set to volumes that will be heard throughout your house or apartment. The vibrate alert is good and strong.

Battery

I was impressed with the Note 3's battery life. The phone has a 3,200mAh battery inside, which is only a tad bigger than last year's model, but the Snapdragon 800 processor - while quite powerful - is an energy-efficient engine. I had no problem getting more than a full day of heavy use out of the Note 3. Despite using it on Verizon's LTE network the entire time, most days it still had 30% or more battery life by the time I went to bed around midnight. Most people will feel better if they charge the Note 3 each night, but it can go longer than that between charges.

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