Samsung has officially taken the wraps off of their gigantor phablet, the Galaxy Note III. Like its predecessor before it did, the Note III is all about taking the current boundaries and pushing them just a bit further.
Besides a larger 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, the Note III features a revamped, enhanced S-Pen, “warm texture-touch (back) cover” and most importantly, truly global LTE. Samsung has shoved support for “the greatest number of LTE bands” on any device into the Note III, no doubt thanks to the massive amount of space to work with.
The camera has been upgraded to 13 megapixels ‘round back and can shoot 60fps 1080p video. But, if you’re willing to drop fps down a bit, Samsung says the Note III will even do 4K video. With so many 1’s and 0’s flowing, processing power is certainly warranted. For LTE models Samsung has gone with a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor. Non-LTE models will get to enjoy Sammy’s own 1.9 GHz Octo-core variant. Both quad and octo-core Note III’s will feature 3 GB of RAM.
Color availability is pretty standard: jet black, classic white and blush pink. Samsung says there will also be tons of colored covers available dubbed “Flip Wallets”.
Hardware aside, Samsung has once again added new functionality by way of software. For example, new S Pen functionality includes Action Memos, S Finder, Scrapbook, Pen Window and a new Air Command menu, all of which try to hit home Samsung’s fascination with multi-window/multitasking usage.
Look for the Galaxy Note III to drop across all the major U.S. carriers beginning in October.
The Galaxy Gear smartwatch is the first smartwatch of this caliber from the big name tech companies that have all as of recently thrown their claims to fame into the market. But first doesn’t always mean best. That said, the Gear looks to be a decent first start.
From a design and build quality standpoint, it doesn’t look overly large or garish. The display which has gone through a number of size changes in rumors leading up to today’s event has finally materialized as a rather meager 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display @ 320 x 320 resolution. Processing power is handled by a single-core 800 MHz Exynos processor. A gyro and accelerometer as well as wristband mounted camera lens make for a good foundation for future software endeavors. The oh so important life link to your mobile device is accomplished with Bluetooth. Finally, battery size is listed as 315 mAh – quite small for the many tasks that will be asked of it. Still, Samsung says you’ll get “about a day” out of the Gear.
Feature wise, it’s pretty robust. Samsung says you can use S Voice and call contacts by voice alone. You can of course view a slew of text based notifications on the Gear as well. Users will also be able to enjoy the Gear’s built-in pedometer functionality as well. But one of the most useful though probably overlooked features of the Galaxy Gear is the ability to signal your phone in the event you misplace it. You can, of course, go the other way to in case you happen to take the Gear off your wrist and forget where you sat it down.
But what is a new device without apps? Samsung is promising at least 70 Galaxy Gear specific apps at launch. More will be released as developers jump on board through the Galaxy Gear Manager app that resides on the Gear itself.
As the first real “smart watch”, there’s a lot riding on the Gear. Early hands-on reports from several other tech sites on scene say that there is a generous amount of lag throughout the Gear’s UI. Whether or not it is just pre-production/beta nonsense or a seemingly impossible limitation imposed by a single-core, sub-1 GHz processor remains to be seen. Either way, we can’t wait to try out the Gear ourselves as well as see how it affects other smart watches currently in under wraps by the likes of Microsoft, Sony, Apple and more.
Taking all of that in, would you spend $299 on it? Gear II perhaps?
Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
Say good-buy to low resolution Galaxy Tabs and hello to high PPI. For 2013, Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 10.1 2014 edition jumps from the anemic 1280 x 800 resolution to a much more palatable 2560 x 1600 similar to Google’s own (Samsung made) Nexus 10. Powering the additional pixels will be made possible by the Samsung Exynos octo-core processor running at 1.9 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. (Similar to the Note III, LTE models will sport a high clocked, non-Exynos quad-core chip instead.) Storage options include the standard 16 GB/32 GB/64 GB tiers with additional storage provided by microSD cards. Android 4.3 is (thankfully) the shipping OS. This is important particularly because Android 4.3 finally brings Bluetooth 4.0 Low Power support – a necessary feature into making the new Galaxy Gear smartwatch somewhat useful away from power outlets.
Look for the new 2014 Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to begin shipping sometime in Q3 for a still undisclosed price.
Availability (all new Galaxy devices): Release date – beginning September 25th, worldwide in October.
Android 4.3 Upgrades
Samsung took a moment near the end of today’s announcements to specifically address current Samsung hardware owners, specifically Galaxy S III and 4 owners. Simply put, they know you want Android 4.3 ASAP and are working hard to bring it to you by October.