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The Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear

The Galaxy Note 3 and its accompanying Galaxy Gear
The Galaxy Note 3 and its accompanying Galaxy Gear
Photo by Kurt von Behrmann

A phone that can double as a tablet and a super charged watch

Straddling the increasingly fine line between tablets and mobile phones, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 provides intriguing functionality along with some hefty screen real estate. Measuring 5.9 inches x 3.1 inches x 0.3 inches, this is not a diminutive handset. The 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED® touchscreen display, which offers a 1920x1080 resolution. It is both bright and sharp. Size provides the handset with extra functionality simply not possible in a smaller device, or rather less enjoyable on a more diminutive screen.

Upon first inspection, the gargantuan handset looks too impossibly large to be practical. The irony is that its very size makes it that much more useful than smaller phones. By offering so much room and such a bright resolution reading books, digesting content rich web sites and gaming become more engrossing simply because there is room to do these things comfortably without feeling cramped.

One of the stand out features of the phone, the ability to allow users to create digitized hand written notes. The feature is more functional that it seems. While writing notes on a phone superficially may seem impractical, the reality tells a different story. During meetings when information can fly by quickly, having access to write down notes is a welcome relief. One could safely throw away small note pads and use the Galaxy Note. Note taking at meetings, even in the digital age, is not dead. It is far from it. Samsung has realized this and has provided an answer to the problem of taking notes on the fly without resorting to another device.

The note feature is cleverly deployed. A sleek stylus is held within the body of the handset. When it is removed, the Galaxy Note 3 recognizes that notes may be taken and springs into note mode. It is a convenience feature that is appreciated after frequent use.

As an extension of the Galaxy Note 3 comes the Galaxy gear. A smart watch that links with the Note, it provides some smart phone features to what amounts to a high powered digital watch. Equipped with a 1.9 megapixel camera, one can take pictures with the camera that immediately become accessible on the Gear. You can also see images stored on the handset on the Gear as well. While it is far from being a replacement for a handset, in fact the device is virtually useless without the accompanying smart phone, it does have a certain “wow” factor. Wearing this watch will start conversations due to its arresting appearance.

Measuring 1.45 inches x 2.23 inches x 0.41 inches, the Gear, which weighs 73.8 grams, is surprisingly comfortable. After becoming accustomed to it, which doesn’t take long, the device is actually a comfortable fit. While it may not be a necessity, it has a certain cache and enough wow to make it desirable. Keep in mind you will need the Galaxy Note 3 to make it even remotely viable as a digital accessory.

Samsung has made a name for itself among the highly competitive field of Android smart phones. Boasting a colorful screen with vibrant colors and rich deep blacks, as well as enough screen space to make nearly every tablet experience bearable on a smart phone, there is a lot to like here. If you would like to launch into the world of “smart watches,” Galaxy Gear provides a compelling entry, if you can look past some of the limitations. As an adjunct to the Galaxy Note 3, the watch is an interesting conversation piece. It can be seen as a nice extra, if you are looking for a little more than standard watch functionality. Just be warned, the watch is pretty useless without the accompanying phone. If you are looking for a smart phone, the Galaxy Note 3 is certainly a high powered device that can run all day on one charge even while watching videos and surfing the web. If you are swayed by the “cool” factor of a smart watch, the Galaxy Gear makes a compelling case for itself if you really want to jump into the emerging smart watch arena.

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