Thankfully this follow up Unpacked event was far more mature than what we saw for the Galaxy S4. None of that musical theatre train wreck, this time around Samsung largely let their new devices speak for themselves. Simple and straight forward.
As expected, we saw the official unveiling of the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and I was surprised to see a main stage announcement for the updated Note 10.1 2014 edition.
Galaxy Note 3
The Note 3 looks like it’s going to be another powerhouse phablet. A 5.7″ full HD (1080p) screen backed up by 3GB of RAM. CPU’s will change based on region a quad core in LTE areas (likely the Qualcomm 800) and Samsung’s Octa-Core in 3G zones. A new camera module is on board featuring improvements to lighting and image stabilization, but no mentions of proper hardware optical image stabilization were to be found. Video is going to get a huge shot in the arm however as the Note 3 will support 60FPS 1080p video recording -OR- 4K video for Ultra HD playback on supported 4K TV’s and monitors.
S-Pen is getting spruced up, now with even more ability to control actions and shortcuts on the phone. Smart Command can pop up almost anywhere on the screen to provide quick access to shortcuts. S-note is getting a face lift with more gesture support and a cleaner interface plus support for Evernote. Almost any content can be “Circled” to save in personal Scrapbooks, later to be retrieved via S-Finder universal search. Drawing a box allows users to customize the size of widgets which float on top of the app currently being used. For example, you need a calculator on screen, you draw how big that calculator should be so you can still see info on the rest of the screen.
Note 3 will come in three different leather clad back pates, black, white, and pink, and designers are working on numerous color and texture options for further customization. The Window Flip Cover accessory from the GS4 returns with an even larger window to support alerts on the screen when the screen is technically off.
Samsung is shooting for worldwide availability by September 25th. An ambitious release schedule. Pricing info to come shortly as carriers jump on the press circuit.
Sammy proudly showed off their smartwatch, ending all the rumors on what kind of tech we might see on board. a 1.6″ touchscreen AMOLED display will be paired with an 800MHz CPU and a host of sensors, gyros, mics, speakers, and a camera. Movement tracking will allow Gear to help you sort work out and fitness info, and gestures can be utilized. Answering a phone call happens by holding your hand up to the side of your head. That seems funny, until you see that the mic and speaker are built into the watchband. Not exactly handsfree, but easier to support than holding a Note 3 up to the side of your face, and less “crazy person talking to no one” looking than some of the smaller bluetooth headsets.
A 13MP camera is built into the strap as well, allowing Gear owners to snap pics and vids directly from the wrist. Lining up shots might be tricky holding your arm out sideways, but it’s nice to have an easily accessible camera which can shoot quickly from simple gestures. Custom apps are already available. to take advantage of the smaller screen, and it interacts with Samsung handsets, specifically the Note 2 & 3, the Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Galaxy S4. Smart relay will auto transfer what you see on the Gear screen simply by picking up a paired device. Plus Sammy is claiming 25 hour run time on the watch for all day and all night activity.
Expect a price of $299 when it’s released to the world, also shooting for a September 25th release.
Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition
Less time was spent on the Note 10 during the press event. Most of the new tech included in Note 10.1 was detailed during the presentation of the Note 3. Happily we are seeing a refresh on the screen. Now sporting a 2560×1600 resolution display, similar to the one found on the Nexus 10, this absolutely shames the 1280×800 screen on the last generation Note. The new Note 10.1 will have an 8MP rear camera (no word on 4K video so that’s probably not included), and the same CPU split will happen with LTE variants likely receiving Qualcomm’s 800 series CPU. I would expect WiFi and 3G variants to sport Sammy’ s Octa-core Exynos.
Huge news from Sammy today, and if you were holding off buying a new premier phone or tablet, Samsung totally justified your cautious shopping decision.