back to article Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Once, twice, three times - a Very Large Phone™

Laying Dell’s Streak to one side, you can blame Samsung for starting this whole VLP™ business with its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, which sold in more-than-decent numbers, as much to the surprise of its maker as anyone else, I suspect. Its successor, the Galaxy Note 2, upped the stakes by featuring a 5.5-inch screen and promptly sold …

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Rob

It's inevitable...

... that I'm going to get this when my Note 2 is due for an upgrade, I can't imagine having a phone without a stylus again. It's made my desk paperless, now if I could just stop all the snail mail I'll hit digital nirvana.

The only reason I would be upgrading is because I need the extra storage space, other than that, there isn't a busting lot of improvements on this compared to the Note 2, bit of an Apple 5s really, didn't think Samsung would copy them to that extend ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

Stylus still cracks me up - how RETRO although guess a few percent of users may find it useful. It's getting like the Homer Simpson car.

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Re: It's inevitable...

I have another 18 months on my contract so I will be getting a inevitable Note 4 when my contract expires, all because of the stylus.

The only things I can think of that would cause me to defect from the Note range is another phone with a similar stylus and a fold out keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

Finger not work - in this advanced digital age a stylus should have little or no place other than perhaps for very detailed art work and are you genuinely going to do that on a 5" phablet = no. You may as well suggest an artist paint on the back of an envelope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

You can get a stylus for almost any phone - the only difference is that one has a slot to store it. I have a combined pen and stylus - which is actually useful as I still need to carry a pen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

and a centronics port and a toaster?

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Re: It's inevitable...

The other difference is the stylus in the Note 3 is has some feature where you don't need to make conact with the screen for the device to know its there. When the pen is 2-3mm away from the screen the device shows a dot directly underneath the stylus on the screen. Useful for hovering functions and all sorts of other things.

Its certainly not your typical dumb stylus.

PS: I've had this device for a week now. Its great.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

I'm struggling to think of anything useful for that 'feature' - the whole point is you touch as a confirmation of an intended action.

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Re: It's inevitable...

"You can get a stylus for almost any phone - the only difference is that one has a slot to store it"

A Generic capacitive Stylus is not the same as the Stylus that comes with the Note. It works when you hover over the screen and has a button on it that changes the functionality. They sound like simple things but having used a generic stylus on my old phone you can really notice the difference.

One of the things I use it for is scrolling down web pages by hovering over the bottom of the page, then using it to accurately select some text for me to copy any paste into the comments box. being able to select a single point with the stylus is much more accurate than using my man sized fingers to select something.

The hover effect also allows you to use old school websites not designed with touch screen in mind that want you to hover over the menu to select the other options.

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Re: It's inevitable...

The inductive Wacom stylus of the Note series is vastly superior ti the sausage in a condom capacitive "stylus" offered for some touch only phones. It is as precise as a mouse on a desktop (actually even more precise) so:

Palm detection/rejection - if the stylus is near this is the input taken not the palm/thumb somewhere else

Using Websites not designed for touch

Taking fast handwritten notes while standing

Quick mark and copy of texts

Text annotation in PDF (the Note screen is big enough for that)

...

all work nicely. And it keeps the phone fingerprint free. For those who see a smartphone as an organiser that can make phonecalls the stylus is THE criteria. And given the Notes sales there are quite a few that see it this way (Otherwise VEB Plaste and Elaste has cheaper touch only phones with similar capacities)

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Happy

Re: how RETRO

Don't let mmeier hear you say that...

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Re: It's inevitable...

So what particular aspects of having an option to use the stylus did you like/dislike when you spent somewhere north of 30 minutes evaluating how the stylus works?

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Re: how RETRO

To late :)

Ultimately it depends on what you want/need. I hate touch and have quite a few use cases where an inductive stylus is the only way to go.

Granted, I am moving away from smartphones completely since I carry an attache case or a small backpack around most of the time anyway when I am in a situation where "smartphone might be useful and used". So a 10-12'' tablet with build in LTE is as easily carried (and most of the time IS) as a useful sized smartphone and offers a lot more capabilities. Not to mention software updates for the next 10 years. Phone calls (rare anyway these days) can be taken on a 25€ "load Sunday run all week" dumbphone at least as good.

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Re: It's inevitable...

Sounds like you want a N900.

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Re:Sounds like you want a N900.

Can't speak for the original poster, but I do - or rather, I want an up to date equivalent. Make it around Nexus 4 size & power and I'd be a very happy camper.

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Re: It's inevitable...

MouseOver events for one!

Not every website is enhanced for touch, and sometimes the fact that the S-Pen can act much like a mouse is very useful indeed.

YMMV of course.

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Re: It's inevitable...

N770 (due to the very sturdy case) updatet with WACOM technology (N-series was resistive) and WP8 (due to the chance to get the currently best Handwriting-Recognition engine from Win8) and we might have a deal :)

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Anonymous Coward

No, it's NOT inevitable..

My opinion of large phones: perfectly expressed here..

:)

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Re: Re:Sounds like you want a N900.

Was on maemo.org a few weeks ago and they're trying to get something like that off the ground.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

For some reason it reminds me of my dad dancing to Fall Out Boy at a wedding, he's 76.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

It's an additional input device, the OS is 100% useful without it. It is there because a big screen is an effective writing surface.

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Re: It's inevitable...

> I'm struggling to think of anything useful for that 'feature'

Your admitted inability to think is not a limitation on its usefulness.

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Re: It's inevitable...

The stylus loving Luddites remind me of the keyboard loving Luddites who insisted that a full hard keyboard ala Blackberry was the only way to go. There are still a few of them around, I'm sure there will always be a few stylus addicts around too.

I suppose having a stylus replaces the hard keyboard for some, as they can write stuff instead of typing if they never got the hang of a touch keyboard?

The 'hover' for web pages is useful, but it is mostly not a problem any longer as web sites that don't work properly for touchscreen are avoided in droves by the 99% of smartphone owners who don't use a stylus.

Waiting for the inevitable downvotes from the stylus lovers who seem to be watching these comments rather closely based on the number of downvotes some other stylus critics have received :)

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Re: It's inevitable...centronics port and a toaster?

The toster was on the Amiga!

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Re: It's inevitable...

You might laugh but did you know that Apple had also filed for a stylus patent?

Try doing a search for "apple-active-stylus-patent-279665/"

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Happy

Re: It's inevitable...

Thinking of all those fanboys and girls who have blindly spouted forth the gospel according to Steve, namely "If it comes with a stylus, you're doing it wrong", who will blindly buy the latest iGismo because it has a stylus...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's inevitable...

Nice phone, but Android though :-(

If only they made this with Windows Phone on....

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Re: It's inevitable...

Guess what they use at the research zoos to interact with the apes? A touch interface. Do you know why? It's the simplest interface.

Can you click and drag pretty pictures with your built-in meat stylus? Yes.

Is it good for anything else? NO.

Typing on a touch screen sucks. Fingers are often wet, oily, gloved, and are often just too damn big, and depending on the task, there is a more efficient interface.

Do you use a touch interface to play Halo? No, it would suck and slow you down.

Do you use a touch interface to write a thesis paper? No. It would suck and slow you down.

Can you surf around the web reading blogs with a touch interface? Yes, sort of, but it only really works on the most dumbed-down of interfaces.

Can you play a simple game made to work with simple tapping and dragging? Yes. But so can a monkey, or a cat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdEBgZ5Y46U

Can you write a simple game that uses a touch screen with only a touch screen? No. You'd use a REAL interface, unless you were a sadist.

Touch screens are not "the wave of the future", they are what the manufactures can easily put on small devices with minimal parts, assembly and cost. Period. Most people just suffer trying to use them for real work.

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Re: It's inevitable...

The stylus on Note is a pressure sensitive "real" stylus.

It is not a substitute for sausage-like fingers.

The device has a wacom-made digitizer layer to sense the proximity/position/pressure of the stylus, so it will actually reject (read: not register) touch input when you are using the stylus. This is a GOOD THING, so you can rest your hand on the screen while doodling/painting. Just like using a proper notepad. Hence the name.

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Following a string of Nexus devices, I'm jumping on this one. It's the stylus see.

I just hope I can remove most of the Samsung duplication of function and get close to a Nexus experience, with a stylus.

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Little chance. If you want the Wacom stylus you are stuck with Samsungs mutation of Fragmentdroid.

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Anonymous Coward

That micro USB 3 connector is nasty compared to the elegant Lightning connector - although I admit the Lightning connector is USB 2 currently.

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Anonymous Coward

Elegant..

...but slow. So a bit shit then. But it looks nice!!!

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Re: Elegant..

Not just looks... the microUSB connector is a bit scratchy and I still need to give it a second glance to determine which way round to plug it in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Elegant..

"the microUSB connector is a bit scratchy and I still need to give it a second glance to determine which way round to plug it in."

Humans rely on sight far too much. Use touch, the "bottom" side of a micro USB plug has 2 little notches on it. Here in my dimly lit cave, it is the only option.

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Re: Elegant..

Yeah, but the whole point of good design is to make life easier for us humans (a little more good thought at the design stage gets multiplied by the production run... i.e magnified by millions)... so I'd like every connector to be as easy to use as a 3.5mm headphone jack. (Though even that gets messed up... an example being the original iPhone when the socket was so recessed that not all 3.5mm plugs would fit it, especially fancy thick hifi 'Y' cables)

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Why?

I really don't get the trend for making Android devices bigger and bigger and bigger*. I've just jumped ship to the new iPhone. I love Android, and Google, but I just can't get an Android phone which isn't either gimped at a processer/performance level (the "anything mini" line of phones are crippled, all of them) or three times bigger than has the right to be put in a pocket. I've go a tablet guys - i want a small device, but I don't want to put up with poor performance.

The whole Android/IOS debate is moot if the bloody hardware is too bloody big.

* Actually I do, if you put a bunch of people in a focus group and asked them if they want a phone with a bigger screen of course they'll say yes. Just don't ask them if you want to put them in your pocket.

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Re: Why?

Turns out a lot of people carry their phones in bags. Which means that a bigger phone is quite helpful, and when the phone is used mostly for email, text and internet browsing then a big screen is helpful too.

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Re: Why?

In case of the Note the size follows function. It is designed along the lines of the old PDAs as a digital notepad/dayplanner first and a smart phone second (Phone part of the hardware is so so) and 5'' is basically the minimum useful size for taking a quick note with a pen. Since at least the original target audience (business) would typically carry the N70x0 in a attache case etc. the size was not a problem there.

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Re: Why?

Is it because people keep buying them?

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Re: Why?

> (the "anything mini" line of phones are crippled, all of them)

If you wait until the new year, you might consider an Zperia Z1 f. This 'f' variant has a 4.3" screen, but the same processor and 2GB RAM as its bigger Xperia Z siblings.

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/124257-sony-announces-xperia-z1f-its-flagship-z1-shrunken-down

I have a 4.3"-screened Xperia P, and whilst being far from state-of-the-art it ticks along quite nicely on a dual-core chip and its copes with HD video and 3D games happily enough- though I seldom ask it to. Good call quality. Battery life could be better. Small text is readable on websites, but I imagine a bigger screen would make browsing easier. I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone with poorer close-up vision or 'sausage-fingers' though.

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ISP

Re: Why?

"If you wait until the new year, you might consider an Zperia Z1 f. This 'f' variant has a 4.3" screen, but the same processor and 2GB RAM as its bigger Xperia Z siblings."

Still sounds too big to me, I'll be looking to replace my 3.3" Xperia Ray and want something of a similar size. The Ray can go in the change pocket of my jeans or in a shirt pocket without showing but is big enough to do contacts/calendering/messaging and I still get roughly 4 days run time between charges. Even on a single 1GHz core it is responsive enough. Fine as a phone too. If it wasn't for the limited RAM I'd be happy to keep it for another year. Time for some rooting and custom rom action...

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Re: Why?

Mr Alexander was after a smaller Android phone that didn't compromise on its internal components compared to 'flagship' models.

Reg readers that want a 3.3" Android phone might want to have a look at this Samsung Android quad-core flip-phone with dual-SIM slots:

http://androidcommunity.com/samsung-sch-w789-hennessy-unveiled-includes-dual-sim-feature-20130813/

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ISP

Re: Why?

"Mr Alexander was after a smaller Android phone that didn't compromise on its internal components compared to 'flagship' models."

As would I, I'd just rather go even more compact. The current screen size arms race leaves me cold. The Samsung is interesting but, personally, I've never been a flip phone fan. With a minimal bezel and a high pixel density a smaller device can be just as usable.

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Re: Why?

I've never been a flip phone fan either - though psychophysically the placement of the phone next to the mouth and ear is reassuring (though sidestepped by multi-microphone trickery these days), and the possibility for large buttons and a screen protected from scratches makes good sense .

Personally, I have a soft spot for the slider-phones Samsung used to make- a very tactile way of taking a call, and then ending it. When I first used Android, I would tap a hard-button thinking it would end the call, but it didn't work that way...

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Re: Why?

>Since at least the original target audience (business) would typically carry the N70x0 in a attache case etc.

and a Nokia phone in their pocket for voice and MMS...

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ISP

Re: Why?

"When I first used Android, I would tap a hard-button thinking it would end the call, but it didn't work that way..."

I still do that on mine sometimes, hit the hard home button instead of the end call soft button, which dumps you out of the dialer interface entirely. Gah...

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Re: Why?

Thank you, thank you. :)

It seems like I'm not the only one who wants this either. I'm not completely keen on flip phones, but I'd get one if it's the only way to get into my pocket.

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Re: Why?

My point is I do carry something in my bag. It's called a tablet and it means I don't have to carry a laptop 90% of the time.

If I'm on the tube or standing on the train I don't want to hold a tablet in both hands. I want to use a phone one handed. And I'm not that keen to go into my bag to get it. Hence the need for a powerful, pocketable phone.

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Re: Why?

Yeah, 4.3" is definitely pushing it. 3.7" was always the sweet spot for me. Can I find one though? :(

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