Samsung announces the Galaxy Note 3

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Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3, which takes its S Pen integration to a new level

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The term "phablet" became something of a household name during the last couple of years. Though we've seen some solid entries from other companies, Samsung's Galaxy Note line deserves full credit for popularizing the giganto-phones. Today the company announced the 2013 edition of its flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note 3.

The Note 3 continues the trend we saw with the Note 2, with an even larger screen, and even smaller bezels. We're looking at a 5.7" display, measured diagonally, with 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. That has it coming out to about 388 pixels per inch (PPI), which should have text and images looking significantly sharper than the 267 PPI screen on the Note 2.

The Note 3 should have plenty of horsepower under its hood, as it rocks Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor. The LTE version has a quad core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz. The HSPA+ version, meanwhile, rocks a 1.9 GHz octa core CPU. With an abundant 3 GB of RAM rounding out the performance-related specs, this puppy should scream.

The Note 3 has a new soft textured back with fine stitching, continuing with the company's notebook theme. The phablet weighs 168 g (5.93 oz.), and is about 12 percent thinner than the Note 2, measure at 8.3 mm thick.

The phablet will ship in both 32 GB and 64 GB models, and, staying with Samsung's trend, it has a microSD card slot. A 3,200 mAh battery, a 13 MP rear-facing camera (capable of shooting 4K video) and a 1.9 MP front-facing camera round out the primary specs.

S Pen

It wouldn't be a Galaxy Note without a stylus, and an improved version of Samsung's S Pen returns to the party. Here Samsung added a few software-related goodies, and they all revolve around a feature called Air Command. Tap the S Pen, call up the Air Command pie menu, and jump straight into tasks like jotting quick memos, grabbing screen content for later, and multitasking.

That multitasking drew the biggest cheers from Samsung's Unpacked event. No longer limited to just running a few apps side-by-side, the Note 3 now lets you run multiple versions of the same app in multiple windows. So you can use Samsung's chat app to have multiple chats open at the same time. You can also open select apps on top of your primary app. The example Samsung showed us had the Calculator app opening, to make some quick calculations, while you're in the middle of a chat.

Software, release

All of those software features are, of course, tethered to Samsung's TouchWiz UI. Here it's sitting on top of Android 4.3. The Galaxy S4 also launched with the (at the time) latest version of Android, and unless Google launches Android 4.4 Kit Kat before the Note launches next month, then it will have the latest version as well. Kudos to Samsung for improving in that department during the last year.

The Galaxy Note 3 will be available first in the US and Japan, and will begin shipping on September 25. We expect carrier info and pricing to follow within the coming weeks, if not sooner.

For more on the Note 3, check out our hands-on first impressions, straight from Berlin.

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