Samsung Galaxy Note 2. (Photo : Reuters)
As we rapidly approach the very likely unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on Sept. 4 in Berlin, right before the start of the IFA 2013 consumer electronics show in the same city, it's a good time to take a look at the rumored specs for the Galaxy Note 3 and compare it to its predecessor, the very popular Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
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There's no question that the new Galaxy Note 3 will pack better specs, but for those who may be considering snatching up the device on its release date, the real question is how big of an improvement is the Galaxy Note 3 over last year's flagship phablet by Samsung? Let's take a look first at the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to get a baseline.
When it was unveiled in August of 2012, the Galaxy Note 2 had some of the best specs to date. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 had a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a High Definition 720p (that's 720 x 1280 resolution) display. The device came with up to 64GB of internal storage, with 32GB and 16GB models available, too. Of course, the Galaxy Note 2 also had a microSD card slot for up to 64GB more storage. That's all packed into the relatively small 5.95 x 3.17 x 0.37 inch frame, which only weighed less than half a pound. The Galaxy Note 2 had an 8-megapixel main camera, with autofocus, that was capable of taking shots with 3264 x 2448 pixels. It also had a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was powered by the Exynos 4412 quad-core system, with a Cortex A9 processor clocked to 1.6GHz. The Galaxy Note 2 came with a 3,100 mAh battery and Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1, which has since been upgraded a tiny bit to 4.1.2 - though no further yet. When the Galaxy Note 2 was released, it packed a bunch of new Samsung features, like its enhanced photography software, S-Voice, the TouchWiz UI, and of course the S-Pen stylus.
The most likely specs for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at this time have a couple differing feature-sets, depending on which market you're in. But both will have a much faster processor and better graphics than last year's Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note 3 is likely to have a 1.8Ghz Octa-core Exynos 5420 system on a chip, along with an ARM-based Mali-T628 MP6 GPU. There will also likely be another version of the device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system on a chip, featuring a quad-core Krait 400 processor, which is unconfirmed but may be clocked above 2.2GHz. Both versions will have a 5.68-inch Super AMOLED screen, which will almost certainly have a Full High Definition resolution of 1080p. Rumors also have the new Galaxy Note 3 packing the much speedier 3GB LPDDR3 RAM on both models.
While tweaks in design and better firmware will probably stretch the battery further, the Galaxy Note 3's battery will probably not be much of an improvement, as it's tipped to be 3,200 mAh. In addition, the battery and the only slightly larger screen hint that the Galaxy Note 3 may not be much - if at all - physically larger or heavier, but rather might have a thinner bezel on the sides to accommodate the extra screen real estate.
And then there's the software. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean will almost certainly be the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's operating system out of the box, along with the latest Samsung TouchWiz UI and software, which has made the Samsung Galaxy S4 a hit. And of course there will be the S-Pen.
Whether the Galaxy Note 3 really outshines last year's Galaxy Note 2 largely depends on some of the unknowns, as well as the price. However, the rumored Galaxy Gear smartwatch accessory may put the Galaxy Note 3 over the edge, as far as garnering attention, drumming up enthusiasm, and leaving the rest (including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2) in the dust. Until Sept. 4, we'll just have to wait to see.