The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the biggest smartphones of the year, literally. Not only did Samsung pack in a larger 5.7-inch display and a faster 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, but the company also added a number of new features to help set the device apart from the competition.
Along with many of the software enhancements found in the flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3 includes advanced multitasking capabilities, a new way to discover content, and other features.
These tips will help you get started with your new device:
Like the Galaxy S4, the Note 3 can run two apps simultaneously. Holding the back button will reveal the multiwindow menu that lets you choose from a list of compatible apps to run side by side. Apps can be resized or expanded to full-screen by dragging the blue circle icon in the center of the screen up or down.
Samsung also added additional options, such as the ability to switch to a new app, swap the current windows, and drag and drop content from one app to the other. These actions can be accessed by tapping on the blue circle icon.
The home button on the Galaxy Note 3 has a variety of functions. A single short press will open My Magazine, Samsung's BlinkFeed clone that displays content from various news outlets and social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This feature can also be accessed with an upward swipe from the dock on the phone's home screen. My Magazine lets you choose content from a variety of topics, including world news, politics, technology, and entertainment.
A long press on the home button will reveal a list of running applications and give you a chance to quickly switch between them. Individual apps can be closed with a swipe of the finger, while clicking the "X" icon in the lower right-hand corner will cancel them all. Samsung's task manager and Google Now can also be accessed from this menu.
A double tap on the home button will open S Voice, Samsung's voice assistant feature. This Siri-like feature is capable of answering questions and performing different tasks, such as telling you the weather or calling a friend.
Gestures and more
Samsung introduced a laundry list of new features with the Galaxy S4, many of which have been highlighted in the company's TV commercials. The ability to have a video pause when you look away from the screen, however, is no longer exclusive to the S4.
In addition to the unique S Pen features, Galaxy Note 3 users also have access to features like Air view, Air gesture, Smart pause, Smart stay, and Smart scroll. These can be enabled in the settings menu, or by pulling down the notification bar and clicking the window icon in the top-right corner.
Air view allows you to hover over things like e-mails, pictures, and Web pages to see content without having to click on it, while Air gesture lets you scroll between pictures, answer incoming calls, and see notifications with a simple wave of your hand over the screen.
Smart stay keeps the screen turned on as long as you are looking at it, smart pause will pause videos when you look away, and smart scroll will scroll Web pages when you move your eyes.
These options, along with things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, can be reorganized in the notification menu by selecting the pen icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
The Galaxy Note 3 has more features than any Samsung device before it; I must admit, navigating it can be a bit overwhelming. Samsung was kind enough, however, to include a new search feature that takes the frustration out of finding pictures, settings, contacts, and so on.
The feature, known as S Finder, can be enabled with a long press on the menu button. The Galaxy Note 3 also includes a search bar in the settings menu to help locate specific options you would like to enable or disable.
The settings menu is broken up into four sections: Connections, Device, Controls, and General. Connections includes settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Data usage, and NFC, while the Device tab allows you to change device-specific settings such as the wallpaper, sound, LED indicator, and font.
Settings concerning the S Pen, languages, voice commands, and gestures can be found in the Control section, while the General tab houses options for accounts, date and time, battery information, storage, apps, and security.
The Device section is also home to a feature known as "Easy mode," which can be helpful for people who are new to the world of smartphones. This feature transforms the Galaxy Note 3 into a more simplified device with larger icons and an easier layout.
Check out CNET's full review of the Galaxy Note 3 for more information.