Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update: Top 5 disappointments and top 5 consolations

galaxy_note_3_kitKat_updateSamsung released the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update (Android 4.4.2) to more and more regions. You may check the update through your Galaxy Note 3 or through Kies. Some users may have to wait for the KitKat update a bit longer

The Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update equips Galaxy Note 3  with the latest version of Android, following Nexus (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10), Moto X, Moto G, and some Google Play edition handsets (e.g., Google Play edition Galaxy S4 ).

However, just like other Samsung’s Android updates,  this Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update brings mixed experience: some disappointments and some consolations. If you are a Galaxy Note user, you probably still remember the battery drain issues in ICS update and slowness issue in Jelly Bean update.

In this post, I will share with you the top 5 disappointments, and 5 cool features (consolations)  in this Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update.

Disappointment #1: No ART options

One of the most important new features in KitKat (Android 4.4) for advanced users is the new runtime option: ART ( Android runtime).  Although Google baked this  new runtime as a beta feature in KitKat, most tests already reported significant speed improvement for almost all apps. In Moto X, we saw extremely good results when this runtime is enabled.

Unfortunately, Samsung totally disable this option in Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update. There is no way to try it in Galaxy Note 3 (with the official ROM).

Samsung may use the “beta” feature as an excuse of disabling ART in the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update. It does not make sense because Samsung always bundles many alpha-level features  or apps in the handset. As one of the flagship handsets, Samsung should give customers the option.

We have to wait for next update if you want to try ART in Galaxy Note 3.

Disappointment #2: SD card support is limited

Update 1: the SD card issue in Galaxy Note 3 after KitKat update is apparently now solved. In some regions, there is another small update after

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Who stole my butter? Solving slowness probelms in Galaxy Note after Jelly Bean update

slow-jelly-beanJelly Bean 4.1 updated for Galaxy Note has been rolled out in phases since February 2013. This update brings Galaxy Note owners many excited improvements, new features and apps. Some of the new features were explained in  the Top 12 new features you should try after getting Jelly Bean 4.1 update for Galaxy Note.

However, some users reported serious slowness issues after the Jelly Bean update in their Galaxy Notes. It seems the Project Butter is nothing, or Samsung stole our butter.

What are the causes, and what are the solutions?

First, Galaxy Note is powerful enough for running Jelly Bean smoothly. 1GB RAM, and dual core 1.4GHz Exynos 4 Dual 4210 chip are still decent hardware specifications even after1.5 years. A lot of middle range Jelly Bean handsets has far less powerful hardware specifications.

So, do not suspect your hardware. Jelly Bean is not hungry for hardware. Any hardware that can run Ice Cream Sandwich should meet the requirements of Jelly Bean. A lot of manufactures do not give Jelly Bean update simply because  they do not want to put more resources on an old model. In this sense, Samsung did an excellent job.

The slowness problem in Jelly Bean update lies on the update itself. When you update the system, most of your old settings will be kept, some are necessary, some are unnecessary . Some of these settings are fully compatible with Jelly bean; some are compatible  but with degraded performance. For the known incompatible settings, the update will handle them. The biggest issue is that some old settings are not compatible to the new OS/ROM, but it is unknown yet.  Therefore, for the slowness caused by such problematic settings, a factory reset will solve the issue.

Please be careful when performing the  factory reset because it will erase your internal storage. You need backup all your data in the internal storage, including your contacts and messages. Apps can be re-installed, but the settings will be gone. If you have rooted your phone, you can use Titanium Backup  to …

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Top 12 new features you should try after getting Jelly Bean 4.1 update for Galaxy Note

jelly-bean-update-for-galaxy-noteJelly Bean 4.1 update has been available in more and more regions since February. Now our almost 1.5-year-old Note get a new  life again after the Ice Cream Sandwich update last year.

If the rumor can be trusted (and it is usually can be trusted), Galaxy Note will get Jelly Bean 4.2 update this year as well. Even better news for Galaxy Note 2 owners, Key Lime Pie (aka, Android 5.0) update will very likely be available for your Note 2. Well done Samsung!. Now Samsung is only second to Google in providing update for their Android handsets.

Last November, we list top 10 expected features in this Jelly Bean update for Galaxy note. After testing the update recently, we found all features mentioned except Airview were included in this update.

Some of these new features and improvements are part of Jelly Bean update, for example Google Now and popup browser. Some are Samsung’s extension or exclusive apps, for example, multi-window, Paper Artist,  and easy clip.

In this post, I will share with you 12 must-try new features in this Jelly Bean 4.1 update in your Galaxy Note. All these features are already available in Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 8.0  and Galaxy Note 10.1. So, if you own Galaxy Note 2, Note 8.0 or Note 10.1, you can also try all  these features out of box.

1.  Google Now (part of Jelly Bean)

Google Now is the killer feature of Jelly Bean. It was officially unveiled in Google I/O 2012. With Google now, you become the master, not the slave of your smartphones. Google Now essentially digs all your info in your Google accounts, then predicts what  info you may need before you ask. The info is presented in “cards”, which are presented  once you start Google Now. In Jelly Bean 4.2, more cards will be available.

Of course, you can also use Google Now as knowledge navigator: simple ask questions, Google Now gives you results in natural language. It works far better (not so arguable) than Siri in iPhones.

To launch Google …

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Is LG Optimus G Pro an Alternative to Galaxy Note 2?

galaxy-note2-vs-lg-optimus-g-proIt is not a secret that LG wants to step into the phablet market which is dominated by Samsung’s 5.3″ Galaxy Note and 5.5″ Galaxy Note 2. The 5″ rectangle slab, Optimus Vu, and Vu 2, announced last year, failed miserably to get into this niche market.

So, this year, LG Optimus G Pro was announced during Mobile World Congress 2013. It will be released in selected regions next month. This time LG gambles on the Optimus G branding. Will it be successful?

The eye-catching feature of this phone is its 5.5″ full HD IPS display. So, the targeted competitor of Optimus G Pro is not Galaxy S3 or recently announced Galaxy S4. LG actually wants this phone to be the alternative of Galaxy Note 2.

From the timing of the announcement, it can be easily deduced that  Galaxy Note 2 is the target. By releasing a handset in the middle of Galaxy Note 2 and the coming Note 3, Optimus G Pro can get about 6-month lead in hardware specifications against Note 2.

LG recently started to know how to design a great Android phone after they worked with Google for the Nexus 4. LG then transformed Nexus 4 into Optimus G, which is the most successful Android phone LG ever made.

Design and build quality

From the exterior, Optimus G Pro likes  a sibling of Galaxy Note 2. It is totally different from Optimus Vu or  Optimus G. Physical home button and two capacitive buttons for menu and back are similarly placed like that in  Galaxy Note 2. However, Optimus G Pro has slightly smaller side bezels.

For the back, LG also abandoned  the all-glass design spotted  in Optimus G. Plastic was chosen for Optimus G Pro. The build quality is similar to Note 2.

One thing that some people may like in Optimus G Pro is the Q Button. This is a dedicated button in the left side.  You can configure any  (but only one) app for this button. Of course, you can configure it as a camera button, just like many …

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Galaxy Note 8.0: the largest smartphone in the history!

Galaxy Note family now has a new member: Galaxy Note 8.0.

galaxy-note-8It is different from Galaxy Note 10.1, which is clearly a tablet. It is simply a larger version of Galaxy Note 2, a giant phone.

So, this is a smartphone, at least, not a pure tablet. This can be easily identified by: 1). an earpiece and, 2).the iconic Home button and two navigation keys.

The major difference to Galaxy Note 2 is the odd location of the speaker. In Galaxy Note 8.0, it is in the bottom, not on the back. Designer may come from the Mars.

Specification wise, this is surely not a top-notch smartphone or tablet. It is merely a not-so-bad device, based on today’s standard. Under the hood, you get a 1.6GHz quad-core A9 processor (it should be a Exynos 4XXXX), a 2GB RAM, a 1280*800 PLS display, a 16/32GB storage, a 4600mAh battery.

The weight is only 338g, thanks to its full plastic exterior, except display and bezel. Typical Samsung style.

The good news for Galaxy Note and Note 2 users is now you finally can use S Pen  for the menu and back buttons. You also get a new reading mode to make your reading more comfortable.

The bad news is it runs on Jelly Bean 4.1.2 (just like most Note 2 and Note 10.1), not the latest 4.2.2. Disappointed, although you will very likely get the update later.

More disappointed, the battery is not removable.

The most disappointed: the main camera has no flash. So you can guess its quality. The 5MP tag reminds you the price is not in the cheap side.

However, if you compare this giant phablet with the tablet with similar form factor (e.g., iPad mini). It is actually quite decent.

So, the imaginary competitor of this Galaxy Note 8.0 is not smartphones, but 7-8″ tablets.

Samsung probably hopes this giant phone will be the king or queen in this form factor. This could have been true if the specifications were slightly elevated.

It looks stupid to hold this giant phone near …

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