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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Samsung Galaxy Note Pro: is the super-sized tablet for you?

In CES 2014, Samsung finally unveiled the largest tablet they ever made: the 12.2″ Galaxy Note Pro.

Galaxy Note ProFor Galaxy Note family, Galaxy Note Pro is a new member, of course, a super-sized member.  Although Galaxy Note series always are proud of their sizes (5.3″, 5.5″, 5.7″, 8″ and 10.1″), some may wonder whether the 12.2″ screen in Galaxy Note Pro is too big.

In this post, I will share with you our comments (not reviews yet) of Galaxy Note Pro.

The official Galaxy Note Pro specs

The official specs of Galaxy Note Pro are really impressive. But this is not surprising, because Samsung always put the best hardware (except camera) on Galaxy Note series.

Just for your information, here are the official specs of Galaxy Note Pro.

  • 12.2-inch Super Clear LCD display with 2560 x 1600 resolution (WQXGA)
  • 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor ( for LTE/WiFi version) or 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa processor (3G/WiFi, or WiFi only versions)
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat) with TouchWiz and Samsung Knox
  • 32/64GB storage
  • MicroSD support up to 64GB
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with LED Flash
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO technology
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB 3.0
  • GPS and GLONASS
  • Infrared sensor
  • 9500mAh battery
  • Dimension: 295.6 x 204 x 7.95mm
  • Weight: 750g (Wi-Fi version), 753 (3G/LTE version)

Is Galaxy Note Pro the best tablet?

Hardware specs surely put Galaxy Note Pro in the top tier of tablets. But tablet is not just hardware: it is about user experiences.

In addition to hardware specs, Galaxy Note Pro have some distinct advantages over any tablet in the market. So, Galaxy Note Pro may be the best tablet for some users.

1. The 12.2″ screen is perfect for everything

When the 12.2″ tablet was rumored last year, the first reaction of most people was “it is nice but it is simply too big”.

This was actually the identical response of the introduction of Galaxy Note in 2011. In 2012, I wrote a short post to address this concern: Is Galaxy Note really too large? The answer is always: size always

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Top 10 New features of the New S Note in Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition

Galaxy Note_3_S_NoteIf you are a user of  Samsung Galaxy Note, or Note II, you will find the S Note in Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is quite different from that in Note or Note II. For example, a lot of seasoned S Note users will ask “where is the productivity tools?”  in Note 3.

In this post, I will share with you the top 10 new features of S Note in Samsung Galaxy Note 3.  These include select and transform (replacing and enhancing productivity tools in old S Note), select and format (formatting your S Note), easy chart, line eraser,  searchable S Note, full screen by default, landscape template, preview S Note, default template and default cover, and add from scrapbook.

Please note, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition has almost  identical S Note as that in Galaxy Note 3. So this post also applies to Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, although I just mention Note 3 in the post.

1. Select and transform (replacing productivity tools)

Productivity tools is one of the  most welcomed features in S Note. It is powerful and east to use. If you are not sure about the productivity tools in previous generations of Galaxy Note devices (Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 8.0, and Galaxy Note 10.1), you may check this video.

Once you  get the new Galaxy Note 3,  you will find you can not find productivity tools in the new S Note.  Quite a lot Galaxy Note 3 owners asked me where to find the productivity tools.

In Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the productivity tools are deeply integrated into S Note. The term is no longer used for the new S Note.

All of the functions  and features (except formula search in Wolfram Alpha) of productivity tools now can be easily accessed from select and transform in Galaxy Note 3. You can write/draw whatever you want in the S Note, tap the selection button, draw a closed (roughly) line to include the written objects,  now you have the options to convert/transform the written objects to text,  shape, formula, …

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Top 10 expected improvements in Galaxy Note 3

exynos5Almost certainly, Samsung will announce the Galaxy Note 3 during (before) IFA 2013. Galaxy Note was announced during IFA 2011, Note 2 was in IFA 2012.

There are some leaked images and specifications circulating around. But none of them accurate, because Samsung surely produced several prototypes for evaluation. A few additional prototypes may be just to confuse competitors.

Based on Samsung’s track record in Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note series, it is certain, that Galaxy Note 3 will be an “upgrade” to Galaxy s4, not just an upgrade to Galaxy Note 2. This is the product strategy for Samsung. When S4 was released, there is about one year time for competitors to beat S4 with newer hardware. Note series at least shorten this window to 6 months.

So, what will be seen in Note 3? Here is the top 10 list.

1. Full HD display

Galaxy Note 3 will surely have full HD (1080p) screen. And it will surely be Super AMOLED made by Samsung. Early this year, before Galaxy S4 was announced, there was a rumor that Samsung had problems with full HD on AMOLED.  S4 stopped this rumor.  So, Samsung definitely has no problems to produce full HD AMOLED display in a bigger screen.

Full HD on a 5″ screen like S4 may be a waste. But for a 5.7″-6″ screen, the pixel density (arounfd 370ppi) is human eyes’  limit.  More pixels will be just wasted.

For Galaxy Note 2 users, it is an upgrade from HD 720p to 1080p.

2. Exynos 5 Octa  5420 processor

Exynos 5 Octa 5420 will very likely be used on Galaxy Note 3.  This is an improved  version of Octa 5410 found in Galaxy S4.  The 1.8 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 and 1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 provide 10% more CPU raw power than 5410. But the most significant improvement of 5420 is its GPU. It will pack the latest ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU, which provides 130 GFLOPS at 667MHz. The  OCta 5 5410 only has IT PowerVR SGX544MP3, which provides 51.2 GFLOPS.

If we compare this processor …

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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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