Samsung 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 the KitKat update. This update addressed the SD card issues. At least, ES File Explorer File Manager works as in Jelly Bean: you can freely write, copy, paste and delete files in SD card.
For whatever reasons, Google dislikes external SD card (since Android 2.3). All Nexus devices has no external SD card slots. Its little kid, Motorola, also killed external SD card support in all new devices. In KitKat 4.4, Android tighten the controls on external storage in the name of “security”.
Some consumers choose Samsung devices because of its external SD card support (also the removable battery). FYI, HTC executives still cannot understand this. Such SD card support is very important for users in regions without high-speed mobile network. Cloud is nice, but it requires high-speed network available most of the time.
Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update still supports external SD card. But some third-party apps may have some issues to write or copy files directly. If you encounter some issues with files on external SD card, you have to wait for the app developer to find a workaround.
To be honest, this is not the fault of Samsung. But Samsung should tweak the code so that Galaxy Note 3 owners can still enjoy full support for the SD card after the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update.
Don’t rely on Google for future update, they will point you to Google Drive.
Disappointment #3: Third-party accessories may not work
“Official” accessories usually are bloody expensive. The selection is often very limited.
Thankfully, there is a big market of third-party accessories. So, as a Samsung customer, we can get many innovative accessories at an affordable price.
But the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update attempts to change the status quo. Samsung now is attempting to squeeze more dollars from your pocket.
After getting the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, you may find out some third-party accessories are not working! You are not alone, because you are NOT using the official accessories.
Although Samsung denies the linkage of Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update with the nonfunctional third-party S View cases, the workaround for Spigen’s S-View case after Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update indicates this is unlikely an inadvertent mistake.
Anyway, if the third-party accessory has to talk to or interact with Galaxy Note 3 (e.g., S-View), it may not work after the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update. Samsung is ready to extort money from third-party accessory makers (actual Galaxy Note 3 customers).
Disappointment #4: Messaging app becomes useless
We all know Hangouts is good, and eventually may replace the messaging app. But there are still some Galaxy Note 3 users who are not ready to switch.
The Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update makes the messaging app simply outdated. For example, although emoji is natively supported in KitKat, messages composed with emoji in the messaging app will be converted to MMS. This is same as that in Jelly Bean. Of course, in Hangouts, such messages can now be sent as SMS. So, the issue is purely due to the messaging app.
Apparently, Samsung did not update anything for the messaging app for the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update. This will surely force loyal users to migrate to Hangouts. Google applauds probably.
Disappointment #5: Poorer camera performance
If the messaging app is a disappointment because you had expected some improvements, then the camera app in the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update will be a disaster for you.
The camera in Galaxy Note 3 is not so good, but it is not so bad either. Before the KitKat update, at least the app is not slow. But after the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, it seems it now takes considerably longer time to process and save the photos. If the light condition is not so good, the situation is even worse and the image quality looks far inferior (than that before the KitKat update).
So in the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, Samsung did update the camera app. But the update simply make the app worse.
Update 2: the slow processing in normal lighting conditions can be alleviated by turning off Burst shot (in Camera app, tap settings gear, tap camera button)
Consolation #1: Change home screen easily
Since Android 4.4, Google makes it easier to change launchers.
Now after the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, you can easily change the home screen under Settings. The pre-installed options are TouchWiz home and TouchWiz home easy. Of course, you can install more.
Consolation #2: Full screen music player on lock screen
If you enjoy music in your Galaxy Note 3 often, there is good news for you. The Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update brings the full-screen music player control to the lock screen.
You can control your music player in the lock screen without unlocking the Note 3.
Consolation #3: More emojis (although some are really ugly)
Samsung started their own support for emoji since Jelly Bean 4.2. You can find them in Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 before the KitKat update. Such emojis works with Samsung own devices and iPhones (black and white only).
Android finally brought native support of emoji in Android 4.4 (KitKat). Most of the stock emojis are quite nice. Of course, Samsung wants to put some Samsung stamps here. In Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, you can find far more emojis than those in Nexus. Some additions are good. But some are really ugly.
Probably Samsung prepares such emojis for you when you want to message your exes.
Consolation #4: Quick access to camera from lock screen
After the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, in the lock screen you can find the camera button. You can start camera app quickly by swipe the icon.
It is not fancy, but it is quite useful when you suddenly want to take a picture.
Consolation #5: Transparent notification bar
KitKat officially comes with a transparent notification bar. If you are using the stock wallpaper, you probably will not appreciate this new feature.
But if you are using customized wallpaper, sometimes, the notification bar does not work well with it before the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update. With the KitKat update, notification bar works well with all wallpapers.
Other improvements in Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update
Of course, there are some other improvements in the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update, for example,
- more responsive (most of the time, except camera)
- new full screen mode (immersive mode)
- select the Default applications (Settings–General)
- location accuracy control and reports for location request (Settings–Connections–Location)
- wireless printing (Settings–Connections–More network–Printing)
- updated Google apps