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Samsung picks up the faux stitched leather and slaps it on the back of the Galaxy Note 3

Just as Apple finished tearing down - and making fun - of the stitched leather in iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, tenuous partner and heated rival Samsung has picked it up and slapped it on the back of their new Galaxy Note 4 phablet. I kid. A little It's massive, otherwise almost majestic 5.7 inch device, and Phil Nickinson has a complete Galaxy Note 3 hands-on up already:

So as usual with a new Samsung product, we're dealing with incrementally upgraded hardware and a slew of new software features. But the new tricks on the Note 3 aren't nearly as arbitrary as some of the Galaxy S4's software features seem. They're focused on highlighting the Note's two headline features — the giant screen and the stylus — and making them easier for consumers to use.

A lot of these new features are Samsung's alone, meaning they may or many not work with non-Samsung apps, including the incredibly popular Google suite of apps. (Though Google apps will be compatible with pen window.) There's a new Scrapbook as well, and an Air Command radial menu for the stylus.

While some make fun of overly large phones and cite their lack of one-handed ease of use, there's a counter argument to be made that for people for whom the phone will be the primary computing appliance - perhaps the only computing appliance - sacrificing the phone for the computer can make sense. Especially in emerging and other regional markets. It's something Apple might have to address in the near future as well, though likely more in the 4- to 5-inch range than the 5- to 6-inch range. (Unless makes an appearance on the iPad line...)

Check out Android Central's full Samsung Galaxy Note 3 coverage and then come back here and tell me what you think. Any interest in a 5.7-inch faux leather finished phone?

Source: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I would be looking for a replacement battery cover ASAP.
  • They lose me at 'stylus'... that's the first thing people lose, and have to buy a replacement 3-pack at a ridiculously inflated price... :)
  • Agreed. The location on the bottom is a problem. Better buy a few stylus for replacements. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have had the note 2 for a year now and never lost the stylus. A handy alarm sounds if it removed for a period of time
  • It bugs me to have to defend this thing but the complaints against samsung were that the back was plastic (the 3Gs plastic was clearly better). When they make it different, there's still complaining. I think the stitching criticism was valid when apple used it because that was adding stitching to software, not something that you can actually touch. No stitching was necessary to display an address book, but it might be needed to actually hold something on to...plastic. Also, the pen stays in pretty well. My wife has one of those gigantic Note 2 phones and never has the pen come out accidentally. She just throws it in her purse anyway but that s-pen is quite secure. With all that said, I'd swap out that back cover for a more traditional piece of plastic.
  • +1
  • stylus is killing me but i love the idea of a leather back phone.
  • Like the size, hate the OS. It's just cluttered and noisy to me. Nothing seems to flow.. I need my Feng shui when it comes to OS/App flow. Plus, one thing Apple has down, is data migration/backup. I know for a fact that 99% of my data will move over from the iPhone 5 to the 5S.. however, it's a russian roulette game if your Samsung Note I or II data would transfer smoothly to a Note III. Seriously, that right there halts me in my tracks.. My data is too important. I can't commit to using a Samsung custom app unless I KNOW it's going to translate over. I'm sooo done with the re-setup routine. Apple has that bit down. If Apple had a 5"+ I would snap that up and use as my primary. Wish someone would figure out how to load iOS onto an HTC One! :D
  • I can tell you from experience that Apple went through a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to data migration. I used to rock a 3GS, but one update after another I lost data in iTunes. Half of my contacts disappeared one time when I ran a software update. My contacts within Outlook (my primary copy) got screwed up as soon as I installed iCloud. My photos disappeared. It was bad enough for me to jump ship as soon as my 2 years were up. If you take the time to explore android, it can be so much less cluttered than you think. For example, I am a sucker for downloading free games (for me and the kids). My ios had an entire home screen of folders, all full of games. In android (go launcher), I have a folder for each kid and one for myself, and literally a hundred games in each folder. If both kids like the same game, no problem, I just copy it into both folders. The other example is icon placement. it drove me crazy on ios that I had to line my apps up starting with the top left. Why can't I put a favorite app on the bottom right where my thumb can reach it easily? Customization became very tedious as I added more apps. In android go launcher I can put apps where I want, change the size, number of rows and columns, remove the labels (I know the icons, after all), etc etc etc. Make it as cluttered or feng shui as you want
  • Don't you mean you hate the OS overlay? Android itself (if you've seen stock) is clean and uncluttered, but Samsung's TouchWiz overlay... ugh.
  • re: "Just as Apple finished tearing down - and making fun - of the stitched leather in iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, ..." That sucking sound you hear? That's thousands of Art School interns running to interview at Samsung. To get jobs doing more faux leather with stitches.
  • Boy, did Leo seem especially ticked for Andy for not backing him up. Were it not for Rene and Alex (and Don when he is on), I would have probably stopped watching MacBreak Weekly with the direction it has been going for a while. I used to tune in religiously when it was Leo, Alex, Merlin and Scott Bourne. I also liked Andy Ihnatko's occasional guest appearance. Now I cannot seem to stop watching it for the same reasons I occasionally give into watching highly biased news shows that tick me off and read the occasional Mike "I LOVE GOOGLE+!!!" Elgan click-bait piece. As of late, it seems like Leo is jumping on any chance to promote an Apple competitor while bashing Apple. "Look! A touch screen laptop! Look! Google TV! Look! Google Glass! Look! Windows 8! Why doesn't Apple do the same?!!" How many of these products that he has heralded has he stuck by? Ultimately, he either ditched all of these or pawned them off to a colleague (as with the Google Glass given to Jason Howell). Meanwhile, we are treated to mocking replicas of the new Mac Pro and occasional remarks about how "Apple is the new Microsoft." It feels like Leo sees companies finally, and clumsily, catching up to where Apple was years ago as "truly innovative" while discounting the time it takes to create a truly revolutionary device. Leo's outright hostility toward Apple is almost palpable. Seriously, they should just make Rene the new host and let Leo devote more time to This Week in Google where he seems truly excited and happier. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and nobody is as scrutinized when it comes to their products (and manufacturing policies, and their eco policies, etc) as Apple. Apple knows it, and to expect them to blow our minds every year is completely unrealistic.
  • Leo: "Apple needs to innovate!" (Paraphrasing)
    Rene: "Well, what would you like to see that you haven't?"
    Leo: [Silence... then Leo rants about what other companies are doing and that Apple is slowly becoming the new Microsoft, ergo, not actually ANSWERING the question.]
    Rene: "Well, what would you like to see that you haven't seen?"
    Leo: "I don't know!" Audience: The defense rests. Leo is a brilliant guy. No questioning his intelligence. But it is very clear that his unreasonably critical of Apple in regards to innovation. Yet he doesn't hold Android to the same standard. A larger screen size is not innovation. The Android OS, although great, is not an innovation. September 4, 2013 episode of MacBreak Weekly was downright sickening. Even Andy Ihnatko has to correct Leo's course because he was so passionately off base.