If the flagships seem like too costly, most of the manufacturers are offering affordable lite versions of the same mobiles, with more or less same features so that you can have almost the same experience as the flagship device. We have seen lot of ‘mini’ versions of such flagships recently and now Samsung has brought us the mini version of Note 3, which is called Galaxy Note 3 Neo which comes in a bit lesser price than its bigger brother, but we get the same stylus and phablet experience. Let us see how the device performs and how well it fares in the segment.
Design & Display:
The phone looks almost similar to its bigger brother Note 3 and there’s hardly any difference between them. The same curved edges with a squared design and leather like surface at the back with faux stitching, the navigation buttons etc. everything looks the same in case of Neo. Don’t think that this is a lite version and would be easy to manage. The dimensions of the phone are almost similar to the first Note with only difference in screen size. This time around the screen size is 5.5 inch when compared to 5.7 inch in Note 3. The phone comes with a 720p display with 267 ppi. Though it doesn’t seem so nice for the price point, the display still looks good with wide viewing angles and good color saturation. But still maximum brightness is pretty average so viewing in direct sunlight is not so good.
The device comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI on top of it. Users can upgrade to 4.4.2 KitKat via software upgrade. The lockscreen, widgets, icons, notification panel, app drawer etc. - the overall interface looks almost the same thing what we have seen in the Note 3. Multi-Window also comes here with two apps running side by side. The settings menu is once again, like a tabbed interface instead of stacking up all the options. One handed operation too comes for Neo, where you can resize the interface to be suitable for using with one hand. Overall the UI runs smoother and we hardly faced any lags during operation.
The device comes with an 8 MP Auto focus camera with LED flash at the back and a 1.9 MP cam at the front. The camera is pretty much similar to the ones we have seen in flagship Samsung phones like S4, Note 3 etc. Samsung has loaded a bunch of scene modes, tweaks and various options to experiment on the picture. Image quality is pretty decent for an 8MP cam and the pictures turned out well with a good amount of detail and color saturation. In case of low light photography, most of the photos lack the same punch found in daylight photos and there is bit of noise. The device is also capable of 1080p video recording which have a great amount of detail and colors look pretty sharp. There is a good amount of loudness in the loudspeaker but not as loud as Note 3, but the output produced with headphones is excellent.
Connectivity & Additional features:
The phone comes in single sim version, which supports micro sim card. Network reception is excellent but call clarity is not as good as expected. In call voice is not so loud and with higher levels of volume it still doesn’t seem so clean enough. The device also supports Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G and GPS. Apart from them, the device also has NFC and IR blaster which come in handy and are most sought in premium mobile these days. Internal memory is of 16GB out of which 11GB is available for user. The device also supports micro SD cards upto 64GB, so you won’t face any issues with storage. Most of the features which were present in S4 and Note 3 are once again borrowed here. Some of them include smart stay, smart pause, smart scroll, S Health and Air view. When it comes to S Pen, the same apps found in Note 3 are once again borrowed like the S Note, Scrap booker etc. Once you detach the S Pen, the same Air command pops up with 5 options – Action Memo, Scrap booker, Screen writer, S Finder and Pen Window. The S Pen writing experience is also similar to the Note 3 and it detects the handwriting almost accurately even if you write in cursive.
Performance & Battery:
The device runs on Exynos hexa core processor at 1.3/1.7 GHz along with 2 GB RAM and Mali-T624 GPU. The device has a surprisingly good score in benchmark tests, scoring around 31k in Antutu, surpassing S4 and around 11k which is even higher than that of Nexus 5. Multi-tasking is a breeze and even if you load heavy apps, you will hardly face any lags. Some of the heavy games like Asphalt 8, MC 4 ran well without showing any noticeable lags or frame rate. Battery capacity is of 3100 mAh which is surprisingly only 100mAh lesser than its bigger brother Note 3. Considering this fact, the battery life is expected to last similarly like the Note 3 and the Neo stands well in the expectations. Under normal to above normal usage, the phone easily lasts one full day of charge and put up the power saving mode and you can squeeze out the battery even for 2 days based on the usage.
Good battery backup
Almost similar features like Note 3 including S Pen.
Still pricey considering the specs
Loudspeaker is mediocre
Display could have been better considering the price.
So far, we don’t see anything ‘lite’ regarding the Note 3 Neo. The features are almost similar to its bigger brother except for the display. You can have almost the same experience you find in Note 3 with the Note 3 Neo. But still the price is considerably higher when compared to what the rivals are offering. But we guess once the price drops it makes a more reasonable buy. Of course there are some good rivals like HTC Desire 816, Samsung S4 itself, and the Xperia Z1. But anyway the Neo still has the S Pen as its own weapon and can beat the competition easily. If you don’t care about having an S Pen, you can also have a look at the rivals, but if you’re attracted to the S Pen, the Neo gives a pretty good experience with a lower price.
|Release Date||2014, March|
|Operating System||Android v4.3 Jelly Bean|
|Processor #1||1.7 GHz Dual Core Cortex-A15 Processor|
|Processor #2||1.3 GHz Quad Core Cortex-A7 Processor|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|+ RAM & STORAGE|
|Internal Memory||16 GB|
|External Storage||64 GB|
|+ DISPLAY & TOUCH|
|Touch Screen||Yes, Capacitive|
|Resolution||1280 x 720 pixels|
|Pixel Density||~267 ppi|
|User Interface||TouchWiz UI vTouchWiz UI|
|Screen Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 2|
|Rear Camera||8 MP|
|Front Camera||2 MP|
|Camera Features||3264x2448 pixels with autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection|
|2G Network||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Network||HSDPA 900 / 2100|
|4G Network||No (Not Available in India)|
|+ SIM OPTIONS|
|Dimensions||148.4 x 77.4 x 8.6 mm|
|3G||HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps|
|4G||No (Not Available in India)|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS|
|Wi-Fi||Yes, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual Band, Wi-Fi Direct|
|+ MUSIC & VIDEO|
|Music Player||MP3, WAV, eAAC+, AC3, FLAC|
|Video Player||MP4, DivX, XviD, WMV, H.264, H.263|
|SMS||Yes, Threaded View|
|Email, Push Email|
|Battery Type||Standard Battery Li-ion 3100 mAh battery|
|+ APPS & GAMES|
|Built-in Apps||Google Play, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Calendar|
|Java||Yes, via Java MIDP emulator|
|+ Additional Features|
|SNS Integration, Predictive Text Input|