The latest smartphone tablet hybrid from Samsung is the Galaxy Note 3. We took the Galaxy Note 3 for a spin. (For a more detailed Galaxy Note 3 review, read Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review: fastest-ever phone a slim, well-built phablet with stunning display.)

Galaxy Note 3 build quality and design

The Note 3 is big, but feels slim. The thin plastic back offers access to the battery and has a new textured finish.

There's a grooved metal rim around the edges of the Note 3 that makes it feel well put together and sturdy. And the thin- and light feeling of the Note 3 is an impressive achievement when this phone's performance and display is taken into consideration.

At the bottom we find the S Pen, docked into the grooved metal rim. The stylus is topped in metal so it fits in neatly. Also down here at the bottom is a Micro USB 3.0 connector offering faster data transfers.

Overall the Galaxy Note 3 feels big, yes, but compact and well put together. Design wise we like it. See also: 18 best Android phones in UK: What's the best Android phone you can buy in 2013?

Galaxy Note 3 performance

The Note 3 has simply staggering specifications, and performance to match.

It pairs a new quad-core chip with a whopping three gigabytes of memory - and it shows. Synthetic benchmarks shouldn't be relied upon when making a purchasing decision, but if they were the Note 3 would be a must buy. In use the Note 3 feels slick and zippy. It's a truly fast phone.

In terms of battery life, this is not the handset that will make the great leap forward. But it is up there with the best current handsets.

Samsung claims up to 13 hours of internet usage and up to 21 hours of talk time. In my experience of using the Galaxy Note 3 for a few days, however, I'd say battery life is a strong point. Using it for email and web browsing, listening to music on the commute, a little social media and some video watching, I could easily get through 24 hours on a single charge. More importantly there was enough juice left over the next day to get in to the office.

In all respects the Note 3 is a top performer, then. Storage wise the options are thirty-two gigabytes and sixty four gigabytes, and there's an SD card expansion slot for up to another sixty four gigs of storage.

Galaxy Note 3 display

The Note 3 has a 5.7in AMOLED display with 16M colours and a 24-bit colour depth. That's a lot of colour and it shows. If a vibrant and deep hue is something you like in your display you need look no further.

And the colour is just the start. This is a huge screen with an HD resolution. We're used to smaller smartphones boasting retina-busting displays, but such sharpness on a screen of this size is truly a thing to behold. Movie content looks amazing, games stunning.

The touchscreen is snappy and sensitive, although prone to picking up finger smears.

Galaxy Note 3 cameras

The Galaxy Note 3 has two cameras, a front-facing camera for selfies and video calling, and a rear-facing snapper for more serious photography and video capture. The latter is a serious piece of compact camera kit, offering such features as auto focus, image stabilisation, LED flash and zero shutter lag.

Shooting modes include Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Golf, Surround shot and Live effect.

Galaxy Note 3 software & S Pen

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with Android 4.3 'Jelly Bean' installed, as well as Samsung's own TouchWiz interface. Jelly Bean is the best Android yet, offering a slick consumer experience and access to all the media and apps that Google Play can offer.

You can also install and purchase apps and media from Samsung's own store, which is in some ways confusing but does at least offer you the opportunity to compare and choose based on price.

More than just a stylus is the S Pen. Pulling out the S Pen wakes up the phone. Hover it over the screen and it brings up contextual menus. The S Pen allows you to write freehand and move around windows on the display. You can capture a screenshot and launch command menus.

Galaxy Note 3 verdict

The Galaxy Note 3 is a high-quality portable device, offering the best performance we've ever seen, a stunning screen and nice build quality. We award four and a half stars. See also: Sony Xperia Z1 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphone comparison review - which is the best Android phone?

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