When I first started using Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, almost everything about its enormous size annoyed me. I couldn’t text with one hand. It barely fit in my pocket, or didn’t at all. I felt silly holding it up to my ear to talk on the phone. It was the least subtle or elegant phone I’d ever seen.
Even my friends were horrified. I’d plop the Note onto a table or I’d whip it out to take a picture, and anyone I was hanging out with would double-take.
“What is that thing?!” they’d gasp.
I quickly learned that people who don’t write about tech for a living have never heard the term “phablet” — a phone / tablet hybrid, which is what the Note 3 is. It clocks in at a whopping 5.95-inches long and 3.12-inches wide, which is about the width of a Pop-Tart, with a couple extra inches tacked on, length-wise.
Large-screen phones are well on their way to becoming the “next big thing,” even though many people still think that they’re ridiculous-looking. Analysts estimate that nearly one-fourth of smartphones shipped world-wide in the third quarter of 2013 had displays of 5 inches or more, with that number set to increase (giant phones are especially popular in the burgeoning Asian market).
Rumour has it that even Apple is planning an upgrade for iPhone 6, from its four-inch display to something bigger. If a big-screen iPhone happens, it will be because the Samsing’s Galaxy phones proved that consumers want big screens. Thus the prospect of a big-screen iPhone 6 is the No.1 threat to Galaxy.
I’ve been an Android person for several years now (I initially switched from the iPhone for price reasons when it broke between upgrades, but I stayed for the customisation and integration). I’ve been using a phone with an average 4.3-inch display. But now, having switched to the humongous Note 3 for several weeks, I don’t want to go back to a small-screen phone ever again.
For the first week and a half I used the Galaxy Note 3, it felt like an obnoxious novelty. “Ha ha, look at how stupidly huge this phone is!”
I had to start carrying around a purse more than usual (several guy-friends even had issues stuffing the phone into their pocket), and I felt ridiculous texting.
Sure, I noticed some of the upsides right away. YouTube videos looked amazing on the Note’s super clear-and-bright display. I could read long articles on my morning commute without squinting. Every mouth-watering detail of my friend’s Instagrammed brunch looked bigger and more tasty.
Eventually, other less-obvious pros started becoming apparent. In general, the camera on the Note 3 kicks arse, but even if it wasn’t inherently light-years ahead of my old camera, it would still benefit from the huge screen. Not only could I frame each shot much better, but it was easier to put the camera’s focus on exactly what I wanted. I really stepped up my QuizUp game because, with so much screen real-estate, it was nearly impossible to flub a quick tap and press the wrong answer. If I was a Flappy Bird fan, I know that I’d have a much easier time keeping the creature aloft and I’m sure the Candy Crush experience would be divine.
Even something as simple as scrolling through my Twitter feed was a more enjoyable experience with 5.7-inches of reading room. Oh, and did I mention that my Snapchat art became a lot more ornate? (Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones come with the “S Pen,” a sort of stylus on steroids, which lets you make detailed drawings on the huge screen, among a million other things.)
Once I started using Swype (an Android keyboard that lets you type without lifting your finger between letters), I actually mastered using the Note one-handed and was texting twice as fast. I feel like I could write a novel on the Note 3, or at least a Business Insider article.
At first, answering phone calls on the Galaxy felt like the most awkward thing ever, because it looked like I was holding a brick up to my head. But guess what? Bricks are exactly the right length to extend between your ear and your mouth! I swear, when talking on the phone with the Note 3, each call was clearer.
To anyone who says that they wouldn’t like using a big phone before ever trying one, I urge you to reconsider. A huge phone like the Note 3 provides an amazing overall experience. Everything a little phone can do, a big phone can do better, besides fitting in your pocket. After using the Note 3 for several weeks, I can confidently say that that tighter fit isn’t even remotely a game-changer.
At this point, I’m downright rabid about how much I love using Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. Every time I have to go back and do something on my tiny-tiny phone, I balk in horror at how small everything looks, frantically wondering how soon until my next Verizon upgrade so I can buy one to use permanently. In short, I fell in love. You may think that the nearly 6-inches look foolish at first, but, trust me, bigger really is better.
If Apple doesn’t actually end up releasing a big phone this year, it’s going to be left in the dust as more people decided switch to Samsung and others to get their big-phone fix.
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