Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear

Network improvements and S Pen refinement make both Sprint and the Note 3 worth a closer look

Sprint graciously sent us a shiny white Galaxy Note 3 and a Galaxy Gear to evaluate, and the way the dice roll they ended up in my hands for a week or so. The last experience I had of with any phone on Sprint left me a bit nervous, but hey — who isn't excited to get some time with a new Android and a fancy smart watch to go with it, right?

So I used them both full-time for a week, and have reached two conclusions that need to be shared.

  • Sprint is getting better. A lot better.
  • I don't like big phones that run crazy variants of Android, menu buttons make me twitchy, and SD cards are for cavemen. But I love the Note 3.

Yeah, I was as shocked as anyone who knows me is. But I'm happy, too. This is going to be as weird to write as it will be to read, so let's go.

The Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Note 3

This isn't going to be your typical review of the Note 3. We've done all there is to do with that. All of us here have used one on and off since they were released, and there are plenty of real-world reviews (don't tell Phil I said this, but they're they're the important ones to read) in the Android Central forums. If you're not real sure of what the Note 3 is, or what it does, you'll want to read those first. This post will still be here, go ahead.

OK, where were we. The Note 3 on Sprint is just like any other LTE Note 3 on the planet. It's got a whopping 5.7-inch 1080p display (it's pretty good), a Snapdragon S800 processor with all the cores (four of them, if you're counting), 3GB of RAM because it can, and a slot to stick a tiny floppy disk in. This particular model has 32GB of internal storage, with just a hair over 6GB used for the software monster that is TouchWiz.

Yes, TouchWiz is a monster. It's huge, and it's not something like a launcher that sits on top of Android. Its hooks are deep, and to get rid of it you need to erase everything. And you might not want to. Samsung has spent a ton of time and money to get TouchWiz and all the features — both useful and other — on their Galaxy line of devices, and the simple fact is that millions and millions of people must like it because they keep buying it. You can't argue with that, especially considering that anywhere you buy a very expensive and fancy new smartphone has a period of time you can use to return it. 

A lot of people love TouchWiz. If you don't, that doesn't change anything.

TouchWiz can be a cuddly friendly monster, too. There's a lot there that's pretty useful, and it's a fairly simple affair to shut off the parts that you think aren't. If having Blocking Mode built into the firmware (really, Google, Y U NO HAS THIS?) means I have to shut off smart stay — which never sees my eyes — so be it. That's not saying all of Samsung's changes are great. I still have to open my Gallery on Wednesday to share a picture on Thursday (kidding, but it seems that way) because I have so much cloud content synchronized, but for the most part there's nothing deal-breaking. If you've never tried a phone with TouchWiz, don't be afraid of it on a high end device. It's better than Android purists let on in some ways, and those ways may be important to you.

By now you're probably thinking "He sounds like he doesn't like it very much, why did he say he loves the Note 3?" That shows you're paying attention. The Note 3 has one killer feature that no other phone ever has delivered.

The S Pen and Air Command

Air Command

In plain English, this is the shit. Never mind what old men on a stage say about a stylus, because when it is done right it's amazing. It was a good idea on the original Note. The Note 2 made it a lot better, and a lot more responsive. The Note 3 nails it.

The S Pen is now fluid, lag free when writing or drawing, and with the "invention" of the Air Command controls an integral part of the entire package. There's not really any single application in the Air Command menu that I used a lot. Mostly, I used it for drawing a Pen Window to keep something handy while doing other things (hey, that's called multi-tasking!) or to doodle on screen captures before I sent them to Andrew or Kevin in the middle of the night. But the idea is amazing. 

As Samsung develops more and more unique ways to use the S Pen this will be an awesome way to get to them. Don't fool yourself, somewhere in a secret room in Korea someone already has the Note 4, and I'm sure there are new apps built into an all new Air Command pop-up. Air Command is a feature that Samsung can build out, and I get excited when I recognize things that can make for a unique experience. If i used the Note 3 everyday, I'm sure I'd find more use for the included apps. They work well, are designed well, but so far I haven't found a need for them. That doesn't mean they, and the whole system and UI, aren't innovative as hell. But that's not the only reason why I love the S pen.

S pen

I like to draw. I'm not an artist, I'm a doodler. When i sit and have nothing to do, or when I'm thinking hard, or when I'm stressed out, I take pencil to paper and scribble. The Note 3, and the free version of Sketchbook that comes with, are so damn awesome for this.

The S Pen is really pressure sensitive now, and apps designed with this in mind — the Markers app is another great one — make it feel just like drawing on nice, heavy paper with a marker or roller point pen. I'm not blowing smoke here. Next time you're somewhere where you have some time with a Note 3, download the free Markers app from Google Play. Press lightly on the screen and you draw a thinner line, press firmly and it gets thicker. That's pretty cool, but when you combine it with fancy brush styles and shapes, you can make drawings that look like they were done with colored pencil, marker, oil paint, and more. Using a stylus on another device isn't the same, and will never be the same. That's probably why Apple dismissed it — theirs isn't as good. The stylus support on the new Surface isn't as good. Nobody in the mobile space does it as good.

I have to box this Note 3 up and send it home to Sprint. I don't want to. You're not going to believe this if you know me, but I asked Phil to send me a company Note 3 to keep around. Yes, I like it that much. 

The Galaxy Gear

Galaxy Gear

It's finally my turn to offer up some opinion of the Galaxy Gear. The first thing you'll think when you touch one is that it's built like a damn tank. If you go out to the store tomorrow and buy a Note 3 and a Galaxy Gear, you'll end up going through three plastic phones before your Gear shows any wear. All kidding aside, it's a solid hunk of stainless steel, a reinforced composite band, and it feels like a $300 watch is supposed to feel.

But I have a huge problem when it comes down to the functionality. I use a Pebble every day. I can get any notification that will appear in my status bar to print to the screen of my $159 Pebble. Any app, any notification. The Gear can't do this, instead you're directed to check your phone for any notification not from Samsung's email client, or Samsung's chat client, or Samsung's dialer, or Samsung's SMS client. Bleh. Those apps work well enough, but they are not the apps I want to use. 

It also has a camera, which is kind of cool, and can act as a BT earpiece and speaker which can be very cool. Neither of these make up for the poor notification system. 

Save your money and wait for version two. Sorry, fans, but someone has to say it (again).

The Sprint network

Sprint LTE

Don't laugh at this picture. You wish whatever network you're using has seen this kind of improvement in the past six months. 

Yes, LTE from other carriers is a lot faster. Even decent 3G from AT&T or T-Mobile is a lot faster. But six months ago that screen would have just showed an error. Where I live, since Sprint let their agreements with other carriers for bandwidth sharing and roaming expire, we haven't had a good enough signal to even use Google Maps navigation. When LTE lit up a while back, you were lucky to get dial-up speeds out of it, let alone enough speed and bandwidth for streaming music or video. Today, the Sprint network is usable, and while not the speediest I've ever used is consistent and solid. You can do a lot worse than a rock steady 5-7 Mbps download speed. You probably have, unless you never leave Wifi.

For 18 months we've heard how Sprint was making changes, upgrading equipment, installing some sort of network vision package that didn't seem to help anyone except some anonymous users who claim to live somewhere we don't. I'm here to tell you, with my real name, that in and around the far western suburbs of Washington, DC Sprint is now a usable option. It's unlimited, and everything I've seen says it's worth paying for. Surprised? I was, too.

The kicker — if Sprint is getting better in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, it's getting better elsewhere, too. They're not investing all that SoftBank money in my neck of the woods. I see plenty of situations where T-Mobile and AT&T are faster, but I also see places where Sprint is the better network, too. 

The bottom line

Sprint Galaxy Note 3

The Note 3 is once again the best big phone on the planet. It has its quirks, a lot of the software can be infuriating to the power-user, but it's worth taking the time to get to know it and work around a few things if you're looking for a phone with a lot of real estate. The battery life is legendary, mostly because there's a ton of room to pack a big one under the cover, and if you like a ton of features and options you'll be in heaven. 

If you're the type intrigued by how the S pen can work with the rest of the hardware and the software, the above still applies. Air Control's fancy menu pulls the best of what the S pen can do right to the front of the action, and it's something we really hope Samsung expands on. For creative types, the newest hardware and software for digitizing is also great for sketching and drawing, rivaling an entry-level computer drawing pad is ease of use. 

The Galaxy Gear is a product I think was rushed to market. The hardware engineering was finished (and finished well) but the software needs a good bit of work. I can't recommend that anyone spend $300 on it. Wait for the big update that fixes the lack of useful notifications, or the fire sale. One of these will happen.

And if you're shopping around, be sure to actually look at Sprint instead of listening to the Internet-at-large, You might be as surprised as I was with how far they've come.


Reader comments

Using the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear on Sprint


Yawn... I'm too caught up in the Nexus 5 storm to concern my self with the Note 3.

Posted via the Android Central App on my Note 2

[I have a flu coming on... Nothing I type is making much sense... It looked okay when I pressed the save button... LMAO. Drugs! I Need Drugs!]

"Yawn... I'm too caught up in the Nexus 5 storm to concern my self with the Note 3"

What a laughable comment. Do you think the 'nexus 5' can stand side by side the Note 3 in any test? The Note 3's a premium monster packed with so many features unlike the empty nexus 5. The only thing a nexus has got over the Note 3's faster OTA updates other than that its crap.

Now you can get back to your toy.

"The only thing a nexus has got over the Note 3's faster OTA updates other than that its crap."

How is your comment any better? To each his own, I say.

The Note 3 is great (I've used it, it is an amazing device), but to say the Nexus 5 is crap is just daft. Some people like the pure Android experience (or dislike TouchWiz) and fast updates. Some people may feel that the Note 3 is too big. Some people like the price of the Nexus 5 over the Note 3.

Just because one person is "caught up in the Nexus 5 storm to concern my self with the Note 3" doesn't mean the Note 3 sucks. It just means that he has his preferences and the fact that they differ from yours doesn't mean the Nexus 5 "sucks" or is a "toy."

On a separate note (no pun intended), I too have noticed Sprint's service is improving in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's still not up to par with Verizon in terms of speed or overall coverage, but it's good enough to stream Netflix videos for the most part.

Regarding the Sprint Network performance. Much has improved since Network Vision began to roll out. They now cover close to 200 million POP's (every major market and smaller markets). Sprint has always had solid coverage for voice, the issue has been with data speeds since the iPhone was released which majorly taxed the network like it did with AT&T's network. There's still plenty of work to be done and the new Sprint Spark service is just the beginning. Once all of the pieces come together with nationwide tri-band LTE on 800MHz / 1900MHz / 2.5GHz, HD Voice and upgrades to the current infrastructure in way of bigger 20x20MHz channels (pipes), Sprint will have the fastest, if not one of the fastest networks in the country. Additionally, part of Sprint Spark includes better in-building coverage with the refarmed 800MHz low frequency Nextel spectrum.

It's nice to see AC finally testing a phone in an area that has been partially upgraded at least. Those speeds are much better than the past but the network certainly performs much better in many other markets as I get speeds of 20-30mbps in my area. This is a step in the right direction but Sprint is not done with the complete nationwide overhaul yet, and to their credit, they are upgrading to much greener and more efficient cell sites and network infrastructure.

Why is it that in all the reviews I see, they're always showing sprint lte to be as slow as 3G? I really get 15 to 20 MBS & up, while upload speeds are in there 5/7 & 12 MBS.....I sometimes think that just like Samsung was caught paying people to give better recurred for their phones that Verizon or attached is paying to crap on the unlimited data company's network speeds.... Idk but trust is an issue and allot of reviewers are hungry for money.

You have praise to Sprint!

I'm finally getting through to the AC staff that Sprint is good when they show up in your neck of the woods.

From my rooted Sprint GS3 running LiquidSmooth 4.3..(Having trouble deciding about buying the Nexus 5. This phone is still blazing fast.)

Posted via Android Central App

Color me caveman. I will even think about getting a phone without an SD card. Nexus 5? To much ado over nothing.

Caveman here as well. Too much music and video that I don't want in a cloud, and don't want to worry about data signals or charges related to going over. Might not of mattered when we had unlimited data but not the case anymore.

Posted via Android Central App

+1 But regardless of data plan.

And local is fast and secure and super fast to copy on/off and doesn't disappear and uses far less power.

It is not a "floppy disk" [directed, of course, at Jerry]...

Yup. I'm on Verizon and I still can't get a signal inside a lot of buildings and areas. Also, removable batteries are sooo nice.

Awesome Jerry. Calling a shovel a shovel. I appreciate the honesty as a long time Sprint user. Sprint's LTE around me is rolling out faster than I can located it, and I'm doing my best to map it with Sensorly. I hope they keep it up.

And I want a Note3. Badly!!

I'm a bit of a Sensorly addict... My town's sprint LTE coverage just exploded all over the area recently. I think I used a half tank of gas mapping it all. And, my Note 3 is kicking ass... ;)

In indy where vision is farther along sprint is arguably on top with the exception of building penetration on 3g and lte. Voice is running on 800smr and is a game changer. With a tri-band lte device. There will be no comparison.

Posted via Android Central App

I have Sprint and while I do admit they are finally making progress in my area on the data speeds and rolling out LTE, they are still far behind the other carriers. I've been paying $10 a month for a few years for 3G dial up speeds when I just finally started seeing 4G in my area about a month or two ago. Yeah it's unlimited but what's the point of having unlimited when it's so slow. Even T-Mobile's unlimited is faster.

Exactly this. I have two lines on Sprint and one (soon to be 3) on Tmobile in Colorado Springs and I've checked connectivity (including speed and roaming) in the area all through the mountains and tmobile takes wet shits on Sprint for less money. My two soon to be tmobile accounts were just canceled lines on Sprint since they wanted to change our contract to make it even more expensive with our "free" upgrade. Bought two $230 Nexus 4 and they'll be on the $30 5gb 100 min tmobile prepaid plan.
I can't wait until my other two Sprint lines are done. Watching 50 different areas in Puerto Rico get LTE while on 2.5g was sickening.

Puerto Rico is rather small so those 50 different areas (gross exaggeration btw) aren't that huge of an investment to them, nor very spread out... Puerto Rico also has a higher population density than the majority of the continental US AND a very varied landscape (topography-wise), both those elements make it a very valuable test market.

It's not like Sprint was the only carrier to fully deploy LTE in Puerto Rico early on in their rollout, PR was only a second tier market for them whereas it was one of the first 10 or 15 locations for AT&T. It's a pretty lucrative market, relatively speaking, and an important data point for carriers (as far as learning from the deployment process).

LTE in Puerto Rico is much better than in Jerry's neck of the woods btw (sometimes faster than AT&T since the latter is so saturated, no VZW in PR so AT&T's by far the biggest carrier); and 3G has also seen significant improvement. AT&T still has slightly better coverage tho, and crucially, better building penetration on average (even for 3G, so it's a factor of tower density as well as frequency).

Thanks for pointing out the 50 different areas part was an exaggeration, I didn't do that on purpose or anything /sarcasm.
Also, it went a long way to alleviate my frustrations in the past to know how valuable Puerto Rico was for Sprint to focus on while everywhere else languished /sarcasm.
Yah, LTE is better in Puerto Rico.
I drank all of the care out of that cup long ago.
Sprints data service is aweful on the whole. That's the point.

People should know that the Sprint Note 3 is not Tri-band phone, meaning that it's LTE radios only work on their 1900Mhz spectrum, leaving the 800 and 2600 "spark" (or whatever they are calling it) upgrades moot to any sprint note 3 users. I am a Denver Sprint user currently on the Note 2. I love my Note 2 and I want the Note 3, but this gimped connectivity has me eyeing elsewhere, possibly T-mobile, who started after Sprint and has already covered Denver with LTE.

The Sprint Spark rollout is expected to take 3 years and only cover 100 cities.

When it matters for most people, the Note 3 will be old news.


Yes, but it is already live in a handful of major cities; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami are all currently live. The Nexus 5, LG G2, Galaxy Mega, and even possibly a new rev of the S4, are all tri-band capable phones. I wasn't the engineer behind the radio support, so maybe there is a good reason, but it seems like such a flagship phone should have the capability of taking advantage of all of Sprint's spectrum. That's just my opinion though.

Just want to add though, Jerry, YOU'RE THE MAN! You crack me up on the podcasts and your articles.

That's true for Spark, but the Band 26 LTE deployment should be significantly faster since the RRUs and panels are already installed. They just need a new card in the cabinet for accepted LTE sites with backhaul and off they go. While Band 26 isn't the speed and capacity demon that Band 41 is, it has much better building penetration and range than either the existing Band 25 deployment or the Spark rollout.

I can live without Band 41, but I'm really looking forward to Band 26.


Only 100 cities happens to be their 100 largest markets or probably over 75% of their subscribers. Plus, if you live in a market that had a full clearwire wi-max rollout, they expect those markets to have Spark by mid 2014 at the latest. It is allegedly an easy convert as the fiber backhaul and rrus are already mounted for Clear. I'd expect a good chunk of people to have Spark by two years from now.

The other probably bigger knock on the Note 3 is the lack of LTE Band 26 (800). That equipment is already installed on nearly every site that is broadcasting 1900 LTE. It will not take 3 years to rollout.

I personally can't fathom buying a non-triband phone at this point, and this is coming from a customer in an un-lanched LTE market where they are only rolling out 1900 right now.

LTE speeds on my VZW GNEX have slowed over the last 2 years to an average of 2-3 mbs. I've heard this is GNEX issue several times, so I have been meaning to do some comparisons. Finally stopped by the VZW store and ran a speedtest. 4 mps then 2.5 mps. Sprint store was less than a mile away from my house also so I figured why not? 8mbps on the first test. Over 10 on the next. With the One Up plan, I will be able to get unlimited everything+phone payment for just about the same as my VZW plan (which will go to 450 Min and 2GBs when I upgrade). Don't want to wait until Mid December but it's suprisingly not much of a contest. Considering Triband may come to the DC area in early 2014 also....I just have to wait. On to Sprint for me though.

Glad to see some Sprint love. They've made great improvements in my area as well.

I wanted a Note 3. I wanted one really badly. the reason I shied away is because of Sprint's up and coming new network and LTE bands 26 and 41. The Note 3 lacks radios for these bands, and the Nexus 5 that I ordered and should have in my grubby little paws on Wednesday has support for those bands. Sprint has a tri-band LTE version of the S4 coming if you believe the FCC OET docs, so maybe there is some hope for Sprint Note 3 dreamers that want the other (arguably more important) LTE bands.

I'd rather be a caveman than someone that's ignorant of the benefits of having an SD card.

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I do agree with Jerry on the fact that SD cards have many drawbacks (such as having horribly slow I/O speeds and security flaws), however, i can't deny that cost wise SD cards are much better than the cloud solution. Data rates are far too high for the average consumer to have everything on the cloud, not to mention that markets such as China and India (with lots of consumers) are much more limited in their budget and will go with the cheapest storage solution.

All of that being said, I love my Nexus 5 :)

First Smartphone was a Galaxy Nexus, then moved to an S3. Must say, it's VERY nice to have an SD slot. Sorry, but we don't all have unlimited Data, and even with Verizon I don't have a good connection all the time. Really annoying when you are trying to show someone photos and can't get them at the time because you have no internet connection.

I bought the Note 3 and absolutely love it. I build custom homes in the Boston area and the S-Pen and all the other features I use every day. I'm hooked on it, couldn't get along now without them. Fast, nothing on this planet is as fast as the Note 3. I have 32gb of int storage and a new 64gb class 10 sd card. I can download all my contracts etc. on this phone and it is always with me. The phone is a killer. My only issue is the speaker isn't loud enough, there is a modification that can be flashed to remedy this problem. Needs root for this, waiting for KitKat then will root unless when KitKat is updated they include a fix for this I will not root. I am surprised Jerry admitted to just how damn good this beast of a phone is. Everyone talks about build quality, I like the build of this phone, I went and bought several battery doors, one is pure leather and the other is metal, beautiful. I also have wireless charging set up in 3 locations in my house, what a waste of $. Not the wireless charging, that is fantastic but the stock battery is so powerful I only need to charge this thing at night and then it's not always needed. This is one bad ass phone.
PS, I know even Jerry must love the ability of the additional storage, I wish all phones would offer this feature.

just to echo your statement this phone is indeed a killer phone ,i ve read and view a lot of reviews on this phone and i am surprised that some don't find this battery to be a beast,i use my note 3 at full throttle every day it is 7. 05 pm right now am at 35% .love it

SD cards are for cavemen? Well I'm an Awesome Caveman then.... and your an idiot. When phone manufactures decide to have the minimum 64 GB of internal space to store my shit.... Write a review Jerry. You SUCK!!!! I'm still rolling with my Note 2 with Nova Launcher and a 64 GB SD card that is full.

Bit harsh. The reasoning for SD is I live in NYC and travel by subway most of the time. NYC has a few stations [maybe 10] with internet connectivity but nothing near enough for me to get a signal from point A to point B. I keep Google All Access music stored to my SD plus 8 or 9 movies. Granted the 32 GB on the N3 plus another 64 SD card is probably more than I can fill, I like having the option. Plus I take a lot of photos. I have cloud storage out the wazoo [G+, Box, Drop Box and a couple of more] but still prefer the original photo to what's store in the cloud. I mainly use these for back-up. So that being said, to each his own. I assume Jerry changes device so often, it would be better for him to use cloud storage. I would too If I were in the same boat.

This SD card thing is starting to get almost as bad as the console wars. SD cards are for peope who use SD cards.

LOL Didn't know you lived around here, I'm up in Frederick, MD. I'm ex-Sprint customer, I'm glad to hear they are getting better, they used to be a great option, I ended up having to leave them during the Evo 3D days, it was just unusable. I switched over to ATT and have been extremely happy, ATT LTE just came to Frederick last week, I was lucky enough to actually watch is "turn on" I almost had a mini celebration.

Sd cards are great for extra storage but Android took away the option of storing apps on your card. If you have a lot of apps sd cards are useless. Phones should start out at 32 gigs internally 16 gigs is a total waste of time.

Posted via Android Central App

As mentioned, Note3's TouchWhiz supports Apps2SD outofthebox, and if you're on any other ROM (like CM), and rooted, you can simply use the FolderMount app to move the hogs to SD.

The Note 3 is the flagship device winner of the year 2013. Its an all rounder device with little or no flaws. Hope sammy keeps this up.

No thanks, Sprint. Closing all of my accounts as quickly as possible without ETFs.
2.5G for the past three years+ in two different regions and soldered SIM cards on your phones which are worthless in Europe and Africa when I travel.
Not to mention your horrible customer service and trying to tack-on contract extensions for everything you do that you're supposed to.

I was upset too when I bought the Evo 4G LTE and it had soldered SIM cards. I have the Note 3 now and the SIM card is not soldered. I was happy with this.
So far as customer service, it has gotten better. Ever so often when I have to call and get bad service, I hang up and call until I get someone who knows what they are talking about. They are getting better.

I had a look at the Note 10.1-2014 in a PC world recently. I was struck by how light and compact it is. Other 10 inch tabs are getting slimmer and lighter as well, I like that. Perhaps we don't have to choose between a solution you CAN hold and a really nice screen.

On the phone side, the Note 3 phone gets a lot of screen area and capability in a nice compact unit. I really want to have a pen and multi-screen in a pocket unit. Up to now I was wondering if the Nexus 5 or even the Nexus 7 would stop me buying the Note 3; they have not. I still like the N7-2013, but not enough - that surprised me, on paper its great it just did not "fit". The nexus 5 might still grab me, but that battery is a bit small.

"and SD cards are for cavemen" Seriously? You're funny dude. SD cards pay for themselves after a few months with not having to rely on a cloud storage subscription and wonky cell coverage (with any network). I'm just saying.

Really? That's what you put up for a reason of not liking SD cards? I mean, to each his own but that? I had that problem [on a Note2] but I was using a custom kernel... which I later found out didn't recognize Fat32 formatting on the card. It wasn't the phone nor the card.

How can the Galaxy Note 3 with 32gb of internal storage AND SD card support be any inferior to lets say an iPhone or HTC One with only 32gb internal?

Sure, I'd prefer 96gb of internal storage vs. 32gb internal and with my 64gb microSD card, but why should Android go the Apple route with non-removable batteries and storage? Its why I still support Samsung as an Android OEM.

Thank you for asking without insult. :)

SD cards have to use the Microsoft FAT file system to be compatible across all platforms. This is old tech that even Microsoft has abandoned. It's not journalized, has no user/group security, and is fully patent-burdened.

It's also media with very limited read/write life, is prone to moisture influence (leading to loss or corruption of data) and is very slow.

It's also the number one (by a huge margin) problem people have with their device when they ask for support.

Nobody thinks having a low amount of storage is a good idea. But using SD cards to do it is a bad idea on a supposed high-end device. I see the allure for markets where more than one user will share a phone, but usually in those situations the phones are cheap — not like the Note 3.

If this is a premium device, why skimp and give only a poor storage option?

"If this is a premium device, why skimp and give only a poor storage option?"

What? The Note 3 doesn't give only a poor storage option. It gives you the same amount of storage built in as all of the other phones PLUS the option to add more with a microSD card.

I already discounted your opinion on that subject, now you're giving me pause in listening to anything you have to say based on that statement.
I doubt it's the number one problem people have because a relatively small number of users actually use their sd card slot.
I can understand having a problem with it back in the days of <8gb phones having an sd card slot to make up for a lack of onboard storage, but having a 32gb phone with an sd card slot is absolutely nothing to complain about.

"I doubt it's the number one problem people have because a relatively small number of users actually use their sd card slot.
I can understand having a problem with it back in the days of <8gb phones having an sd card slot to make up for a lack of onboard storage"

1.3 BILLION Android phones. Add up all the S3's, S4's and Note 3's. About 180 Million.

You don't seem to understand that there are literally hundreds and hundreds of millions more of those "old" (Samsung keeps making them, I wouldn't call them old) phones with little to no storage inside and users have to use the SD card slot. Old like the HTC One X. Or the Galaxy S2. Or the ones getting released next week. 

You do happen to understand that those are a real problem though. I'll be happy to forward you all the support emails, if you promise to answer them.

FWIW, I've never had a email asking to help because internal storage was corrupted and needed replaced. And I've been fielding questions since Cupcake.

I understand the situation with the other phones perfectly. That's why I wrote that statement. The full statement. I don't understand why you would make the comments you did about the Note 3 (as well as cutting off your quote at the exact point in the sentence when it is clear the Note 3 has nothing to do with those phones, but I guess I do understand that to. Please cut up my statement some more to "prove your point")
To make the blanket statement about sd as a limit on a phone that it clearly isn't is again ridiculous.
You can forward whatever you like, it still doesn't make any sense when talking about a phone which doesn't rely on the feature as you implied.

It was in direct reply to your assertion that SD card problems can't be the number one support issue I handle. 

The rest of your original response follows your logic that what is bad on one device is somehow good on another, which I have to completely ignore because it's simply false. If it's bad, because the tech is bad, it's always bad.

First, that wasn't my assertion. You never said "I handle" in your initial statement you said its the number one problem people have. If you had said when they ask you, I wouldn't have even mentioned it since it would be an anecdote and not my place to disagree. You made it a statement as if it were universal, which it isn't. It is in your experience so that's that.
Second, please don't try to state what my logic is by inserting a canned assumption of your own.
I never said it's bad because the tech is bad. I said it's not a proper implementation to substitute for built in storage.(in so many words) You can argue the merits of the tech with the other posters who disagree with you.

Umm, the MS/patent/old formatting argument is totally valid, heck I'll add one more to that along the same lines: most people just can't deal with a file manager (much less Android's confusing mount points and directory structure). Those users have been making a mess of it for years on Windows and they're the reason Apple/Google moved away from exposing the directory file system to users by default (thankfully Google didn't obfuscate it much for enthusiasts).

That being said, I feel this line borders on FUD:

" It's also media with very limited read/write life, is prone to moisture influence (leading to loss or corruption of data) and is very slow. "

The NAND flash inside a phone doesn't have a longer life expectancy either, it's the same flash memory... You could argue an advanced storage controller could manage it better to extend it's life, but no one's using advanced storage controllers on phones and tablets. Everyone's using eMMC that aren't any better or faster than removable media in most cases. Sometimes they're optimized, slightly, for better random access, but that's about it (sadly).

Most of the speed advantage a phone might score vs a micro SD card (and it isn't much) comes from alternative formatting and file systems rather than hardware... It's also usually limited to random access, rightfully so since that's the biggest vector for snappy performance on a phone. However the people that are transferring big movie files or large photos from their DSLR or any other kind of sequential operation would still be better off transferring over USB 3.0 to a very fast card than transferring directly to a phone (which will be 5-10x slower).

That being said, if you're into that you should probably invest in a good USB 3.0 thumbdrive (faster still) and an OTG dongle, but this doesn't cover ALL usage cases. I've yet to kill a micro SD card thru moisture btw, and I surf and live in Puerto Rico with a relative humidity of 90% almost year round. I'm sure it happens, but I'm not sure a phone's flash would survive a dunk in the pool any better (and it'll be harder to recover stuff from).

I just bought a Nexus 5 btw so I've got no major skin in the game, but I thought the way the EVO LTE handled the whole thing was the smartest way possible. Internal storage is handled just like a Nexus (no need to mount/unmount etc), and card storage is handled like normal mass storage devices. Makes perfect sense, best of both worlds.

I can understand leaving it off a Nexus or even complaining when you're forced to use a card because there isn't much internal storage... However, calling it caveman tech is pure editorial folly and just points to a close minded nature, which is everything Android isn't about.

NAND inside a phone isn't the same as a film based sd card.

The manufacturers are the ones who say they are adversely affected by moisture.

You also forgot to mention the security issues that surround removable media, or the potential damage to the running system when elements of the OS are stored at removable mount points. Things would be different if only media could be stored to an SD card, instead of having application data and cache dropped into the cheapest, and most prone to break, point in the system. Folks with digital cameras complain when an SD card dies, but they don't have to reset or reflash the firmware from Canon or Nikon afterwards. They buy another ultra cheap and disposable place to put captured images until they can be transferred to better storage. 

There are reasons why computers no longer use two floppy drives to run the OS and load programs. Those same reasons apply to mobile computing, and the SD card will soon be gone for all but the cheapest entry-level devices. All those who cry foul when told the disadvantages are free to start their own company when this happens.

Really? I can type in "SD Card problem on Galaxy Nexus" and I get "About 23,200,000 results (0.61 seconds)" for a phone that doesn't even have an SD slot.. That's a horrible argument.

I live here in the great city of Fort Wayne Indiana and if any of you have been here or know OF my city. You know Sprint had the worst reception out of all the other major city's. Since then, the whole city is LIT UP LTE and 800SMR. In my brick building, calling was impossible. You HAD to go outside, no matter the weather to make a phone call. It's all changed, I even connect to LTE indoors! LTE800 here will be the bomb. Let's say that I love Sprint here and we had the WiMax rollout here as well. We'll be getting LTE800 mid 2014. Can't wait!
Happy Sprint Customer.

They have really great 3G coverage in this Cincinnati suburb I visited this weekend. I loaded a full desktop site with lots of pictures and a complex GUI in under 10 seconds

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Samsung did a great job with the note 2 and 3 haven't got my hands on the note 3 yet but im sure its even better. I've watched alot of good reviews on the note 3 so I might upgrade not for sure yet

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Samsung did a great job with the note 2 and 3 haven't got my hands on the note 3 yet but im sure its even better. I've watched alot of good reviews on the note 3 so I might upgrade not for sure yet

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Caveman because you want to use memory card slots? Would you buy a computer with no USB or memory card slot? So why would you buy a handheld computer without one?

wow!! how much better can these phones get ,loving this beast of a phone ..oh yes the s pen takes it to the next level.and by the way I will be a caveman all day all year !!!give me my SD card anytime ,can listen to my music underground overground,no coverage,you name it i got control.dont stop the sd card samsung.

Note 3 is a bit larger then I would want to carry but would be glad to carry it if I received this from AC.


I want to win this so badly..I never win anything..or have won on any of these things in the give away you all are doing

I've been with Samsung devices for a while now... I'm currently using an S4 and I'm ready to step up to the Note 3. My hands are certainly large enough for it. The Note 3 would be perfect for me and then I'd pair it up with the Gear.