Several months after its release, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 remains a top contender for the title of best business smartphone. Before you balk at its sprawling 5.7-inch display, consider its benefits. The Galaxy Note 3’s huge, sharp screen is big enough to really work on — offering more than twice the screen space of the 4-inch iPhone 5s— and its top-of-the-line hardware is as speedy as any smartphone on the market this holiday season.
What really sets the Note 3 apart as a business device, though, is the included S Pen stylus, which is housed snugly in a slot at the bottom of the chassis when not in use. Sliding it out automatically triggers a special menu for easy access to a range of useful pen input applications.
The Galaxy Note 3 is a lot to handle, quite literally. But for business users looking for a top-tier device with good battery life and the best built-in productivity software around, Samsung’s flagship phablet is one to beat.
Samsung didn’t just pack a large screen into the Galaxy Note 3 and call it a day. The device also features a number of useful multitasking tools that will help you put that big screen to good use. That includes Samsung’s Multi Window feature, which allows users to easily run two applications at the same time in a split-screen view. When two apps are opened in Multi Window Mode, they run simultaneously, stacked vertically. Users can resize the windows by dragging the border that divides the apps. You can also set shortcuts to simultaneously launch two apps side-by-side that you frequently want to run. That's a plus for business users who want to check their email while browsing the Web, for example.
The Multi Window feature is baked into the Touch Wiz software that powers several other Samsung smartphones, but the Note 3 is the first phone that’s big enough to really let it shine. The Note 3 features the latest version of Multi Window, and includes the ability to drag and drop text between apps. You won’t find multitasking quite like this on any other smartphone.
Multitasking aside, the Note 3’s 5.7-inch, 1080p, full-HD display is more comfortable for Web browsing, compared with the cramped screens on competing devices. And it has the real estate that business users need to view or edit documents and spreadsheets on their smartphone. Overall, it’s one of the brightest and sharpest displays on any smartphone.
What the Note 3 gains in versatility, it loses in portability. Though it’s far from the largest Android phone, its pocket-stretching breadth may be too much for some users, and it’s not well-suited for one-handed use. That could be a deal-breaker for business users who value portability — or simply have small hands.
New software features make the Note 3’s S Pen stylus more useful than ever for the business crowd. Simply pull out the stylus from its slot — or hover the tip near the display and press the single button located on its side — to access the compact Action Menu, which lets you jump to one of five useful pen input applications: Action Memo, Scrapbooker, Screen Write, Pen Window and S Finder.
Action Memo is a note-taking app that doubles as a networking tool. The app features handwriting recognition, so business users can use it to quickly capture the phone number or email address of a new contact and save it to your address book. You can also use it to call a contact, search Google Maps or save an item to your to-do list.
Meanwhile, Scrapbooker lets you capture text and images on your Note 3’s screen by drawing around a portion of the screen. Later, you can use the S Finder tool to search for a specific clip, a great tool for business users conducting research. Finally, Screen Write allows you to take capture a full screenshot from your display and jot down notes over top of it; and Pen Window is another multitasking tool that lets you run apps right on your home screen in custom-sized windows you draw with the S Pen, though the feature is a bit cumbersome to use compared with Multi Window.
Outside the Action Menu, users can utilize the full S Note app to draw, write and save notes
Packing a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU and 3GB of RAM, the Note 3 is a ridiculously fast phone. All that power may not be necessary to run your favorite business or productivity apps—the average user isn’t likely to notice much of a difference compared with other flagship phones – but performance-picky users will appreciate the speed boost. Samsung managed to cram in an equally big 3,200-mAh battery behind the Note 3’s big display, so expect the device to comfortably last through your work day. And the phone comes with 32GB of internal storage, as well as a microSD card slot for up to an extra 64GB of space. That’s good news for business users who need to store and access large files on the go, as other flagship phones forgo SD card slots altogether.
Business users might also appreciate the Note 3’s unique plastic back, which features a faux-leather look, stitching details and a soft-grip feel that makes it easier to hold. Those visual elements combine to give the device a premium and professional look compared with Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones, which feature glossy, cheaper-looking plastic backs.
If you can handle the bulk, the Galaxy Note 3 is near the top of the heap for business users. The phone is bigger and faster than most other handsets, while being notably slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, the Note 2. Its large screen is perfect for multitasking, and its cushy battery life will let you stay productive on the go. And business users might benefit most from the Note 3’s S Pen stylus and intelligent note-taking software. All those premium features come at a premium price; the Note 3 can be had for $299 with a two-year contract on Verizon or AT&T.