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By 30 September 2013 | Categories: news

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Samsung has made its Galaxy Note 3 phablet available to buyers in South Africa at a recommended retail price of R9 000, whilst also revealing that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch will reach local shores during October 2013.

The Korean tech giant’s Galaxy Note 3 boasts a wider and higher resolution 5.7" full HD (381 ppi) Super AMOLED display compared to the outgoing 5.5" (1280 x 720; 267 ppi) display on the Galaxy Note 2 (review). Also receiving a bump is the battery, from 3 100 mAh to 3 200 mAh, and the rear camera, from 8 megapixels to 13 megapixels, with the latter sporting smart stabilisation and LED flash.

Despite the bigger screen, the Note 3 is actually slimmer (8.3 mm vs 9.4 mm) and lighter (168 g vs 183 g) than its predecessor. As with the Galaxy S4 (review), the 3G version of the Galaxy Note 3 is powered by an Exynos Octa-core SoC processor with four A15 cores running at 1.9 GHz per core and four A7 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz each.

The LTE (4G) iteration of the device, which is also locally available now (at least on contract from Vodacom), packs a 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 under the bonnet. Both models boast 3 GB of RAM, and come with 32 GB of internal storage, which is naturally expandable via microSD by up to 64 GB.

Gearing up for the smartwatch era

As with many of the other smartwatches, including Sony’s SmartWatch 2, the Gear is able to pair with an Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) running smartphone such as the new Galaxy Note 3 to act as a second display. This provides the wearer with access to notifications such as SMSs received, incoming calls, email, and Twitter notifications.

However, the Gear ups the smartwatch game by sporting a built-in speaker and two microphones (the extra one is for noise cancellation), allowing users to make hands-free calls directly from it. In addition, users can also draft messages, create calendar entries, set the alarm, and check the local weather forecast on the Galaxy Gear using Samsung’s S Voice functionality, when their Gear is paired to their smartphone.  

Also onboard the Gear is a 1.9 megapixel BSI (backside illuminated) autofocus camera for capturing quick photos and 720p video. These can be viewed on the Gear’s 1.63" (320 x 320) Super AMOLED display that should sport good colour saturation and viewing angles. The watch further boasts a pedometer to keep track of physical activity, which should come in handy for joggers and power walkers. Under the bonnet of the Galaxy Gear is a single-core unspecified processor clocked at 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB of internal storage, plus a 315 mAh Li-ion battery that Samsung asserts will get you through a working day in terms of battery life.

Samsung stated that the Galaxy Gear should be launched in South Africa during the course of next month. It is expected to cost in the region of R4 600, which is very expensive considering that Sony’s waterproof SmartWatch 2 costs nearly R2 000 less whilst offering a superior battery life.  

In related news, Samsung Electronics also recently announced its new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors dubbed ISOCELL.

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