Samsung just strengthened its Galaxy arsenal by launching a new wave of phones and tablets. The India launch took place at Samsung Forum 2014, in Bali, Indonesia. Being one of the privileged ones who got to witness this, we also had ample amount of time for a quick hands-on review of the new launches.
We’ll be starting with the Galaxy Note 3 Neo – Samsung’s watered-down version of the Galaxy Note 3. The phone will be hitting retail stores by the end of February or beginning of March at a retail price of Rs 40,900. While this might be cutting it a bit too close to the Galaxy Note 3, the actual street price should be closer to Rs 35,000.
In terms of design and aesthetics, the phone is nearly identical to the Note 3. In fact, most of us at the event didn’t give it a second glance, up until we read the little description card. The Neo is slightly lighter than the Note 3 and a tad thicker but you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. The chrome strips on the sides lack the ridges that the Note 3 has and the decal around the camera area is a bit different but that’s about it.
The Neo is more like an updated Note 2, dressed like a Note 3. Specifications are very similar to the second iteration of the Note which means the 5.5-inch HD display makes a comeback. We also have 16GB of onboard storage that’s expandable to 64GB via a microSD card slot.
The Neo is not all about recycled features however as it has one very unique selling point and that’s the hexa-core chipset. The Neo is the first ever phone to pack in something of this nature. Based on the same Big.Little architecture seen in Samsung’s octa-core SoC, the Exynos 5260 features a quad-core Cortex-A7 chipset running at 1.3GHz and a dual-core 1.7GHz Cortex A-15 chipset. There’s also a brand new Mali-T624 GPU onboard as well.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo seems like another success in the making but pricing could put a spoke in its sales. The price difference between the Note 3 Neo and the Note 3 is not much so if you do have a budget of around Rs 40,000, why not put in a little more and get the Note 3 itself?
The Note 3 Neo is a worthy replacement to the Note 2 and makes a great addition to Samsung’s arsenal close to the Rs 30,000 range. Given how competitive this space has become, anything north of Rs 35,000 feels a bit much given there are better alternatives in this price range (Galaxy S4, Xperia Z1, LG G2) that better the Neo in aspects like display technology, camera and form factor. If Samsung can quickly drop the price to under Rs 35,000, then the Neo may just be the best ‘phablet’ on a budget.
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