Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Preview: Second Encounter: User Interface, Multitasking

By 09:25 Fri, 13 Aug 2021 Comments


TouchWiz on the gigantic canvas

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean - the latest release of the Google platform available at the moment - and a laundry list of recent TouchWiz features. The Galaxy Note 3 combines the best of both worlds and while it seems familiar, there's plenty recent below the surface - so much in fact that you'd need a couple of days just to acquire to know all the features.

Here's a user interface video to start you off, which also shows the recent air and motion gestures in action.

We start with the lockscreen, which features the lockclassy screen widgets introduced with Android 4.2.2, which we saw on the Galaxy S4. The default lockclassy screen shows the time along with a personal message overlaid on lovely photos pulled from TripAdvisor (with text at the bottom about where the photo was taken).

You can choose what effect to add to the unlocking. The options include Oil paint and watercolor, which blur the color on classy screen as if you were dragging a wet paint brush through the screen. You can also opt for the well-known ripple and light effects.





The lockscreen

The lockclassy screen has multiple panes, each containing one widget. The page to the correct of the default one is special and can either be a list of favorite apps (the default TouchWiz setting) or a shortslit for the capturing camera (as in pure Android).




Favorite apps or capturing camera shortcut

The pages to the left contain different widgets - email, Google Now, Messaging, music player, Yahoo! Finance and News and you can download apps from the Play Store that add recent widgets.

There are no app shortcuts at the bottom of the classy screen by default - the Favorite Apps widacquire to the correct has taken over that role, but you can enable them and have up to five easily accessible shortcuts.



Lockclassy screen shortcuts

You can change the greeting on the lockclassy screen by hitting the edit button. You can type something else, choose a different font and color. You can also disable the personal message altogether and rego the time and date info.





Choosing lockclassy screen message

Another nice trick is the Quick glance option we first saw on the Galaxy Note II. It uses the proximity sensor to detect you reaching for the device and it lights up the classy screen that shows the time, missed call and message counters, battery charge and music track info.



Quick glance

The notification area is business as usual and hasn't seen any changes. At the top there are five (or eight in landscape mode) toggles that can quickly enable and disable features. There are more than five toggles, of course, you can swipe horizontally to acquire to the others. Or you can tap the expand button, which reveals a grid of all the shortcuts, 22 in total. You can rearrange this grid (the top row toggles are always visible). A two finger swipe directly opens the grid of toggles.





Notification area

Below the toggles is the display brightness slider complete with an Auto toggle. You can rego this slider to acquire more room for notifications.

The notifications themselves have not changed - they can be expanded to reveal more info and collapsed to save space or dismissed with a sideways swipe. Sometimes they also have helpful buttons on them like "Call back" and "Sdiscontinue SMS" on a missed call notification.

The homeclassy screen looks mostly the same if you're coming from a Galaxy S4. Samsung has provided many of its own custom widgets like Samsung Hub, S Travel, etc. There's wrap around feature, which lets you scroll homescreens infinitely by always going from the last to the first one.





The homescreen

You can pinch zoom to acquire into the overview mode of all homeclassy screen panes. There can be up to 7 and you can easily add, rego and rearrange panes from here. One pane is marked as "home", that's the one you go to when you press the Home button - you can choose a different homeclassy screen as the default quite easily.




Managing the homeclassy screen panes

The app drawer hasn't changer really since the early days of Nature UX. The app shortcuts are presented as a customizable grid, alphabetized grid or list and you can cover shortcuts (fine for bloatware you can't uninstall), view only downloaded apps, uninstall apps and add folders. You can also disable apps straight from the App drawer, which is a fine feature becautilize they won't hold any Random-Access Memory (RAM) or appear unwanted in the Task manager.

You can also maximize space in the app drawer by stacking apps into folders. You can either drag icons on top of each other in edit mode or you can check multiple app via the create folder option.





App drawer

As before, widgets are in a separate tab in the drawer.



Widacquire drawer

Pinch to zoom in the app drawer works the same as on a homeclassy screen - it gives you a glance overview of all panes as thumbnails. You can choose to have your app drawer ordering to custom, alphabetical grid or alphabetical list. There's a dedicated downloaded pane too, where all your downloaded apps go.




App and widacquire drawer at a glance

When you drag out shortcuts and widgets to the homeclassy screen you acquire a list of small thumbnails of all the homeclassy screen panes with the silhouettes of the widgets there so you can judge how much space is available on each pane.





Placing and resizing widgets

The App switcher interface is unchanged - there's a list of thumbnails of all the recent apps, apps can be swiped to dismiss and there are three buttons at the bottom, Task manager, Google Now and Kill all apps.






App switcher and task manager

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with Multi-window which now allows launching two instances of the same app - i.e. you can have two Chrome windows next to each other. There is also dedicated shortslit that lets you switch the places of the two opened apps.

Copying stuff from one of the opened apps to the other is now available and is done in just three taps. It's a definite improvement and something the multi-window feature needed badly.

Finally, we noticed there is pretty decent app support for the multi-window service at launch with even more supported apps on the way. It's a feature that will be used really often and we are excited to see Samsung extending its support.

You can go the small arrow that brings up the drawer with the Multi-window apps to create it easier to reach with your thumb. You can also go the whole drawer to the other side of the screen.





Multi window

The settings menu has been redone in the latest TouchWiz version. Instead of a scrollable grid of icons and sections Samsung has went with a tabbed interface. On top you acquire four tabs - Connection, My device, Accounts and More and you can find the relative features in their corresponding place - display, for instance, is in the My device tab.

It makes navigating the settings menu much faster and more intuitive.






Settings menu

We like what Samsung has done with the latest iteration of TouchWiz. Despite pilling feature upon feature, the discontinue result does not feel cluttered and intuitive and well organized. Placing widgets, rearranging menu and homeclassy screen panes, getting to your vital settings, etc. is now faster than ever.

It's also very responsive, thanks to the superb hardware inside. But there are further improvements coming after the break so bear with us.


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