We're currently putting the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 through its paces in our in-depth review process. While we flog the battery, twiddle the S Pen and continue to stretch the pockets of our skinny jeans here's what we make of it so far...
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is looking to continue in the same vein as the original Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2, offering you a phone which could almost be mistaken for a tablet and wants you to believe it's both.
Let's get one thing straight before we dive into this review though, the Galaxy Note 3 is only going to appeal to a narrow segment of users, it's certainly not going to have the broad appeal of the Galaxy S4, nor catch the eye of the fashion-conscious iPhone 5S purchaser.
The Note 3 isn't pretending to be anything it's not. It knows it's a big, some may say huge, smartphone and Samsung understands that form factor won't be for everyone.
That said, with big size comes big price, and the Galaxy Note 3 will set you back a wallet-busting £600 (around $950, AU$1,000) SIM-free.
The hefty price tag can be softened if you choose to pick the Note 3 up on a two year contract, but you'll still be paying a relatively high amount a month for the privilege - upwards of £35 per month in the UK if you want a free phone.
In terms of competition there's not a great deal which compares to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but its closest competitor is currently the Sony Xperia Z Ultra which boasts a massive 6.4-inch which dwarfs even this handset.
A quick glance over the Galaxy Note 3 and it does exactly what we thought it would do: takes over the mantle as the world's most powerful smartphone, although the advantage is a lot smaller this time.
First up we have to mention the display - it's grown again since the 5.5-inch offering on the Note 2 to a palm busting 5.7 inches complete with a full HD, 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display.
That's the same resolution as the Galaxy S4, but as the screen is larger on the Galaxy Note 3 the pixel count isn't as great at 386ppi, so it's not quite as pin sharp as its smaller brother. It still looks pretty impressive though - and so it should for the price Samsung is asking.
We're still waiting for Samsung to embrace the full metal chassis we've enjoyed on the HTC One and the iPhone 5, but it is trying something slightly different with the Note 3.
The Galaxy Note 3 has retained the metal frame from the Galaxy S4 running around the edge of the device providing a rigid body and a more premium look, but it's on the rear where Samsung has tried something new.
Lay the Note 3 face down, take a quick glance at the handset and it appears the rear is made of leather.
It isn't, of course, it's that famous plastic Samsung is so fond off. The finish is textured to give it the appearance of leather and this actually provides some much needed grip.
Those stitches running round the outside of the back cover? Well that's just a pattern formed in the plastic. It may not be everyone's cup of tea and it looks a bit tacky upon closer inspection, but the Note 3 does feel like a solid, well built device.
On the plus side the plastic cover can be removed giving you access to the Note 3's sizable 3,200mAh battery as well as the microSD slot which is cleverly stacked on top of the microSIM port - allowing Samsung to save some space.
Somehow Samsung has managed to make the Galaxy Note 3 slightly smaller than its predecessor, measuring 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm. That's still quite a sizable device, but considering it's got a slightly larger display, beefier processor and more powerful 13MP camera it's an impressive feat.
Those of you blessed with smaller palms will still struggle to hold the Note 3 in one hand, especially when typing is involved, but thanks to its reduced weight (it's 168g, down from 183g on the Note 2) it's certainly the most manageable Note smartphone to date.
The sheer size of the Galaxy Note 3 means you'll be constantly shuffling it up and down your palm as you try and reach the volume rocker and power/lock keys located towards the top on the left and right sides of the handset and the menu keys below the screen.
While the buttons are responsive, we found we tended to employ our second hand to help us out when moving from the power/lock key down to the home, menu and back buttons.
Under the hood of our review unit sat an insanely powerful 2.3GHz quad-core processor, although a select few markets will be treated to an octa-core option which houses two quad-core chips.
You also get 3GB of RAM and the option of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, while the latest version of Google's operating system - Android 4.3 Jelly Bean - runs merrily on top of all this.
From the front you'll note there's a pleasingly slender bezel running down either side of that monster 5.7-inch display, while below you get the customary physical home key flanked by two touch keys - menu on the left and back on the right.
You can't see the touch keys when the Note 3 is idol, as their backlights are only displayed when you unlock the handset or tap the area they're located in.
They are incredibly responsive though, and you don't have to worry about getting your finger right on the logo, the area of recognition is wide enough to pick up even the most misguided stabs.
Apart from the questionable leather-effect rear the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 offers up little in terms of design. Sure it looks a little more premium than the Galaxy Note 2, and it does feel well made - but at the end of the day it's a little uninspiring.
Those will petite palms or a penchant for skinny jeans will struggle with the size of the Note 3, but if you've been taken with its predecessors then you'll be happy to hear this is the best looking Note smartphone to date.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 rocks up with the latest version of Google's mobile operating system on board - Android 4.3 Jelly Bean - and of course the Korean firm has slapped its TouchWiz overlay over the top.
Only a handful of smartphones are actually running Android 4.3 at the moment, with the latest instalment of Jelly Bean limited mainly to Nexus devices for now - so it's pleasing to see it make its way onto a non-Google branded handset.
With a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM under the hood the Galaxy Note 3 is giving our laptop a run for its money in terms of power, and unsurprisingly Android is one smooth operator thanks to this.
This means skipping through homescreens, scrolling through the app list and generally dicking around with the notifications bar, settings menu and myriad of widgets is seamless.
If we're picky the transition of returning to the homescreen after pressing the physical button below the display is a touch slower than the other movements, but it's certainly not an issue.
While general operation is noticeably quicker than its predecessor (the Galaxy Note 2) there's no obvious step up in performance when you compare the Note 3 to the likes of the Galaxy S4 or HTC One.
We've pretty much hit the top speed for navigating operating systems now and even though the Galaxy Note 3 has a massive processor squashed inside its plastic and metal frame, there isn't really any way for it to show off in the everyday interface.
Applications open promptly, holding down the home button furnishes you with the multi-tasking menu in next to no time and we could happily have over ten applications all fizzing around in here with no effect on performance.
There's a few options surrounding the lockscreen and these can be found in the 'Device' section of the Settings menu.
From there you can choose whether or not you want the time, date and weather displayed along with a personal message and app shortcuts when you hit the power/lock key on the right of the Note 3.
You can have five shortcuts on the lockscreen and these can be customised to any applications installed on the Galaxy Note 3.
Samsung appears to have merged its water-ripple unlock effect from the Galaxy S3 and the shard of light from the Galaxy S4 to provide what it's calling a 'watercolour' effect when you drag your finger across the lockscreen.
It may not be anything special, but it's an attractive animation which we spent time just playing with, partly because the Note 3 can detect your finger even when it's not touching the screen.
This allowed us to hover our digit over the handset and still create the effect on screen, without unlocking the Note 3. Sometimes it's the simple pleasures in life which are the best.
Get past the lockscreen and you're greeted with several widget-heavy homescreens as standard. We deleted a lot of the widgets as they simply got in the way and we had no need for them - although with the vast selection on board you'll probably find a couple of things you'll want.
As with many Android handsets these days you can edit the number of homescreens you have, with a maximum of seven on offer, by simply pinching the display.
The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display itself is as bright and colourful as you'd expect from a Samsung device, yet the quality isn't quite as good as the One, S4 or LG G2.
It may be full HD, but due to the Galaxy Note 3's larger screen the pixel density isn't as high and on comparison with other flagship handsets it's lack of clarity is noticeable.
If you don't have another top of the range smartphone nearby though you probably won't have any complaints with the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Pull down the notification bar from the top of the Note 3 and you'll see Samsung's usual quick settings bar persists here - allowing you to toggle features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC without having to visit the main settings menu.
We're big fans of quick settings and we've even seen Apple adopt a similar setup in iOS 7 with the inclusion of Control Center - but Android is where is happened first.
Hit the button in the top right of the notification panel and you'll be able to see all the quick settings available. There's a massive choice, with 22 options provided on the Galaxy Note 3.
You can edit which ones display in the bar on the main notification page by clicking the pencil icon at the top of the screen and then dragging and dropping the settings you want instant access to.
We've already mentioned about the Note 3's unwieldy size for one handed use in the introduction, but dive into the main settings menu and under 'Controls' you'll find the 'One-handed operation' option.
Hit this and you're severed up with various ways to customise the interface on the Galaxy Note 3 to improve usage if you commonly use just the one hand to hold your phone.
The Note 3 can adjust the position of the keyboard, dialling keypad, lock pattern and even the calculator to make things easier if you've only got one hand free.
We found this was a helpful feature, although the keyboard became smaller and thus we needed to ensure we were hitting the correct keys as travel between them was greatly reduced.
There's still the issue of actually being able to hold the Note 3 in one hand and for some of you that just won't be possible, with two hands required for a steady and secure experience.
Hands on gallery
Official gallery and early verdict
The Galaxy Note 3 is very much an evolution, with the specs starting to top out. The 3GB of RAM, the 13MP camera and octa-core processor are all nice additions, as well as things like superfast 4G on board.
It's excellent sonically, can display superbly crisp images, and has a number of tweaks to the camera that mean it can take decent snaps. Those are the things we want to judge the Note 3 on, not the ability to click the S Pen in a different manner.
We're not sold on the design of the back, nor the high price - but there still seems to be an appetite for the Note range, so perhaps this is just the handset Samsung needs.