Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at £349.99 on eBay

Choosing which smartphone to upgrade to this year was a difficult decision. I already had the excellent Samsung Galaxy S4 and the newest model, the S5 is, at least as an upgrade, quite frankly a disappointment.

What are Smartphone choices for 2014?

If were after your first smart phone the Samsung S5 is undoubtedly a great choice of mobile, but at around five hundred quid to buy it just doesn’t have anything new that you don’t already get on the S4. It’s waterproof (if you remember to plug in the USB cover and haven’t already snapped it off), it has some health gubbins if you want to snap photos of every meal you eat and monitor your heart rate. Oh and the S5 has a fingerprint scanner and the screen is 0.1″ bigger than the older S4 model! Not exactly groundbreaking technology as the jump from the S3 to the S4 was.

So what else is on the market? iPhone was automatically discarded as I don’t like Apple’s operating system and quite frankly their flagship iPhone 5s feels old and clunky and has a miniscule screen in comparison to all of it’s competitors. I took another look at HTC and loved the look, feel and software of the HTC One. Unfortunately HTC are still having catastrophic battery drain issues which is the reason I dumped HTC back in 2012. HTC phones are sealed units and you can’t replace the battery once it’s knackered so if it burns out you’ve just wasted five hundred odd quid.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 3?

That left me with very little to choose from, so I settled on the Samsung Note 3. It’s a 5.7″ screen, 32 or 64 GB storage (I got the 32 GB version), 3 GB RAM and a 13 megapixel camera. It also comes with an “S Pen” stylus. It’s cute, but to be honest in my view a bit of a waste of time. I can type with continuous input (swiping my finger over the keyboard) quicker than I can wait for the software to do handwriting recognition. The S Pen is a nice toy, but not something I’ll be using at all so far as I can see.

Barring the S Pen, the Note 3 is not dissimilar to the S4 – same camera, same software, same look and feel but slightly bigger side by side.

The big reason for choosing the Note 3 is the massive 3,200mAh battery, the Galaxy S4 had a 2,600mAh battery which didn’t quite last a whole day. In the last 24 hours I’ve been to London, used the Note 3 on the train, made calls, come home, rang a taxi, checked emails, browsed the web – pretty much everything you’d expect to use a phone for on a daily basis and after a straight 24 hours I had 18% battery life left. I know the S4 would have died last night with the same usage.

What does the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 cost?

So down to the price and where to buy. On the high street you’ll be paying well over £500 for the Note 3 but eBay deals have a much better price from a Hong Kong based seller at £349.99. You might think buying electronics from the Far East a bit of a risk, but the seller has 99.7% on almost 100k feedback, plus of course eBay has a money back guarantee so long as you pay with PayPal. The seller promised 2nd class postage delivery by Wednesday, but the phone turned up via FedEx (shipped from Manchester) a day early on Tuesday. Actually better service than I’ve had from some UK based sellers and the phone was as promised brand new and factory sealed.

If you’re in the market for a new phone definitely check out the Note 3. It’s a big phone (but still fits nicely in my jeans pocket) and every bit as powerful (actually a touch more) as the Galaxy S4. Being an Android, it’s a proper smartphone that’ll do everything you need for business and a whole lot more besides. Plus the big advantage is that if you’ve an earlier Android phone as soon as you log into Google they’ll restore all your contacts and you can synch your apps and be up and running in minutes – no more worrying about how to copy your data across!

At £349.99 on eBay, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is an absolute bargain and that’s SIM Free, unlocked to any network in a choice of white or black.

Edited to add: The price appears to have been amended to £375, which isn’t quite so good but in truth is still a bargain!