Rumor: Samsung to improve build quality of its phones beginning with aluminum Note 3


We’re still waiting for Samsung’s first flagship for 2013, the Samsung Galaxy S4, to land, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in the meantime. Rumored to be announced at IFA in Berlin this September, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is likely still very early in its design stages. We naturally didn’t expect much different next to the Galaxy S4 considering the Note 2 borrowed the S3’s curvature and style, but new rumors suggest this might change.

According to SamMobile, Samsung is starting to get “worried” about the build quality of its mobile phones up against the competition as the OEM reportedly feels pressure from the stunning mark of beauty named the HTC One. Samsung has taken a lot of flack for sticking with the plastic designs that were so prominent between 2008 and 2011 while everyone else has moved on to metal or higher quality plastics. That is supposedly set to change as Samsung is said to be thinking about outfitting the Galaxy Note 3 with aluminum.

The source of this rumor — of the “trusted” variety, we’re sure — says Samsung originally wanted to do the same with the Galaxy S4, but its ideas couldn’t make it through research and design in time for the scheduled launch. Beginning its trek to better build quality with the Note 3 isn’t a bad idea, we’d say, and even though it would cause a bigger divide between these two 2013 flagship heavyweights it will allow Samsung to iron out the kinks for the 2014 pair of devices.

That said, the source reports that feelings regarding other aspects of mobile technology — such as the all-important software side of things — aren’t as troubling. Samsung apparently has high confidence that its TouchWiz/Nature UX is better than Sense 5. That’s an area that’s highly subjective, but we can’t say Samsung’s confidence is unwarranted. TouchWiz wasn’t always the prettiest coat of paint we’ve seen on top of Android, but it has grown into a very robust package of features and software that is unrivaled by many in the smartphone game.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. We shall see, the stubborn tend to remain the same. And Samsung has the sales to back up their stubbornness.

  2. Doesn’t matter, still will have TouchWiz.

    1. Replacing touchwiz with your own custom launcher is easy though. And as of late touchwiz does have some cool features, no? Either way touchwiz should not keep you away from a nice samsung device.

      1. im running paranoid android on my note 2 atm. I am considering going back to touchwiz.. i truly miss all it’s features. [edit: as of today I am back on samsungs own rom and it rocks. I am pretty much never going back.]

      2. Amoled & that big physical button will though…

        1. Amoled is the plasma of TFT .. so I don’t get your point?

          1. “Replacing touchwiz with your own custom launcher is easy though. And as of late touchwiz does have some cool features, no? Either way touchwiz should not keep you away from a nice samsung device.”

            This is what I was responding to… My personal preference is LCD, and I simply have never been a fan of Amoled. Some people are, so to each his own. This is one thing that’s keeping me away from a nice Samsung device.

      3. Problem with a launcher is touchwiz is still running the background. It might have added some cool features, but it lags and is quite unattractive. Samsung really needs some new UI designers, and software engineers that can build that skin without stressing out the hardware.

        1. That could be my problem. I never thought about the launcher running in the background. I might have to go freeze it. My E4GT runs slow quite often. Hmm…

          1. You aren’t looking at it correctly. TW is not just a launcher. It is an entire UI with features. You can replace the TW launcher and TW is still installed on the phone. Everything from the menus, lockscreen, camera, motion apps, multiwindow, are all TW based. Some people don’t want all that stuff added to the phone as they say it lags it. I really don’t have a problem with any of it on my S3 and it doesn’t lag it one bit. In fact, I kind of prefer the look of TW (themed to blue) on my S3 running Senergy Rom anyway.

          2. Ah!! OK. If that’s the case, then yea. I don’t mind it at all. IDK why my phone lags so badly. I guess I’ll just need to do a clean install. Oh well… I can hold out these 2 more months.

          3. I bet a Factory reset and spring clean will work wonders

          4. That’s exactly what I was going to do. I’ve just been updating my ROM keeping my data. There is an update and I was going to fresh install today. Only restoring my apps. No data. All the data I need is on my tablet anyways. Made sure of that. LoL!!

        2. but sense is pretty heavy too. I had a one s and sense was awful and occupied all the ram. the way u sound however is that u want stock. neither if these is an option then

        3. what lag? i have no lag on my note 2 (other than the occasional ones all comps have, even my ipad3)

  3. I don’t buy this. As long as they have good sales they’ll continue using the cheapest materials for maximum profit.
    Also they will still use “Nature” UI and AMOLED which I am a fan of neither.

    1. um… the galaxy s4 costs more to produce than the iphone5… and i’m sure the htc one.

  4. Wait, aluminum note 3??? Now I almost feel I should skip the plastic s4 for this. When is this note 3 rumored to be released?

    1. That has a nice ring to it. Aluminium Note 3.

    2. October announcement November release if they’re smart. 6 months of high traffic for the S4 and 6 months of traffic for the Note III.

      but I think it’ll be the same as last year. September announcement October release.

  5. Awesome, an aluminum phone so I can put a plastic cover on it to protect the aluminum.

    1. ^^^ This

    2. INDEED. I don’t get why people get so hung up on the industrial design of these things. “Look at my beautiful new iphone 5, I just ordered my 3″ thick pink snap on case to protect the thing from breaking when I drop it. It’s so much prettier than the minimal gel case you have on your galaxy”

      1. Maybe simply maybe just a weird thought, but not everyone puts a case on a phone, and at least one can take off that plastic case and appreciate a good looking phone, which is not the case with a Samsung phone.

        1. It usually depends on how I feel. My E4GT is just way too light of a phone. I came from the HTC G2. My G2, I had a clear hard case. It gave the phone a cool look since it was an aluminum build. But I took it off so I could look at the phone since it looked cool. My E4GT doesn’t look cool, so I just put it in a case. I do have like 4 different cases for that phone. =.P

          I’m just giving some reasoning to our craziness. LoL!!

      2. In high school, a couple my friends put black electrical tape over the gleaming handles of their shiny new trombones. They did it to protect the finish, they said. The thing is, they never took the tape off! And I think if they had, it would have been impossible to get the sticky gunk off, so they would have just put more tape on.

        Luckily phone covers generally come off. I use a cover sometimes and take it off for more formal, more controlled situations.

    3. I agree about the aluminum phone. One how does the metal affect the signal. There have been issues with that not saying that will always be the case. Two the cost of something with aluminum over plastic. Why not save that money and put it into the phone for other options. Metal is much easier to bang up over time and will not fair well after a drop. I would much rather see a better plastic for the phone instead of metal. I have never put a case on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and have dropped it several times without any big issues. Plus the weight of the phone as they get bigger do you want that extra weight. I know that is not a big deal but something to think about. I have owned phones that have both been plastic and metal and the plastic seemed much better for the reasons above.

  6. I don’t care what it’s made of just don’t go overboard w/ the size.

    1. It can be made of dirt for all you care.

  7. I dont know if the Aluminum will be any stronger than the current plastic, but I do know it will feel better. To be fair, I also put a good, decent case on everything. So the material doesnt much matter.

    As for aesthetics though, I do like the idea of better materials. Make a carbon.kevlar back with titanium and Ill buy 2!

    1. They’re expensive enough as it is.

      1. You’re right, they are. But I can still dream. Plus I cant imagine making one of those shell, in huge quantities would be THAT much more.

  8. Bad news for HTC, design and build quality is all they had over Samsung.

    1. It depends what you mean by bulid quality and design. I personally think samsung looks better and love the durable light plastic. But I get your point.

  9. How do materials like metal and aluminum effect reception of 4G signals? Reception is super important!

    1. Aluminum makes it worse unless the Antenna is on the outside. The Antenna on the HTC One is built into the back. Got this from Cnet:

      “the iPhone 5 which similarly uses aluminum but has a top and bottom row on the back that’s constructed of glass, enabling the antenna inside to broadcast and receive signals. The HTC One, however, worked around that by building the antenna into the metal back of the phone, allowing for a more seamless looking device.”

  10. People who complain about TouchWiz, there are launchers you know? Personally I use Go Launcher.

    1. Very true but there are things that the launchers don’t replace. Also Launchers don’t give you the latest Android features 6 months early. I can’t believe this is still a problem since 2009. I don’t know why HTC, Samsung, LG, don’t just make their skins into Launchers so that every phone would get updated at almost the same time.

      1. What features? And this is a serious question. I mean I haven’t seen anything new since the days I was using ADW on FroYo.

        1. What about when there was a known security bug and Google finally patched it with a new version of Android, I know that is not a feature but Launchers don’t fix that type of stuff.

          Swipe to Dismiss Notification?
          Pull Down to Expand Notification?

          These are some of the newer examples and I’m sure that Key Lime Pie will present more.

          1. But you said “latest features”. I stated I haven’t seen anything new. That’s not new. I already know about that. You’ve been able to do that with custom launchers for ages.

            Also, custom launchers don’t give you those abilities with your notification bar. That’s in framework update, or however you say it.

            I thought you were possibly referring to things that the custom launchers do that TouchWiz and others don’t. Like gestures. Although, the Xperia Launcher has gestures. Smart move by Sony.

            Oh yea, and LoL!! So you know I’m not trying to be some douche or troll. =.P

    2. Launcher + Touchwiz = lag. A launcher won’t remove everything that touchwiz adds.

      1. Touchwiz is one of if not the best performing in terms of performance….

      2. I use Nova on top of my GS3 and it’s faster.

  11. I like the note 2 build. Yes its plastic, but its easy to get new back covers and it pops on an off easy too. Also who doesn’t use a case? I me does the build really matter if you are gonna put a case on it anyway. Not a fan of the touchwiz, but nothing a ROM can’t fix, and i love the AMOLED screen, great black color and great battery life.

  12. I just hope aluminum does not mean non removable battery. If so…keep it POLYCARB!!!

    1. They don’t have to keep making phones that are finger print magnets. The Nexus One (HTC) was made with Metal and had a removable battery and the Galaxy Nexus (Samsung) that had a Textured Plastic Back had a removable battery. They can make better phones and still have the removable battery but if they don’t let you remove it then they can either make the phone thinner or keep it the same size and put in a even bigger battery.

    2. What’s wrong with non removable batteries?
      I’ve had 2 iPhones and never needed to change the battery and in 6 months using my Galaxy S3 I needed to remove the battery once, when I downgraded its firmware and the cell phone entered in boot loop, but was MY FAULT, I’ve messed with things that “normal people” doesn’t mess.

      1. After a few years, those old iPhones will be useless unless they are tethered to a power supply. Lithium-ion batteries just have limited lives.

        Third-party makers will even cater to markets long since abandoned by original manufacturers, so a popular phone with a removable battery today would still be useful five, even ten years from now. I use an old waterproof Casio G’zOne (2.3 gingerbread) as a 32GB Bluetooth music server and as a go-anywhere GPS tracker. It honestly works great.

        Hope you don’t lose that generation of proprietary iPhone connector, btw. You can’t just pick those up anywhere ;-)

        Even worse, in a few years, if you lose that connector, you won’t be able to use those old iPhones for anything other than non-functional museum pieces 8-O

        1. Thats a great point. I had the original ipod mini and still used it up to around 3 months ago when it got stolen from my car. However I could only use it in my car or on a dock as the battery was knackered so I couldn’t use it as a normal mp3 player. If it had a removable battery it would have been a cheap and easy fix to buy a new battery

      2. Non removable batteries lead to people doing lots of partial charging on their phones, which really lowers the lifetime of the battery. Those of us who carry a spare battery around have a few advantages. 1-We can let the thing drain out, and pop a fresh one in, keeping the batteries alive longer. 2-If recording a wedding or something else that’s high battery use, we can go from 0-100% in seconds, 3-No sacrificing slimness/pocketability for a bulky battery case (which does the same thing to the battery life as a wall charger). 4. I go on hiking trips and outings completely unconcerned that my phone/GPS/Camera smartphone won’t be there to use when I need it. Essentially, spare batteries allow me to use my phone how I want, when I want, and don’t kill the life of the phone.

  13. Hmm… I don’t really get why plastic = low quality, it is strong, flexible and light, and probably a lot more resistant to dents and surface damage than aluminum. My Note II looks and feels great to me.

    I don’t really care though, as long as they do not mess with removable batteries and SD cards!

    1. Sadly, it’s the masses. Well… apparently a lot of random people are liking the HTC One because of it’s build quality.

      To a lot of people, phones are pretty much the same and it starts coming down to the small things, like the way it looks, the location of the volume buttons, etc.

    2. I couldn’t agree more. I love my s3. It is a very durable phone I use it with my free flip cover within has a way more plastic feel but this thing holds up and feels strong.

    3. Aluminum looks better. That’s all.

  14. Damn Sammy!!!! You stepping your game up…Not just sitting on your laurels…Good move :)

  15. because aluminum automatically makes it better build quality? No. Aluminum just makes it so that when you drop it, it gets all gnarly and rough so it hurts to hold it.

  16. The only aluminum I want on the phone is a kickstand done right!

  17. why don’t all these haters shut up and get a nexus? I used my brother’s nexus and it is nice. why are they all complaining about Samsung phones? Samsung is selling a lot of them and that means people are liking it. I had a note 2 and it didn’t lag or anything. these people would want all phones to be stock. touchwiz added in a lot of features you do not get with stock. this was especially true when it came to the note 2. I don’t understand. why would they want everything top be the same? sounds boring.

    1. Exactly like iOS.

  18. the fact that most people use cases makes this worthless.

    1. They shouldn’t have to. Saying that I still don’t think that Aluminum is the answer. We need some phones made from Graphene for the external and internal hardware with a Sapphire screen.

      1. they dont have to. i’ve had phones without cases and nothing happened to them. people just need to take better care of their stuff.

        1. I hear you but some people have butterfingers. I am sure that Graphene is already or will be cheaper then Aluminum. I think that Graphene is 200 times stronger then Steel. Aluminum is even stronger than Steel in some cases. Nokia has already said that they are going to use it. For more it is a bonus because I only drop my phone like once per year. Now Graphene Batteries is what I really want.

  19. No, please!!!
    If aluminum body means heavier, non-removable battery and non-SD card, please keeps making the Note just like the Note 2.
    There are many ways to make a phone look better without aluminum… just see the old Samsung Wave designs…

    1. “If aluminum body means heavier, non-removable battery and non-SD card” It doesn’t but it can be beneficial.

  20. wow what took them so long? and that’s a bad thing to communicate this pretty S4 release who wants a plastic S4 when you hear Samsung admitting they are of lower build quality?

  21. Nice…can’t wait to see the finished product! Doesn’t really matter to me as I always put a gel case on my phones anyway.. personal preference.. and this coming out right after my contract is up..hell yeah!!

  22. The plastic dosent really bother me, I always have a case on my phone anyway. Just don’t take away the SD, battery cover or I’ll start looking for a another behemoth phone.

    1. Why pay the same price for a poorly constructed phone? Your username is ironic.

      1. How are the Note 2 or Galaxy S3 poorly constructed phones? I don’t see “motherboard becomes loose and soldering becomes undone in Galaxy devices.”

        1. I meant Metal vs Plastic. Isn’t Aluminum worth more then the Plastic they use? Also Samsung phones are poorly constructed when compared to Motorola and HTC, well that is what someone who fixes phones for a living told me.

          What I should have said was. “Why pay the same price for a phone made with cheaper and worse materials like Plastic?”

          1. I’ve used Motorola in the past, nothing but hardware problems, but yes the phone looks nice and pretty, aesthetically its a work of art., HTC also makes pretty phones, but they are god awful slow with updates, if any at all, the Note 2 is indeed plastic, but the phone is sturdy and has excellent hardware, updates are timely, I expect support for at least two years like the sgs2 is getting even though I never keep my phones for more than six months. My phones get passed down through the family. I take all this into account when selecting my next phone, its not all about looks or brand loyalty.

            Like I said, the plastic dosent bother me since my phone always wears a case. I’d rather have top notch hardware and good support over a pretty metal unibody with missing features and a lack of support.

      2. It didn’t come scratched out of the box and no LTE issues, build quality is acceptable. I don’t make purchases to make a fashion statement. If I’m happy with my purchase thats all that matters

    2. IMO they should remove the SD. Just one place to store things. Internal flash is much more reliable than SD’s.
      BUT, they should make phones with lots of internal memory, like 32 or 64 GB.

  23. We need some phones made from Graphene for the external and internal hardware with a Sapphire screen.

  24. Another thing that people forget is that if a battery messes up in an unibody phone, they have to ship the whole device back. I don’t mind the aluminum build quality if it doesn’t take out the SD card, removable battery, or inhibits any features from being used. (NFC in iPhone 5 nonexistant.)

    1. Who forgets that? A lot of people usually want removable battery because of that. I’m still going to give the HTC One a try, though. I’ll also make sure to get insurance. =.P

  25. .

    Why aluminum? It has such a cheap feel to it, and it scratches and dings over the least little thing even if hardened and anodized or painted.

    Not only that, but scratches and dings on metal tend to raise sharp, tiny points, which are scracthy and uncomfortable to hold. To avoid the sharp edges you need a cover, or you can file down the points. I see this a lot on iphones.

    Is they INSIST on going to metal, at least do something like titanium. It has a nice look and feel and is much more resistant to dings and scratches than aluminum.

    Personally, I think it is silly to go to something that costs so much more and takes such a HUGE time to process. The current Samsung high grade cases look and feel just fine, especially since almost anyone with a desire to keep from breaking the screen in week one will use a full case around the plastic, anyway.


  26. i was expecting someone to say..

  27. TW > nonSense any day. lol

  28. I could not be any more happier with my note 2. It’s perfect in every way possible, that’s why I bought it. A D30 case and sometimes I take it off to admire the build quality. I use frosty rom because it’s just to easy to root this phone and I had no intention. I installed adw launcher ex and still have touch wiz features that I love. Note 2, best purchase ever for at lease 2 years.

  29. No Samsung, stop it right there! I have been using your Galaxy line all the way from Galaxy 1 to 3 and Galaxy Note 1 and now Galaxy Note 2, all for your light plastic and the powerful phone! Come one, don’t change what you are famous for. I like how light all my Samsung phones are. Whenever I took an iPhone and HTC phones I don’t like how heavy they are. I always keep my Samsung phone snapping out every time and writing emails and messages. I have divorced my laptops and desktops and can tap type 40 wpm on my Galaxy Note 2. Just make the screen bigger and CPU more powerful and camera even better. That’s all is required!

  30. No one complains about driving plastic cars, but people will complain about a plastic phone. Go figure! SMDH!

  31. Misleading title. Aluminum isn’t better build quality in my opinion. I’ll take durable scratch resistant plastic any day.

  32. so are people having issues with the plastic of the phone being easily damaged?

  33. This was a marketing ploy by HTC to get people to not buy S4’s immediately and be disappointed by a plastic note 3. Read the news people. Also to the editor, 3 months prior to release is not “very early in the design stages”

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