Update: Knox-friendly rooting method for the Galaxy Note 3 is now available and it does not modify the knox status of your Note 3. You can view this method from this thread on XDA forums.
Do not buy the Note 3 unless you are sure you want to stick to TouchWiz with all the bloatware packed inside. While you can surely root the device, you can never claim its warranty if something goes wrong with it irrespective of the type of damage caused – hardware or software.
Rooting any device does void its warranty but you can always claim it back by unrooting it (or) by flashing the stock firmware to the device. While HTC and Sony don’t allow bootloader unlock to provide you free repair service, Samsung does it by increasing the flash counter on its devices.
When you flash a custom ROM on your Samsung device, the flash counter is triggered which helps the manufacturer identify that you have tampered with the device. However you can reset the flash counter to stock using Chainfire’s Traingle Away app which also removes the triangle on the boot screen – on all Samsung devices except the Note 3. The Triangle Away app has no effect on the Note 3 and there’s more on this.
Sammobile reports “The Galaxy Note 3 comes with eFUSE technology for the KNOX security suite. It’s a technology that allows reprogramming a read-only memory chip in real-time, even though such chips come with hard-coded code that cannot be generally changed after manufacturing.”
The KNOX status depends on the eFUSE technology and the KNOX code gets re-written once you flash a custom kernel or root the Note 3. You can not restore the KNOX code to stock value as of now and with the re-written code visible, Samsung is entitled to void the warranty of your device. Samsung doesn’t care if it is a hardware damage that is NOT caused because you flashed a custom ROM on the device – the company does wish to cut down its repair expenditure.
Samsung has instructed its service centers to void the warranty of the devices that have the KNOX status tripped as it would cause hardware damage to the device.
However there is an EU regulation (1999/44/CE) that says rooting/flashing custom ROM does not break hardware warranty which you can use to get your hardware damaged Note 3 repaired under warranty. However, it is not so easy – the warranty is provided by the seller not the manufacturer. The seller will send your device to a service center that is neither owned by the OEM, nor operated by it. instead it is a licensed service center. The licensed service center however will not repair your device for free as the manufacturer will not reimburse them for the parts used in repairing the device. You may however slap the EU regulation on the seller’s face and drag them to the court but you can be sure that you will be spending more on this than you would in getting the device repaired. Also, this doesn’t affect the manufacturer in any way. It’s you who is affected.
While this is a major concern for the developer community and for most of you who rely on changing ROMs frequently, there is yet another issue with the Note 3 – region lock. The Note 3 comes with region lock enabled on it which makes it impossible for you to use a different SIM when you are roaming outside the country you bought the Note 3 from. Fortunately, Chainfire has removed it.
As far as the flash counter issue is concerned, there is no way out of it and you will lose warranty if you root your Note 3. We will let you know if the developer community is able to find a workaround for this. Stay tuned.