A question or ten for Galaxy Note 3 owners (and Android folks in general)

I'll preface this by saying this paragraph will piss some of you off, so keep in mind these are opinions, not facts. That said, I cannot stand Samsung's software, industrial design, and pretty much just their business practices in general. They're an awful company... problem is, I think I want a Galaxy Note 3.

I can't justify owning a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone; I spend 70% of my time using my MacBook and the rest on my iPhone... the iPad is lucky it gets charged. I want something bigger than an iPhone again, and more specifically (here's the reason it has to be a Note) I want that god damn Wacom pen now that Sketchbook Pro works on small screens.

Some of these "problems" I can work around myself. I got over the shitty plastic on my Galaxy Nexus, and I'll be fine with using Nova instead of TouchWiz. But there's a couple of things I need help with before I ditch my iPhone again. So a big thanks to anyone who offers any advice.

So first off, Samsung/Note specific stuff:

  • I haven't had to use TouchWiz in a while, other than using other people's Galaxy's and their notification shades full of shite. How bloated is it now? Can I stop most of the eye tracking and kitchen sink crap from running on startup?
  • Can launching S-Voice with a double click of the home button be replaced with Google Now? I don't even want to see S-Voice by accident.
  • Lastly, can somebody ELI5 regarding the region lock. I'm in Europe, I'm going to buy it in Germany, will my European sim card activate the phone, or does it have to be a German sim card? There's a lot of conflicting info out there, but what I've gathered is that Europe is considered a region and my sim should be okay, is this correct? Also, once activated, can I use my US sim when visiting my in-laws in NJ?
Secondly, Android specific stuff:

  • I'm okay with most of this, I've had a Legend, Galaxy Nexus, and a Nexus 4. I have equivalents for a lot of apps already, but I do have some I'm still looking for replacements for.
  • iMessage; Is Hangouts good enough to replace it yet? I found a Mac app I can make my wife use, so I'm hoping to use Hangouts instead of Viber.
  • Can you tabcast from Chrome for Android? I like Airplaying video from Safari, so would obviously like something similar to work with a Chromecast maybe.
  • Is there anything similar to Scribe, that will let me send chunks of text from my Mac to my phone?
  • Anything similar to iTV Shows? That syncs with Traktv hopefully? I use it to get notifications about new episodes.

Thanks for reading. And if you can answer any of those questions then feel free to chime in. If I think of any more apps I'll add them to this post or to the comments.