In a way Samsung has two flagship smartphones. There’s the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S5 of course, but there’s also the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is aimed at people who want a bigger screen but is no less premium.
Screen aside there are quite a few differences between the two phones though, so read on for a full comparison between Samsung’s two best handsets.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is clad in plastic, with a perforated back giving it a fairly unique design. The back is also quite easy to grip and sits comfortably in the hand. At 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm and 145g it’s got a nice amount of weight to it and it’s quite slim too. The Galaxy S5 is also IP67 certified dust and water resistant.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a similarly plastic construction, but the look is a bit different as the back is faux-leather. We’re inclined to say that we slightly prefer the look of the Galaxy S5 as at least it’s not pretending to be something it isn’t. At 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm and 168g it’s slightly bigger and heavier than the Galaxy S5 as you’d expect given the bigger screen size, but there’s not much wasted space. However the Note 3 isn’t dust or water resistant so the Galaxy S5 has the better build quality overall.
The Galaxy S5 has a 5.1 inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 432 pixels per inch. It’s big, bright and colourful, but the colours are also more natural than on the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7 inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 386 pixels per inch. So the resolution and technology of the two screens is much the same, but with the Note 3 you get a bigger display with a lower pixel density. Whether that’s better or worse is subjective but both screens are fantastic.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM. So the choice is a faster, newer processor or an extra gigabyte of RAM. In practice the Galaxy S5 seems to be the slightly more powerful of the two but there’s very little in it.
The Galaxy S5 has a 16 megapixel main camera along with a 2 megapixel front facing snapper. It can shoot 2160p video at 30fps and 1080p video at 60fps, plus it has some innovative modes such as the ability to change the focus of a shot after taking it.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a 13 megapixel main camera, a 2 megapixel front facing camera and like the Galaxy S5 it can shoot 2160p video at 30fps or 1080p video at 60fps. However, while it still has a bunch of modes, such as HDR and panorama it doesn’t have quite as impressive a selection as the S5, which along with its lower megapixel count means its slightly worse overall.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2800 mAh battery which according to Samsung can manage up to 390 hours of standby time or 21 hours of talk time. The Galaxy Note 3 has a bigger 3200 mAh battery which can manage up to 420 hours of standby time or 21 hours of talk time. So it lasts longer on standby but the two phones have identical talk time.
The Galaxy S5 has a choice of 16 or 32GB of built in memory along with a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 128GB, while the Note 3 has 16, 32 or 64GB built in and support for microSD cards of up to 64GB.
Both handsets support Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and infrared, so they’re both comprehensively equipped with connectivity options.
Outside of specs there are a few other stand-out features on each handset. The Galaxy S5 has both a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate monitor, so both its security and health and fitness credentials are better than the Note 3’s.
On the other hand the Galaxy Note 3 comes with an S-Pen stylus, which along with the larger screen makes it possible to hand write messages, draw things and generally just gives you an alternate control method. We’d argue that the S5’s extra features are more impressive, but it really depends on what you want.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Note 3 are fantastic phones, in fact an argument could be made that they’re the best phones in their respective classes, the Note 3 topping all other phablets and the S5 coming out as king of the more normal sized handsets.
The biggest differentiator between the two is obviously the screen size, but beyond that the Galaxy S5 is undoubtedly the best. It’s slightly more powerful, has a sharper display, a better build quality, a better camera and some potentially very useful extras in the form of its fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor.
The Galaxy Note 3 doesn’t fall far behind though. It still has a great screen, more than enough power and an impressive camera. Plus its battery life is a little better and it can come with more built in storage.
So they’re both great, but if the screen size doesn’t decide it for you go for the Samsung Galaxy S5.
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