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iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Specs Comparison

On September 4 we witnessed the official launch of the Galaxy Note 3, Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone, then, in less than a week, Apple debuted the highly-anticipated iPhone 5S, which comes to continue the Cupertino-based company’s legacy.

The iPhone 5S is the successor of the popular iPhone 5 and, just like any other S model in Apple’s portfolio, it looks exactly like its predecessor, but packs a lot of hardware improvements under the hood, along with a new iOS version.

The Galaxy Note 3 comes to replace the highly-appreciated Galaxy Note 2 in Samsung’s line-up and the new phablet developed by the Korean phone maker aims to steal some of the iPhone’s market share in late 2013.

You probably know from our previous versus articles that we will put the two opponents head-to-head in ten rounds: Display, Dimensions, Design, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, Battery, and Price. The winner of a round gets one point and at the end of the battle the smartphone that scored most points will be declared the winner of the battle.

Let’s see whether Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3 phablet has the likes to compete against Apple’s latest iOS-powered smartphone, the iPhone 5S.


Every single time you grab you smartphone you get to look at its screen, therefore you must love the display of your smartphone.

Just like its predecessor the iPhone 5S comes with a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD display with a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels and a pixel density of 326 ppi. The Galaxy Note 3 sports an impressive 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with pixel density of 386 ppi. There are pros and cons for each display unit.

The screen fitted on the Note 3 is more suited for web browsing, gaming, and watching videos due to its size and higher resolution, while the Super AMOLED panel provides great brightness and wide viewing angles, but a not-so-accurate color reproduction and poor performance under direct sunlight. On the other hand the iPhone 5S’ IPS LCD screen also comes with unrivalled brightness, while its size recommends it for single-hand usage.

Unfortunately, on a highly-competitive smartphone market, where most of the high-end handset come with full HD screens, Apple has fitted a sub-HD display on its latest smartphone, which makes the iPhone 5S the loser of the Display round.


The customers are targeting thin and light smartphones and their demand is reflected in the companies’ attempts to make their devices as thin and light as possible.

The iPhone 5S is 123.8 mm tall, 58.6 mm wide, and 7.6 mm thin, being one of the thinnest smartphones on the market, while weighing only 112 grams. Because the Note 3 has to accommodate a significantly larger display, the Samsung phablet measures 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm and has a weight of 168 grams.

The iPhone 5S is slimmer and lighter than its competitor, so it wins the Dimensions round.


Ask anyone what is the best thing about Apple’s smartphones and it will respond that it’s the design and the premium construction of the terminals.

Looking identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 5S continues the design language introduced by Apple in 2010 with the debut of iPhone 4. With sharp edges and rounded corners, the iPhone 5S is a symbol of elegance, making it one of the best looking smartphones on the market (only HTC’s One flaghip can get near iPhone’s looks).

With the Note 3, Samsung wanted to show us that they can build premium smartphones, too. The Korean company decided that it’s about time to ditch the plastics and have a more elegant approach and that’s why you will find faux-leather with fine stitches on the back of the Galaxy Note 3, matching with the S4-inspired aluminium finishings for the edges.

Even though everyone expected the Note 3 to look like a GS4 on steroids, the new Samsung smartphone has a sharper design and a construction that places it in the premium segment. Still, the Galaxy phablet can’t get close to iPhone 5S’ looks, that’s why the Apple flagship wins another point.


As you probably know, Samsung will launch two Galaxy Note 3 variants on the market, each coming with a different processing unit. The LTE-friendly N9005 features Qualcomm’s mighty Snapdragon 800 SoC based on four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and Adreno 330 GPU, while the N9000 variant comes with an octo-core Exynos 5420 chipset with quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex A15 CPU + quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 CPU (for reduced battery consumption) and a Mali T628 GPU.

During the iPhone 5S launch keynote Apple’s reps talked for a whole 10 minutes about the new A7 chipset fitted inside the new handset, as being the world’s first 64-bit processor fitted on a smartphone.

Apple says the new A7 will be twice as fast as the 32-bit A6 chipset of the iPhone 5, but the way the Cupretino-based company markets its new chipset is deceive. The move to 64-bit addresses the amount of RAM (the limit for 32-bit is 4 GB), as the performance improvements brought by the 64-bit architecture are almost zero. I’m not saying the A7 is not two times more powerful than the A6, but it’s not because the 64-bit architecture as Apple is trying to suggest.

Anyway, courtesy of the ARMv8 architecture the A7 will most likely outperform both the Snapdragon 800 and the Exynos 5420 units (even though it has a dual-core 1.7 GHz CPU), so the iPhone 5S wins the Processor round.


The internal storage dictates the amount of content you can storage on your device, so the higher it is, the better.

As usual, the iPhone 5S comes with three internal storage options: 16/32/64 GB, and beyond that the cloud storage is your only hope. The Galaxy Note 3 packs either 32 or 64 GB of internal flash storage, expandable using microSD cards (up to 64 GB), which can lead to a total of 128 GB of storage.

Moreover, the iPhone 5S is expected to sport 1 GB of RAM (2 GB tops), while the Note 3 is the first smartphone in the world to boast about 3 GB of RAM, making it more suitable for multitasking jobs.

The Note 3 has higher storage capacities and a higher amount of RAM, therefore it wins another round in front of Apples’s latest smartphone.


The 4G LTE networks are present on most of the developed markets, being one of the major selling points of the modern smartphones.

The iPhone 5S connectivity features include, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE, HSPA+, and Apple’s proprietary microUSB 2.0 Lightning port.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports 4G LTE, HSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC chip, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, IR blaster, and microUSB 3.0.

While the infra red port and microUSB 3.0 support are pretty useless, the WiFi ac and NFC support are almost a must-have for any modern smartphone, and, unfortunately, Apple’s iPhone 5S lacks both these features. That’s another point for the Galaxy Note 3.


We all used our smartphones to take photos at some point and the camera is one of the important elements of a smartphone.

Apple chose to upgrade the 8 MP iSight camera on the iPhone 5, then fit it on the back of new iPhone 5S. The new camera module brings autofocus, dual LED flash, 1/3” sensor size, 1.5 µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR panorama, HDR photo, and 1080p@30 fps plus 720p@60fps video recording.

Galaxy Note 3 has an impressive 13 MP camera with autofocus, LED flash, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR, 4K video recording, and  1080p@60fps shooting mode.

Moreover, Note 3’s camera borrows all the cool features of the Galaxy S4, bringing Eraser, Cinema Photo, Sound & Shot, or Drama Shot, plus Dual Shot and Dual Video.

The Samsung smartphone definitely has the better camera here, therefore it snatches another point.

Operating System

Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems in the world and they both come with ups and downs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs the latest Android iteration out of the box, Jelly Bean 4.3, customized with Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX interface. What’s so great about it? Besides expandable notifications, Quick Settings area, DayDream and other features that come with stock Android, Samsung’s UI brings new and innovative features like Multi Window, Air View/Air Gesture, Smart Scroll, Smart Stay, Smart Pause, or Direct Call, plus some Note 3 exclusivities like Action Memo, Scrapbook, S Finder, Pen Window, or S Note.

The iOS 7 is the biggest refresh Apple’s mobile operating system received since its debut in 2007. I can’t help but notice that the iOS 7 looks nice, but it seems like Apple’s engineers have borrowed everything decent from Windows Phone 8 and Android and squeezed it inside iOS. The iOS wasn’t about looks, it was about functionality, and everything its users loved about it it’s now gone.

As Apple has stopped innovating in terms of mobile operating system, this round goes to Samsung’s feature-packed TouchWiz interface.


You can barely find a smartphone with a decent battery life nowadays, but it’s not the case for the iPhone 5S and the Note 3.

We’ve tested an iPhone 5 last year and it heroically stayed awake from morning until late night while being used moderately to intensely. Apple says that even though it has the same Li-Po 1,570 mAh battery as is predecessor, the iPhone 5S will be more battery efficient. Since we couldn’t get our hands on it, we are estimating a battery life of 24 hours of typical usage.

Last year’s Note 2 was a real battery-friendly smartphone, as it was capable of getting through a day and a half of usage. Note 3’s battery is a Li-Ion 3,200 mAh unit (100 mAh bigger than Note 2’s), but its processors are meant to conserve more energy, therefore expect about two days of battery stamina.

The battery life is phablets’ ace up the sleeve in the battle against regular smartphones, and the Galaxy Note 3 is no exception. Point for the Note 3.


May the cheaper smartphone win!

The cheapest iPhone 5S (16 GB model) has a price tag of $199 with a two year agreement, while the cheapest Note 3 costs $299 on contract. Because the cheapest Note 3 has twice as the amount of internal storage (32 GB) as the cheapest iPhone 5S (16 GB), it would be more fair if we compared <cough> apples to apples.

Therefore the 32 GB iPhone 5S is $100 more expensive than the 16 GB variant, which makes it just as expensive as the 32 GB Note 3. Ladies and gents, we have a tie.


If it reads conclusions above it means we are at the end of the iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 battle and that we have to see which smartphone is the winner.

We had a tie round, the Price round, as the cost of the 32 GB iPhone 5S and the 32 GB Note 3 was the same.

The Apple iPhone 5S scored 3 points winning the Dimensions, Design, and Processor rounds, because it’s thinner and lighter than the Note 3, it uses premium materials and has an amazing design, and because of the ARMv8 architecture behind the Apple A7 SoC.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a larger and higher resolution display, has higher amounts of storage and RAM, sports NFC and WiFi ac, comes with a feature-packed 13 MP camera, runs Android 4.3 with TouchWiz Nature UX, and has longer battery autonomy, that’s why it scored 6 points after it snatched the Display, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, and Battery rounds.

This is the end guys, the Galaxy Note 3 has won the battle against the latest Apple flagship 6 to 3. But maybe I was wrong about certain rounds of the battle. Please let me know in the comments section.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Articles

  • Jay

    Seems pretty fair. The only comment I would make is that size is really a preference. Iphone won the size round because it is smaller, but I actually prefer my phone to be a little bigger. I can’t seem to hold an iphone without touching the screen and that annoys me. So for me personally, I would consider the Note 3 to be a 7-2 victor.

    Also, I wish there was some sort of durability category. I see a lot of phones with cracked screens. Iphones were really bad for a while, it seems like they have gotten better. With the Note 3 screen being closer to the edge (than the Note II) and with it having a little more weight, it’s going to have more momentum when hitting the ground. I hope to never drop my phone, but it happens occasionally. Is this thing going to shatter the first time I drop it? Break some phones and report back. πŸ™‚

    • photohounds

      You are right for size, bigger is better, (more useful) Dropping?
      Clumsy me gets a case no matter what he buys πŸ™‚ and does not “worshp” the design too much.

      Having said that, I like the Note 3’s more traditional squarer look, like devices of old … (many calculators for instance)

  • olbp

    Why didn’t you include an easier to read CHART?

  • For the review of the camera’s of the camera’s…. (Short Version) – I must say that is incorrect and that should be for iPhone. You didn’t say “why” the Note 3 was the better camera. It seems you went based off of the MP count. As a professional photographer I argue that one, because the iPhone’s detail is much more clear and sharper. The sensor of that camera is larger and adds less noise to the image vs the Note’s, which still is a great camera (especially for outdoor photos on sunny days – The Note 2’s was VERY good for that).

    Memory – Storage is one thing but for actual RAM, I think that should be a tie. Apple’s iOS doesn’t require as much memory as an Android running mobile phone, so I think for the required power of the devices it’s for what their OS’s require most to run efficiently enough.

    Processor – Even with the iPhone’s new chip, I think the Samsung Note 3’s processor would take the edge for that one, but for their OS’s needs/requirements then it would probably be even, as once again the OS’s are very different in what’s required.

    PS: I’m Kenneth Hines, Jr… an iPhone user, who gave lots of credit to Samsung devices and I approve this message. πŸ˜‰

  • jon goh

    regarding your processor comparison, I dont quite understand your explanation that ARMv8 architecture would make the performance better than snapdragon’s. since 64bit does not improve performance when ram is limited, why do you suppose a dual core A7 would perform better than a Quad core?

    • Richard Yarrell

      The Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3 ghz and 3gb of ram in the Galaxy Note 3 will out perform the Apple iPhone 5s without any worries definitely.Noth else matters period the Galaxy Note 3 is inon a total level of itits own.

      • squiddy20

        And yet an iPhone 4 usually has absolutely no lag or graphical glitches, meanwhile, the Note 2 with it’s “better” processor and more RAM does. I wonder why? Maybe could it be that Apple controls the hardware, OS, and software and that together they make a more cohesive user experience?

        • Daniel

          In performance tests, the note 3 will slaughter every other phone on the market, it’s as simple as that. It will be THE most powerful phone for some time dependent on the specs of the HTC one max.

          • squiddy20

            1. If I recall correctly, wasn’t it Samsung who was found to be artificially inflating the “performance tests” on the S4? They can be tampered with.
            2. Those things mean next to nothing in real world usage. Again, if I recall correctly, the Droid Charge got at least relatively decent performance test results for it’s time, but for the most part, was quite poor in day to day usage.

        • i-history

          nokia 1100 is faster than i phones and without glitches..and it was light weight too also with a torch…so that makes it better than i phone 4?
          grow up and see around you…a 3.5 inch sub-hd cellphone with dual core processors with no outstanding feature not even bluetooth….is faster and better than note 2?
          apple phones are free frm glitches because they dont have to support high performance hardwares….

          • squiddy20

            “with no outstanding feature not even bluetooth” What are you talking about? The iPhone has had Bluetooth since the original back in 2007. And if I recall correctly, the iPhone was the first smartphone to have Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy) certification. Seriously, where have you been the past 6 years?

            “apple phones are free frm glitches because they dont have to support high performance hardwares….” You’ve got that backwards. The iPhone doesn’t need 8 cores to work without glitches because Apple has total control of the hardware, software, and OS. Therefore, they can optimize it more than, say, Samsung or HTC.

    • The CPU of the A7 chip has a lot in common ARM’s A53 and A57 CPUs (both on ARMv8 architecture) which will make it under the hood of the first Android smartphones early 2014.

      The A7 (custom A53 or A58 cores) is better than the Snapdragon 800 and the Exynos 5420 in the same way a chipset using Cortex A15 (or Krait 400) cores is better than one based on Cortex A9 cores.

      The best example would be the Exynos 5 Dual vs Exyons 4 Quad. Even though the first one has a dual-core 1.7 GHz CPU (Cortex A15), it’s faster than the quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU of the Exynos 4 Quad which is underpinned by Cortex A9 cores.

      • Ermal Turkeshi


    • Robert Landon

      because quad core means more cores.
      it’s like 4 fast cores working together vs two insanely speedy cores. it’s not the amount of cores and clockspeeds that matters, it’show good the cores are on their own

      • jon goh

        I think I get your point. Have been doing plenty of reading up regarding A7 and snapdragon and dual cores and quad cores. Basically, its common for dual to be faster, but the purpose of a quad is mainly for multi-tasking. Where we have more cores doing different things at the same time. And finally realised that iPhone can hardly multi-task (sad).

  • Joe

    Isnt the Note 3’s screen size 5.7? Not 5.9?

  • photohounds

    I’ve processed images form both (just) obsolete models on my hi res screen, where the uninformed also said iphone was better.

    I suspect that this may be becasue iphone is optimised for viewing on a small screen. Iphone has more aggressive, clearly visible sharpening artifacts and is not really “sharper” at all.

    At 27″ screen size, the reverse emerges, with iphone looking somewhat cheap and cheerful.
    Given they are both a little better than last year’s models, I’d expect the same relativity – IE that the SamCam would again pip the iphone.

    Extra cores multitask better so NO 64 bit 2-core advantage until 4Gb
    Note 3 has an extra GOG of RAM and 2 more processors.
    Therefore, the processor is not really apple’s win, either.

  • Robert Mauro

    MicroUSB is VERY useful for updating via Kies (instead of waiting for a staggered OTA update), transferring files to the up to 128GB total storage available in the phone (such as my music and movie collection), doing quick and painless full phone backups (using Kies), direct tethering instead of Hotspotting (gotta love having T-Mobile and being able to do either), painless charging with numerous 1A or greater chargers, availability of tons of aftermarket USB/MHL options from the S4 line, MHL built in to the port for HDMI mirroring, etc

    As for the IR port, as soon as I get mine, I will be ditching my remote controls in my living room. Already using my Galaxy Tab 2 for such purposes, but as I often leave that at work (and it’s a very big remote control at 10.1″), I will be transitioning that function to the Note III.

  • Zepaw

    This is a really tricky decision for me because I know I would be happy with either phone. I think I’ll break toward Note 3 because when all other things are so close the large yet still gorgeous screen gives it a good advantage.

  • kyawzaw1

    Operating system. Ios 7 is superior… No matter who made things first in the past … the important is present day. IOS 7 is so much better and IOS doesn’t stutter. Games run smoothly in IOS. Also more games are available and IOS is the OS of choice by game developers… do u guys have infinity blade? can you play xcom in note 3 or S4? or can you buy star wars: knights of the old republic in play.google? No… and never. and you will still pick android is better OS. πŸ˜€

    I have my friend with s4 playing asphalt 8 but his game stutter every time he has to make a turn or use nitro… πŸ˜€ Very very funny πŸ˜€

    • dimos

      Iphone5 SAR rating 0,97 Galaxy Note 3 SAR rating 0,29 another winner ( I own an Iphone 5 )

  • kyawzaw1

    btw, about camera, 5s camera has better sensors… πŸ˜€ so less noise than note 3. πŸ˜€

  • kyawzaw1

    Battery is better in note3? you must be kidding me…. Android phones eat battery like monkeys eat bananas… πŸ˜€ The phone might last half and a day if you don’t use live wallpaper, don’t play any game and don’t do anything on the web… πŸ˜€ If you do something, then monkeys will start eating their bananas πŸ˜€

    • galaxyNOTEfan

      Hahaha. Poor kid. You should try the note 2 first before you talk. It is true that note 2 can last up to 24hrs straight even with live wallpaper and doing many stuff. πŸ˜€ i think youre just using a low end android phone. Haha.

  • JC

    “The iOS wasn’t about looks, it was about functionality, and everything its users loved about it it’s now gone” – This quote shows that you obviously have not used iOS7. The real like reviews are rather captivating and since I have installed it, there has actually been an improvement in the performance of my phone’s ability to launch/close apps, load the camera, etc. The overhaul of the OS created a lot of shortcuts that did not exist in previous versions as well. I am sorry to say that you totally missed the mark on this one.

    As for the overall comparison of the phones, no one will know which benchmarks are better until real people get out and use them. I do agree with the processor assessment you gave. Saying that Note 3 will be better because it has a quad core with 3gb of RAM is like saying a Dodge with a 5.7L V8 is a better made, more higher performance vehicle than a Porsche with a Boxer 6 simply because it has more Litres and cylinders. Do not rush to judgment. I for one am excited to play with both phones before I make my next purchase since I am due for an upgrade. We will see which one fits my needs the best πŸ™‚

    • JC

      Life not like – sorry it’s late here πŸ™‚

  • Ezra ofcebu

    Why keep giving shit with specs? Of course itll be android.. But the user experience should be what everyone become interested in, which is difficult to write a review about -_-

  • Not a tie

    Which wins on best integrated sylus? Based on your dimensions point, you would give it to the iPhone?