Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3 on September 4 and since the South Korean company already has a high-end smartphone on the market, we though we should put the two devices head to head in a specs battle.
While the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the company’s flagship smartphone for 2013, the Galaxy Note 3 comes to replace the Galaxy Note 2 in an attempt to continue to help the South Korean phone maker dominate the phablet segment.
If you followed any of our previous versus articles, you would know that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 battle will have 10 rounds, the winner of each round getting one point. We will put the two smartphones head to head in Connectivity, Display, Dimensions, Processor, Memory, Operating System, Camera, Battery, Price, and Design fights, and the terminal that manages to win the most rounds, will be named the winner of the battle.
With the LTE networks being more widespread than ever, all the high-end smartphones developed by the big players of the market come with 4G support, and the Note 3 and the Galaxy S4 make no exception.
In fact, when it comes to connectivity the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4 are almost identical. They both come with HSDPA (42 Mbps), LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support, IR blaster, and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy.
The only difference between the two is the microUSB standard. Note 3 has microUSB 3.0, while the GS4 comes with microUSB 2.0.
Since the microUSB is not enough to separate the two smartphones, this round ends as tie.
Because this is a battle between a phablet and a smartphone you would be tempted to believe that the display round will be unbalanced. Well, both smartphones have their pros and cons when it comes to their display.
The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the Galaxy S4 has a slightly smaller full HD Super AMOLED screen, sized 5 inches diagonally, which comes with a greater pixel density given its reduced size.
As I was mentioning above, both come with Super AMOLED displays which basically translates into low power consumption and unrivalled brightness and contrast, but also in poor performance under direct sunlight and a color reproduction that you might not want to call accurate.
The 5.7-inch display of the Galaxy Note 3 will be more appropriate when it comes to watching movies, surfing the web, or playing games. On the other hand SGS4′s 5-inch unit is easier to handle with one hand being more suitable as a daily driver.
Because both smartphones come with high-quality full HD screens and because the size of the display is only a matter of needs, here’s another round of the battle ending as tie.
I know most of you want your smartphones to be thin and light, and that’s what we are comparing in this round.
The Galaxy Note 3 is 151.2 mm tall, 79.2 mm wide, and 8.3 mm thin, while having a weight of 168 grams, but we mustn’t forget that it has to accommodate a larger display.
Samsung Galaxy S4 measures 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm and weighs 130 grams and because is lighter and thinner than the Note 3 it wins this round of the battle. 1 – 0 Samsung Galaxy S4.
The GS4 was introduced in Mach 2013 and there are two variants currently on the market (actually three but one is intended for the Korean market) each being powered by a different processor.
The LTE variant comes with a Snapdragon 600 chipset with quad-core 1.9 GHz Krait 300 CPU and Adreno 320 GPU, while the 3G models have an Exynos 5410 unit with quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex A15 CPU + quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 CPU and PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU.
On the other hand the Galaxy Note 3 LTE has a Snapdragon 800 SoC with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and Adreno 330 GPU and the 3G model has an Exynos 5420 SoC with quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex A15 CPU, quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 and Mali T628 GPU.
Both Galaxy Note 3 variants are more powerful than their homologous Galaxy S4 models, thus this round of the battle goes to the 5.7 incher.
There’s a lot of content in Google Play and you will need a lot of storage on your smartphone for it.
Galaxy S4 comes with 16/32/64 GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 64 GB. The Note 3 is only available in two storage options, 32 or 64 GB also supporting microSD cards up to 64 GB.
The only difference in terms of memory between the two devices is the amount of RAM: Note 3 has 3 GB of RAM, while the Galaxy S4 has only 2 GB of RAM. The Samsung phablet wins another round for this reason.
We are dealing with two of the most powerful Android smartphones out there, but even though they are both manufactured by Samsung we are still able to find some OS differences between two.
The Note 3 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box, while Samsung Galaxy S4 was launched on the market in April pre-loaded with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and the update to Android 4.3 has yet failed to arrive.
Besides running the latest Android version Galaxy Note 3 also has a lot of S Pen-optimized apps and features, while integrating all the Galaxy S4′s gesture-based functions like Air View, Smart Play, Smart Scroll. Oh, and S Voice, but you might not want to use that function (seriously, you don’t!).
The S Pen-optimized features of the Galaxy Note 3 are enough to help the phablet score another point in the battle against the GS4.
The Note 3 and the S4 are both high-end smartphones circa 2013 and they are both developed by Samsung, so don’t be surprised to hear that they come with identical cameras.
The two smartphones boast about 13 MP cameras with autofocus, LED flash, Dual Shot, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR, and support for full HD video recording.
The only difference between the two devices is that the Note 3 also records 4K videos, but let’s be serious how many of you have 4K TVs to actually be able to see the videos.
The 4K video recording capabilities are not not enough for the 5.7-inch smartphone score another point, so the Camera round is a tie.
The battery life is the biggest problems of the modern smartphones, as I can name at least a dozen high-end terminals that can barely stay awake from morning until night.
Samsung Galaxy S4 has a Li-Ion 2,600 mAh battery and our tests have shown that the smartphone is fully capable of making it through a whole day of moderate usage.
The bigger Galaxy Note 3 has a battery to match (Li-Ion 3,200 mAh) and even though has a larger display, Note 3′s processors are more battery-friendly, so we are expecting it to have a battery life spawn of at least a day and a half.
This round of the Galaxy Note 3 vs Galaxy S4 battle goes to the latest Samsung phablet.
We are dealing with two premium smartphones, thus the price will be one to match. Moreover, since most smartphones are sold on contract we will be talking only about the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 price with two-year agreements.
The flagship launched in April has a price tag of $199 if you agree to sign a two year agreement with on of the US carriers that have it in their portfolio. Galaxy Note 3, on the other hand, costs $299 with a two year contract.
A hundred bucks is a hundred bucks, so this round is won by the cheaper terminal, namely the Galaxy S4.
Ask any smartphone enthusiast what’s the worst thing about the Samsung smartphones and he will say their design.
The Galaxy S4 somewhat continues the design lines introduced last year by the Samsung Galaxy S3, having rounded corners and a plastic body with aluminium finishing edges.
After many accused Samsung for not manufacturing premium smartphones (the plastic was the main issue). the Koreans decided it’s time for a change and the Galaxy Note 3 is the company’s first smartphone that gets them closer to the premium segment.
Having a more elegant design, with sharper edges and a faux-leather back, the Galaxy Note 3 is by far the best-looking Samsung smartphone so far, therefore wins the Design round.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 battle came to an end now and it’s time for us to see which smartphone has won.
We had three rounds that ended as tie in which the handsets were equally matched: Connectivity, Display, and Camera, because they both come with 4G LTE, have full HD Super AMOLED displays, and 13 MP cameras.
The Galaxy S4 has won the Dimensions and Price rounds, because it’s thinner and lighter than the Note 3 and it is $100 cheaper. 2 points for the GS4
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has won five rounds: Processor, Memory, Operating System, Battery, and Design, courtesy of its powerful Snpdragon 800 and Exynos 5420 SoCs, 3 GB of RAM, S Pen-optimized apps and features, bigger battery life, and premium design, scoring not less than 5 points.
Do you agree with the result of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Galaxy S4 battle? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.