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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3, Big vs Bigger

Samsung Galaxy S5 has just been released and it now competes with its bigger brother, the Galaxy Note 3. Both smartphones are some of the most powerful on the market and come with impressive specs and features.

We are going to do some in depth comparisons between Samsung’s flagship smartphone and their phablet, even through they are designated to different markets. The Galaxy Note 3 is designed especially for business users, but it’s been very popular among regular customers too.

In this article we’re going to compare their design, hardware, software, features, and camera. While they seem to be similar smartphones, there are a lot of differences between them.

Design & Build

The two smartphones look pretty similar, but there are some differences between them. The most significant difference is that the Galaxy Note 3 has a faux leather back, which makes it look really good. Their front is near identical, excepting the fact that one is much bigger, of course.

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 is water and dust resistant, which gives it a decent advantage over its bigger competitor, but it doesn’t look so premium, unfortunately.

We expected Samsung to use the same faux leather on the Galaxy S5 too, but it seems like they didn’t think it’s such a good idea and they went for pretty simple plastic.

While the water and dust resistant part might sound good, unfortunately it’s only resistant, not proof, so it can’t live underwater. So we will declare the Galaxy Note 3 a winner for the beautiful back, compared to Galaxy S5’s plastic design.


In terms of hardware, both smartphones feature some of the latest components. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 2.3Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while the Galaxy S5 sports a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801 one.

We expected the Galaxy S5 to come with 3GB of RAM, just like the Note 3, but it only features 2GB, which gives the latter a slight advantage.

Galaxy Note 3

The Galaxy S5’s LTE and WiFi speeds are faster than the Note 3’s, which is pretty normal, considering it’s a newer smartphone. It’s storage variants are only 16GB and 32GB, while the Note 3 is available with 32GB and 64GB.

When it comes to battery, the Galaxy S5 sports a 2,800 mAh one, while the Note 3 has 400 more mAh, bringing it to 3,200 mAh.

So the Galaxy Note 3 only has a slightly bigger battery and an extra GB of RAM, but the bigger displays definitely uses more battery, so we have to declare the S5 a winner.


Both the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3 run on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but the Note 3 lacks some newer TouchWiz features. The Galaxy S5’s notifications and Settings screens have been redesigned and now they resemble Tizen more than Android. This isn’t necessarly a good thing, as we prefer stock Android’s look.

The fact that Samsung brings it’s smartphones closer to Tizen, distancing itself for Android is really bad, both for customers and the Android ecosystem and it will make us declare the Galaxy Note 3 a winner.


Most of the TouchWiz features are present on both devices, except for the S Pen ones that you can find only on the Note 3 and the heart rate sensor and fingerprint scanner, which are only included with the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 didn’t come with many new features, like Samsung got us used to in the previous years, so there isn’t much to talk about. But the Galaxy Note 3 does have a lot of advantages thanks to the S Pen. There are a lot of document and photo editing apps that work much better with the S Pen, along with the Air View mode and Air Commands.

Samsung Galaxy S5

We consider the Galaxy Note 3 to have an advantage here too, so we are going to declare it a winner.


There’s a big difference between the two smartphone’s cameras. The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 13MP camera, while the Galaxy S5 features a 16MP one. While megapixels aren’t so important and both can record 4K videos, the S5 does have a lot of advantages.

The camera found on the Galaxy S5 supposedly has the fastest shutter speed of all smartphone cameras and it can focus in 0.3 seconds. It also features Selective Focus and Phase Detection Auto Focus.

Both have 2MP frontal cameras which seem nearly identical.

This makes us declare the Galaxy S5 a winner by far, because the photos taken by its camera are simply amazing.


As you’ve seen, both smartphones have advantages and disadvantages. It’s pretty hard to decide which one is better as they are headed to different markets. But we still consider the Galaxy Note 3 to be more complete, especially if you need a smartphone headed more towards business. The Galaxy S5 has the cool heart rate sensor and fingerprint scanner, along with a great camera, so if you need that, then you have your choice.

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  • Ray Gigliotti

    Read this review still cant decide if I want to wait for the Galaxy S5 or get the Note 3? I currently have the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket. Any one else with help making a decision?

    • Dookie

      I have the note 3 and I love it. Very fast, and beautiful phone, not one disappointment. Also isn’t as big as it seems

    • Busy

      I went from the S3 on T – Mobile, signed up on Jump program and upgraded to the HTC One. While cool, I couldn’t wait for the six month wait to be over. I Jumped to Note 3 a few days ago after comparing specs with S5, and man did I miss Samsung. I don’t take many pictures, etc, but do try to work from phone when possible. I’m sick for not getting on Note bandwagon years ago (always a sucker for cool factor…ala HTC), especially since Polaris 5 plus stylus plus cloud computing has affected me in less than a week. I think the Note 4 will again raise the bar and be out just in time for my next jump…

    • mary b

      I’m in the same boat, I currently have S2 skyrocket but have been agonizing over decision to get note 3 or the new S5! I love the bigger screen of the note because I watch Netflix and other things like that. And love that it’s a little bit more like a tablet. But I also take a lot of pictures so I like the little bit better camera of the S5. Plus, I keep waiting for the price to come down some on the note!

  • Uplift777

    It really depends if you want a bigger phone. I have the Note 3 and I love it as well. As far as the Note 3 being to big, it’s in a category of its own “Phablet” phone + tablet. You will get used to the size of the note 3.

    Note 3 – bigger screen, stylus.
    S4 – Slightly better camera, Finger print scanner, HR monitor.
    (The software of both phones are pretty much the same)
    What would you rather have? @raygigliotti:disqus