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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4: Which Flagship Device Is A Better Buy?

By iDigitalTimes Staff Reporter on October 8, 2013 2:35 PM EDT 0

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This is a comparison of Samsung's newly released Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy S4 flagship device. (Photo: Samsung)

Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy S4? Samsung released another major flagship smartphone to its lineup this month. The newly launched Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet throws an additional leading phone into the mix, giving consumers a new device to choose from. Let's compare the Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 to determine which smartphone is a better buy for you.

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Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Size & Weight

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 proves a monster of a device. The smartphone dimensions measure in at 8.33mm thick, 151mm long and 79mm wide. The phablet as a whole weighs in at 168g. The new Samsung smartphone will likely require both hands, and is not designed to slip in your pocket or grip with ease. The Galaxy Note 3 is a phablet in all meanings of the word, giving consumers all the functions of a smartphone housed in a nearly tablet-sized body.

The Galaxy S4 smartphone is less of a handful, literally. The device as a whole is lighter, thinner and sleeker in its size and weight. The Samsung smartphone measures in at 7.9mm thick, 137mm long and 70mm wide. The Galaxy S4 weighs 130g. For an all-around slimmer smartphone that proves best portability, the Galaxy S4 device is surely a smarter choice than the Galaxy Note 3.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Design

The Galaxy Note 3 design was perhaps the most obvious change Samsung made in the new smartphone. Ditching its typical glossy plastic appearance, Samsung used a faux leather backing with fake stitching in the latest model. While the pleather Galaxy Note 3 is still made of plastic, the new material gives the smartphone a soft and leather-bound look. Compared to the Galaxy S4, the new phablet design takes a stab at a more notebook-themed finish. The changed backing, though, is getting mixed reviews, with some consumers finding the pleather disguise a bit of a turn-off. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 3 design change does prove Samsung is taking initiative to change up its smartphones.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone features the standard plastic housing. The glossy finish on the rear of the device is not as novel as the Galaxy Note 3 design, but some consumers may prefer the original look. The smartphone design purely influences the aesthetics of the devices, making the Note 3 vs. S4 showdown simply a personal preference in terms of the smartphone appearance.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a high-definition Super AMOLED display. The 5.7-inch smartphone is equipped with a 1,920 by 1,080 pixel screen resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio and 388 pixels-per-inch. The impressive display is surely a worthy candidate in the phablet market based on pixel density and sharpness.

The Galaxy S4 smartphone also includes a high-quality Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screens differ ever so slightly between the two devices, with the Samsung Galaxy S4 pixel density measuring in at 441 ppi compared to the Galaxy Note 3 pixel density of 388. To the naked eye, this difference is almost indistinguishable. Both devices offer worthy screen resolutions, though if one had to reign the superior choice, the Galaxy S4 has an edge in sharpness. However, if overall screen size is the most important display component for a consumer, the Galaxy Note 3 leads as the larger option.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Processor

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes equipped with a Snapdragon 800 CPU 2.3GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 330 GPU. The Galaxy S4 boasts a Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 320 GPU. Overall the latest Samsung phablet features a more powerful, upgraded processor than the Galaxy S4 smartphone. The Galaxy Note 3 includes the next-generation chip prompting a boost in speed and overall performance.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Storage & RAM

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 allow for expandable memory via microSD slot underneath the phone battery covers. The Galaxy S4 smartphone comes with the standard 2GB of RAM, however its competing device comes out on top with 3GB of RAM. In terms of storage options, both devices offer 32GB and 64GB variants. The Galaxy S4 does offer a base option of 16GB though, while the Galaxy Note 3 base storage option starts at 32GB. 

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Battery

The Galaxy Note 3 triumphs the Galaxy S4 in battery life with 23 percent more juice than the smartphone. The phablet boasts 3,200mAh compared to the Galaxy S4 device with 2,600mAh. The winner here is a no-brainer, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 device including more talk time and stand-by time than the Galaxy S4.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Cameras

The Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 devices both have 13-megapixel cameras with single-LED flashes. Both cameras also feature f/2.2 lenses, which is an upgrade from Samsung's 2012 phones. With matching camera specs, one would expect both devices to snap equal quality photos. However, reports are indicating that image sharpness and macro performance of the Galaxy S4 smartphone is slightly better than the phablet camera. This could be due in part because the Galaxy Note 3 is newly introduced, requiring basic kinks to be smoothed out in the device. Both smartphones, though, offer quality camera features.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Software

The Galaxy Note 3 phablet runs on Android 4.3 and Samsung's TouchWiz software. The new Samsung smartphone is equipped with the latest software due to its extremely recent launch date. The Galaxy S4 was introduced with Android 4.2, though Samsung announced that the flagship smartphone is supposed to update to the latest Jelly Bean edition this month.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Stylus

The Galaxy S4 differs greatly from the Galaxy Note 3 in terms of the note-related features that come with the "S Pen". Apart from the design changes, this is perhaps one of the more significant changes made in the newly released phablet. The Stylus-equipped Galaxy Note 3 allows for several added actions, including on-screen character recognition, an action memo feature, content scrapbooks and annotated screenshots. The Galaxy S4 lacks any of these stylus capabilities. For consumers looking for handwriting recognition in their smartphones for professional or recreational uses, the Galaxy Note 3 is a more viable choice.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Price & Release Date

The Galaxy Note 3 release date launched just this week, with the newly revealed phablet available in stores and online. The AT&T Galaxy Note 3 starts at $299.99 with a two-year contract. The Sprint Galaxy Note 3 costs $349.99 with a tw-year contract, however IBT notes that new customers will get a limited time discount of $100.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 device has been in the market for some time now, and is available both in stores and online. The smartphone is a more cost-efficient option than the newly released phablet, starting at $199.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T.

Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4 Conclusion

Overall, both devices are worthy choices for very different reasons. The Galaxy S4 smartphone has since proven it is a fan favorite among Samsung consumers, while the Galaxy Note 3 release is so recent it's tough to determine its value based on customer feedback. The Galaxy S4 is a better option for consumers looking for a device with powerful performance, optimal portability and high-definition screen resolution for a more cost-efficient price. The Galaxy Note 3, though, is the wise choice for phablet fans that want to get two hands on a device that offers Stylus support, better battery life, a significantly larger screen size and updated internal specs. Which device would you rather buy, the Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy S4? 

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