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Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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Camera


Google has made a big deal about the HDR+ mode, which actually uses a burst mode to capture 3 images at different exposures and then stitch them together for better image quality. We have to say we came away impressed as the HDR+ images did a good job of evening out exposure in images with both dark and light areas and it may be wise to have it always on on the Nexus 5, although it makes shot-to-shot speeds slower. Note that we took almost all of our pictures using the two respective HDR modes. Flash is disabled in HDR mode, so with low light pictures we went back to Auto.

Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Camera UI of the Google Nexus 5


Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Samsung has rightly gotten a lot of praise for their camera efforts of late. The Note 3 uses a 13MP BSI sensor we are familiar with from the Galaxy S4, and in general produces good results. In fact, under the right conditions the camera is able to produce downright excellent shots that rival some point and shoot cameras as we found in our full review. The Note 3’s 13 megapixel sensor captured better detail in good light, but unless you’re viewing them at 100% crop you will likely never notice them.

Though the Nexus 5 is based off the G2, it unfortunately does not feature the same 13 megapixel camera, opting for an 8MP sensor instead. Thankfully it does retain optical image stabilization, which was immediately apparent in our testing. In two of our low-light sample shots (the wine rack and painting) you can see that the Galaxy Note 3 had some real blurring issues, whereas it was crystal clear on the Nexus 5.

In our tests, the Nexus 5 achieved better images with truer to life colors than the Note 3, whose colors appeared slightly washed out when viewed off the device. In certain situations the Note 3 can outperform the Nexus 5, but for all around performance the Nexus gets a slight edge in our testing. The Nexus 5 is not the best out there, but they have made significant improvements since the Nexus 4, and Google has admitted there are still software enhancements to come.



Image size:
Use our samples comparison tool to see photos from more phones


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 3.5
4
406
347
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2.7
No data
494
353
View all

Both devices offer 1080p recording, and while both were good there were some drawbacks with each. Both produced very good colors, but the Nexus 5 was much smoother thanks to the optical image stabilization. Details remained good even when panning quickly, and the focus easily shifted between near and far objects. However, the mic was very sensitive and as you can hear there was a ton of wind noise picked up. The Note 3, on the other hand, did a good job of muting the wind noise, but had issues with motion blur and focusing. Overall we preferred the Nexus 5’s smoother performance despite the mic issues.


Multimedia


The galleries on both devices are pretty standard, with gird-like thumbnail previews of your photos, folder categorization, and editing options. Samsung lets you split the screen in two, with the folder structure on the left, and their contents on the right, which speeds up gallery navigation.

Gallery of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Gallery of the Google Nexus 5


Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Video playback is superior on the Galaxy Note 3, not only thanks to the deep blacks and saturated colors of the big AMOLED display that make the footage really pop, but also because its player supports most major codecs out of the box, including MKV, DivX and Xvid. Google's phone, on the other hand, doesn't have DivX licenses, so if you want to play videos in that format, you'd have to hit the Play Store.

Video player of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player of the Google Nexus 5 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Video player of the Google Nexus 5


Video player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Video player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Video player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3



Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 0.36
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 71
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 76
View all

67 Comments
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posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:42 3

1. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Nexus 5 for the looks and one-handed usage.

Note 3 for battery life and being a bit more future proof.

Both devices for rooting and installing a custom rom. :)

Edit: I would have gone with the Note 3. It may look ugly compared to the N5, but it's got 3gigs of Ram, a removable battery and a microSD card.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:56 3

3. mturby (unregistered)


wrong choice. on nexus 5 u wont have any issues at all regarding ram. on note 3, it is the waayy too big and it will NOT receive the future android updates unlike the nexus 5. r u quitting android 5, 5.5 or 6 if any? no way

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:02 7

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


First of all - Extra ram is always good. Remember when the GS3 i9305 launched and people were like "2GB of Ram that's crazy! No app needs that!"? I remember. Look where we are now.

Second of all you kinda missed my point - if you want to make the most of your android device you will root your phone and install a custom rom at some point because even Nexus phones are not immune from clogged Android-version-update arteries (see Galaxy Nexus). Custom roms are. And always will be.

Thus - I prefer to sacrifice a bit of prettiness and one-handed operation comfort in the favor of better specs, a micsoSD card and a larger, removable battery.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:51 2

16. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


+1 for you, especially with the 2GB example.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:50 1

22. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1230; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


im still trying to figure where do u see beauty in the nexus 5, note 3 looks much better in my opinion, the nexus 5 top and bottom bezel doesnt even match and just looks odd to me, and the backsize the note 3 looks more premium.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:03 1

25. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Well the N5 looks more premium a bit. Especially the all-glass front. But that's just my perspective. :)

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 17:22 2

40. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)


Google gurantees updates for 18 months. Your lucky if your android phone is still getting updates after 3-4 months. They dropped the Galaxy Nexus because the cpu company that makes it left the phone business.

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 03:32

62. tuney (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)


Is it just me but I find the Note 3 much more aesthetic looking than the N5. At least in the pictures on the first page of this article. I actually purchased an N5 but I do not find it particularly beautiful-- it's very simplistic/drab looking in my opinion. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I was a bit surprised you'd go as far as calling the Note 3 "ugly" next to the N5.

I couldn't afford the Note 3 so I am happy with my N5.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:44

2. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2285; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Ehh.... Note 3 if anything....

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:56 2

4. mturby (unregistered)


wrong choice. on nexus 5 u wont have any issues at all regarding ram. on note 3, it is the waayy too big and it will NOT receive the future android updates unlike the nexus 5. r u quitting android 5, 5.5 or 6 if any? no way

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:05

6. ilia1986 (unregistered)


See my reply to your reply to my post.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:17 2

9. silencer271 (Posts: 254; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Wrong choice for you . For him good choice. I prefer the bigger screen and its not way to big for some of us use to big things. Most people dont care about future updates most just want a device that is for them.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:54 3

17. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Someone's preference is wrong? Way to not come off as an ass.

Note 3 > Nexus 5 simply because of the larger screen, two day battery life and the S-Pen for me. Friday is going to be a great day for me. Black 32GB Note 3 + 64GB Class 10 SD card + another 50GB of storage for two years of Dropbox for free? Hell yeah!

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:18 1

27. rd_nest (Posts: 1618; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


You are posting same thing every time.
Reported for spamming. Don't be a troll.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 13:23

31. pulkit.tyagi (banned) (Posts: 35; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)


and i prefer nexus because of the simple fact that it is fast (wicked fast) in day to day use and i will not have to worry about updates(wokeup in the morning and my nexus 4 notified me that 4.3 was ready for download).
But different people want different things from their devices.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 17:29

41. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)


What will you use the 64GB for you can't store apps on it.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 22:42 1

47. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Lots of music, movies, videos, etc.

posted on 22 Nov 2013, 14:22

64. newphone (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Nov 2013)


PapaSmurf: Can you root the Note 3 and still get all of the cool S-Pen functionality or is most of that built into the TouchWiz?

posted on 24 Nov 2013, 22:58

66. choetechnology (Posts: 8; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)


Yes Please follow some step to root the Note 3 :

Step 1: Download the root package for your variant of Galaxy Note 3 from here. You will also need Odin3 software application, which you can get from here.

Step 2: Extract the package to get to the .tar.md5 file, and save it to a convenient/easily-accessible location on your PC.

Step 3: Reboot your device into Download Mode by pressing and holding Volume Down and Home keys whilst powering on the phone.

Step 4: Launch Odin3 on your PC and connect your Note 3 using USB cable. Wait for Odin to detect the phone (you should see a COM value in the first box, and an Added message in the box below).

Step 5: Click on PDA and select the extracted .tar.md5 file for your device. Make sure Repartition is not checked, and Auto-Reboot is checked (basically, nothing except Auto-Reboot should be checked).

Step 6: Click the Start button and wait for Odin3 to finish flashing the PDA. The phone will reboot as the process completes.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:11 4

8. gidjmc (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)


So frustrated with the battery of nexus 4. For me definitely the note 3

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:33

10. N-fanboy (Posts: 543; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)


Looks: Note 3 (but for its back)
Camera: Note 3
Battery:Note 3
Durability: Note 3
UI: N5
Screen: N5

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:57 5

18. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


For me?

Looks: Note 3
Camera: Note 3
Battery: This is obvious
Durability: Note 3 all the way
UI: Nexus 5
Screen: Note 3 - AMOLED is beautiful

As for UI, if I wanted stock 4.4, I can always root, so I'm not worried about that. Note 3 still remains the champion after another flagship has been released.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:31 1

20. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Downloading 4.4 on my S3 right now. ;)

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:37

21. HouTexan (Posts: 439; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)


Smurf, I want to root my phone, but don't have much knowledge on it. How beneficial is it?

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:10

26. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Which rom? :)

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 22:45

48. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


If you don't have much knowledge with it, I would hold off doing anything before you damage your phone. Visit XDA, read articles and how it's from different websites, learn some definitions, and know the risks of rooting before you pull the trigger.

Once you know what you're doing, it's fun. :)

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 02:05

53. Pazookie (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)


Personally for a stalk Android feel I like cynogen mod
I put it in my s3 a couple months back and I got better battery life and my phone was a lot faster. Not I think I am going to upgrade to the note 3 tho because if all the features and specs... I mean come on who can argue the specs are amazing!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 17:08

55. Pazookie (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)


voice input fail...

posted on 16 Nov 2013, 11:10

58. WallStreetWolf (Posts: 289; Member since: 08 Apr 2013)


CyanogenMod one click installer. All you need is the companion app in the Play Store and a Windows machine. You will have a couple quarks like restarting the downloader, but I have to tell you, I am thoroughly impressed with the results. Stock Android on my HTC One and very happy with it. I am tech savvy in other areas, but I don't care to spend a lot of time rooting my phone and installing new firmware. CyanogenMod has made it easy at least.

posted on 25 Nov 2013, 21:55

70. ssmaximuss (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Nov 2013)


sure the specs are nice but give it a another year and it will be obsolete with the future phones that will come... and then you're paying $699 for that.. something that will be obsolete soon enough? have fun :)

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