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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Anyone who has already gone through our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review knows that the smartphone ranks among the best ones money can buy. It is an embodiment of high-end technology, and even though it doesn’t come cheap, it offers quite a lot of bang for its buck, not to mention that the hardware tucked under its hood makes it quite future-proof. And yes, as you might guess, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is indeed better than its year-old predecessor, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note II. But what exactly makes it better and what has its maker improved upon in order to impress us this time around? And most importantly, is the Note II still worth holding on to now that its third iteration is out? Read on to find out.


We can only commend Samsung for treating its phablet to a solid hardware upgrade without that having a negative effect on the device's proportions. The width and height of the Galaxy Note 3 come really close to those of the year-old Note II (151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm for the former vs 151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm for the latter), with the new model being only slightly taller, yet a hair narrower and noticeably thinner. Moreover, at 168 grams, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is 14 grams lighter than the Note II, and is a tad easier to handle as a result.

Of course, one can simply forget about using the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 single-handedly as it is still as challenging to wield as its predecessor. But at the end of the day, that's a common trait for all phablets, so we can't complain, especially when we're compensated with that huge, gorgeous touchscreen. While the Samsung Galaxy Note II and Note 3 fit in larger pockets, they are quite bulky and some users will find them uncomfortable to carry around.

With its body made of glossy plastic, the Samsung Galaxy Note II looks and feels rather ordinary, especially now that we've grown tired of seeing the same design being rehashed over and over again. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can't be described as a luxury device either, but it feels better to the touch with its leather-like back plate. Unlike its glossy counterpart, the Note 3 resists fingerprints well and has a lot more grip thanks to its textured surface.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II come with removable back covers, underneath which reside the slots for their SIM and microSD cards. Their batteries are also found there and are user-replaceable.

Physical buttons on both smartphones are arranged in an identical manner, with a physical “Home” key below the screen, accompanied by capacitive “Menu” and “Back” buttons. The power and volume buttons are placed on the right and left sides of these devices. We can gladly say that all buttons are easy to reach and operate. It is also nice that the capacitive keys on the Note 3 can be operated with the S Pen's tip. Speaking of which...

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung GALAXY Note II
5.94 x 3.17 x 0.37 inches
151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm
6.44 oz (182 g)

Samsung GALAXY Note II

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The S Pen is a pressure-sensitive digital stylus included with both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note II. It is one of the perks you get with any Note device, allowing you to draw on a virtual canvas or to take down hand-written notes, as well as to navigate through the interface and take advantage of the implemented S Pen features. While a recent teardown revealed that the Note 3 comes with a newer model Wacom digitizer (that is the component turning analog S Pen input into digital signals the phone can interpret), we find the S Pen on the Note II pretty much as precise and responsive as the one on its successor.


Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung has outfitted the Galaxy Note 3 with its best Super AMOLED screen to date. The panel, measuring 5.7 inches in diagonal, has a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels, as is now the norm for all high-end smartphones. Thanks to this high pixel count (386 ppi), graphics and text are represented clearly, in high detail. Colors are adjusted to appear slightly oversaturated by default – something typical for AMOLED tech – but an option in the display settings allows one to have them set at a much more natural level.

The slightly smaller, 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II sure looked great when we first saw it in person. But with a resolution of 720 by 1280 pixels (resulting in a density of just 265 ppi), it is unable to deliver the same level of smoothness and detail achieved by the Note 3's display. Color representation is, again, a bit exaggerated and somewhat less accurate, but it can be adjusted to a more natural setting via the options menu.

One more thing that sets these two smartphones' screens apart is their brightness output. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is relatively easy to use outdoors since its display shines quite brightly, while the Note II looks much dimmer when exposed to the sun's rays. Viewing angles are also better on the Note 3 as there's little color degradation when it is looked at from the side. The display on the Note II, on the other hand, turns blue even at moderate angles – not a deal breaker, but a flaw nonetheless.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 360
Samsung GALAXY Note II 292
View all

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 360-Degrees View

Samsung GALAXY Note II 360-Degrees View

  • Options

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 05:31 10

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Yo Nick, the Note 3 still has the brightest mobile screen ever at 660 cd/m2 (auto mode). Movie mode is also very color-accurate.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 06:34 8

2. TheStanleyFTW (Posts: 244; Member since: 20 Feb 2013)

Have you ever heard of Sony Xperia P?
900-1000cd/m2 :)

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 07:09 2

4. taikucing (unregistered)

he's a samsung worshiper

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 07:22 13

6. joey_sfb (Posts: 5740; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Samsung don't need any worshipper. If they continue to provide top end spec and timely software update many will continue to buy Samsung phone.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 08:42 2

7. GTR722 (Posts: 261; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)

And hype, marketing, fake benchmarks...

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 11:50 8

15. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Every OEM is guilty of "boosting" benchmarks. Comment invalidated.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 16:40

32. ZPM101 (Posts: 28; Member since: 12 Apr 2010)

The only thing invalidated is your use of the word "guilty" in this context. Would it not make logical sense to to maximize performance based tests using all available resources?! Manufacturers are not guilty (in the negative connotation you express), but rather, being honest by showing the consumer what the performance expectations we can expect.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 15:24

17. MistB (Posts: 581; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

BS here, HTC/LG and Asus along with others have done it.

posted on 23 Jul 2014, 05:06

57. usrhlp (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Jul 2014)

Why did you mention apple in a discussion about samsung?

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 11:31

14. _Bone_ (Posts: 2154; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

Fair enough, phonearena is still off by 100%.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 07:05

3. ph00ny (Posts: 1234; Member since: 26 May 2011)

It looks like he left the screen in whichever mode he received it. At least other reviewers tested various screen modes

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 07:20 3

5. papss (unregistered)

I hate the way the note 2 looks with its round edges.. but the note 3 looks and feels pretty nice.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 08:49 1

8. JDogg5281 (Posts: 64; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

Right now im thinking about sticking with my Note II. And just waiting til the Note 4 to upgrade. I just dont think it is really worth it in my opinion.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 09:37 1

10. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1032; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)

Thats what I said when I thought about upgrading to the Note 2 last year. I ended up upgrading to the S3 because I knew that the Note 3 would be better than the Note 2 when it came out.

Cell phones advance every 6-12 months so I think that your comment is normal among us

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 17:04 1

19. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

If you choose to wait for the next best thing in technology, you'll always be waiting.

John B.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 20:48 2

20. Razrman (Posts: 76; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

I have rooted my Note 2 and can wait another year to get an updated one. I'm running 4.3 on it and it is great, like having a new device.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 00:03 2

21. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 441; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Yeah I'm waiting for the Note IV because the improvements for the Note III vs the Note II are minor. Hopefully the Note IV will have a fingerprint scanner onboard.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 03:02 2

24. saffant (Posts: 274; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)

Nope. Improvements are fairly big, but I guess you're looking for something else.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 00:10

22. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 441; Member since: 26 May 2011)

AOSP or Touchwiz???

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 08:43

28. Razrman (Posts: 76; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

AOSP, Paranoid Android, features are pretty good, you should check it out.

posted on 17 Oct 2013, 17:42

38. bohannibal (Posts: 27; Member since: 17 Aug 2009)

My note 2 is just fine so im going stick with it plus the next big phone from Samsung might just be the youm flex screen technology like in that commercial

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 09:04 2

9. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Well done Sammy...

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 09:38 4

11. tedkord (Posts: 11607; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Come on, phonearena. This is the second article that got the max brightness of the Note 3 wrong by half. The sad part is, you reported the story where it actually was over 600nits max before these two.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:09

12. mobigeek (Posts: 11; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)

My note 3 is having battery and heat issues. Can someone help?

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 10:24 2

13. twens (Posts: 978; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)

If you are having issues with your note 3 it's probable a faulty model. I will advice you to return it for another one. Mine was freezing and heating and I returned it and got a new one. Haven't faced any issues since. Excellent device, by the way phonearena stop reporting wrong hardware specs of the note 3. It has a maximum of 660nits brightness not 310. Shame on you guys

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 15:20

16. rallyguy (Posts: 620; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)

I'm loving my note 3. I upgraded a week ago from a Galaxy Nexus. Wow!

You can't knock it for being a two handed device most of the time. You know that. Fits in my cargo/pant pockets just fine.

Good article Nick. I enjoy reading articles by you and Michael H. Fair and reasonable without any extreme and obvious bias.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 16:39

18. Blazers (Posts: 427; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

What Note 2 model comes with a FM radio? I have the AT&T version SGH-i317 and it doesn't have one....

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 01:46

23. JoePhoto (Posts: 16; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

I appreciate it may be brighter in sun, but only slightly and still does not seem to approach the Xperia.

I am VERY disappointed it does not have FRONT speaker(s), ala HTC. Worse it seems specked at a lower volume. This comparason does not mention that speaker is now on "bottom", but that does not compare to HTC's (dual) front speakers.

I am still not sure I will upgrade (probably NOT), and will instead consider the HTC-MAX.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 04:42 2

25. Andrewtst (Posts: 631; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

PhoneArena - if you not going to fixed it, stop commenting/reviewing on Note 3.

it is big misleading, everyone know it.

The brightness is around 650, not as low as yours one 310.

What a shame such big site can't proper do measurement and keep given false alarm.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 05:58

26. BabylonShine (Posts: 25; Member since: 08 Feb 2013)

sony xperia Z1 honami is the best in all compare, buy it and enjoy the real mobile phone , its cheaper than Note III and camera is far better
Its much faster than Note III and GS IV
It has better look then all samy brands
Its made in Japan
the only disadvantage of Z1 that its batery is unexchangable

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 11:43

31. Andrewtst (Posts: 631; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

In my country, Xperia Z1 is same price as Note 3.

And Z1 is made in China. No Sony phone sell worldwide is made in Japan.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 06:11

27. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 139; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

The only advantage of the screen of the Note3 versus Note 2 is in broad day light. The screen of the Note 2 in my opinion is still better than some recent 1080p screens. It is silky smooth, a pleasure for me to read the newspapers in the train. I haven't seen the Sony though but I don't care for the LG. I thought the screen of the Note 2 was bested by the new 720p amoled screen of the Motorola that has more blacks.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 08:46

29. Razrman (Posts: 76; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

The Note 2 is still a pretty relevant phone, I have no complaints with mine.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 04:38 1

48. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

2GB of RAM, quad core 1.6, awesome screen, huge battery, and best of all, its getting Android 4.3 very very soon. u bet its pretty relevant :)

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 09:29

30. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 139; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

From Note to Note (3) they got it wrong in my opinion. It is an innovative phone, a game changer and now everybody is coming up with a phablet. When Apple has one they will say the screen is OK. They need an adult to supervise their reviews.

posted on 15 Oct 2013, 19:52

33. rifkin29 (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Sep 2013)

Where is that tech that shows a device folding out into a tablet? until then i don't think an upgrade from my note 2 is necessary.

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 07:41

34. mine1975 (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Oct 2013)

just went to see these phone at the tele shop. s4 is simply not my type for the plastic back. the note 3 caught my eyesight as the design is better. but i have concern over the textured back. over prolong use it might stain with yellow and black. so i settle for xperia z1.

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 09:07

35. Razrman (Posts: 76; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

Most of these new flagship phones imho are good choices.

posted on 16 Oct 2013, 10:30

36. jimhead (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)

Definitely can be used with one hand, just need to use a Flygrip on it. Get with the times.

posted on 17 Oct 2013, 16:44

37. mr.popo2525 (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)

It is an improvement from the Note 2, but not so much as to make me want to upgrade to one. Looks good and feels good. I have seen them have freezing and overheating issues though. Still a great phone if you want the latest and greatest from Samsung.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 04:28

39. vikk2232153 (Posts: 19; Member since: 18 Oct 2013)

I am happy with my note 2...HD or FHD does not matter much for a phone. Note 2 screen is the best screen samsung ever produced, even phone arena agreed to this in their review of note 2. I have never felt any lag in the device even while playing big games. Defo, Note 3 is an improvement but I would not like to spend money on a minor upgraded version.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 04:37

47. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

wait for Note 4, and i am with u

posted on 12 Nov 2013, 16:55

50. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 441; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Bingo!!! The enhancements are too minor for me to also jump ship from my Note 2 to a Note 3. I'm patiently waiting for the Note 4 to come out because my Note 2 is still a top of the line performer, even after a year.

posted on 12 Nov 2013, 17:00

51. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 441; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Factors that will influence my decision for buying the Note 4 will be the fact that I've owned my Note 2 for at least two years, the Note 4 will probably have a finger print scanner, a 16MP camera sensor, and probably be the last Note series phone that Verizon offers with CDMA support since they are moving to an all data support infracture.

posted on 19 Oct 2013, 15:12

40. JoeDirt (Posts: 47; Member since: 19 Oct 2013)

I don't understand why someone would pay $300 for a plastic phone. I understand the PPI and size, but cheap plastic? I thought it was a premium phone....

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 10:30

42. mobilespecs.pk (banned) (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)

Paying $860 for iPhone 5s is reasonable? Go on Samsung leave the Evil Apple behind.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 04:36

46. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

paying $300 for plastic phone with awesome specs, mind-boggling capabilities and top notch user-friendly might not sound good to u, but its way better than paying $600-700 for a phone which basically can do nothing much, having tiny little screen and hopeless user experience equipped with 64GB of internal memory.

posted on 12 Nov 2013, 17:07

52. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 441; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Very simple, you are concerned about a premium looking appearance as where many other people are concerned about premium performance, features and add ons. More specifically the user replaceable battery, the micro sd card expansion slot, the Snap Dragon 800 chipset, etc.

I'd trade the construction of my phone for all the other benefits that Samsung offers over its competitors such as Apple, HTC, etc.

posted on 20 Oct 2013, 07:43 1

41. wilsong17 (unregistered)

cheap plastic is the best there's nothing better then the note or the note 3

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 10:39 1

43. mobilespecs.pk (banned) (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was the best smartphone ever produced by Samsung, some people may not like the size of the phone. But, it is not just a simple smartphone is a pocket pc with some great multitasking features. Now with Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Samsung have pushed it's abilities the max. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the smartphone on which you can literaly do all your work with ease which was not possible before without a pc. I love the way you can so easily drag and drop things around between different apps. Find Samsung mobile prices in Pakisan here: http://www.mobilespecs.pk/phones/samsung/

posted on 29 Oct 2013, 14:00

49. KillgoreTrout (Posts: 53; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)

I ended up getting the LG G2 this go around. Unlike most of you, i don't feel the need to bash any products, I like them all. I could see myself getting the Note 4, but who knows, at that point there may be some pretty cool flexible displays available. I really want a 4 inch phone that folds out to a 10 inch tablet. Maybe in 5 years? fingers crossed...

posted on 20 Nov 2013, 15:03

53. Lionheart (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Nov 2013)

I love my Note II with only a very few exceptions - volume is not loud enough for my deaf ears, I lost the precious buillt-in FM radio I had with my HTC phone, and the buttons for volume are placed exactly where my mitts hold the phone, so I am constantly changing the volume of the ringer or the conversation without wanting to do so. Those are the only complaints I have with it and there are so many plusses, I am still happy with my purchase and will most likely stay with the NII until the IV arrives.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 16:05

54. ajsmsg78 (Posts: 15; Member since: 19 Dec 2013)

As someone who currently uses both phones I can tell you that the screen is much clearer and brighter on the Note 3. I don't think the difference lies in the fact that we are comparing a 1080 vs 720 screen but the Note 3 seems to have much better panel, with better brightness, contrast and color. The Note 3 is lighter and faster but the battery lasts about the same amount of time as the Note 2. The note 3 does feel a little more cheaply built. My note 3 does suffer from the wiggly home button and my Note 2 does not. The signal on my note 3 is always 5-10dbm better than on the note 2. I can overclock my Note 3 to 2.9ghz and it runs fine with no reboots. I can overclock my note 2 to around 2ghz but anything higher than that causes reboots. I drop calls sometimes with my note 2 due to it getting a -105dbm signal in my basement but my note 3 never drops calls and hovers around -97 in my basement.

posted on 16 Feb 2014, 23:41

55. allcase (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Feb 2014)

any one can conform if cover for galaxy note 2 also fit to Galaxy note 3,

Really apprecaite,

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 11:40 1

56. refillable (Posts: 1046; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)

Short answer, No. Full answer, Nope.

posted on 04 Aug 2014, 20:31

58. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

Both are the beasts of their respective generations!

posted on 01 Sep 2014, 09:47

59. Mrmark (Posts: 275; Member since: 26 Jan 2013)


posted on 19 Feb 2015, 23:41

60. Ds.venkatesh (Posts: 7; Member since: 21 Jan 2014)

What About Note 3 Neo ?

posted on 20 Feb 2015, 08:08

61. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 139; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)

I think you have to look beyond the plastic as they have at Phone Arena and look at the capabilities of the Note 3. Best screen in the business, best camera and now I think Android is better than OS as well. Now rated 3 points above the iphone. The screen of the Note 2 was easy to brake (I did it twice) and unwieldy, slipping of your hand easily. A long shot as good as the Note. I could live happily with the Note 3 but the 4 slightly narrower and more elongated body is better. It is faster still with still a better camera. Other than that there is less difference than between a 2 and a 3. The 3 is much better than the 2 by a wide margin. I can see myself getting a used 3 on ebay for $300 while I would never buy a 2 even if it was new for $200.

posted on 08 Aug 2015, 10:50

62. tecnigen (Posts: 5; Member since: 01 Aug 2013)

I have Samsung Note but I don't like it now.

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