Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
When the Samsung Galaxy Note II launched, its 8MP camera was considered to be among the very best one could find on a smartphone. That is why the 13MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is now being met with high expectations.
Launching the Camera app on the Note 3 brings us to a familiar interface, which is also found on many of Samsung's recent smartphones. In terms of features, it has quite a lot to offer, including built-in filters and effects, as well as fancy and potentially useful modes letting you “erase” moving objects out of the frame or composing short animations. HDR, Panorama, and Samsung's implementation of those 360-degree PhotoSpheres are also present. Also, 1080p videos can be shot at 60 frames-per-second, 4K video is captured at 30fps, while the 120fps slow-motion mode can slow things down up to 8 times, despite that resulting in a significant loss of image quality.
The Camera interface on the Samsung Galaxy Note II may lack some of the aforementioned features, the 60fps/1080p and 30fps/4K video recording capabilities being among them, but as a whole, it is still quite rich and should meet the needs of people who wish to have more control over the image they are capturing. Besides, essentials like HDR, Panorama, Night Mode, and those image filters many like to use, are on board.
When it comes to actual image quality, we must admit that the Note 3's photos are more detailed and less noisy. However, we can't say that they are drastically better than what the Note II's camera is capable of producing, at least not when photos taken in broad daylight are concerned. In fact, we noticed that the older model takes sharper macros. Shooting indoors is when the Note 3 clearly stands superior, producing detailed shots with accurate colors even when its LED light has been used. The Note II tends to take colder-looking low-light photos.
Both handsets can take great 1080p videos with their cameras. Footage from the Note 3 looks much smoother when taken at 60 frames per second, but we notice a slight degradation in detail when that mode is used. The Note II's 1080p video isn't as fluid, but to be honest, we find it slightly more detailed. Low light videos from these two smartphones are quite noisy, but still smooth and usable.
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The Gallery app on the Note 3 is one of the things that haven't been changed much. It has the same functionality as the one on the Note II, listing all image-containing folders on the phone and, optionally, grouping these photos by date or location. If you hover over a folder with the S Pen, a preview of the images in it is displayed, and that's neat.
The Note 3's Music player app is, again, pretty similar to the one we have on the Note II. There's a handful of notable improvements, however, which you'll find upon opening the settings menu. One of them is the AdaptSound feature present on the Note 3 – it adjusts the sound output in a way that it better matches the user's earphones and hearing. Also, voice commands are included, allowing one to switch or pause tracks and more. Another advantage for the Galaxy Note 3 is that it can play back 24bit/192kHz digital music files – a rare premium feature that audio enthusiasts will appreciate. Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note II have a single built-in loudspeaker with decent volume output and average sound quality.
Watching videos is another job these two smartphones are ideal for. The Note 3 is a bit more fit for the purpose since its screen is larger and more detailed, but to tell you the truth, video playback on the Note II is almost as enjoyable. Both handsets can play back 1080p videos encoded in any popular video file format. Popup Play is enabled on them as well, allowing you to have a video playing in a window.
A cool extra feature you get with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is its IR blaster, which can transform the handset into a remote control for your TV with the help of a pre-loaded app called WatchON. Furthermore, this app lists the shows that are currently on air and can take you straight to the channel they are on. (The service is not be available in all countries.)
Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - Camera and Multimedia