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.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Sample Video
2. Samsung Galaxy Note II Sample Video
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Indoor Sample Video
4. Samsung Galaxy Note II Indoor Sample Video
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.
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
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0.43
Samsung GALAXY Note II 0.30
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 76
Samsung GALAXY Note II 80
1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; 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.
2. TheStanleyFTW (Posts: 30; Member since: 20 Feb 2013)
Have you ever heard of Sony Xperia P?
4. taikucing (unregistered)
he's a samsung worshiper
6. joey_sfb (Posts: 3003; 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.
15. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8614; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Every OEM is guilty of "boosting" benchmarks. Comment invalidated.
32. ZPM101 (Posts: 27; 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.
17. MistB (Posts: 574; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
BS here, HTC/LG and Asus along with others have done it.
57. usrhlp (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Jul 2014)
Why did you mention apple in a discussion about samsung?
14. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Fair enough, phonearena is still off by 100%.
3. ph00ny (Posts: 606; 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
5. papss (unregistered)
I hate the way the note 2 looks with its round edges.. but the note 3 looks and feels pretty nice.
8. JDogg5281 (Posts: 60; 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.
10. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1007; 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
19. Slammer (Posts: 1062; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
If you choose to wait for the next best thing in technology, you'll always be waiting.
20. Razrman (Posts: 68; 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.
21. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 294; 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.
24. saffant (Posts: 224; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Nope. Improvements are fairly big, but I guess you're looking for something else.
28. Razrman (Posts: 68; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
AOSP, Paranoid Android, features are pretty good, you should check it out.
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
11. tedkord (Posts: 4937; 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.
12. mobigeek (Posts: 11; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)
My note 3 is having battery and heat issues. Can someone help?
13. twens (Posts: 668; 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
16. rallyguy (Posts: 554; 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.
18. Blazers (Posts: 224; 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....
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.
25. Andrewtst (Posts: 331; 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.
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
END OF THE STORY
31. Andrewtst (Posts: 331; 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.
27. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 66; 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.
29. Razrman (Posts: 68; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
The Note 2 is still a pretty relevant phone, I have no complaints with mine.
48. skyline88 (Posts: 329; 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 :)
30. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 66; 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.
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.
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.
35. Razrman (Posts: 68; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
Most of these new flagship phones imho are good choices.
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.
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.
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.
50. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 294; 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.
51. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 294; 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.
40. JoeDirt (Posts: 10; 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....
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.
46. skyline88 (Posts: 329; 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.
52. Larry_ThaGr81 (Posts: 294; 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.
41. wilsong17 (Posts: 968; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)
cheap plastic is the best there's nothing better then the note or the note 3
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/phon
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...
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.
54. ajsmsg78 (Posts: 2; 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.
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,
58. gigaraga (Posts: 1211; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
Both are the beasts of their respective generations!