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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Camera


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.

Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Camera UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


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.

Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II


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.

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
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2.7
No data
494
353
Samsung GALAXY Note II 3.4
No data
No data
No data
View all




Multimedia


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.

Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Gallery of the Samsung Galaxy Note II


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.

Samsung music player - Music players of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Music players of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Music players of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Play Music - Music players of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung music player

  

Play Music

Music players of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


The music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note II


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.)

Audio output

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
View all

61 Comments
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posted on 14 Oct 2013, 05:31 10

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; 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: 248; 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: 5981; 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: 10457; 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: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Fair enough, phonearena is still off by 100%.

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 07:05

3. ph00ny (Posts: 1261; 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: 69; 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: 1045; 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: 442; 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: 442; 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: 12199; 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: 979; 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: 433; 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: 642; 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
END OF THE STORY

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