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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

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Interface


While the Xperia Z1 features Android 4.2.2, the Galaxy Note 3 is treating its users to the slightly newer experience of Android 4.3. Of course, both handsets are also equipped with custom user interfaces. On the Xperia Z1, we have Sony's custom UI, which covers pretty much all of the core OS applications. The same goes for the Galaxy Note 3, which features Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX. As far as polish and uniformity goes, we'd say that Sony has done a slightly better job overall, but in terms of bonus features, Samsung has created one really impressive list of additional goodies, including S Health, Samsung Hub, Samsung Apps, S Beam and so on and so forth.

Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Interface of the Sony Xperia Z1 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Sony Xperia Z1 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Sony Xperia Z1 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface of the Sony Xperia Z1 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

Interface of the Sony Xperia Z1



Samsung's TouchWiz is really the more colorful UI here. Whether to showcase those ultra-saturated colors of the AMOLED screen or for something else, we don't know, but TouchWiz makes use of a very wide palette of colors. It's almost cartoonish-looking with its appearance, but as we said, it lacks a bit in the polish department. For example, icons don't even have tap effects – they don't indicate that you've tapped them. Meanwhile, Sony's UI has a bit more strict, maybe even boring look, but it's nicely animated and feels mostly lively. It's all up to the user to decide which one they like better at this point.

Processor and Memory


There are no compromises when it comes to the silicon powering these two, as both are featuring the state-of-the-art Snapdragon 800 chipset. This ultra-powerful SoC brings a quad-core Krait 400 CPU, clocked at 2.2 GHz in the Xperia Z1 and 2.3 GHz in the Galaxy Note 3. Naturally, there's also the Adreno 330 GPU, which is one of the best GPUs one can find in a mobile device right now. It goes without saying that these are two devices are completely future-proof, having the potential to flawlessly execute each and every app or game there is.

The Note 3 does come with a bit more RAM, as it packs 3 gigs, versus the Z1's 2 gigs. That wouldn't make that much of a difference, as long as you aren't trying to run a dozen of heavy apps on your smart device at the same time.

When it comes to storage space, the Xperia Z1 comes with just 16 GB of internal storage, while the Note 3 is offered in 32 GB and 64 GB flavors. This isn't such a problem, though, having in mind that both handsets offer memory expansions through their microSD card slots.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22270
Sony Xperia Z1 20277
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 31543
Sony Xperia Z1 30838
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 54
Sony Xperia Z1 53
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1214
Sony Xperia Z1 1115
Vellamo HTML 5
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2766
Sony Xperia Z1 2889
View all

Phonebook


There isn't anything shocking or irregular when it comes to the contacts applications on both devices. Still, we tend to prefer the phonebook of the Xperia Z1, due to its cleaner and more intuitive design. However, what we don't like about this one is how the dialer and call log share the same screen, leaving a limited amount of space for your recent calls — and we know that's the screen which many people use to dial their contacts. This problem isn't present on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, where there are separate tabs for the dialer and the call log, however, the Note 3 lacks a tab for the contact groups, while such is present on the Z1.

Thankfully, we like how both devices offer us the option to find our contacts using smart dialing, or in other words, by using a T9-style typing in the dialer.

Organizer


The Xperia Z1 and Galaxy Note 3 sport all the must-have organizer tools, such as versatile note apps, voice recorders, calendars and so on. There are certain differences between the two, of course. In general, Samsung's offering tends to offer a bit more flexibility and options, especially with the S Note app which packs a bunch of tools for drawing. Meanwhile, Sony's apps have more simplistic and less cluttered layouts.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Organizer features - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Sony Xperia Z1 - Organizer features - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Organizer features - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sony Xperia Z1

 

Organizer features


Messaging


The Galaxy Note 3's onscreen QWERTY keyboard may be a bit more versatile as it features an additional row for numbers, but its landscape layout doesn't seem to be so comfortable to use, due to the device's excessive width. The Note 3's portrait keyboard, though, is very comfortable for two-handed typing. Thankfully, you aren't out of luck in case you'd like to type with one hand only, as you can easily switch to a special layout designed to make it easy for you to type with just a thumb. On the other hand, the keyboard of the Xperia Z1 is quite good – we like its overall design, and have experienced no issues with it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Sony Xperia Z1 - On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
On-screen keyboards - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

 

Sony Xperia Z1

 

On-screen keyboards



Those things that we said about the layouts of the apps a bit earlier are fully valid here as well, as we do prefer the clearer interface of Sony's Email app. Sure, you can always grab a third-party one if you don't like what's coming built-in, but if you'd prefer to stick with the stock software, the applications on the Xperia Z1 prove to be slightly more convenient to use, with regards to the user experience.

Internet and Connectivity


While the Galaxy Note 3 comes with two browsers, Chrome and the custom Samsung one, the Xperia Z1 has totally ditched any custom solutions in favor of Google's own browser. Having a second browser doesn't hurt, of course, but we tend to be fans of the more streamlined experiences, which is what the Xperia Z1 will offer you. Samsung's custom browser used to be quite useful when it was significantly faster than Chrome and featured support for Flash Player, but at this point we no longer see that much use in it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Sony Xperia Z1 - Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

  

Sony Xperia Z1

Web browsers



Both the Xperia Z1 and Galaxy Note 3 sport up-to-date cellular radios with support for LTE Cat4, which translates to 4G speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s downlink and 50 Mbit/s uplink. Of course, it should be kept in mind that these are theoretic figures, which one is highly unlikely to achieve in the real world. Should you not have access to LTE, there's always HSPA+ support for download speeds of up to 42.2 Mbit/s and upload of up to 5.76 Mbit/s up.

Aside from these standard connectivity features, the Note 3 keeps adding more, as it also packs NFC, MHL and infrared, while the Z1 only has NFC. All the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols are supported on both handsets.

70 Comments
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posted on 18 Oct 2013, 06:57 15

1. emadshiny (Posts: 1144; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


Greatest phones of 2013
I will go for note3 because of its abundant features.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 10:02 10

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


Clearly the Note 3 is the superior phone here. Z1 has a 5" display and is barely smaller than the N3.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 10:47 16

19. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


I’m sure you forget about 1.2/3” Camera sensor and IP58 If samsung make 5” waterproof phone with the same specs like Z1.
It will be taller, wider and thicker than Xperia Z1 just like what they have done with S4 Active its taller, wider, and thicker than Xperia Z.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 18:09 8

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


The N3 is no slouch in the camera department either. It ranked close to the Z1. As for IP58, yeah that's great, but I don't care much for it. (I don't use my phone in the rain or near water, I don't like water damage.)

Note 3 wins in my book.

posted on 19 Oct 2013, 01:02 5

41. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


ever partied hard and been pushed into a pool? or got invited into a vegas suite full of chicks?? use ur phone while makin an intimate video w/ a special lady and wanted to go into the shower? cook while looking at a recipe on ur phone ??
live more @papasmurf , lifes to short :D !!!

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:34

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


"use ur phone while makin an intimate video w/ a special lady and wanted to go into the shower?"

You mean a pr0n?

Yea.. not a good idea.

posted on 06 Nov 2013, 13:13

69. Ronny666 (Posts: 124; Member since: 08 Jun 2013)


Well, I can see how you force yourself to have your electronics to get wet when electronics are not meant to be in the water.

Long time ago, i was pushed into a pool once with my first Galaxy S in pocket, soaking wet... suprisingly it survived after keeping it dry for few days.

I guess there are quite number of smartphones out there that can survive in water for a while. I'm not sure how handy to have a device water-proofed unless you swim with electronics.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 18:25

65. anshulkatare (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)


Well that is because samsung is not making unibody phones unlike most oems... unibody doesnt allow for removable battery option.

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 02:41

50. samsoiph (Posts: 6; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


"clearly the note 3 is the superior phone here".??
Are you reading the same review.
Z1 is better built (a lot better built), better screen (realistic), next gen exmor RS sensor with a G-lens! (note 3 uses the last gen one in use in the Z), better interface (just look at how poor the Samsung music player is) and all in a ip58 rating...

Clearly the best engineered device

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:33

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


Well no. The screens are about on par because a lot of people prefer AMOLED blacks. Also, that viewing angle disaster on the Z1 is just unfortunate. I would actually give the edge to the Note 3 in regards to the screen.

If you were smart, you'd get the Note 3. At the very least it'd keep 90% of its value 6 months from now unlike the Z1 which will probably drop 35-40% by then if not more.

Best engineered device? At nearly the same size and a measly 5" display, it's kind of a failure in engineering there.

Most people dont care about waterproof phones. They'd much rather have the bigger screen if the phone's nearly as big anyway.

posted on 25 Oct 2013, 12:05

62. samsoiph (Posts: 6; Member since: 16 Oct 2013)


What?? the Z1 is water resistant to a high standard. Any Chinese company can make a phone similar to the note 3. The z1 is completely different, it uses premium material and is almost the same thickness as the non waterproof note 3. A G-lens which are some of the best lenses in the world. Latest camera sensor. the note 3 is a generic phone with no distinctive design excellence.

It may hold its value but this is only because of fanboy fever over overpriced Samsung products.

I think samsungs vtech looking OS is atrocious, and matched with an amoled, it just looks like colourful vomit.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 07:24 2

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


Both are superb at their places. Difficult to choose.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 07:26 21

3. danny_a2005 (Posts: 167; Member since: 06 Oct 2011)


Go Xperia Z1

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 07:36

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


note 3 at least can get that on contract at a reasonable price

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 07:53 10

5. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


Z1 for me.
It's cheaper than the Note 3 as well.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 08:56 9

9. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


The Z1 is for me (as in myself) is far more suitable for me. A better camera, great screen and outdoor visibility, a well build premium body and thanks to the bezels it is easy to handle the phone without touching the screen and more comfortable to hold in landscape.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 16:45 1

29. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


Ah yes, the old "bigger bezels are a feature" gambit. Well played old chap!

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 20:04 1

38. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


I do actually like the bezels. I owned the ZL and it occurred to me that how important bezels are when holding the phone. Thank god.

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:36

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


I'm sorry, but just look at the Note 3's browser vs Z1.

EVEN if they were carrying the same size displays, the Note 3 would have more usable space due to a lack of those hideos onscreen buttons that hog a chunk of screen space.

The different presently is HUGE. Note 3 for me.

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 07:01

64. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


Okay, so it's for you. Good then.
Just be happy what device you have owned. If it satisfied you, so be it.

posted on 19 Oct 2013, 12:42 1

44. Tito73 (Posts: 15; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


I understand you do not understand about anything!!! On screen keys with all that bezel is just ridiculous!!! Amoled note 3 screen is visible under the sun! Spen is fantastic! I also like z1 but isn't superior!

posted on 20 Oct 2013, 01:28 1

46. anleoflippy (Posts: 595; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


Have you actually read my post? This is just my preference. My perspective. Me as in myself. I like both devices but in the end of the day, the Z1 got my pick.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 07:59 10

6. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Both great devices! I would go for Z1 though.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 08:08 8

7. timaustin2000 (Posts: 39; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


Shame that the Z1 firmware was .518 rather than the newer 5.34 (which I have) or the just-out 5.37 (which brings better battery life and lower-noise low-light stills). Phone Arena are right, though: it's a tough choice and a matter of personal preference. Personally, I prefer Sony's build quality and classy UI, and the camera is always a USP for me. With that in mind, I have a lovely shiny Z1 beside me.

If productivity and feature-richness are your thing, go Note 3.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 08:41 9

8. Andrewtst (Posts: 642; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


Base on not compact size did by Sony Xperia Z1 and weak, poor, outdated screen panel.

Z1 is completely out. Not even need to think about it.

--------------------------------------------------​----------------------------------------
Note 3 wise is well build in compact size, great display, Note 3 panel is rate one of the greatest display at DisplayMate professional display review site and a lot of others review site. Not as said not accurate here.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 09:47 11

13. jb4674 (Posts: 145; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


No disrespect man but, you really need to proof read your replies before posting....

It's incredibly annoying to read a person's post when he/she writes like an elementary school student.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 10:19 9

18. Feanor (Posts: 730; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


Pff... I may hate the poor viewing angles of the Z1 (it's actually the only reason I'm not buying it) but I must praise Phonearena for being amongst the few that point out the overblown, untrue and cartoonish colours of Samsung displays. Poor viewing angles is one thing but that doesn't mean that Samsung screens are really better. Only iPhone, One and maybe G2 have really better screens than the Z1. Definitely not the Galaxy models.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 12:06 5

23. ianbbaa (Posts: 305; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)


The oversaturated colours of AMOLED is not that big issue anymore. Colour reproduction of S4 and Note3 actually can be switched in display settings in order to produce more natural colours if you wish. AMOLEDs produced its own "WOW" factor in the past - and stay so in stock settings - but these panels can be actually very nice when you choose the right thing for you. I have S4 - nice one, but NOTE 3 panel is just the best one i ve seen so far.

posted on 18 Oct 2013, 13:14 1

25. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)


In sRGB color gamut even with movie mode S4 and Note 3 is still oversaturated.
S4 122%
Note 113%
HTC One 101%

posted on 24 Oct 2013, 09:43

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


If you don't like AMOLED then don't buy a phone with it.

I, as well as many others, love the deep blacks of AMOLED displays as well as how the colors pop. Different preferences.

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