Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo vs Galaxy Note 3: first look

Samsung just released a mid-range phalet in the Note line for the first time, situating it as a smaller and likely cheaper alternative to the Note 3. The Note 3 Neo is more modest on specs, sporting a 5.5” 720p HD display instead of the 5.7” 1080p one of the flagship, a slower processor, 2 GB of RAM instead of 3, and 8 MP camera instead of 13 MP. On the other hand, it has identical design, same software features, and features the venerable S Pen stylus. We also get a large 3100 mAh battery that is just shy of the 3200 mAh unit in the Note 3, so let's recap what to expect from a Note 3 Neo vs Note 3 comparison.


Neo comes shorter and less wide than the Note 3, which makes it more pocket-friendly, and easier to operate with one hand than the typical phablets of late, despite the hearty 5.5” display. Just like the Note 3, the outer appearance is done in the new Samsung stylistic of metal-imitating side rim and a removable back cover that resembles notebook leather, stitching accents at the edge and all. The removable back means you can quickly swap with a spare battery, and add more storage, in the best of Samsung's traditions. The S Pen stylus is tucked the same way you'd find it on the Note 3, at the lower right corner, and overall the handset's looks scream “Hey, I'm a Note, too, just smaller”


Samsung's new phablet sports a 5.5” display, which has 720x1280 pixels of resolution, resulting in 267ppi pixel density. This panel is also the biggest difference when you compare it to the 5.7” 1080p screen of the flagship Note 3, that flaunts a 386 ppi pixel count. The HD resolution means that detail won't be as defined, and doodling won't look as precise as on the Full HD display of the Note 3. Its panel is still of the Super AMOLED variety, so it will offer you oversaturated, somewhat cold colors, deep blacks, and excellent viewing angles.


Both Notes are loaded with Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, but we hope to see KitKat on them shortly. With NatureUX, however, the most apparent visual differences that KitKat brings, like a transparent status bar and full-screen wallpaper, are present stock, so there's not much of a surface difference at first look.

Still, on both handsets you can expect all the bells and whistles that come with Samsung's homemade interface overlay, like Smart Stay, which keeps the screen on while you are looking at it, and the multi-window mode that can run two different apps on a split screen.

The display size of the two Notes is very conducive to multitasking, and when you add the S Pen apps to the mix, the handset becomes in a league of its own. It offers the excellent S Note application, various drawing and annotating functions in the Gallery or Calendar, as well as the Air View and Air Gestures that let you hover above the display with the stylus or a finger, marking links and evoking pop up info.

Processor and memory

We have a new kid on the Exynos block, and it is the hexacore CPU found in the LTE version of the Note 3 Neo. It has two Cortex-A15 cores, clocked at 1.7 GHz maximum, and four Cortex-A7s, clocked at 1.3 GHz. The new Exynos is paired with a decent graphics processor, too, ARM's Mali-T624, so it's unlikely you'll have interface or app lag and hiccups, though for heavy 3D games it might be throttling the effects down. The 3G version of the Neo makes do with a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor.

Still, the hexacore Exynos here is clocked much slower than the 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 or the 1.9 GHz Exynos 5 Octa versions of the Note 3, so the difference in benchmarks is poised to be very significant. Same goes for the GPU, which is likely to be faster than Mali-400 in the Note II, but weaker than the Adreno 330 or Mali-T628 graphics processors that can be found in the Note 3.

Samsung has put 2 GB of RAM in its smaller phablet, compared to the record 3 GB on the Note 3, yet you still can line up many apps open at the same time on both, without slowing them down. There are 16 GB of internal memory, plus a microSD slot for storage expansion on the handsets.


The 8 MP camera on the back of the Neo has an LED flash underneath it, and there's also a 1.9 MP front-facing shooter for video chat. The larger brother sports a 13 MP shooter on the rear. 

Besides the smaller camera sensor resolution, the Note 3 Neo makes do with 1080p video footage, captured at fluid 30fps, while the flagship Note 3 is also able to capture 4K video recordings

We won't comment on the quality of the Note 3 Neo's pictures and video, as ours is a non-finalized version of the phablet, but what we are seeing from our sample shots looks pretty encouraging for the retail phone. 


The smaller Neo is likely to be as successful in terms of sales as its flagship, since it aims for those who want a Note 3, but are deterred by its price or size. This budget model doesn't sacrifice too much, save for the screen resolution and slower processor, and since Samsung has graced it with the full S Pen functionality, the mid-range phablet seems destined to become one of the best value-for-money propositions in its category, unless Samsung goes ballistic with pricing.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 3 Neo
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh
  • OS Android 5.1 Lollipop
    Samsung TouchWiz UI
Galaxy Note 3
  • Display 5.7 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 3200 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop



17. Mamoon69

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Does Note 3 Neo has a Gorilla Glass display protection? I've been looking all over the internet starting from Samsung's website but they did not mention it. w I've been looking in gsmarena & phonearena among many many sites including youtube videos but none of them mentioned it. Wikipedia is the only one that mentioned it but without a proof which is probably a mistake. Can you collaborate on this issue?

12. itzmando

Posts: 119; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

No Samsung why would you do that. Don't push out variants of the Note series. I paid full retail for my phone through VZW and if they bring this Note 3 Neo to the US I may have buyers remorse. :( This Neo is pretty much a Note 2 like another posted commented but with the new design of the Note 3.

9. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

Price is the only factor with the success with this phone. This phone should be at least $100 cheaper (on-contract price) than the Note 3............otherwise this phone will be a disaster to Samsung

7. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

another day.... :D

3. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

So they are basically selling a Note 2 with newer looks..... and then people complains about Sony flooding with devices...

4. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012're joke....who many complains about sony flooding with devices...almost everyone in this page complains about samsung flloding with devices.... And this will cost less and look more like this year flagship... price will be the deciding factor...

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

There have been many complains about Sony here recently.

6. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Im not kidding... with all the recent news about Xperia Z2, Sirius, E1, Z1S, T2 Ultra, Canopus... etc Some people comments were: "another day another Xperia" and the likes... And also I don't mind much if Samsung release a new phone every hour.. That is their strategy and have been working for them since quite a while... They give people many MANY choice options from extremely low end, to flagship devices... But yeah, I guess it is a good thing to release this "+" version so people can get a last year device with newer looks.... but they should probably kill Note 2 then...

2. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

They are almost the same size o_O The spec between the phones are only the noticeable different is the spec

1. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

So it's more like a Faux-leather note2+ Like they did with the galaxy s2 and S4 they upgraded it and named it with a + in the end :p.

8. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Another day another galaxy, but guys Samsung galaxy is hot around world so Samsung want to take advantage of this. I guess Samsung doing good work to sell galaxy.

10. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I kinda understand why they make so many types of galaxys but it is very annoying.... and with TW UI you should only buy high-end phones or you will get a laggy one.

11. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Why is it annoying to you ? Is someone forcing you to buy ?

13. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Nope, but i love tech news and rumours. So when something is registered on some phone selling site with a typical Galaxy line number it could be the next high end flagship or something else like a nice phablet and just when you get your hopes up they are crushed by a new low end phone.. but it's not that annoying.

14. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Well, that strategy has worked for them and helped them to earn $9.5 quarterly profit. So, its a testament that consumers like their product and I don't really think they'll stop doing that just because few people on internet find it 'annoying'. '.....when you get your hopes'. Firstly, its no one's fault if you raise your hopes up. Secondly, even the rumours of this device were pretty modest and was never meant to outclass Note 3. Also, this phone is anything but low end, first-of-a-kind hexa-core chip, S-pen, 8 MP (iPhone still does 8MP and HTC One has 4MP) and all the premium features of its big brother at an affordable price, is far from being 'low-end'.

15. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

You really got butthurt didn't you?.. I bought a Note 3 for about a week ago after selling my Z1 and my phone before that was a s3. I think its really good that samsung sells alot of phones and i'd like to see the evolve even further (who wouldn't). Also samsung is one of the few big companys that drives innovation in products further (not just phones)

16. ncarlosmiguel

Posts: 206; Member since: May 14, 2013

First you said that Samsung making so many galaxies is "very annoying", then "its not that annoying". Now you say "its really good that samsung sells alot of phones". LOL

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