Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Apple iPhone 5: first look

One is nearly at the end of its product cycle, while the other is just embarking on its journey very soon – it’s our first look between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Apple iPhone 5. Samsung surely made headlines after announcing its latest phablet, and after the festivities of yesterday’s big launch event, the Note 3 is yet another offering in Sammy’s portfolio that’s vying to take down the iPhone 5 from its perched top spot, where it has remained steadily at the top of the ladder, untouched by both newcomers and veterans alike.


Painstakingly obvious, there’s a noticeable size disparity between these two prized smartphones. The Note 3 is simply one beast of a smartphone when it comes to sheer size, making it the more unwieldy device to hold in one hand – whereas the iPhone 5 is significantly smaller, thus, making it the easier of the two to grasp. At the same time, there’s more of a solid construction and premium element attached to the iPhone 5’s design, which continues to prove itself as the more attractive device. Well, the Note 3 changes the pace with its slightly more sophisticated choice of materials, a faux-leather casing, but as a whole, it’s still a plastic device underneath it all. When all is said and done, the two handsets appeal in many ways – some will prefer the large size of the Note 3, while others enjoy the compact and premium feel of the iPhone 5.


Sorry iPhone 5, even though its 4-inch Retina display produces some of the most realistic colors on any display out there, as a whole, it’s being outclassed by the larger screen of the Note 3. First there’s the matter of resolution, which the Note 3 stands out more for its higher resolution of 1280 x 1920 – whereas with the iPhone 5, it’s just 640 x 1136 pixels. Secondly, when big screens are all the rage nowadays, the Note 3’s immense 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display makes the 4-inch Retina display of the iPhone 5 look miniscule – plus, the size of the Note 3’s display is a great conversational piece with random strangers. And finally, the oversaturated colors produced by the Super AMOLED panel of Sammy’s newest prodigy gives it that iridescent glow in the dark to really catch the attention of people. Then again, the iPhone 5’s Retina display has always been a strong showing outdoors when it comes to visibility with the sun present.


Let’s lay this one down very quickly for all of you folks. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s TouchWiz Nature UX experience running on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is one feature filled thing than the iOS 6 experience of the iPhone 5, but it’s the iPhone 5 that proves to have the easier learning curve. Armed with an arsenal of features that rely on its new S-Pen, it’s wonderful that the Note 3 really focuses on being a note-taking centric device – something that would naturally appease business professionals who are on the go. Heck, drawers and artists will also appreciate what the S-Pen can do for them. However, seeing that there’s so much to know and learn with the Note 3’s experience, it can potentially come off as being too overwhelming by other people. Alas, that’s where the iPhone 5 comes into mind, as its iOS 6 experience is so darn easy to navigate around and operate – allowing even first timers to quickly adapt.

Processor and memory

Again, there’s a bit of a disparity between these two when we look at their respective processors. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is being manufactured using the 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset or 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa core processor – with both being stuffed with 3GB of RAM. Not surprisingly, it seems so much better on paper than the iPhone 5’s 1.3GHz dual-core Apple A6 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. As we’ve come to realize, specs don’t always dictate the real world performance, and as we briefly look at the two, we’ll say that they perform evenly with some basic functions.

Storage wise, we can’t help but think about that handy dandy microSD card slot that’s available with the Note 3, which will be offered in both 32GB and 64GB capacities. In contrast, the iPhone 5 lacks any expandable storage, but it’s available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavors.


Hey, hey! The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 shares the same camera in use with the Galaxy S4, so it’s almost certain that it’ll produce the same crisp results. However, until we actually snap our own photos and videos, we can’t pass a whole lot of judgment on its 13-megapixel auto-focus camera. Still, the 8-megapixel iSight camera of the iPhone 5 has already established itself as a top contender in the photo and video shooting departments – so it’ll be intriguing to see how Sammy’s latest pride and joy can stack up against it.


Here’s the thing, the iPhone 5 has already established itself as the most popular smartphone right now, as it targets a broad range of consumers. On top of that, it continues to perform handsomely in the midst of new competition that’s always trying to trump it. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, it might not appeal to the same general mass of people that the iPhone 5 manages to succeed in capturing, but we still can’t count it out how much more extensive it is in terms of pure hardware specs and its software experience. In fact, the S-Pen alone is something that is unique to the Galaxy Note series – something that can’t be replicated by the iPhone 5.

Related phones

Galaxy Note3
  • 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
iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0 inches 1136 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera) 1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A6 1GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1440 mAh
  • OS iOS 10.x


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