Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One: first look

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One: first look
The wireless industry knows many rivalries, but easily one of the most epic ones is the one between Samsung and HTC. After a spectacular entrance in the Android market, HTC has then went through a painful period of lacking sales and dwindling market share, mainly due to Samsung's quick rise to the top spot.

Still experiencing troubles, HTC's current flagship, the One, is a beautiful handset that can easily go toe to toe with the Galaxy S4. However, we know that for those looking for phablets, such as the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the HTC One is also going to be on the list of devices to consider - that is why we brought HTC's flagship to IFA 2013 for a quick comparison against Samsung's new phablet.


The Galaxy Note 3 sticks with Samsung's traditional design language, but it mostly resembles the original Galaxy Note, not the Note 2. It has a plastic construction, with the back side resembling a leather material, though it's quite obvious that it's just plastic. Meanwhile, the HTC One is way better with regards to build quality, as it's very solid and has an aluminum unibody design.

And, while the quality of appearance seems to be a very subjective thing nowadays, it can easily be seen that HTC has tried to create a beautiful product, whereas with the Samsung it's just 'meh'. Still, the Galaxy Note 3, similarly to all the other Samsungs of late, seems to have an external design that's more likely to appeal to female users.


Even though the HTC One sports a fairly large display at 4.7 inches, the Galaxy Note 3 packs a significantly bigger, 5.7-inch one. In terms of quality though, we're largely gravitating towards the IPS LCD display of the One, which is able to produce more natural tones and a higher brightness output for better outdoor visibility. The Note 3's screen is based on AMOLED technology, which may look somewhat extravagant, but is far from the state of being true-to-life and has a significantly lower maximum brightness. Viewing angles seem to be very good with both handsets, with the One's display losing brightness when viewed at an angle, and the Note 3's display exhibiting color accuracy degradation.


Samsung and HTC have very different approaches when it comes to Android customization. The Galaxy Note 3 sports an updated version of the TouchWiz user interface, which is very similar to the UI we've seen in the Galaxy S4, the GS3 and the Note 2. The bottom line here is the Samsung hasn't changed that much in its software experience. However, the South Korean company has added some new S Pen-related features, most of which focusing around hand-written note-taking.

The UI of the HTC One is called Sense 5, and it's arguably the more polished interface of the two, in terms of graphics and interaction. HTC's software has less features, but it certainly looks more grown-up. If the cartoony looks of TouchWiz don't bother you, though, we guess you'll have some fun with the plethora of camera modes and other features that Samsung has concocted. Naturally, the main benefit of having a Note 3 would be the S Pen, which works very well for note-taking and drawing. That's something the HTC One can't offer you.


Being the newer device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features the faster processor out of the two. With Snapdragon 800, the Note 3 is an absolute benchmark crusher. On the other hand, the HTC One is powered by Snapdragon 600, which is one class below the 800, but is still very powerful. Of course, the Note 3 will be the more future-proof device here thanks to the better CPU and GPU it sports.

RAM memory is also more on the Note 3 (3GB RAM vs 2 GB RAM), suggesting that the Note 3 may be more suitable for heavy multitasking activities.


Even though we're yet to closely examine the pictures that the Note 3's 13MP camera will be able to capture, we've fairly convinced that they will be noticeably better than the HTC One's 4MP shots. Not only because of the higher resolution, but due to a better sensor and image processing as well. When it comes to the respective camera apps, while the HTC One has all the core modes and settings you'd expect from a high-end Android smartphone, the Note 3 has a multitude of fancy camera modes that you can have a lot of fun with. Of course, there's not much that you can't get by installing a third-party application on the One.

While the HTC One sports optical image stabilization when recording 1080p video, the Note 3 differentiates by allowing us to record super-high-res 4K video. Once again, though, it'll be the quality and fluidity of the image that will determine which handset we'd prefer when having to record some video footage.


The Galaxy Note 3 is undoubtedly shaping up as a wonderful phablet, but the HTC One will still have its place under the sun, as one of the absolute best smartphone on the market right now. With its exquisite appearance and construction, the One seems to be the more ambitious handset with regards to design.

Performance is also top-notch with HTC's flagship, though the Note 3 will really one-up it thanks to its newer chipset. When it comes to the screens, we'd easily prefer the panel of the One, as it tends to display a more true-to-life image and a higher brightness output, but of course, the significantly bigger diagonal of the Note 3 will surely attract many users.

At the end of the day, these two smartphones showcase what each company stands for. The HTC One is the more carefully crafted handset, with attention to detail and design, while the Galaxy Note 3 packs each and every feature one can think of. There will be some definite advantages to the Note 3, like the camera, for example, but we'd rather wait until we have a final Note 3 unit before we can make any final conclusions.

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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

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop HTC Sense UI
  • Display 4.7 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP (Single camera) 2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 2GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • Battery 2300 mAh


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