Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4: first look


Most companies have one flagship smartphone, but for Samsung, it’s safe to presume that they have two – one for the first half of the year, another for the second. From what we’ve seen so far, Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones have always followed after its Galaxy S series smartphones. Not every company is fortunate like Samsung, which seemingly has a one-two punch with its offerings. There might be many similarities between the the Galaxy Note 3 and S4, but at the end of the day, they still boast their own unique features to make them powerful contenders in the space.


No surprises here folks, these two are closely related to one another with their designs. In fact, the Galaxy Note 3 utilizes the same design characteristics of the Galaxy S4, which is evidenced by its thin profile, silver trim bezel, lightweight feel, and plastic construction. However, unlike the Galaxy S4 and its glossy finish, the Note 3 exudes a more sophisticated look with its faux-leather finish and stitching – giving it the more elegant look between the two. When it comes to size, there’s no arguing about how the Note 3 is the bigger of the two, resulting in more two-handed operation than anything else.


Everyone loves phones with big screens, and that’s what you’re going to see here. Yes, one is big, and the other is simply bigger. To be exact, it’s a 5-inch display on the Galaxy S4 – while it’s an even bigger 5.7-inch beast on the Note 3. However, seeing that they’re both Super AMOLED displays that feature 1080p resolution, they exhibit the same likable qualities. There might be a slight advantage on paper for the Galaxy S4 when it comes to pixel density, but seriously, your eyes would barely tell the two apart from a normal viewing distance. In addition, there’s the hovering functionality in tow with both displays, but it’s handled different with each. To be exact, the Note 3 relies on that S-Pen, which is pressure sensitive as it touches the display – while the Galaxy S4 tracks our finger.


Running Sammy’s TouchWiz Nature UX, the general look and feel of their software experiences are similar, but each has its own unique set of features. Seeing that the Note 3 is all about the S-Pen, the features associated with its S-Pen functions specifically target those who are big into note-taking, drawing, and organization. With that fancy S-Pen, we’re able to jot down notes, draw masterpieces, and even multi-task in more ways than the Galaxy S4. However, the Galaxy S4 has more diversity when it comes to interaction. For example, it employs various Air Gestures to enable us to do things like scroll vertically in the browser, move between images in the gallery, and even forward/reverse a music track – all by waving our hand over the display. We’ll be blunt and say that these smartphones have software features that can be regarded as useful or pointless, but it’ll ultimately depend on the user to determine that.

Processor and memory

Being the newer device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 benefits more by having the latest hardware – it’s a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with the 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 320 GPU. Quickly checking out the two, we do notice that the Note 3 is just a smidgen more responsive than the Galaxy S4, which at times exhibits some jerkiness moving about the homescreen.

Although it’s not a deal breaker for some, we’re always humbled to know that the majority of Android smartphones from Samsung continue to pack microSD card slots, which is what we see here between these two.


From the looks of it all, these two share the same exact camera gear – a 13-megapixel auto-focus camera that features a backside illuminated sensor, LED flash, and 1080p video recording. From our experience, we already know that the Galaxy S4 is one heck of a wonderful device for shooting photos and videos, so we would be inclined to expect the same out of the Note 3 as well.


Heading into the busy holiday season, Samsung is in a great position with these two offerings. They look the same and feature many commonalities, but despite that, they still lay claim to their own unique set of features. On one hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is positioned as the flagship device for the company – giving it the broader appeal between the two. We won’t deny that the Galaxy Note 3 will do well in the space too, but it still continues to target business professionals more than anything else, which is attributed mostly to its S-Pen functions.

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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
Galaxy S4

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Display 5.0 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera) 2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 2GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh


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