x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Android and fragmentation have become almost synonymous as manufacturers and carriers struggle to keep pace with the quickly-updated OS, but the real fragmentation issue is the experience users get with pure Android versus manufacturer customizations. HTC were the pioneers in this field, creating their wonderful but memory-intensive Sense UI back when Android was sorely lacking in many areas, but as Android has evolved into the capable and beautiful OS that it is today many manufacturers have scaled back their skins considerably or have gone virtually skin free, following the lead of Google’s Nexus program.

Samsung sticks with the opposite approach. While their hero devices feature cutting edge hardware, one could be forgiven for not realizing that a device like the Galaxy S4 or Note 3 actually ran Android, as Samsung has replaced, reskinned or hidden just about every aspect of the stock OS. Where Google continues to refine and simplify the Android user experience with each upgrade, Samsung seemingly crams more features and menu options into each iteration of their TouchWiz UI.

So here we stand today, with the recent launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 3 - fresh with new bells and whistles - and Google’s unveiling of the latest Nexus with a new version of Android and a simplified UI. These two devices couldn’t be more different. Read on to find out which approach works better for you.


Where last year’s Nexus 4 was constructed of glass, Google and LG have turned to plastic for the Nexus 5, a material Samsung is often criticized for using in their high end devices. This move was most likely done to keep the price point low, the Nexus 5 pulls it off beautifully by using premium materials and manufacturing techniques such as laser cutting the plastic housing after coming out of the mold to ensure precise fit and finish. The soft touch coating is very reassuring in the hand and the build quality on the Nexus 5 is second to none. You never get the feeling that you’re holding a plastic device while using it despite its $350 price tag off contract.

Samsung has been unapologetic in its use of plastic throughout the Galaxy lineup, and the Note 3 is no different. This time they have opted for a leather look to the back plate, compete with fake stitching, and a ribbed chrome trim around the Note 3. Samsung’s done well to trim down the bezels, allowing for a bigger display on a smaller device, but that they still hold onto a physical home key, a capacitive menu key and misplaced back key is maddening.

You either love the giant screen on the Note 3 or you hate it. For anyone with medium sized hands or below the ergonomics of the Note 3 are going to be a nightmare when you’re not using both hands. The extra 0.7” of screen the Galaxy Note 3 offers over the Nexus 5 is nice to have when watching videos or playing a game, but the trade off in ergonomics won’t be worth it for many users, as even 5” is starting to push the limits.

Google Nexus 5
5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches
137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Google Nexus 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


The Nexus 5 display measures 4.95” and the Note 3 comes in at 5.7”. Both devices share the same 1080x1920 pixel screen resolution, meaning the Nexus 5 has a more dense 445ppi vs. the Note 3’s 386. Both numbers are very high, and the odds that you’ll notice an individual pixel on either are slim to none. LG has used one of their tIPS panels for the latest Nexus, where Samsung is using their Super AMOLED tech to power the Note 3’s screen. Both technologies have their merits, with the AMOLED panel delivering deep blacks and vibrant, oversaturated colors. The Nexus 5’s display still offers good color reproduction that is closer to natural while still being vibrant, but its blacks can’t match that of AMOLED displays.

It is hard to pick a winner between these two excellent displays, as it really comes down to preference. If you prefer the super-saturated colors jumping out at you then Samsung is the clear winner, but if you’re looking for a panel that delivers images closer to reality than LG has you covered with the Nexus 5.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 5 485
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 360
View all

Google Nexus 5 360-Degrees View

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 360-Degrees View

  • Options

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:42 3

1. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Nexus 5 for the looks and one-handed usage.

Note 3 for battery life and being a bit more future proof.

Both devices for rooting and installing a custom rom. :)

Edit: I would have gone with the Note 3. It may look ugly compared to the N5, but it's got 3gigs of Ram, a removable battery and a microSD card.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:56 3

3. mturby (unregistered)

wrong choice. on nexus 5 u wont have any issues at all regarding ram. on note 3, it is the waayy too big and it will NOT receive the future android updates unlike the nexus 5. r u quitting android 5, 5.5 or 6 if any? no way

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:02 7

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)

First of all - Extra ram is always good. Remember when the GS3 i9305 launched and people were like "2GB of Ram that's crazy! No app needs that!"? I remember. Look where we are now.

Second of all you kinda missed my point - if you want to make the most of your android device you will root your phone and install a custom rom at some point because even Nexus phones are not immune from clogged Android-version-update arteries (see Galaxy Nexus). Custom roms are. And always will be.

Thus - I prefer to sacrifice a bit of prettiness and one-handed operation comfort in the favor of better specs, a micsoSD card and a larger, removable battery.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:51 2

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

+1 for you, especially with the 2GB example.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 17:22 2

40. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)

Google gurantees updates for 18 months. Your lucky if your android phone is still getting updates after 3-4 months. They dropped the Galaxy Nexus because the cpu company that makes it left the phone business.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:50 1

22. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1303; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)

im still trying to figure where do u see beauty in the nexus 5, note 3 looks much better in my opinion, the nexus 5 top and bottom bezel doesnt even match and just looks odd to me, and the backsize the note 3 looks more premium.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:03 1

25. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Well the N5 looks more premium a bit. Especially the all-glass front. But that's just my perspective. :)

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 03:32

62. tuney (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)

Is it just me but I find the Note 3 much more aesthetic looking than the N5. At least in the pictures on the first page of this article. I actually purchased an N5 but I do not find it particularly beautiful-- it's very simplistic/drab looking in my opinion. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I was a bit surprised you'd go as far as calling the Note 3 "ugly" next to the N5.

I couldn't afford the Note 3 so I am happy with my N5.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:44

2. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2285; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)

Ehh.... Note 3 if anything....

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 08:56 2

4. mturby (unregistered)

wrong choice. on nexus 5 u wont have any issues at all regarding ram. on note 3, it is the waayy too big and it will NOT receive the future android updates unlike the nexus 5. r u quitting android 5, 5.5 or 6 if any? no way

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:05

6. ilia1986 (unregistered)

See my reply to your reply to my post.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:17 2

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

Wrong choice for you . For him good choice. I prefer the bigger screen and its not way to big for some of us use to big things. Most people dont care about future updates most just want a device that is for them.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:54 3

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

Someone's preference is wrong? Way to not come off as an ass.

Note 3 > Nexus 5 simply because of the larger screen, two day battery life and the S-Pen for me. Friday is going to be a great day for me. Black 32GB Note 3 + 64GB Class 10 SD card + another 50GB of storage for two years of Dropbox for free? Hell yeah!

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 13:23

31. pulkit.tyagi (banned) (Posts: 35; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

and i prefer nexus because of the simple fact that it is fast (wicked fast) in day to day use and i will not have to worry about updates(wokeup in the morning and my nexus 4 notified me that 4.3 was ready for download).
But different people want different things from their devices.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 17:29

41. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)

What will you use the 64GB for you can't store apps on it.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 22:42 1

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

Lots of music, movies, videos, etc.

posted on 22 Nov 2013, 14:22

64. newphone (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Nov 2013)

PapaSmurf: Can you root the Note 3 and still get all of the cool S-Pen functionality or is most of that built into the TouchWiz?

posted on 24 Nov 2013, 22:58

66. choetechnology (Posts: 8; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)

Yes Please follow some step to root the Note 3 :

Step 1: Download the root package for your variant of Galaxy Note 3 from here. You will also need Odin3 software application, which you can get from here.

Step 2: Extract the package to get to the .tar.md5 file, and save it to a convenient/easily-accessible location on your PC.

Step 3: Reboot your device into Download Mode by pressing and holding Volume Down and Home keys whilst powering on the phone.

Step 4: Launch Odin3 on your PC and connect your Note 3 using USB cable. Wait for Odin to detect the phone (you should see a COM value in the first box, and an Added message in the box below).

Step 5: Click on PDA and select the extracted .tar.md5 file for your device. Make sure Repartition is not checked, and Auto-Reboot is checked (basically, nothing except Auto-Reboot should be checked).

Step 6: Click the Start button and wait for Odin3 to finish flashing the PDA. The phone will reboot as the process completes.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:18 1

27. rd_nest (Posts: 1656; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)

You are posting same thing every time.
Reported for spamming. Don't be a troll.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:11 4

8. gidjmc (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)

So frustrated with the battery of nexus 4. For me definitely the note 3

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 09:33

10. N-fanboy (Posts: 543; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)

Looks: Note 3 (but for its back)
Camera: Note 3
Battery:Note 3
Durability: Note 3
UI: N5
Screen: N5

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 10:57 5

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

For me?

Looks: Note 3
Camera: Note 3
Battery: This is obvious
Durability: Note 3 all the way
UI: Nexus 5
Screen: Note 3 - AMOLED is beautiful

As for UI, if I wanted stock 4.4, I can always root, so I'm not worried about that. Note 3 still remains the champion after another flagship has been released.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:31 1

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

Downloading 4.4 on my S3 right now. ;)

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 11:37

21. HouTexan (Posts: 446; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)

Smurf, I want to root my phone, but don't have much knowledge on it. How beneficial is it?

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 22:45

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

If you don't have much knowledge with it, I would hold off doing anything before you damage your phone. Visit XDA, read articles and how it's from different websites, learn some definitions, and know the risks of rooting before you pull the trigger.

Once you know what you're doing, it's fun. :)

posted on 16 Nov 2013, 11:10

58. WallStreetWolf (Posts: 289; Member since: 08 Apr 2013)

CyanogenMod one click installer. All you need is the companion app in the Play Store and a Windows machine. You will have a couple quarks like restarting the downloader, but I have to tell you, I am thoroughly impressed with the results. Stock Android on my HTC One and very happy with it. I am tech savvy in other areas, but I don't care to spend a lot of time rooting my phone and installing new firmware. CyanogenMod has made it easy at least.

posted on 11 Nov 2013, 12:10

26. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Which rom? :)

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 02:05

53. Pazookie (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)

Personally for a stalk Android feel I like cynogen mod
I put it in my s3 a couple months back and I got better battery life and my phone was a lot faster. Not I think I am going to upgrade to the note 3 tho because if all the features and specs... I mean come on who can argue the specs are amazing!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 17:08

55. Pazookie (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)

voice input fail...

posted on 25 Nov 2013, 21:55

70. ssmaximuss (Posts: 3; Member since: 25 Nov 2013)

sure the specs are nice but give it a another year and it will be obsolete with the future phones that will come... and then you're paying $699 for that.. something that will be obsolete soon enough? have fun :)

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories