Google Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
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.
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.