As we mentioned in the opening, Samsung has again thrown the kitchen sink at the Note 3 when it comes to software features. Check out our Galaxy Note 3 review for the full round-up of what the device has to offer, but suffice it to say there are plenty of features that start with an S. Some of them, like Smart Scroll, Smart Stay and Multi Window genuinely improve the user experience and take advantage of the phone’s hardware strengths. Most of them, however, are little more than party tricks which ultimately clutter up the device. To an expert user, navigating Samsung’s labyrinth of features can be a bit intimidating, so novices be warned. Despite the plethora of included apps on the Note 3 (Sprint’s version has a total of 149 apps loaded out of the box,) Samsung has given it enough umph to run smoothly in spite of the bloated UI.

In the other corner the Nexus program serves to combat what Samsung and others are doing by offering a pure build of Android, free of any manufacturer or carrier influence. Android 4.4 KitKat debuts on the Nexus 5, which brings many more upgrades than the single point iteration would indicate. Meant to slim down the OS to optimize performance on low-end devices, KitKat absolutely flies on the powerful Nexus 5. In sharp contrast to Samsung’s cartoonish icons and disjointed design styles, Google continues to polish the user experience in KitKat with tight, modern visuals and a clear design direction throughout not only the interface, but also the company’s apps.

It is hard to argue against the Nexus 5’s pure implementation of Android here. There are still many features we’d like to see added to Android, and some of Samsung’s additions are indeed useful, but when it comes down to it the Nexus 5 user experience is just much more satisfying and accessible than TouchWiz.

Processor and Memory

Both the Galaxy Note 3 and LG Nexus 5 use Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, meaning they also run on the Adreno 330 GPU. Samsung gets a slight edge for including 3GB of RAM on the Note 3, whereas LG uses 2GB in the Nexus 5..

The Note 3 outperforms the Nexus 5 in all benchmark tests, but that should be taken with a grain of salt because in real world testing the Nexus 5 feels at least as fast, if not faster. There’s also a question of trust with Samsung when it comes to benchmarks. The two devices were very similar in our GFX Bench testing, the one benchmark test that Samsung wasn’t found to be ramping up performance for. Cheating or not, the Note 3 is still an incredibly fast device and unless you’re looking for performance hangups you won’t find any in day-to-day use.

The Nexus 5 offers either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage with no expandable memory. The Galaxy Note 3 ships with 32GB of storage, which is expandable via microSD. While most users can get by on 16GB and almost all on 32GB, those who rely heavily on internal storage for media rather than using the various cloud services will appreciate the increased memory capability of the Note 3.

Quadrant Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 8455
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22270
AnTuTu Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 26340
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 31543
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps) Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 52
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 54
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 1166
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1214
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 1524
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2766



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.

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

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.

16. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

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

40. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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.

22. Jason2k13

Posts: 1462; Member since: Mar 28, 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.

25. ilia1986 unregistered

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

62. tuney

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 19, 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.

2. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

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

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

6. ilia1986 unregistered

See my reply to your reply to my post.

9. silencer271

Posts: 254; Member since: Apr 05, 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.

17. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 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!

31. pulkit.tyagi

Posts: 35; Member since: Nov 15, 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.

41. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

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

47. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Lots of music, movies, videos, etc.

64. newphone

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 22, 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?

66. choetechnology

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 11, 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.

27. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

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

8. gidjmc

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

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

10. N-fanboy

Posts: 543; Member since: Jan 12, 2013

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

18. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 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.

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Downloading 4.4 on my S3 right now. ;)

21. HouTexan

Posts: 461; Member since: Jan 08, 2012

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

48. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 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. :)

58. WallStreetWolf

Posts: 289; Member since: Apr 08, 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.

26. ilia1986 unregistered

Which rom? :)

53. Pazookie

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 14, 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!

55. Pazookie

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

voice input fail...

70. ssmaximuss

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 25, 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 :)

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