Google has made a big deal about the HDR+ mode, which actually uses a burst mode to capture 3 images at different exposures and then stitch them together for better image quality. We have to say we came away impressed as the HDR+ images did a good job of evening out exposure in images with both dark and light areas and it may be wise to have it always on on the Nexus 5, although it makes shot-to-shot speeds slower. Note that we took almost all of our pictures using the two respective HDR modes. Flash is disabled in HDR mode, so with low light pictures we went back to Auto.

Samsung has rightly gotten a lot of praise for their camera efforts of late. The Note 3 uses a 13MP BSI sensor we are familiar with from the Galaxy S4, and in general produces good results. In fact, under the right conditions the camera is able to produce downright excellent shots that rival some point and shoot cameras as we found in our full review. The Note 3’s 13 megapixel sensor captured better detail in good light, but unless you’re viewing them at 100% crop you will likely never notice them.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 3.5
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2.7
No data

Both devices offer 1080p recording, and while both were good there were some drawbacks with each. Both produced very good colors, but the Nexus 5 was much smoother thanks to the optical image stabilization. Details remained good even when panning quickly, and the focus easily shifted between near and far objects. However, the mic was very sensitive and as you can hear there was a ton of wind noise picked up. The Note 3, on the other hand, did a good job of muting the wind noise, but had issues with motion blur and focusing. Overall we preferred the Nexus 5’s smoother performance despite the mic issues.


The galleries on both devices are pretty standard, with gird-like thumbnail previews of your photos, folder categorization, and editing options. Samsung lets you split the screen in two, with the folder structure on the left, and their contents on the right, which speeds up gallery navigation.

Video playback is superior on the Galaxy Note 3, not only thanks to the deep blacks and saturated colors of the big AMOLED display that make the footage really pop, but also because its player supports most major codecs out of the box, including MKV, DivX and Xvid. Google's phone, on the other hand, doesn't have DivX licenses, so if you want to play videos in that format, you'd have to hit the Play Store.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 0.36
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 71
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 76



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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