Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs LG G2
One thing that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the LG G2 have in common is that their user interfaces have been heavily modified. And we don't see that as bad thing, of course, since these UIs add a great dose of much-appreciated functionality.
Android 4.3Jelly Bean – the latest version of the platform to date – comes onto the Galaxy Note 3, and layered on top of it is the company's TouchWiz user interface. Some might find it a bit more cartoony than it should be, yet that aside, there's actually quite a lot to like about this popular UI. For starters, it runs fluidly, it is customizable, and the bunch of pre-loaded widgets can come in handy. Naturally, Samsung has sprinkled its minor and major features all over, thus improving the overall user experience. Extras borrowed right from the Galaxy S4, such as Smart Scroll, Smart Stay, Air View, and Air Gestures, are on board. While they aren't anything mind-blowing, they do enable users to interact in a different, and in some cases, more convenient, way with their device. A feature much more practical than these, however, is Multi Window, which lets us have two apps, or two windows of the same app, running side by side. Yup, that's real multitasking right there, taking advantage of the Note 3's giant screen. My Magazine is also among the features we're happy with. Powered by Flipboard, it serves as a personalized news reader with an eye-pleasing interface.
The LG G2 comes running Android 4.2.2 out of the box, so it is a step behind when it comes to OS software versions, but that's not really a deal breaking issue in this case. What's great about the custom user interface loaded onto the device is just how customizable it is. You're even free to set a UI theme, to change the size of your icons, or to reorganize the toggle buttons in the notification panel. Visually, using the LG G2 is kind of like watching a light show. There's color everywhere, the lock screen animation feels as if a firework is exploding before our eyes, and the screen transitions (which you can also modify, by the way) bring every home screen to life. Feature-wise, there's a ton of goodies pre-loaded, one of the most useful among them being Slide Aside, allowing one to multitask by saving up to three apps in their current state for later use. We also appreciate having the QSlide companion apps, hovering in a window above the UI, as they give quick and instant access to the phone book, to our web browser and messaging apps, and more.
Processor and Memory
Snapdragon 800 is the chip powering the LG G2 and the LTE model of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. That little piece of silicon it is quite a beast, actually, crushing all previous benchmark records with its quad-core Krait 400 based CPU that can sprint at speeds of near 2.3GHz. Sure enough, the performance of these two handsets is outstanding and no matter which one you pick, their UI smoothness and responsiveness is not going to disappoint. They can run anything from demanding applications to today's visually intensive 3D video games.
If you're a heavy multitasker, then the Note 3 might be right for you. It has 3GB of RAM at its disposal, so switching between apps always happens in an instant. The LG G2 has 2GB of RAM, which is considerably less, yet still enough to meet the needs of the great majority of users.
On board storage on the LG G2 is limited to 16 or 32 gigabytes, depending on which model you pick. Unfortunately, there's no microSD card slot, so the phone's storage space cannot be expanded. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, on the other hand, has one and can take up to 64GB extra to go along with its 32 or 64GB of native storage. Plus, Samsung is throwing in 50GB of Dropbox storage at no cost – a deal which lasts for 2 years after enabling the service.
Phonebook and Dialer
Fundamentally, these apps, as executed on the Note 3 and the G2, are very similar and straightforward to use. There are separate tabs for the dialer, the user's contacts, favorites, and call logs. Several neat additions are present, however, in both applications. Samsung's solution allows us to pick between a bunch of vibration patterns that can be assigned to contacts. LG, on the other hand, lets us set LED to blink in a specific color whenever a specific someone is calling.
Here is also where LG's VuTalk service is accessed from. It is a feature present on some recent LG phones, allowing users to share images, video, notes and map data in real time during calls. Note, however, that VuTalk requires an internet connection on order to work. Samsung, on the other hand, offers a built-in video call feature to and from compatible Samsung phones.
The messaging apps on both smartphones allow us to attach not only images and video to our texts, but also map locations, contact data, and calendar entries, just like any app of this kind should. Their keyboards can be condensed on the left or right side of the screen for easier single-handed typing – not that we find this more comfortable than entering text using both thumbs, but it is good to have options. Overall, we can shoot messages back and forth pretty swiftly as our fingers can easily hit the right button. The Note 3's keyboard, being wider, is more convenient, but the one on the G2 is easy to use as well.
Samsung has not forgotten to load the Note 3 with an arsenal of organizer and productivity apps, including its S Planner app. It serves as a versatile calendar with the option to create To Do lists as well. Managing your agenda on the LG G2 is done via its Calendar and Tasks apps, which are also pretty nice and work in a similar fashion.
Both smartphones come with very capable translation apps, capable of interpreting foreign languages. S Translator, pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note 3, uses a speech-to-text engine to convert whole sentences from one language into another and then speaks out the result. However, one huge downside to this is that the app requires a data connection in order to work, and data usage while abroad can be ridiculously expensive. The Quick Translator app on the LG G2, on the other hand, can download whole dictionaries for offline use. The camera of the device is utilized to “see” words and phrases, which are then translated instantly into a language selected by the user.
Taking down notes on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is not only easy, but it can be quite fun, actually. The S Note app can be used for the purpose and, of course, it works well with the S Pen. You can write or type in text, and add clip art graphics or images that you have stored onto the handset. The LG G2 has its own Notebook application, which offers an identical set of features, but instead of a stylus, you use your fingers to doodle stuff with. Need something simpler? Well, there's a basic Memo app at your disposal.
Internet Browser and Connectivity
Thanks to their large, high-res displays, both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the LG G2 are ideal for surfing the web. But if we had to pick a favorite, that would be the former. The stock Internet app on the Galaxy Note 3 loads pages fast and increases the size of text where that is appropriate, thus making it easier to read. Articles can be viewed in the very convenient Reader mode, which clears the entire page, leaving only the body of the post. On the LG G2 we find a browser that is just as fast, but not as enjoyable to use. Text isn't automatically inflated so it can still be hard to read without zooming in.
Connectivity-wise, there's nothing missing on either of these handsets. Both the note 3 and the LG G2 support those super-fast LTE networks, but can rely on HSPA+ as well if that is required. As you might guess, essentials like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC are also on board. We cannot omit mentioning that the Galaxy Note 3 supports the USB 3.0 standard for faster data transfers between it and a computer, but you'll need a USB 3.0 compatible PC in order to take advantage of that. Also, while the LG G2 comes with FM radio support, the Note 3 lacks that feature.