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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Interface


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with the latest Android version available – 4.3 Jelly Bean. The Note 2, on the other hand, is still lagging behind as it runs Android 4.1.2, but an update to 4.3 is currently being brewed and will hopefully be released in the very near future.

As is typical for Samsung's Android devices, the stock Android UI on the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note II has been replaced with the company's solution known as TouchWiz. That is one of the better-made custom UIs found on today's smartphones, heavily accenting on functionality and on offering features not present on handsets by competitor brands. And to no surprise, the interface variant found on the newer handset is richer when it comes to the number of features and extras loaded onto it.

Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note II


For example, while both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note II support Multi Window mode – a feature allowing one to easily multitask on their phablet – only the new model will let you have two windows of the same app running side by side. Also, Flipboard is present on both handsets out of the box, but on the Note 3, the popular news feed app comes with a redesigned “My Magazine” layout and has been built into the UI, allowing the user to trigger it from any home screen. And that's far from all. The Note 3 comes with many of the goodies introduced by the Samsung Galaxy S4, including S Translator, S Health, and for those who demand extra security for their personal data, there's KNOX, which creates a private virtual workspace on the device.


S Pen features


The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II can be used for entering text in the email or messaging apps, for drawing, and for taking down notes using the S Note app, among other tasks. Holding down the button on the S Pen allows you to crop areas of the screen and save them for later use. Furthermore, hovering with it over a calendar appointment or an email will give you a brief preview in a pop-up window.

The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note II


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can do all of that with its S Pen, but there's a handful of extras thrown in as well. These are accessed as soon as the accessory is pulled out via the new Air Command menu.

The Note 3’s S Pen adds yet another element of functionality to the experience - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Note 3’s S Pen adds yet another element of functionality to the experience - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Note 3’s S Pen adds yet another element of functionality to the experience - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Note 3’s S Pen adds yet another element of functionality to the experience - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The Note 3’s S Pen adds yet another element of functionality to the experience


Action Memo is first on the list, used for writing down a quick note and then linking it to a specific action. For example, your note (or parts of it) can be transformed into a new contact in your address book, or a new “To Do” list.

Scrap Booker is used for cropping content from apps like your web browser, YouTube, even your home screen. Additional data, such as headlines and web page URL is also attached to the note.

Screen Write takes a screenshot and then allows the user to edit it. The image can be cropped and notes can be hand-written right on top of it.

S Finder is a tool that helps with organizing notes. As the name implies, it can search through whatever you have written down, and yes, it will recognize your hand-writing as well.

Last but not least, there's Pen Window, which is used for launching a small companion app hovering over the UI. Apps that are compatible with the feature include YouTube, the Calculator, the Phone and the Contacts list, as well as ChatON, Hangouts and the Internet browser.


Keyboard and messaging


Having a large keyboard is always a plus for it makes typing faster and more accurate. By default, the keyboards on the Note II and Note 3 occupy the entire width of the screen, and a layout like this is very comfortable for typing with two thumbs. Alternatively, one may have them condensed on the left or right side of the display, and that is supposed to allow for texts to be entered single-handedly. To be honest, we don’t really find this layout as comfortable, but we do appreciate having options. And yes, the keyboards on both smartphones come with auto-correct and support for multiple input languages.

On-screen keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
On-screen keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
On-screen keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
On-screen keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

On-screen keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Note II



Processor and Memory


With a 2.3GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC under the hood (or a 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa in select markets), the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 ranks among the top Android smartphones out there. Few are the handsets capable of delivering the same UI smoothness and responsiveness no matter the task being executed. Its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, has a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 SoC, which is inferior, yet still quite snappy, even by today's standards. Sure, we do notice lags every once in a while, but as a whole, the phone is still fast enough and should have no problems handling heavy apps, including today's demanding video games.

When it comes to multitasking, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has the upper hand. It comes with a whopping 3GB of RAM, so it can store plenty of the apps' data for easy switching between them. The Note 2 has 2 gigs of RAM at its disposal, which is also plentiful and sufficient for all but the most demanding of buyers.

For those who value having lots and lots of storage space, we bring good news. Both smartphones come with microSD card slots supporting cards of up to 64GB in size. On-board storage space for the Galaxy Note 3 is 32 or 64 gigs, depending on which model you pick, while the Note II comes in 16-, 32-, and 64GB flavors, although the latter two might be a bit harder to find at your preferred retailer. As an added bonus, Samsung is treating all its Note II and Note 3 buyers to 50GB of free Dropbox storage for two years. That space is ideal for backing up photos and other stuff you don't want to lose accidentally.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22270
Samsung GALAXY Note II 6501
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 31543
Samsung GALAXY Note II 20771
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 54
Samsung GALAXY Note II 18
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1214
Samsung GALAXY Note II 623
Vellamo HTML 5
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2766
Samsung GALAXY Note II 1882
View all


Internet browser and connectivity


Both these phablets, with their large screens and all, are ideal for web browsing, but we'd much rather use the Note 3 for the job. Its display is not only a bit larger, but its higher resolution allows for text and graphics in pages to look sharper and more detailed. Besides, its web browser has been polished a bit further. The size of the text is slightly increased, where appropriate, which makes it easier to read, while the status bar on top is hidden, allowing for more of the web page to be displayed on the screen. Both web browser apps offer Reader mode, which clears the entire page from all non-essential content, leaving just the text and some photos – useful for reading lengthy blog posts and articles. In terms of performance, both phones' browser apps are pretty fast and responsive, supporting all the mandatory navigation gestures, such as pinch to zoom and the likes.

Web browser of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Web browser of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Web browser of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Web browser of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Web browser of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3


The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Note II - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The browser on the Samsung Galaxy Note II


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a richer set of connectivity features, although only users on the fastest of mobile networks are likely to notice the difference. The Snapdragon 800 based model comes with a 150Mbps LTE radio backed by HSPA+ 4G at 42Mpbs (peak speeds are theoretical and depend on the network's capacity). Naturally, there's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS as well, with the latter supporting GLONASS for increased accuracy. The Samsung Galaxy Note II offers all of these, the only difference being that its LTE radio peaks at “just” 100Mbps and it supports HSPA+ connectivity at a maximum of 21Mbps. Surprisingly, the Note II has an FM Radio while the Note 3 lacks one.

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