Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S4
The camera sensor on the Note 3 is unchanged from what you'll get with the Galaxy S4. It's the same 13 MP camera module with 1/3.06" sensor size and an aperture of f/2.2. The Galaxy Note 3 does get some extra features courtesy of the Snapdragon 800 chipset, such as smooth 1080p video recording at 60 fps and 4K video recording at 30 fps, both of which of much-appreciated and could prove to be quite cool, especially the 60 fps 1080p recording, which is much more fluid than the regular 1080p recording at 30 fps that's present with the GS4.
In terms of camera UI, both are identical, and not so well laid out, but after some practice, it'll be quite easy to get this camera app to do whatever it is that you want. There is a plethora of camera modes, including some more extravagant ones, such as Eraser (allows you to remove unwanted objects from the scene), Animated photo (creates a picture with selected animated objects), and Beauty face (enhances facial features automatically when taking a photo of a person).
When it comes to actual photo quality, the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 achieve pretty much identical results, which is to say they are both great. In terms of details, there’s no shortage of clarity and sharpness, as images pop with attention to even the most miniscule things in the scenery – complemented further by the accurate colors that the handsets are able to replicate.
Under lower lighting situations, the GS4 and Note 3 excel to make their shots rival some of the best in the space right now. Details might appear just a tad softer this time around, but nevertheless acceptable for 6” x 4” printouts. The cameras are quite fast and all, but every now and then, even with their “smart” image stabilization on, we see some blurring with our shots – albeit, it’s nothing terrible.
Thankfully, noise is kept at a minimum, which helps to place emphasis on the details. Colors are a smidgen more subdued when compared to the punchy tones that are exhibited when lighting is in abundance. And with the flashes, the phones do a fantastic job to balance out the color of flesh tones – while also being potent enough to light up subjects that are farther than 7ft away.
Both devices are also fantastic with their video recording quality, since they exhibit the same lovable elements we see already with their still capture quality. Just as long as there’s sufficient lighting around, the Note 3's and Galaxy S4’s videos come to life with their smooth recording, sharp details, accurate color reproduction, and clear audio recording. As we mentioned in the beginning of this part, the Note 3 excels in this area as it also allows you to record 1080p video at 60 fps, which is just mind-blowingly smooth. It also comes with a bunch of slow-motion modes, but those aren't as useful as the iPhone 5s' slow-motion video mode, because with the Note 3, you're forced to shoot the entire video in slow-mo, whereas with the iPhone 5s, you can select only those areas that you want to be in slow-mo. There's also 4K video recording with the Note 3, but obviously you'll need a 4K display in order to enjoy such footage in its full beauty.
As great as the Samsung Galaxy S4 is for video playback, the Note 3 is even even better with its massive 5.7" display of equal quality. Video literally comes to life on this larger than life display, especially with its lush and vibrant colors that may not be so true-to-life, but make visually-impressive clips such as music videos appear that much more exciting. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S4 will also let you enjoy video in a wonderful manner, so if you aren't really into gigantic handsets like the Note 3, you'll still have a terrific experience on your hands. The video player itself is quite fancy as it shows an animated preview of each clip stored on your device. The previews are short and aren't very smooth, but the effect is still useful. Additionally, there's also the Pop-up Play feature that enables you to have the video play in a small pop-up window that's always present on top of whatever application you're currently running.
In addition to the stock Android "Play Music" player, there's also the versatile Music Player by Samsung. It neatly organizes your music by Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, Recent and Playlists. It displays large and beautiful album art (the album's art has to be beautiful for this to work), and features a bunch of “advanced” options like an equalizer with presets, including a custom one, as well as the "Music square," which lets you pick the songs you'll be listening to by describing your current mood.
Unfortunately, the loudspeaker of the Galaxy Note 3 is quite disappointing. The one of the GS4 isn't perfect as well, but it sounds significantly better. The tones coming from the Note 3 are just too distorted and deprived of any low or decent high frequencies. Oh well, at least it's OK in terms of loudness.