Samsung Galaxy S III vs Samsung Galaxy Note

Introduction and Design
In this comparison, we're using the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S III, which comes with a quad-core Exynos CPU and 1GB of RAM. The U.S. versions come with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and 2GB of RAM, as well as LTE, except for T-Mobile's, which lacks LTE.


Released several months after the Galaxy S II, the gargantuan Galaxy Note has been marketed by Samsung almost as if it's its current flagship model, its primary smartphone. This seemed a bit strange, having in mind that the Note is so big, it's much more of a niche product than a regular smartphone. Anyways, now that the Galaxy S III has arrived, we guess Samsung's focus will be back on the S line. So, obviously there will be some hidden competition between the S III and the Note, as some users will be inevitably torn between the two handsets.

Needless to say, that's exactly the reason why we're here – to help you make the right choice! Should you get the new and shiny Galaxy S III with all of those fancy new features? Will you be better off with the enormous screen and stylus of the Galaxy Note? And what's Elvis actually doing on the Moon? The answers you're looking for are right here.


While the Galaxy S III has introduced a new design language with its rounded corners and specifically-shaped home button, the Galaxy Note actually resembles a giant Galaxy S II. Obviously it'd be up to you to choose which look you like better.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the GS III will be the more comfortable phone to hold and work with. Not that it's small, but the Note simply dwarfs anything next to it. Both handsets are made of plastic (though the GS III is polycarbonate), with the Galaxy S III being smooth and glossy, while the Note is more matte and has a texture to its back side. Overall, the Note has more of a business look to it, while the Galaxy S III is more consumer-friendly.


Even though the Galaxy S III's 4.8” screen is very big, the 5.3” panel of the Note is once again making it seem small. We can't really say that normal usage benefits from the bigger size. With messaging, web browsing and other stuff, the experience is almost the same with both phones. If you watch tons of movies though, or play a lot of games, the Galaxy Note's 5.3” screen will work better.

Apart from that, both devices use the HD Super AMOLED screen technology. The GS III comes with a resolution of 720x1280, while the Note packs a bit more pixels – 800x1280. Due to its significantly bigger size, though, the Note has a lower pixel density – 285, versus the 306 ppi of the Galaxy S III. That doesn't mean the Note's screen is pixelized, of course. Quite the contrary, it also looks great.

All in all, we like the display of the Galaxy S III more, because it's a bit brighter and has slightly more natural colors. Viewing angles on both devices are great. Outdoor visibility is also the same – not very good.

Samsung Galaxy S III 360-degrees View:

Samsung GALAXY Note 360-degrees View:


The Samsung Galaxy S III comes with Android 4 ICS out of the box, but unfortunately, not all markets have already seen the ICS update for the Galaxy Note (ours is still running Gingerbread). In addition to having the advantage of running the latest OS versions, the Galaxy S III also sports a newer version of the TouchWiz user interface, which looks and feels better than the one on the Note, plus – it comes with a bunch of new features to further enhance the functionality of the device. Some of those features are courtesy of Ice Cream Sandwich, others are exclusive to Samsung, like S Voice and Smart Stay. You can learn all about these fancy new features in our Samsung Galaxy S III Review.

To tell you the truth, Gingerbread on the Galaxy Note isn't so bad. It smooth enough, and everything works pretty well. It doesn't feel as polished as the software of the GS III, though.

The Galaxy Note also has a special trick up its sleeve that the GS III lacks, and it's called a stylus! That's right – if you fancy the ability to do hand-written notes on your phone, then the Note is obviously the better option with its bigger display and special stylus. You can get a capacitive stylus for the Galaxy S III, but those aren't nearly as usable.


Interestingly, we actually prefer the typing experience on the Samsung Galaxy S III, even though the display of the Note is bigger. That's because it's actually too big, to the point where it's no longer as comfortable as it is on a sub-5” phone screen.

If you're a Gmail user, you'll probably find the experience to be somewhat better with the Gmail app of the GS III, as it was completely revamped in ICS.


As you might expect, internet browsing is great on both of these smartphones. We do prefer the ICS browser because it tends to be more advanced and fluid, but have to admit that the Note's Samsung-enhanced Gingerbread browser isn't bad as well (and with the ICS one, it'll be even better). Thanks to Samsung's improvements, its performance is almost equal to the one of the Galaxy S III.

The 5.3” display of the Galaxy Note feels a bit better than the 4.8” one of the S III, while surfing the web, but there isn't a tremendous difference.

Processor and memory:

Both the Galaxy S III's and Galaxy Note's processors are clocked at 1.4 GHz, but the major difference here is that the S III features a quad-core Exynos 4412 SoC, whereas the Note is “stuck” with a good-old dual-core Exynos. This means the GS III is a bit more future-proof than its gigantic brother. But make no mistake, the Note is also a great-performing device.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Samsung Galaxy S III 53351201658,6
Samsung Galaxy Note3871640940,9

When it comes to RAM, our contenders here are equal, as they are both sporting 1GB RAM. This practically guarantees their smooth operation with all heavy apps/games.

If you want, you can get a bit more storage space with the Galaxy S III, at it comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants, and also supports microSD cards of up to 64GB. With the Galaxy Note, on the other hand, you can have either a 16 or 32GB variant, with a microSD slot supporting cards of up to 32GB, which isn't so bad as well and will get the job done in almost any usage scenario.


Not that the Note is slow, but the GS III is actually instantaneous when it's taking images (which is a feature made possible by Android 4). Overall, we prefer the camera UI of the Galaxy S III a bit more, since it has some more of the important settings accessible directly from the initial screen.

Images taken with both handsets are practically indistinguishable. It's as if there's a tad bit more sharpness with the Note's photos, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there will be more detail. While the LED flash of the Note is by no means bad, the one of the Galaxy S III is even better, being able to easily illuminate a whole room. We're content with the results that we got with these cameras – they captured some very good shots.

The 1080p is also quite similar, but the GS III manages to gain the upper hand with a slightly more detailed video. The recorded audio tracks of both don't sound particularly clean, but Note's captured audio sounds somewhat more irritating to the ears.

Samsung Galaxy S III Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy Note Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy S III Indoor Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy Note Indoor Sample Video:


Samsung has upgraded its music player coming with the TouchWiz Nature UX (mostly visually), so the GS III is a bit better-equipped than the Note, although this is nothing that you can't fix with a third-party app.

Watching video is much better on the Galaxy Note, due to its gargantuan 5.3” display. Since the two screens are pretty much identical in terms of technology (except for the size), and both phones can play the same file types, the Note should be the clear choice if one is sooo into watching movies on their mobile device.


The Samsung Galaxy S III proved to be considerably better than the Note in terms of call quality. Both its earpiece and microphone seemed to do their job better, with incoming voices sounding strong and relatively deep, and outgoing sound being pretty decent as well, with perfect noise-cancellation. The Note, on the other hand, features a somewhat muffled and weak earpiece.

The loudspeakers of both handsets are of about the same volume and quality. They are fine, but if you try to listen to them on the loudest setting, you'll start hearing a lot of crackling.

The Galaxy Note's 2500 mAh battery delivers up to 13.50 hours of 3G talk-time and 34.2 days of stand-by. However, since you won't be using the whole battery only for voice talks, the giant screen will drain it very quickly. Unfortunately, there are no official details regarding the talk-time and stand-by times of the Galaxy S III. In reality, your battery life will vary dramatically depending on your usage habits, but in almost all cases, you'll be able to get at least a day out of both devices.


In our opinion, the Samsung Galaxy S III is the better phone, due to its improved software and better specs (especially the quad-core processor). If you're getting one of these two now, we'd recommend that you side with the Galaxy Note, only in case you're watching lots and lots of video on the phone. In any other case, the Galaxy S III is the better and more future-proof choice. Plus, watching video on the 4.8” display is also a great experience!

Video Thumbnail

Software versions of the reviewed devices:
Galaxy S III:Android 4.0.4; Build IMM76D.I9300XXALE1
Galaxy Note:Android 2.3.6; Build GINGERBREAD.XILB1

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