Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Thousands of years of history serve as a warning: all empires eventually fall to ruin. It seems quite fair to say that Samsung commands exactly that. A vast empire. And nobody gets to where Samsung is without understanding odds, and the odds are that, sooner or later, the South Korean company will have to concede a piece of its territory to its starving rivals. But not if Samsung is to have a word in this, and it sure does. With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is flexing its giant muscles for the world to witness, and seeing as we now finally have a review unit at hand, it means that it's jumping-through-hoops-time for the S5.
Today, we'll be staging a cruel, even incestuous battle between what are otherwise two devices on the same team. The Galaxy S5 may be the new kid in town, but the Galaxy Note 3 has sure stood the test of time so far, and it continues to turn heads left and right. In fact, so great appears to be the Note 3's appeal that, in our experience, even non-phablet lovers end up being too compelled to pass up on the otherwise large device. And while the Note 3's signature S-Pen remains a controlled territory, the Galaxy S5 sure brings along more than enough perks to cause some serious soul-searching for those of you looking for a new device, phablet appreciators or not. Indeed, with a fingerprint scanner, a heart rate sensor, a promising camera, and a dust and water resistant body in tow, the Galaxy S5 is sure intrigue you.
So which one is the better buy? Let's dive in and look for the answer.
Nothing more and nothing less than time-tested, signature Samsung design to be seen here. The difference lies in the nuances of the two designs, which, in turn, set the two apart.
Right off the bat, you can tell these two are Samsung devices through and through, despite looking slightly different.
The new Galaxy S5 is a more bulky version of its predecessor, but it's a similarly (and pleasantly) rounded slab of a device. Samsung ignored the “who's more premium challenge”, so to speak, and is back with even more polycarbonate than before – a needed sacrifice to obtain that IP67 water- and dust-resistance certificate. That said, one is unlikely to confuse the Galaxy S5 with anything other than a high-end smartphone.
And while the front of the S5 proves true to Samsung tradition, with a physical Home button that now doubles up as a fingerprint scanner, the rear is noticeably different. The manufacturer has decided to skip over faux-leather this time around, and has instead treated the Galaxy S5 to a perforated back. Truthfully, change is something that we embrace in our very core, but this doesn't feel like an improvement. Just a change. Anyway, while still on the topic of the back, you also get the typical Samsung carving for the camera sensor, and below that – a shared slot for the flash and the heart rate sensor.
Looking at the Galaxy Note 3, we have a very similar approach. The front, once again, hosts a physical Home button (but no fingerprint sensor here!), and the navigation keys are of the capacitive kind. Flipping the phone to take a look at its back, we again have polycarbonate trying to be fancy. The plastic, faux-leather rear is obviously trying to emulate the feel and looks of real leather, and surprisingly successfully. That said, there will inevitably be those who feel as if they bought a fake Louis Vuitton leather bag off the Flea market.
Wrapping this up, the 5.93 oz (168g) Note 3 is obviously the bigger device of the two, commanding the relatively compact (for its screen size) dimensions of 5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches (151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm). In comparison, the Galaxy S5 seems far more manageable at 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches (142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm) and 5.11 oz (145g).
Both thave the typical AMOLED colors but the S5 is slightly brighter.
Not at all surprisingly, with the Galaxy S5 Samsung is making its first step beyond the current 5-inch standard for a flagship. The manufacturer is keeping put, however, when it comes to the pixel count on the 5.1-inch AMOLED panel nestled in the Galaxy S5's body. The resolution still sits at 1080x1920, which now works out to 432 pixels per inch. In comparison, the otherwise great 5.7-inch AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 3 has no choice but to concede the title of one of the most capable panels out there. With a resolution of 1080x1920, the Note 3's pixel density works out to 386 pixels per inch, so it offers the less crisp viewing experience between the two. The screen on the Galaxy S5 is also the brighter of two, albeit not by too much.
But that's about where the Galaxy S5's clear advantage ends. When in Standard Mode (a color calibration profile), both displays are plagued by a cold color temperature of almost 8000K, which is pretty far from the optimal 6500K. In result, whites appear blue-ish. Moreover, both screens display a typical AMOLED behavior: greens are overblown like nobody's business, and colors are, overall, just over-saturated and incorrect to say the least. That said, gamma is pretty excellent, at 2.25.