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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 3


March 7, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3

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Samsung makes so many mobile devices, it's easy to lose track. But if you're looking for the company's two biggest and best flagships, then you'll want to track down the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3. How does Samsung's new top-tier smartphone compare to its primo phablet? Join Gizmag, as we compare the features and specs of the GS5 and Note 3.


The lines between phablet and smartphone are getting blurrier. The 5.1-in Galaxy S5 would have been considered a monstrosity just a few years ago. In fact, its screen is 89 percent as big as the original Galaxy Note's – and many pundits mocked its huge screen as a ridiculous novelty when it launched in late 2011.

The Note 3 is still bigger, but maybe not by as much as you'd expect. It's six percent longer and eight percent wider than the GS5.


The Galaxy S5 is actually a little heavier than the Galaxy S4, but the Note 3 is still 16 percent heavier than the new flagship.


Samsung is on quite the pleather kick of late. The big difference here? The Note 3 has faux stitching to go along with its faux leather, while the GS5's pleather has dimples.


Several colors to choose from with both devices. Samsung also added new Merlot Red and Rose Gold options to the Note 3, but on most carriers you'll just see the three standard black, white, and pink hues.


The Galaxy S5 gives you 80 percent as much screen real estate as the Note 3. Both devices have 1080p displays, which means the GS5's screen packs those pixels in a little tighter.


Samsung's S Pen stylus is a core piece of the Galaxy Note puzzle. The pen gives you some extra precision when navigating the Note's big honkin' screen. It also lets you activate Air Command, a pop-up set of shortcuts for Note features like Pen Window, Action Memo, and S Finder.

Fingerprint scanner

One of the GS5's big new features is its fingerprint scanner. Like the iPhone 5s' Touch ID, it lets you unlock your passcode-protected phone with your unique print (only here it requires a swipe, rather than just a quick press). You can also use the GS5's scanner to authorize PayPal transactions.

Heart rate sensor

If health-monitoring sensors are going to be the next big thing in mobile, why should Samsung miss out on the fun? No worries there, as the GS5 has a heart rate sensor that sits underneath its rear camera.


Too early to jump to conclusions about the GS5's battery life, but its 2,800mAh battery shouldn't hurt its chances.


The GS5's rear camera has a higher resolution than the Note 3's.

4K video recording

Both devices have 4K video recording feathers in their caps.

Slow-motion video

Like the Note 3, the GS5 lets you record slow-motion video at 120 fps.

Samsung Gear compatibility

If you own anything other than a Samsung phone, you won't get much out of the company's three new wearables. But both of these flagships play nicely with the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit.


An IR blaster, good for transforming your phone into a TV remote control, lives inside each of these devices.


Performance isn't a concern with the Note 3, and it shouldn't be with the GS5 either. The Snapdragon 800 is a beast, and the 801 is slightly faster.

As you'll usually find with recent Samsung flagships, the non-LTE versions of these phones ship with octa-core Samsung Exynos processors in place of Qualcomm's.


The Note 3 does give you an extra GB of RAM over its little bro.


More storage for Note owners as well, though both phones let you expand its base storage with a microSD card.


Both phones run KitKat, though the Note 3's Android 4.4 update might not have rolled out to your carrier just yet.

Release cycle

The Note 3 has been around for a hair under six months. The GS5 launches globally in April.


The GS5 typically runs about US$650 off-contract, or $200 on-contract in the US. The Note 3's standard price is $50 higher, at least without a contract.

For more on Samsung's newest flagship, you can read our full review of the Galaxy S5. And if you're considering a few other phones, you can check out our 2014 Smartphone Comparison Guide.

Buy this on Amazon About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

The decision to choose either of these Samsung products is going to be screen size and stylus useage. Everything else is irrelevant.

Rann Xeroxx

I am a GS1, GS3, and GS4 owner and someone who doesn't mind using a plastic phone but I think the plastic on the Note 3 is awful. My GF just looked at phones not so long ago and ended up picking GS4 over Note 3 partly because of this.

I hope for Samsungs sake if the GS5 plastic is as bad as the note they offer an alternate option for the back panel for people who don't like the pleather version.

If they don't offer an alternative version I am sure hardly any competitor will offer a competing phone and they'll dominate the market again anyway.


@David He is not saying specs don't matter, he is saying they are close enough that the only real differentiator between the phones is screen size and stylus useage.

The note does have better overall specs but it's also technically a "phablet" even though I don't like that phrase. The S5 will be at least $100 cheaper than the Note at launch as well.


^ Yea because battery life and processing power or RAM is irrelevant?

If you know nothing hardware and do not care what the phone is capable of then yea sure only difference is size and "stylus" ,which is actually much more as it has many extra features. If you care about how much you can run at one time or how fast you can be loading apps simultaneously you probably care about RAM. If you think you will be around a charger every day and not have a night out without one then you won't care about battery life. If you do care about these things the specs most certainly make a difference! Don't judge a book by its cover people. Find out about what your paying for any get your money's worth before you fork out hundreds of dollars for a new device. Just because one is newer doesn't make it better. Specs talking the note 3 is the obvious winner here! It's is the best specs on any smartphone out at this current time.

(BTW I'm not even a galaxy user and I can still admit the note 3 is the best phone available)

David Beebe

I'm a Galaxy S Glide (Captivate) user. It is having problems now after over two years and I am looking to upgrade.

I don't see my cover because I have a protective cover on it. The plastic is not going to make any difference to me. I need performance, not looks.

My partner has an S4 and she also has it covered. So really, no worries over the plastic.

I need to know about performance, price and view-ability (older eyes). I'm going to get a Note or an S5. I need to know how they compare.

Thanks for the article. It is very helpful.


The extra gb of RAM is the big difference, IMHO. I'll go with the Note 3.

Mark Holmstrand

Both good devices I'm sure but the size is the issue. I reckon Samsung should send fake/blank Note3s to retailers (or anyone who wants one) so people can put one in their pocket and walk around all day doing their normal things. I know a lot of women like the notes because they go into a bag but for me, how the unit will sit in various pockets is crucial. Particularly with the cover that is almost mandatory. My GS3 used to fall down and lie sideways in my pockets and then became awkward to fish out.

I've had a GS2 and GS3 but went for the HTC this time round. I miss some aspects of the Samsungs but the HTC is almost luxurious by comparison.


needing to upgrade from my GS3 soon and I don't like that people are saying that they can't talk and surf the web at the same time on the new GS5. Can this still be done on the Note 3? That may be the extra factor that pushes my decision. I usually carry a spare charged battery to keep me running as no phone has ever met my power needs for a full day of use. One reason why I don't like Apple's non removable battery. It's convenient to pull out and pop in a charged battery to keep going.

Thanks for anyone who can answer the question about surf and talk on the Note3

Lisa King
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