Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4: 5 Things Buyers Need to Know

Earlier this year, Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that replaced the Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship smartphone. The Galaxy S4 however won’t be the only flagship that Samsung announces in 2013 though as rumors suggest that the company will also upgrade its Galaxy Note line with a new Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

In 2012, Samsung dominated the smartphone market with an assortment of Galaxy branded smartphones. However, its two biggest releases were the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The devices propelled the company to new heights and put it on the same pedestal as Apple, the company behind the iconic iPhone. The success of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 put tremendous amount of pressure on the company to deliver fantastic devices in 2013.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will battle the likes of the Galaxy S4 later this year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will battle the likes of the Galaxy S4 later this year.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 was once the most heavily rumored device of 2013. Those rumors soon turned to reality when in March, Samsung took the stage in New York and debuted the Galaxy S4 on stage. The device became a solid successor to the Galaxy S3 and has kept Samsung on the map in terms of smartphone sales and visibility.

Samsung isn’t done though.

Just like the one-two punch that was the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung is looking to build another in 2013. Episode 1 of its Unpacked series signaled the arrival of the Galaxy S4 and from the looks of things, Episode 2 will likely signal the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a device that it hopes will deliver the same kind of impact as the Galaxy Note 2.

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2013 is a new year though and the competition figures to be extremely stiff. HTC is rumored to be coming out with a larger version of its HTC One called the HTC One Max, Sony recently announced the Xperia Z Ultra, a massive device that has a display over 6-inches. However, the Galaxy Note 3 will have an internal struggle as well, a struggle with the Galaxy S4.

Much like they did with the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3, shoppers will be looking at buying either the Galaxy S4 or the Galaxy Note 3 when it arrives later this year.

Here, we take a look at the five most important things to know, now, about the upcoming battle between Samsung’s two 2013 flagship smartphones.

Carriers

The Galaxy Note 3 should hit a host of American carriers, just like the Galaxy S4 did.

The Galaxy Note 3 should hit a host of American carriers, just like the Galaxy S4 did.

In the past, the smartphone world has been littered with exclusives, meaning, devices that were only available on certain carriers. We saw it with the iPhone. We also saw it with the Droid series of devices on Verizon and the EVO series on Sprint. As time passed, manufacturers have begun to shift away from this mold, offering users tons of choice.

Samsung is and was one of the companies that has ushered in this new era. The Galaxy S series has been available on a several carriers for a number of years including the Galaxy S4, a device that arrived on a number of service providers here in the United States.

While the Galaxy Note series wasn’t always widely available, last year’s Galaxy Note 2 was, launching on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. That launch gave consumers a great deal of choice as to where to take their money. Prospective smartphone shoppers should expect the same from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 U.S. Carriers Rumored.

In fact, buyers should expect the Galaxy Note 3 to arrive on the same carriers as the Galaxy S4. Rumors peg the Galaxy Note 3 for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon though we imagine that the device will be coming to U.S. Cellular as well. It’s unclear if the device will land on smaller carriers but at the very least, expect the big five.

This is important because it means that in just a few months, those trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will ultimately be able to bring the device of their choosing to a carrier of their choosing.

Similar But Different Displays

When the Samsung Galaxy S2 arrived back in 2011, it boasted a 4.3-inch display. A year later, the Samsung Galaxy S3 saw a bump up to 4.8-inches and now, with the Galaxy S4, we’ve seen Samsung bump the screen size of the Galaxy S series up to 5-inches.

The original Samsung Galaxy Note arrived with a 5.3-inch display. A year later, Samsung increased the size of the display .2-inches with the Galaxy Note 2′s 5.5-inch display. There is a trend here. Samsung has been making its displays larger year-over-year and there is no sign of slowing down.

Rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 3 will come with a 5.7-inch display which is similar to the .2-inch increase from the Galaxy S3 to Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note to Galaxy Note 3. While this remains uncertain, one thing that consumers should know is that the Galaxy Note 3 display, no matter the size, will be larger than the Galaxy S4′s display. It needs to be. The Galaxy Note 3 comes bundled with an S Pen stylus that benefits from a massive display.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t have some things in common though. The Galaxy S4 ushered in Samsung’s era of 1080p displays and high pixel-per-inch counts and the Galaxy Note 3 should be a beneficiary as well. Rumors peg the device as having a 1080p display. What this means is that content should look good on both the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4. Expect a size difference but no real big difference in quality.

Massive Price Gap

Those that are looking to spend as little money as possible should know that the price difference between these two devices is likely going to be steep once the Galaxy Note 3 rolls out, a roll out that is expected sometime in September.

In the past, the Galaxy Note series has checked in with a price tag of $299.99 on-contract. That’s $100 more than the starting price of the Galaxy S4. And while the Galaxy Note 3 will likely see deals arrive almost immediately, those deals will probably be in the range of $200-$250 which still makes the device an expensive purchase.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4′s price will continue to deteriorate. By September, we should see record pricing with retailers like Amazon offering it for dirt cheap.

Already, we’ve seen the price stabilize at $140 and in a few months we should see it dip below $100. Something to keep in mind for those that aren’t keen on breaking the bank with their next device.

Storage Options

Fix Samsung Galaxy S4 WiFi problems with a few simple steps. If that fails, users may need to buy a new router.

Storage differences come into play.

When the Samsung Galaxy S4 first arrived, Samsung announced that it would be offering it in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants to go along with the microSD card slot that can accept up to 64GB cards. This was an exciting prospect for those in the U.S. who either owned a 32GB in the past or were simply hoping to get the extra space.

To date, only AT&T and Verizon have unleashed 32GB Galaxy S4 models with T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular failing to announce anything bigger than 16GB. So those that need the extra space, at the moment, can only find it through the nation’s two largest carriers. A 64GB model has never made it to the shores of the U.S.

Those looking into the Galaxy Note 3 will likely never see a 32GB model. In the past the Galaxy Note series has only come in 16GB format in the United States, despite the existence models with larger storage.

And unfortunately, the Galaxy S4 launch is a sign that this trend will more than likely extend to the Galaxy Note 3 launch as carriers don’t see the necessity of delivering 32GB or 64GB models when the device possess a microSD card.

This is not set in stone by any means but given the history, it’s hard to expect anything but a 16GB Galaxy Note 3 to hit the United States. If true, it will mean that those that need 32GB of internal storage, to go along with the microSD card, will simply need to opt for the Galaxy S4 or look for something else.

Longevity

Those who buy into either of these phones will be buying a device that will likely be supported through the duration of a contract. Samsung, unlike some Android manufacturers, does a great job of keeping its devices up-to-date with the latest software.

Both the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will be supported for years to come.

Both the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will be supported for years to come.

What this means is that those who buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 now, or around the time the Galaxy Note 3 emerges, will be getting a device that will last and not flame out when it comes to support. Same goes for the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung will continue to update it for years to come.

So while Android manufacturers often catch a bad rap for not keeping promises or failing to update devices, consumers won’t find that here with the Galaxy S4 or the Galaxy Note 3. These are devices that are built to last.

  

Comments

  1. john says

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  2. Note Lover says

    I have the Galaxy Note 2 and love it but may have to get the Note 3 if there are enough upgrades to justify it :)

  3. Maria says

    I am still deciding if I should get a Galaxy S4 or wait it out for the Note 3. After reading this, I think I may have to go with a Note 3. I guess the wait should be worth it. :) Thanks!

    • Note Lover says

      My son just got the S4 yesterday and its an awesome phone. I personally want the larger screen, which is why I’ll wait it out for the Note 3. I’ll see what the actual specs are and may just stick with my Note 2. I really feel that it should have minimum 32gb on board but that won’t be the selling point for me.

    • Anavil Patel says

      I bought a galaxy s4 in May and it is awesome. The screen isn’t too big or too small. The note 3 for me was too big and I wanted a phone not a tablet.

    • Christine says

      Absolutely true. Especially considering half of that 16GB is taken up by the operating system along with the apps that our carriers force us to install. So you might get about 9GB to work with (closer to 8 usually, depending on the carrier). On a computer or laptop, I’m OK with losing some of the advertised storage because it’s only a small dent. But on a device that I use more than any computer I own, that’s just a gaping hole.

      With all the cloud services out there that will automatically upload your media to a private folder, allowing you to view and share from your phone without taking up storage, I don’t care about an SD card so much. What I really want is to download more apps (which isn’t that kind of the whole point??) and the SD card won’t store or launch apps. I use my device for productivity. If I didn’t need it for that I’d just get a basic flip phone.

      I love Samsung for so many reasons, but this 16GB limit on the Note is an epic fail on their part.

      • Gi says

        The real issue with the memory is the changes that were made for moving apps to SD. We shouldn’t have to root our phones and use apps to move large third party install files. The 16 gig GS4 is getting some bad publicity for that. A lot of game lovers are saying that most of the recent releases are averaging 2gb installs. Although I haven’t installed any on my Note 2 I disagree with the imposed limitations. I am definitely looking forward to getting a 32gb N3 at minimum.
        Other then that, I am really hoping the RAM upgrade rumor is true.It does seem like the more RAM, the more background processes I see going on. Also, I am sure most of us would appreciate a higher brightness setting for better direct sunlight visibility. More nits!! I could care less if they put the Snap 800 or the Exynos Octa in there. If they give us storage, RAM and Nits……..I’ll take two please….

        • Note Lover says

          I agree, I think 32GB is reasonable on a phone of this caliber. I like the Ram, screen, camera, and the processor will be a justifiable upgrade. Having 32GB on board would be worth the upgrade from my Note 2..

        • Note Lover says

          I don’t have a problem with upgrading with a 32 or 64GB micro sd, but as one mentioned, you can’t save apps on the card. Also, will the top of the line Note 3 (with the metal instead of plastic) have a replaceable battery and sd card slot?

  4. ukandroid says

    I can’t beliieve that Samsung would make the same mistake twice by only offering the Note 3 with a 16Gb option. A number of independent retailers selling “sim free” devices not tied to any carrier here in Europe have not been able to get the 32Gb S4 here in Europe and have lost sales as a result. I have a Note 2 (16Gb) but won’t be upgrading unless I can get a 32Gb Note 3. A premium product at a premium price should not be skimping on memory.

    • Note Lover says

      I agree with you there but will wait to see the final specs, before deciding. May just hang onto my Note 2 unless I get a 64gb sd card to up the Note 3. Just hate spending money on the phone then have to fork out more for the extra sd card.

  5. Eric Mierlak says

    If you’re looking to upgrade when the Note 3 drops, make sure you don’t do it with AT&T. AT&T Galaxy S3 owners (myself included) are still waiting on the 4.1.2 update. This is the same update that every other major carrier in the U.S. has released months ago. This looks like a blatant attempt to push more customers into the S4, simply to make more money. The S3 and the S4 are so similar, that they have had no incentive to update the older model.
    When you press AT&T for answers, they simply state “We are still working with Samsung.” When you ask Samsung, they throw AT&T under the bus and say it’s totally in their hands. This is a one year old, former flagship phone. AT&T has no excuse as they’ve updated the S2 Skyrocket, the original Note, a Pantech model, and the Rugby Pro with this same software.
    Can you guess what will happen to the S4 when the S5 drops or the Note 3 when the Note 4 drops?

  6. Modris Reinbergs says

    The Note 3 will continue to disappoint with only 16GB versions and Android preventing Apps from being transferred to the Micro SD card. Ability to move Apps to the Micro SD card is an absolute must.

  7. Brandon VZW says

    I would just like to say that a bigger internal storage would be and awesome plus for this device but lets not forget how easy it is to install on most android devices new software and non-market apps. Forthose of you on this thread with AT&T , root your phone and update the S3. that’ll solve that problem. As for the Note 3, I desperately want the next note device i have a N2 the S4 and there both great but i feel that thier more of the same caliber of phone then the N2 and S3 are. which means whenever the N3 does come out if samsung sticks to there trending marketing and updating then the N3 should blow the S4 out of the water and not really match up til the S5. speculation of course but i really want this phone to blow me away. i agree with most of you that a 32gb internal should come standard but and octa-proccessor isnt a bad idea either so long as it has a 5600 mAh battery. A 15 mp Camera wouldnt be bad either but its needs at at least 4gb of ram. I want this phone to be good and would love to purchase it when we launch it for verizon but who would want to wait til sept 3 right ?

  8. Joshua Wilson says

    The more memory the better. 32G is not enough. 64G with a couple 64G cards is more like it. Add a big battery too. Cloud access is dependent on service. If the providers cannot provide 4G service to every location then cloud access means nothing. It would also be nice if they offered a Micro USB to RJ45 Ethernet adapter and the software to support it for those of us who use it for work. These features would help me get rid of my laptop and be able to do almost everything from my phone.

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