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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.