In just a few short weeks, consumers will find themselves starring at two new big name smartphones in the forms of the Apple iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Those in the market for a new device surely have their eyes on these two devices ahead of launch and there are important things to know, right now, about their impending match up.
Throughout much of 2013, Apple and Samsung have been rumored to be replacing two of their big name smartphones. For Apple, it’s the iPhone 5, the company’s first 4G LTE smartphone and one that delivered a 4-inch display, industrial design, fantastic camera and the company’s current iOS software, iOS 6.
For Samsung, it’s the Galaxy Note 2, the company’s large screen compliment to the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 that emerged with a massive 5.5-inch display, quad-core processor at a time when quad-core processors were rare, new ergonomic S Pen stylus, a solid camera, and unique software that takes advantage of the device’s bundled S Pen.
Both of these devices have been top tier devices since they launched nearly a year ago. However, like all smartphones, they will be replaced by devices that will likely carry a number of upgrades.
In the case of the iPhone 5, it’s the iPhone 5S, a device that is rumored to be coming out later this year with some significant upgrades to the device’s internals and its software. In the case of the Galaxy Note 2, it’s the Galaxy Note 3, a heavily rumored successor that looks like it will improve in just about every single area of the device.
These devices are just a few weeks away from launch and that means that they are now likely on the radar of smartphone shoppers in the United States and around the world.
While nothing is confirmed yet, rumors have produced a great deal of potential information about both devices and ahead of their launches, it’s time to take a look at how they stack up against each other right now. Here are the nine things that prospective iPhone 5S or Galaxy Note 3 buyers need to know about their match up at the moment.
The first thing that buyers need to know is that they will be getting a glimpse at both the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in just a few weeks. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 launch date is set in stone for September 4th. There is no beating around the bush as Samsung has already sent out invites for an Unpacked Episode 2 event that is clearly going to be geared around the Galaxy Note 3.
What this means is that on September 4th, consumers who have followed the rumors and those who are just now catching up will both catch a glimpse at Samsung’s second big smartphone launch of the year. Of course, the party will only last for so long as it is expected to be overshadowed by the iPhone 5S launch event, rumored to be taking place on September 10th.
Sources agree that September 10th will be the date that Apple launches the new iPhone. Apple hasn’t sent out invites just yet, but at this point it’s just a formality.
So, buyers will not only get to see the Galaxy Note 3 launch, but the iPhone 5S launch just a few days later. This is a huge benefit to those weighing both phones as it means that there will no long waiting involved. Often, buyers see one phone launch and then hear rumors in regards to another a month or two down the line. With the Galaxy Note 3 and the iPhone 5S, it’s bam bam bam.
That said, we should also see iPhone 5S and Galaxy Note 3 release dates emerge around the same time. Nothing is set in stone, but their launch histories are an indication that we could see these release dates arrive only a few weeks apart.
Apple typically keeps its release dates within a few weeks of its announcement. And while there are rumors that we could see the iPhone 5S arrive in late October, that seems unlikely. More likely is a release date in late September or early October at the latest, which is fertile ground for a Galaxy Note 3 release date as well.
Samsung, in recent years, has been adopting more of an Apple approach when it comes to product releases. No, it still doesn’t have control over carriers like Apple does, but it has managed to close the gap between launch and release.
In the case of the Galaxy Note 3, rumors suggest that it will be out in late September, a window that doesn’t seem outlandish at all. If true, it looks like these devices are on a collision course which is a good thing for those looking to buy quickly and efficiently.
Plain and simple, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is going to dwarf the iPhone 5S in terms of size. The difference in size will be thanks to the Galaxy Note 3′s display which is rumored to be as large as 5.7-inches in size. The iPhone 5S should have a 4-inch display, just like the iPhone 5, which could mean that the Galaxy Note 3 display is a full 1.7-inches bigger. This means that the overall footprint of the Galaxy Note 3 should be larger than the iPhone 5.
Rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 3 could share the same dimensions as the Galaxy Note 2. iPhone 5S rumors suggest it will share the design of the iPhone 5. If that’s the case, the Galaxy Note 3 should be thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5S and far less pocketable.
Buyers should know what they’re getting into before buying the Galaxy Note 3. There are plenty of benefits of the large screen but for those don’t need powerful multitasking, don’t game a lot or don’t have a use for a stylus (the Galaxy Note 3 will come bundled with an S Pen stylus), the iPhone 5S is going to be the device to look at more closely.
Tons of Carriers
Both of these devices will be available on a number of different carriers, giving consumers a ton of choices when it comes to 4G LTE networks and data plans.
The iPhone 5 arrived on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon at the start and it moved to T-Mobile earlier this year as well. It also became available on a host of smaller regional carriers around the country. We’ve also seen the nation’s fifth largest carrier, U.S. Cellular, chime in and say that it plans to carry the iPhone later this year.
What this means is that the iPhone 5S should be available for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon at the very least and we should see a host of smaller carriers back those major carriers up as options.
The Galaxy Note 2 arrived for all five of the largest carriers at the start and the Galaxy Note 3 is already rumored for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. U.S. Cellular should get it too. The Galaxy Note series hasn’t appeared on many smaller providers though given its success, it’s possible that we could see the third-generation hit some other carriers. At the very least, it should match the iPhone 5S stride for stride later this year.
Be aware that the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will likely differ quite a bit when it comes to internal and external storage space.
Apple’s iPhones have never come with expandable storage, meaning, they don’t come with microSD card support. This means that users are stuck with the storage that the device comes with an cloud storage, known as iCloud. The iPhone 5S should come in 32GB and 64GB variants at least and it’s possible that we could see 16GB once again instead of 128GB. Prices go up as storage goes up and in the case of Apple, users pay a $100 premium to double their storage space.
The Galaxy Note 3 on the other hand should come with a microSD card slot for expanded storage. What this means is that buyers can pick up a microSD card, likely up to 64GB, and tack on more storage.
The device is thought to be coming in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB form. Carriers are said to be interested in the 32GB model, something never before sold in the U.S., and that could mean storage of up to 96GB of storage. Even if it’s the 16GB model, users will get 80GB of storage space. This of course in addition to cloud services.
With app sizes as big as they are and much of the world shooting photos and video with their smartphone, storage is something that users will need to think heavily about.
There will be major software differences between the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as iOS 7 will be far different than Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. However, they will share something in common. They’ll both likely offer some unique software that takes advantage of their hardware.
In the case of the Galaxy Note 3, TouchWiz will offer some unique features for the Galaxy Note 3′s S Pen. It should also offer some powerful multitasking apps for the device’s large screen, something that is at the heart of the Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy Note 2 and other devices may get some of these features down the road, but the Galaxy Note 3 should have some special software features on board that make it a one-of-a-kind.
Same goes for the iPhone 5S. It’s expected to have at least one unique software feature that Apple will use to help sell it and signs point to it being connected to the device’s rumored fingerprint reader. There is also talk of some unique features for the camera as well.
So buyers can count on both offering the latest software with some unique features as well. Both iOS and Android are solid platforms and the Galaxy Note 3 and the iPhone 5S should offer the best of both worlds.
No need to question whether or not its safe to buy a contract when buying the iPhone 5S. Apple tends to support its devices for three years before ending service. This means that users can safely sign up for a new two year contract, live out that contract, and use the device for another year thanks to new software. (Note: This is exactly what I did with the iPhone 3GS.)
In the case of the iPhone 5S, it should arrive with iOS 7 on board and get three iOS updates after that meaning it should get support all the way up until the release of iOS 11 several years from now. Signing up for a new contract is a tough thing to do this day and age but fortunately, Apple makes it a much easier process to swallow.
Samsung’s past is a little more checkered than Apple’s. Unlike Apple, it hasn’t showed a commitment to offering three years of support to owners. In addition, there are no clear upgrade paths.
The company typically offers a number of years of software support, the Galaxy S2 is a prime example of this, but it doesn’t go above and beyond like Apple does. It also isn’t as clear when it comes to software updates.
iOS typically sees a release and then several incremental updates that improve stability and offer a few new features. This is across all carriers. Samsung, on the other hand, is all over the place. The Galaxy Note 2 hasn’t received a major software update since it launched back in September of last year, it still lingers on Android 4.1. Samsung is apparently skipping Android 4.2 for Android 4.3 but it hasn’t informed Galaxy Note 2 users of that decision. And it’s unclear just how long the Galaxy Note 2 will get support.
Samsung is up there with the best of the Android manufacturers when it comes to software support but it still can’t touch the support that Apple offers for the iPhone.
Buyers should know that both of these phones are going to come with fantastic battery life, no doubt about. There is talk that the iPhone 5S could possess better battery life than the iPhone 5 which ranks amongst the best when it comes to the juice that it provides its users. At the very least, it should have the same fantastic battery life as the iPhone 5.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is also expected to feature stellar battery life as well thanks to a massive 3,000+ mAh battery and new processors that should help to enhance the device’s staying power. Like the iPhone 5, the Galaxy Note 2 offers some of the best smartphone battery life on the market and we only expect it to improve in the device’s successor.
At this point, Galaxy Note 3 and iPhone 5S rumors both suggest that the cameras on these devices are going to be fantastic, upgrades over the cameras on their predecessors.
The iPhone 5S, all along, has been thought to have a fantastic camera that may ultimately be one of the biggest selling points of the device. Rumors suggest that it could have not only dual-LED flash but also two different colors for the dual LED flash, white and yellow. This, if true, would help the iPhone 5S capture more natural looking photos, particularly in low light environments where some smartphones have struggled in the past.
iOS 7 has also been rumored to be bringing 120fps and slow motion video capture, both of which could be unique to the iPhone 5S.
The Galaxy Note 3 is also thought to have a fantastic camera with rumors suggesting a 13MP sensor with optical image stabilization. OIS would help to ensure smooth looking photos and video with minimal blurriness. The quality of the sensor should mean better looking photos and video with the Galaxy Note 3. Both the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2 had good cameras but it looks like Samsung is going to be making a big push when it comes to the Galaxy Note 3 hardware.
In addition, Samsung could be loading up its already fantastic camera application. We should see some of the features that came with the Galaxy S4 arrive and it could be that we finally see the long rumored Samsung Orb arrive as well. Samsung Orb is expected to be Samsung’s take on Android 4.2′s Photo Sphere, a feature that allows users to take 360-degree panoramic photos.