Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4: What Buyers Can Expect from Samsung

Last year, Samsung announced and released not one but two flagship Galaxy smartphones in the forms of the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2. This year, it will do the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is posed to join the Samsung Galaxy S4 on shelves. And with the launch within reach, consumers are likely wondering how the Galaxy S4 will stack up with the Galaxy Note 3. Here we offer some possible answers.

In 2011, Samsung offered consumers a glimpse at the future. In the early part of the year, the company announced the Galaxy S2, its former flagship that replaced the original Galaxy S on shelves. Then, later in the year, the company took the stage at IFA in Germany and announced a large screen Galaxy Note, complete with an S Pen stylus and powerful software.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Video Rumor & Release Date Roundup.

The launch of two big name, heavily marketed smartphones set the tone for the years to come it seems as last year, Samsung introduced not one, but two flagship smartphones in the United States and in countries around the world.

First, it was the Galaxy S3 and later in the year it was the Galaxy Note 2 that took to shelves to help the company battle devices like the iPhone. The Galaxy S3 has since been replaced by the current Galaxy S smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4, which arrived on shelves in April. And now, it seems it will be the Galaxy Note 2’s turn to give away to a successor.

Rumors insist that the Galaxy Note 3 will be the topic of conversation at Samsung’s announced September 4th launch event ahead of IFA 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Rumors have also seemingly revealed many of the Galaxy Note 3’s features, giving consumers a pre-launch glimpse at the Galaxy Note 2 successor.

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While nothing is set in stone, rumors, history and educated guesses should help us paint a picture about what to expect between the upcoming internal battle between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Release Date

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is already out on shelves and will be widely available until the Galaxy S5 debuts next year. It will, however, be joined by the Galaxy Note 3 in the near future at which point the two devices will wage an internal battle against each other, while also competing against the numerous competitors on the market.

Rumors suggest that the Galaxy S4 could be challenged by the Galaxy Note 3 as soon as early September with the Galaxy Note 3 thought to be shipping out in early September shortly after its launch date. No specific date has been mentioned but it’s looking like September will be the release month.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 launch event is on for September 4th.

The Galaxy Note 3 will arrive on September 4th.

The Galaxy S4 launched in the United States at the same time as other regions and given the important of this year’s Galaxy Note release, we don’t expect the United States to lag behind like it did with the Galaxy Note 2.

Expect the Verizon Galaxy Note 3 to be the last variant to arrive on shelves.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S4 came with a design that wasn’t a complete redesign from the Galaxy S3. Instead, the company tweaked the design in several different areas.

First, it added a faux metal band that now stretches around the device to give it a distinct look. Second, it used better feeling plastic than the polycarbonate that it used with the Galaxy S3. Third, the device is a little bit taller due to the increase in screen size. The device is also thinner and lighter than the Galaxy S3 with a 7.9mm frame.

The Galaxy S4 next to the Galaxy Note 2.

The Galaxy S4 next to the Galaxy Note 2.

The Galaxy S4, like the Galaxy S3, also arrived with a removable back which includes a removable battery and a microSD card slot on the side for expanded storage. So what does this all have to do with the Galaxy Note 3?

Well, we still haven’t seen the Galaxy Note 3 itself leak out, meaning, the Galaxy Note 3 design is still a mystery. Rumors suggest that it will be similar to the Galaxy Note 2 in design, and in dimensions, and at this point, that seems logical.

The Galaxy Note 3 could be as slim as the Galaxy S4.

The Galaxy Note 3 could be as slim as the Galaxy S4.

Given the Galaxy S4 design tweaks, we expect the Galaxy Note 3 to have some changes, perhaps it will use the same plastic that the Galaxy S4 does. But overall, don’t expect metal, don’t expect something that is drastically different from the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 2. At the most expect a thin Galaxy Note 3 that has elements of the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4.

And yes, buyers should expect it to have a removable battery and microSD card slot.

Display

Samsung’s Galaxy Note is able to coexist with the Galaxy S series because of its larger display, its S Pen and its unique software. So it’s not surprising that rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 3 display will be larger than the Galaxy S4’s 5-inch display.

Rumors insist that the Galaxy Note 3 will have a display that measure in around 5.7-inches in size. That’s .2-inches bigger than the Galaxy Note 2 display and .5-inches larger than the display on the original Galaxy Note.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display will jump up to 5.7-inches and to a 1080P resolution according to rumors.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display will jump up to 5.7-inches and to a 1080P resolution, according to rumors.

Furthermore, the Galaxy Note 3 is expected to have a bump in resolution, moving from 720p HD to 1080p full HD, same as the Galaxy S4 display. This should mean crisp and clear photos, text and video and consumers should expect the two displays to be comparable to each other.  Well, except for the size.

Camera

Samsung finally upgraded the Galaxy S camera with the Galaxy S4’s 13MP sensor and buyers should expect it to do the same with the Galaxy Note 3, possibly with a similar sensor.

Rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 3 could follow the Galaxy S4 and come with a 13MP camera sensor on board. There are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could also come with Optical Image Stabilization which would help deliver even better quality video. There has also been talk of 3x Optical Zoom for the camera but that seems less likely at this point.

The Galaxy Note 3 is thought to have a 13MP camera, just like the Galaxy S4.

The Galaxy Note 3 is thought to have a 13MP camera, just like the Galaxy S4.

What this means is that we could perhaps see a Galaxy Note 3 camera armed with a similar sensor and similar camera app, but also include OIS which would offer smoother video. Don’t expect the Galaxy Note 3 camera to blow the Galaxy S4’s out of the park, but it’s looking like it could be marginally better than the one found on the current flagship.

Specs

Rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be coming with a more powerful processor than the Galaxy S4. While the Galaxy S4 came with a Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor in some areas, it also came with a Exynos 5 Octa processor in others. These are both powerful processors though they will be overshadowed by the CPUs in the Galaxy Note 3.

The device is heavily rumored to have a new Exynos 5 Octa chip, the Exynos 5420, in some areas and a Snapdragon 800 processor on board in others. The U.S. should see the Snapdragon 800 as it saw the Snapdragon 600 with the Galaxy S4.

A Snapdragon 800 could help the device charge faster as well.

A Snapdragon 800 could help the device charge faster as well.

Both processors are upgrades over the chips found inside the Galaxy S4 and they should help to offer enhanced performance when it comes to things like gaming and battery life.

Speaking of batteries, while the Galaxy S4 came with a 2,600 mAh battery, the Galaxy Note 3 is thought to have a 3,450 mAh battery, much bigger than the Galaxy S4’s. Of course, it will need to power the device’s larger screen but given the processor and given what we saw from the Galaxy Note 2 in terms of battery life, buyers can expect the Galaxy Note 3 to either be on par or surpass the Galaxy S4 when it comes to battery life.

Software

Both the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Note are powered by Android, Google’s operating system. They also both come equipped with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface over the top of Android. It’s what makes them Samsung phones rather than Google phones. And while they share some things in common, there are some big differences that users should expect from the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3.

First, the similarities. We fully expect the Galaxy Note 3 to run Google’s latest version of Android, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, right out of the box. We expect the Galaxy S4 to get Android 4.3 at some point soon, it’s just not clear when. So it could be that the Galaxy Note 3 one ups the Galaxy S4 when it comes to Android versions for a short time.

Consumers should also expect the Galaxy Note 3 to have at least some of the TouchWiz features that arrived with the Galaxy S4. Specifically, we expect the device to have the improvements that came along with the camera application. We expect other features like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause to be on board the Galaxy Note 3 as well.

There will also be major differences due to the Galaxy Note’s S Pen. The Galaxy Note series comes equipped with unique apps that take advantage of the devices bundled stylus including a note taking app called S Note that opens up as soon as the pen is taken out of its holster.

Rumors about the S Pen and its apps have been scarce but with the Galaxy S4 closing the gap with features Air View, a feature that’s on the Galaxy Note 2 but requires an S Pen, we expect the company to really focus on upgrading its arsenal of S Pen features. We should also see some new features arrive as well. Exactly what, we can’t say but don’t expect the software to remain unchanged from the Galaxy Note 2.

With the processing power and 3GB of RAM that will be coming on board the Galaxy Note 3, buyers should expect the company to enhance or add multitasking features. One of the biggest features of the Galaxy Note 2 was Multi-Window View, a feature that allowed users to split the big screen in two to run two different apps at once. The feature is now available on the Galaxy S4.

Carriers

The Note 3 back is likely removable with access to a large battery and a MicroSD card slot.

Samsung is known to release both its flagships on several major carriers.

Both the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note are known for their widespread carrier options. The Galaxy Note wasn’t always available on a bunch of carriers but the Galaxy Note 2 changed that as it followed in the footsteps of the Galaxy S3 and arrived on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

The Galaxy S4 mirrored this release and then some as it arrived on a number of smaller carriers as well. Buyers can expect the Galaxy Note 3 to arrive on the five largest carriers in the United States but there is some concern for smaller carriers as the device hasn’t been available on a wide swath of carriers in the past.

At the very least, expect these two to share major carriers in the United States and abroad, giving buyers an assortment of options when the device is finally put up for order.

Price

Historically, the Samsung Galaxy S series is cheaper than the Galaxy Note series, thanks to the larger display and the bundled S Pen. In the past, we’ve seen the Galaxy S emerge at $199.99 on-contract and the Galaxy Note come with price tag that is $100 more expensive.

Buyers can expect the trend to continue this year as the Galaxy S4 arrived with a $199.99 price tag for the base 16GB model and the 32GB variant coming in at $249.99. We still haven’t seen any Galaxy Note 3 price rumors emerge but given that it’s likely coming with a large display that boasts high-resolution, and given the likelihood of an S Pen, $299.99 seems likely.

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Of course, there are rumors that the 16GB Galaxy Note 3 will be abolished in favor of a 32GB base model, so at least there’s that. At any rate, the Galaxy S4 will be much cheaper than the Galaxy Note 3 at launch.

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