Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3: What We Know So Far

In just a few short weeks, Samsung is expected to showcase its brand new Galaxy S smartphone, a device that is currently dubbed Samsung Galaxy S5. When it finally does arrive, it will have to contend with many of the top smartphones on the market including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a device that the company launched back in September. While nothing is set in stone, there are enough credible Galaxy S5 rumors to warrant a comparison to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and here, we want to take a look at what we know so far.

Each year, Samsung releases two big name, flagship smartphones. The first, a Samsung Galaxy S. The second, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Currently, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3 make up the company’s flagship lineup though we will be seeing changes later on this year. Up first on the chopping block is the Samsung Galaxy S4, last year’s flagship that has challenged the likes of the HTC One and iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s since last April. The Galaxy S4 is rumored to be getting replaced by the Samsung Galaxy S5, a powerful new flagship that should serve as Samsung’s big name smartphone of the first half of the year.

Rumors put the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch in the fall which means that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will likely join the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on shelves when it arrives.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 has been out since late September, early October in the United States, and it stands as the company’s large-screen smartphone option, complimenting the Galaxy S4. It’s Samsung’s most powerful phone and it’s a device that will likely draw the attention of prospective Galaxy S5 buyers in the coming days.

Exactly how the Galaxy S5 will match up with the Galaxy Note 3 is unclear. Samsung hasn’t taken the stage and we haven’t seen it confirm specific features. That said, the flood of Galaxy S5 rumors produced a number of credible ones, arming us with enough ammo to make a comparison to Samsung’s current Galaxy Note model.

Here now, we take a look at how the rumored Galaxy S5 stacks up with the very real, Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

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Release  Date

Those who are trying to decide between the two devices still have some more time to prepare. The Galaxy Note 3 isn’t going anywhere any time soon, it was just released late last year, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 launch date is though to be more than a few weeks out at least.

Early Galaxy S5 rumors posited that the launch date would be taking place in January or February. Recently, we saw rumor artist Eldur Murtazin claim that the device would land on February 23rd, or, just a day ahead of the start of Mobile World Congress 2014. Murtazin’s claim went against reports that indicated that the device would arrive in March and skip Mobile World Congress altogether. While nothing is confirmed, a launch at MWC is looking bleak, especially now that Samsung is thought to be showing off Tizen at the event.

Furthermore, Murtazin backed off of his claim, saying that the company is still undecided on a launch date but that it’s considering London for a launch. MWC takes place in Barcelona, Spain. He claims that more details will arrive next week.

What’s clear though is that something is likely going to happen in February or March. Rumors aren’t confirmations but it would be strange to see every Galaxy S5 rumor turn out to be wrong. At this point, March seems to be the most likely which means that rumors of a Galaxy S5 release date inside the month of April could very well be accurate.

Design

Samsung surprised a lot of people when it debuted the Galaxy Note 3′s new design. The company is known for keeping its designs under lock and key and the Galaxy Note 3 design managed to fly in under the radar. The first time that it was seen in the flesh was on stage in September.

The design was a bit surprising. While made of plastic, the Galaxy Note 3 features a faux leather back that is far different than any of the designs that Samsung has used in the past. The company also managed to trim the design of the Galaxy Note 3 down to make it more manageable. It’s still a bit heavy, but that’s to be expected with such a large screen in tow.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 design differed from the Galaxy Note 2 design, just like the Galaxy Note 2 design differed from the original. The same applies to Samsung’s Galaxy S line and thus, rumors that point to design changes on the new Galaxy S appear credible.

Company executive Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg that the “Galaxy S4 may have fallen short of consumer expectations because its design was too similar to its S3 predecessor.” Lee also said that the Galaxy S5 design will probably be different from the Galaxy S5, though, she did not go into any details. This lines up with everything that we’ve heard about the Galaxy S5 thus far.

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SamMobile goes even further claiming that the Galaxy S5 will come in both metal and plastic, similar to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. This report parrots several others that claimed that the Galaxy S5 would finally feature a premium, metal option after all of these years of plastic. The issue of course is that we still haven’t seen the Galaxy S5 design or heard about the dimensions.

So for now, we know is that the Galaxy S5 could come in two models as opposed to the one Galaxy Note 3 model that is on the market. We also know that the Galaxy S’s overall footprint should be smaller than the Galaxy Note 3′s, thanks to its screen size.

Display

Galaxy S5 rumors point to a major upgrade in the display department. Instead of a 1080p display, the Galaxy S5 is thought to have a QHD display with 1440 x 2560 resolution and a whopping 500+ pixel-per-inch count. This is much better than the display on the Galaxy S4 and it would offer content sharper than the content found on the Galaxy Note 3′s 1080p display.

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Nothing is for sure, there are also rumors that suggest that the Galaxy S5 could possibly have a 1080p display as well, but changes are likely. Lee also told Bloomberg that “for the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.” While she didn’t elaborate, it’s clear that the company is going to offer something new to consumers.

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As for the size, the Galaxy S5 display is expected to be around 5.2-inches, a bit bigger than the Galaxy S4′s 5-inch display and just a bit smaller than the Galaxy Note 3′s 5.7-incher. Of course, the size increase shouldn’t mean a massive increase in the size of the phone, particularly if Samsung is able to thin out the bezels. An edge-to-edge display would allow a display size increase without a huge boost to the overall size.

Camera, Processor, Battery

The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the better equipped smartphones on the market. It offers a solid 13MP camera sensor, similar to the one on the Galaxy S4. It comes with a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor in the United States, a processor that provides quality gaming, speedy multitasking, and helps provide solid battery life to Galaxy Note 3 owners through optimizations. It also comes with a large 3,200 mAh battery.

As we noted in our review, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is Samsung’s most powerful smartphone and it should remain exactly that up until the Galaxy S5 comes along.

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Every year, Samsung upgrades its smartphones with newer, better equipment and Galaxy S5 rumors point to this year being no different. The Galaxy S5 is essentially locked in with a 16MP camera sensor. It has been rumored time and again and at this point, it’s all but confirmed. Exactly how the camera will stack up against the Galaxy Note 3 camera is not clear though we do expect ISOCELL technology on board which would mean improved color accuracy and reduced crosstalk.

Rumors also point to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor or a Exynos 6 processor being inside the Galaxy S5. If true, we could see performance that is either in line with, or improved over the Galaxy Note 3. A battery rumor from PhoneArena suggests that the device won’t have a battery larger than the Galaxy Note 3′s but that its 2,900 mAh battery could hold 20% more battery life than other batteries of its size. Fast charging is also rumored. The battery typically isn’t confirmed until the device passes through the FCC so don’t put too much stock into this yet.

Software

From what we’re seeing and hearing, the Galaxy S5′s software might be as unique as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3′s. Recently, the Galaxy Note 3 was upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, Google’s latest Android update. However, it’s not Android that is important when it comes to Android smartphones, it’s Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

TouchWiz dominates the Galaxy smartphone experience. On the Galaxy Note 3, the experience is unique thanks to the device’s bundled S Pen stylus that resides in a holster on the outer edge of the device. With the S Pen, users can write and draw on the screen like a regular stylus, but they can also take advantage of some unique apps. S Pen specific software features like S Note and Air Command allow users to increase productivity, particularly whilst on the go. The Galaxy Note 3′s S Pen can be seen in action in the video below.

Through the use of sensors, Samsung has started to add some of the Galaxy Note’s features to the Galaxy S. Last year, we saw the company add Air View, a feature that allows users to hover over content to get a preview. Galaxy S4 users simply can use their finger instead of the S Pen. This year, the company is thought to be introducing some more drastic changes.

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Rumors suggest that Samsung will debut a new look to its UI on the Galaxy S5. The reliable evleaks leaked two possible looks at the Galaxy S5′s software changes. If the leaks are accurate, the Galaxy S5 should come with a UI that looks a lot like the Magazine UI that Samsung introduced on its new tablet lineup at CES. The Magazine UI can be seen in the video below, running on the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2.

The new look offers pastel-based colors and a updated user interface that seems to rely on cards. There is also talk of improved touch less gestures, better than those found on the Galaxy Note 3 and of touchpoints in the corners of the UI that would allow users to activate shortcuts to apps and settings.

Samsung is also rumored to be coming out with a Touch ID rival. The iPhone 5s boasts a fingerprint reader inside its home button for added security and convenience. Early rumors pointed to Iris-scanning technology in place of a traditional fingerprint reader but now it appears that Samsung will embed the technology under the display. What this would mean for a physical home button is unclear. Whatever Samsung decides on though will be an improvement over what’s on board the Galaxy Note 3, which is, of course, nothing of the sort.

 

Carriers

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is not available on a wealth of carriers in the United States though it is found on the most important ones. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon have all offered the device since October and they will likely be the only carriers to offer the Galaxy Note 3, a device that is still considered to be niche due to its screen size and bundled stylus.

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Samsung has put its Galaxy S on the five largest carriers in the United States for a number of years now but it also has made it available on a number of pre-paid and regional carriers. Right now, the only Galaxy S5 carrier rumor points to an arrival on AT&T. It’s flimsy as it’s based on a model number, but there is simply no way that the Galaxy S5 will miss AT&T or any of the other major carriers.

Price

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is not the cheapest smartphone around. Carriers command a $299.99 on-contract price for the 32GB Galaxy Note 3 in the United States. That’s $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S4 on-contract and $100 more than the iPhone 5s.

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We aren’t entirely sure how the Galaxy S5 price will stack up though, historically, it has been cheaper than the Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy S4, for instance, was $199.99 on-contract in the U.S.

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A recent report from SamMobile claims that the Galaxy S5 will come in at two different price points, mirroring what Apple has done with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The publication asserts that the metal Galaxy S5 will cost about 800 Euros and the plastic model will check in around 650 Euros. The 800 Euros is around $1000 in the United States, a price that is far too expensive for a device like the Galaxy S5, a device that is to compete with the iPhone 5s.

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