Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 5 Key Differences

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 probably won’t be coming any time soon which means that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 will face off with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 once the Galaxy S5 is released in April. Here, in the build up to launch, we take a look at what we consider to be the five biggest differences between the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3.

While it might seem like an old device, it’s not. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 debuted in September and was released at the beginning of October meaning it’s only about four months old. Thanks to its high-powered hardware, the fact that it should be getting software support for 24 months, and a declining price tag, the Galaxy Note 3 will remain a solid option for the foreseeable future. In fact, it should remain a top choice even after the Galaxy Note 4 arrives later on this year.

This is the all-new Samsung Galaxy S5.

This is the all-new Samsung Galaxy S5.

This means that consumers are going to be weighing it next to the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S smartphone that debuted today on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The new Samsung Galaxy S5 won’t arrive until April but we already know a lot about the brand new flagship thanks to our hands-on experience with it in New York City at Samsung’s Galaxy S5 launch event. And while we’re not comfortable comparing the two just yet, we can point out some of the differences that prospective consumers should be aware of in the build up to the Galaxy S5’s release this April.

Here, we focus in on five of the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 that will challenge it later on this year.


The Samsung Galaxy S5 does not share a design with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. In fact, they are completely different. While the Galaxy Note 3 utilizes a faux leather plastic design, the Galaxy S5 design offers a perforated pattern on the back cover. Samsung says that it adds a modern, “glam” look to its new flagship smartphone.

Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 3.

Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 3.

Looking beyond the surface, we find two more key differences between the two designs. The Galaxy Note 3 is thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S5. While the Galaxy Note 3 is 8.3mm thin with a frame that weighs 168 grams, the Galaxy S5 is a little bit thinner and lighter with a form factor that is 8.1mm thin and 145 grams heavy. The weight difference is the most noticeable.

Samsung also has delivered a dust and water proof design with the Galaxy S5. This new rugged design will help to make users feel comfortable taking the Galaxy S5 into rugged environments. The Galaxy Note 3 does not feature dust or water proof qualities.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 display is a monstrosity. It’s also why the Galaxy Note 3 is a whole lot bigger than the Galaxy S5 and most other flagship devices. It’s 5.7-inches in size and offers users 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution, something that translates into beautiful looking games, movies and photos.

The Galaxy Note 3 offers a larger 5.7-inch display.

The Galaxy Note 3 offers a larger 5.7-inch display.

Rumors in the build up to the Galaxy S5 launch pointed to two resolutions, QHD and full HD. For the moment, 1080p full HD resolution has won out.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a smaller 5.1-inch display that offers the same 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3. So, like the Galaxy Note 3, it will offer great looking content it will just look great on a much smaller display.

Samsung has also added a brand new “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to the Galaxy S5 that will not only turn the display to black and white but will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life.


Like the Galaxy S4 before it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 utilizes a 13MP camera sensor that is capable of delivering fantastic photo and video. Unlike the Galaxy S4 camera though, the Galaxy Note 3 can shoot 4K ultra high-definition video. The Galaxy Note 3 camera is fantastic but it probably won’t be as good as the Galaxy S5’s.

Instead of a 13MP camera sensor, the Galaxy S5 features an upgraded 16MP sensor. In addition to the higher resolution, the Galaxy S5 camera also uses a hybrid autofocus system.

The Galaxy S5 comes with a powerful 16MP camera.

The Galaxy S5 comes with a powerful 16MP camera.

What this means is that the Samsung Galaxy S5 uses standard auto focus in addition to phase detection autofocus. In fact, it uses both at the same time which means that the device can autofocus in speeds up to 0.3 seconds. That’s huge for those that are constantly pulling out their phone to shoot photos.

The Galaxy S5’s camera also brings changes to HDR adding advanced High Dynamic Range (Advance HDR) that should provide better colors and more natural lighting in photos and video.

S Pen

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 utilizes a stylus called the S Pen. The S Pen, which comes bundled with the device, is not your ordinary stylus. While it certainly lets users write and draw on the screen, it can also take advantage of a number of unique applications like S Note, Air Command and a whole lot more.

Many of the Galaxy Note 3’s unique software features can be seen in the video below.

We call them unique because they are exactly that. Samsung does not offer the S Pen experience with the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S5’s software will not be coming with the S Pen or its unique set of apps.

Home Button

Finally, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a physical home button that is situated at the bottom of the device, it does not come with the same home button as the Samsung Galaxy S5.


The Galaxy S5 offers a fingerprint reader inside its home button.

In an effort to keep up with Apple and the iPhone 5s, Samsung has trotted out a brand new physical home button for the Galaxy S5 that features a Finger Scanner. What Samsung calls a Finger Scanner is simply a fingerprint reader that allows users to use their fingerprints to lock up their device.

The feature, like Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, adds another layer of security and also provides added convenience to those who are tired of having to use a passcode. We still don’t know how well the fingerprint reader will perform though in our hands-on time with the Galaxy S5, it seemed to work pretty well.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, be sure to check out our full review.