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iPhone 5S vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3: What We Know So Far



Two of the biggest smartphone releases of 2012 came in the form of the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 so it should come as no surprise that two of the most heavily rumored and anticipated smartphones of 2013 are their sequels. The iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have dominated headlines for months now and in due time, the two should arrive on shelves.

Last year, just ahead of the holiday shopping season and within weeks of each other, Apple and Samsung took the curtains down from around two of their big name, yearly smartphones. In August, at an Unpacked event in Berlin, Germany, we saw the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. In September, a month ahead of the iPhone 4S’ launch in 2011, we saw Apple reveal the iPhone 5. Both devices were aimed at taking the companies through the holidays and into the new year and both devices certainly succeeded.

An iPhone 5S concept.

An iPhone 5S concept.

The iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 remain two of the best smartphone options across all carriers in the United States. The iPhone 5 with its industrial design, solid camera and longevity and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with its large display, unique S Pen stylus and bright future. These two juggernauts will remain top choices for several months until they are replaced by the new.

The life of a smartphone is finite and the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 are no exception. And while we knew that the Galaxy Note 2 and iPhone 5 would not be replaced in the first half of the year, the second half of the year is a different story.

Now that we’re in July, rumors of an iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are permeating the air, tempting consumers with their fruits. And while some details remain scarce, we still have a fairly vivid picture of both devices.

Here, for the sake of comparison and for those that might be thinking about buying one or the other or both, we take a look at everything we know so far about the match up between the rumored iPhone 5S and the rumored Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Release Date

The iPhone 5S is expected to be out this fall, possibly in September.

The iPhone 5S is expected to be out this fall, possibly in September.

Those searching for a release date for both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 haven’t found a shortage of rumors. In fact, rumors of their respective releases have been steadily lurking to the surface over the past few months. And while the Galaxy Note 3’s launch has become quite clear, the iPhone 5S launch remains a bit of a mystery.

Last year, the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 were announced within a few weeks of each other. This year, there is a distinct possibility that we could see something similar happen.

Samsung is rumored to be debuting the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in early September at an Unpacked event, likely Episode 2, ahead of the IFA conference in Berlin, Germany. IFA has been the site of Samsung’s past two Galaxy Note launches and so it makes a perfect sense that the company would launch the device their again.

A recent report from Android Geeks puts the Unpacked event on September 4th, two days before the start of IFA 2013. Again, that date makes a whole lot of sense considering Samsung’s past. If this is true, and at this point it’s looking like it is, it could be that the iPhone 5S launch takes place just a few weeks after the Galaxy Note 3’s.

Apple itself has stated that it will be introducing new products this fall and a new iPhone is assuredly going to be one of them. Rumors haven’t been able to pinpoint a certain date for an iPhone event but September has been mentioned several times. September of course is the same month that Apple announced the iPhone 5.

Apple and Samsung typically announce release dates for their devices at their events with Apple announcing specific dates and Samsung offering specific windows. If Apple were to launch the iPhone 5S in September, it likely means a release in September or October. With Samsung, it’s hard to say but it has been moving its launch dates closer to its release dates and thus far, Galaxy Note 3 release rumors suggest late September is the target.


No doubt about it, the displays on the new iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be different. How do we know this already? While the iPhone just recently jumped to a 4-inch display, the Galaxy Note series is known for its massive display which comes in handy when using the device’s bundled S Pen stylus.

Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S will keep the same display size as the iPhone 5 which means 4-inches. A larger screen iPhone isn’t expected to arrive until 2014, possibly as the iPhone 6. And while that seems to be set in stone, rumors can’t agree on whether Apple will be making any resolution changes to the new iPhone.


The iPhone 5S display will likely stay at 4-inches.

In the past, we’ve seen Apple keep the display the same from numbered iPhone, iPhone 4 for example, to ‘S’ model, like the iPhone 4S. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will keep the same Retina display around for the iPhone 5 though. There are whispers that indicate that Apple could outfit the iPhone 5S with a Retina+ display, one with more pixels-per-inch that could help it better compete. Still, those rumors come from the fringe and given Apple’s past, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPhone 5’s Retina display on the iPhone 5S.

If this is true, it will mean that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display could be 1.7-inches bigger than the iPhone 5S’ display. Rumors currently point to the device as having a 5.7-inch display, or something around there, that boasts 1080p full HD resolution, something that the Galaxy Note 2 did not have.

Rumors peg the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.2.2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.2.2 Updates for May or June.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 display should be bigger than the Galaxy Note 2’s display.

There is also talk that Samsung could be looking at releasing a Galaxy Note 3 with several types of display. Rumors point to LCD, AMOLED and flexible displays being in the mix for the Galaxy Note 3 and it could be that Samsung utilizes all of them. Sharp’s IGZO display, which is LCD in nature, has been shown to have fantastic support for inputs from styli like the S Pen. We also saw Samsung introduce is flexible Youm technology at CES so it could be time for the company to release it on a device.

The most logical play here is a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, a display that is both bigger, and comparable in terms of quality, to the iPhone 5S’ Retina display.


Like the display, the iPhone 5S is said to be keeping the same design as the iPhone 5. For some, the lack of a design overhaul may be a bad thing and may feel stale. To many others, this will be fine. The iPhone 5 boasts one of the sleekest designs around with metal and aluminum keeping the device intact. It makes for a beautiful industrial look and one that is maybe Apple’s best yet.

The iPhone 5 is also slim and lightweight, checking in at a mere 7.1mm thin with a weight of 112 grams. Translation? The iPhone 5 one of the slimmest and lightest smartphones on the market. Apple tends to keep its designs active for two years before replacing them so rumors of a similar design should not be taken with a grain of salt.

The iPhone 5S should retain a design similar to the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S should retain a design similar to the iPhone 5.

No matter what though, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is going to weigh more and look different than the iPhone 5S. Such is the life of a Samsung-made smartphone.

Rumors suggest that the device will be around 8mm thin, so about 1mm thicker than the iPhone 5S might be, and weigh in at 182 grams. That’s heavier than the Galaxy Note 2 and much heavier than the iPhone 5 and likely, the iPhone 5S. It also means that the iPhone 5 is going to be much more pocketable.

As for the design itself, rumors have been swirling. A recent report from ETNews suggests that Samsung may be looking to deliver four different Galaxy Note 3 models, offering both cheap and premium versions. If true, it could mean that there will be cheap, plastic versions of the Galaxy Note 3 and at least one model with a premium design.

A metal Galaxy Note 3 concept.

A metal Galaxy Note 3 concept.

Previously, rumors suggested that Samsung would keep a plastic design on the Galaxy Note 3, a design that would be similar to the new Galaxy S4 design that debuted back in March. If that’s true, we’d expect a microSD card slot and a removable back, hallmarks of Samsung designs, and two features not on the iPhone 5.

At this point, the iPhone 5S design situation is fairly clear while the dust has not settled from around the Galaxy Note 3. At the very least, consumers can expect the Galaxy Note 3 to dwarf the iPhone 5S in size.


Apple and Samsung have made it a point to include good cameras on their smartphones. The iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should be no different.

Rumor has it that the iPhone 5S will feature a 13MP camera sensor, an upgrade over the iPhone 5, and a dual-LED flash that should help the device take fantastic photos even in the worst environments. Apple has consistently upgraded its camera from iPhone to iPhone so there is no doubt that we’ll see an upgrade.

Galaxy Note 3 rumors suggest that it too will have a 13MP camera sensor, an upgrade from the Galaxy Note 2. However, there are rumors that it will be the premium version of the Galaxy Note 3 that will have the 13MP camera while the cheaper model will have an 8MP camera. There is also word that the Galaxy Note 3 may feature 3x optical zoom, a feature not found on many smartphones.

No matter the case, consumers should expect both cameras to be upgrades from the cameras found on their predecessors. Just how they compare with each other likely won’t be known until after their arrivals.


Processing power is important for things like gaming, multitasking and battery life so it’s not surprising to hear that both Apple and Samsung are going to be upgrading the CPUs in their new flagship devices.

In the case of the iPhone 5S, it’s thought to either be the A6X chip found in the iPad 4 or a new A7 chip. Either way, we expect the iPhone 5S to beat the iPhone 5 in terms of all-around performance with battery life being a key upgrade.

As for the Galaxy Note 3, it’s thought to have either a quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip from Qualcomm or a Exynos 5 Octa octo-core chip from Samsung. Or both. Samsung is notorious for putting different processors inside its devices so it could be that we see both chips arrive. Thankfully, both chips should deliver high performance that should be on par with the iPhone 5S’.

Both the iPhone and the Galaxy Note series are known for their multitasking capabilities and battery life so there should not be a huge discrepancy, despite the different processor types.


One of the biggest differences between iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be the software. While the new iPhone will very likely be running the closed-system iOS, and in particular iOS 7, the Galaxy Note 3 will most likely be running Android 4.2 or Android 4.3 which is open source software from Google.

The differences between iOS and Android are many so it’s the unique features of the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that users should be focused on.

With the ‘S’ version of the iPhone, Apple has, in the past, added a unique feature or two to give it some ‘oomph’ over the previous model. In the case of the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S, it was Siri, the personal assistant that is found on many Apple products now. In the case of the iPhone 5S, it’s thought to possibly be a fingerprint reader for added security and some hefty camera features including 120FPS and slow-motion, the latter of which were discovered inside the iOS 7 beta by 9to5Mac.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will carry its own unique features though they will come in the form of S Pen-related features. We haven’t heard about much yet but Samsung typically outfits its devices with software upgrades.

Samsung wants to beat Apple.

The Galaxy Note 3 should feature smart software, in combination with new and improved S Pen apps.

The Galaxy Note 2 received several upgrades to its S Pen applications and also received the much talked about Multi-Window View that allows users to split the display up and run two separate apps at the same time. It should also have at least some software features from the Samsung Galaxy S4.

So, from a software standpoint, these two devices should differ greatly not only from their predecessors but from each other.


A Verizon Galaxy Note 2 update, possibly Android 4.1.2, will soon bring more Multi-View apps.

Verizon should get the iPhone 5S and Galaxy Note 3.

No carrier rumors, except one, have cropped up for these devices. Much earlier in the year, we heard that Samsung was pitching AT&T on the Galaxy Note 3 ahead of its arrival. AT&T is closely tied to Samsung so it wasn’t surprising to hear the news. Just a short time ago, we also saw what is supposedly the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 appear in a User Agent String. The model number SM-N900A is thought to possibly be the AT&T variant. And that’s all we have.

Both devices should land on their normal carriers which include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon for the Galaxy Note and the iPhone 5S should land on those five as well thanks to the iPhone 5 launch on T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular confirming the iPhone for later this year.

We also expect to see the iPhone 5S land on several pre-paid and regional carriers as well.


Thus far, we haven’t seen anything price related come up for either the iPhone 5S or the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but it’s not easy to guess price points. Apple tends to keep its devices priced similarly, year-to-year, so it would be shocking to see the iPhone 5S check in at anything less, or more, than $199.99 on-contract.

As for the Galaxy Note 3, it should be more expensive, based on history. American carriers typically offer it for $299.99 on-contract, due to its display size and S Pen. That price hasn’t changed in two years and it likely won’t with the Galaxy Note 3.



  1. Tony

    07/09/2013 at 6:43 pm

    iPhone 5S screen will be too small, Note 3 screen will be too big. I’ll take a Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One please…

  2. chaz

    07/09/2013 at 10:34 pm

    Why don’t you all get a life?
    Blowing off the same crap that was told in all previous updates!
    What a bunch of wankers…l swear!
    Why not wait till the things come out…then know the truth of the matter!

  3. fann

    07/09/2013 at 11:07 pm

    I don’t know why the autor is comparing this two “smarthphones”…….. so stupid ….despite that both are very different from each other, we know that the note is a better toy

  4. yarrellray

    07/10/2013 at 12:00 am

    No iphone 5s will ever be able to compete with the Galaxy Note 3. Just like the iphone 5 couldn’t compare to the Galaxy Note 2. Samsung clearly owns this space rather easily

    • joodi

      07/10/2013 at 1:40 am

      yeah man you’re damn right

    • Bob

      07/11/2013 at 7:41 am

      You suck iphone rules who ever likes Samsung is an idiot

  5. Matt

    07/10/2013 at 12:48 am

    People simply need to realize high end Android phones don’t sell near as well as Samsung leads on. Case in point. When Samsung releases their numbers they mention units shipped not sold but compare their units shipped to iPhone’s units sold. People are starting to catch onto Samsung’s game so now they’re counting each phone selling twice. Once when it goes to distributors and then again to the consumer. iPhone sales are only counted when the consumer buys it. Now there are rumors Samsung has tried a new tactic which is pumping units sold of their other phones into the sales of their S4 sales. If the S4 sold near as well as the iPhone like Samsung wants you to believe they wouldn’t try and manipulate numbers they would only count units sold to consumers like Apple does with the iPhone. You just don’t see many people outside of those online who have a high end Android phone that includes the S4. There are far more iPhones floating about and people are more impressed if you own an iPhone than if you own an S4. The truth is when Samsung’s S4 numbers came out for the first month. They said they shipped 10 million. Which means they sold about half that through siphoning the numbers in actuality only 2-3 million actually sold to the consumer. iPhone 5 on the other hand sold 5 million in 3 days. And the iPhone 5s will outsell the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note. So be prepared for Samsung to continue their game of manipulating numbers to make it seem like they’re selling more high end Android phones than they really are.

    • Michael

      07/10/2013 at 3:53 am

      What are you crazy? Read the facts mate. S4 sold 10 million, ihpone not even close to 5. Iphone fans are crazy noobs that make up stuff because they’re jealous they bought a noob expensive phone, when they in fact know the other stuff out there owns it almost always.and is way better. Just because they’re stuck on the iphone name. It’s sad i feel for you tho mate :( I hope you’ll get over it soon and get better. Thanks in advance.

      • Corey

        07/11/2013 at 10:07 am

        Before you start comment shit out of your mouth the little article you read i can tell you just looked at the headlines and didn’t read it; they sold 10M in 28 days iPhone sold 5M in three days do the math 23 more days so what you need to do is see what did IPhone 5 sale in a month

  6. phone addict

    07/10/2013 at 6:19 am

    Iphone are way beyond on existing tecnology they are still in the same platform in their first generation iphone nothing new only only aluminium body and to make it more thinner who cares about this what we need is the spec of the phone what the phone can do…… samsung they are smashing iphone like a dust in spec and technology.

    • tony hernandez

      08/12/2013 at 9:14 pm

      um wrong every annual interval Apple adds updates making the platform more and more elite in terms of performance, and more and more will be added, and I understand how the two operating systems work, android is open sourced and is easily changed and re programmed and edited while iphone is solid. hopefully you can understand the point. And if you saw the video above in this article they showed a beta of ios 7 which is 1000x different to the current iphone platform because in ios 7 apple is incorporating some features or look-a-likes of android don’t let false information get to you guys, read the facts, don’t make anything up or believe what you want to just because you like a device more. iphone has to date sold more iphones of all models in comparison to android, theres no debate, but who knows this new note 3 could change that only time will tell.
      this was not to be an ass or rude it was to try and clear some things up. chau

  7. Richard

    07/10/2013 at 7:48 am

    Sony Xperia ZU blows both of them away. 6.4″ screen, waterproof, use any pencil or pen as a writing implement. I have the GN 2, but if you like them big then the Sony is the way to go. Only question is will ANYONE in the US carry it?

    • John10

      07/11/2013 at 4:01 pm

      The biggest problem with the ZU is the big bezels combine with a really big screen to give a MASSIVE device.

      The ZU is 30mm longer and 15mm wider than the note 2 which will be about the same size as the note 3.

  8. Propaganda Hater

    07/10/2013 at 8:57 am

    Looks like you just searched and replaced ‘Galaxy S4’ with ‘Galaxy Note 3’ and the same with ‘Iphone 5’…

  9. soldier1969

    07/10/2013 at 2:58 pm

    Note 3 in my future upgrading from the Note 1. The 5S is a joke, same phone same size as the 5 just a little faster but they will market it as something revolutionary when its not.

    • tony hernandez

      08/12/2013 at 9:19 pm

      it will have an incredibly different platform that will look nothing like its current platform it will have much better processor then the note three because of the a 4 chip, and it will have THE best camera on the market with slow motion capture fps and hd recording plus it will be slighty thinner with less weight being the thinnest most pocketable phone. get your facts inline before you get told again just some friendly advice.
      -Tony . Chau

  10. technology

    07/10/2013 at 7:25 pm

    Iphone 5s or iphone 6 whatever name you call it your phone are now old fashion technology .ios7 what a joke @ apple company you can now market your phone to my granny.

    • tony hernandez

      08/12/2013 at 9:22 pm

      false, ios 7 is the newest innovation coming from apple its unlike anything apple has made, and no one will recognize the iphone 5s’s performance due to that fact that it wont be the same, it will be much better then current plantform 6.0.1 check the video that you obviously missed above, showing the beta to ios 7 thanks,
      -Tony . Chau

  11. shahbaz

    07/13/2013 at 12:51 pm

    go to hell iphone ,, i love samsung galaxy

  12. Mark

    07/14/2013 at 8:36 pm

    Will Sony Xperia series phones start to win over more people when the PS4 comes out? Isn’t there suppose to Android PS4 apps and game play? Will there be exclusives on the Xperia series over the Galaxy phones….who cares about the IPhone.

  13. ForeverBuddha (@ForeverBuddha)

    07/15/2013 at 9:38 am

    Bring back the 1 year contract and I’ll pay a little more for the phone. I really hate the 2 years contract!!

  14. rob k

    08/12/2013 at 4:48 am

    Samsung rules

  15. tony hernandez

    08/12/2013 at 9:25 pm

    iphone has much better performance and will have a brand new never before used platform on ios 7, iphone has sold more and will always sell more because its the premium of the two companies products, android has no game due to its stale style , while iphone is re-designing its whole look on how it fuctions and operates, take a look above at the video demonstrating the beta. just saying. facts are facts don’t ignore whats in front of you.

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