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Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy Note 2: What Buyers Can Expect from Samsung



In just a few short weeks, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 launch date will arrive and Samsung will show off the device that will be replacing the current model, the Galaxy Note 2, as the company’s flagship. And while the Galaxy Note 3 still isn’t confirmed, we think we know a bit about the upcoming phablet and how it will compare to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2.

Back in 2011, Samsung launched the large screen Samsung Galaxy Note to compliment its Samsung Galaxy S2. At the time, there was tons of skepticism surrounding the launch and for good reason. Devices with large screens like the Dell Streak 5 simply did not resonate with consumers. And yet, the Galaxy Note, its big screen, its unique S Pen stylus and its powerful software managed to catch on heading into 2012.

The original Galaxy Note and its 5.3-inch display hit AT&T to much fanfare. Later in the year, it landed on T-Mobile. That limited launch left consumers wanting more and Samsung delivered, announcing a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in August of last year that brought a number of improvements over the original including, a release on more several carriers, including Verizon.

Since the end of November, the Galaxy Note 2 and its 5.5-inch display, its quad-core processor, its 8MP camera, its solid design, its powerful software, its ergonomic S Pen and its declining price tag has been one of the most attractive device on the market and one that we have comfortably listed as one of our top options across all carriers in the U.S.

However, the Galaxy Note 2’s time is nearly up, just like the Galaxy Note’s was all those months ago. Rumors suggest that a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is on the way and Samsung has not everything but deny it.

Samsung has all but confirmed it for arrival on September 4th in Berlin, Germany ahead of IFA 2013. Ahead of its arrival, it’s time to take an in-depth look at exactly what buyers can expect to change from the Galaxy Note 2 to the Galaxy Note 3 when the next-generation phablet arrives.

Release Date

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will launch on September 4th. We know that thanks to an invite that Samsung sent out a few weeks ago, inviting the press to Berlin, Germany for Episode 2 of its Unpacked series. The Galaxy S4 launch, which took place in March, was Episode 1.

It is here that we should learn exactly when the Galaxy Note 3 will be replacing the Galaxy Note 2 as Samsung’s top billed Galaxy Note model. Rumors suggest that the device will be shipping in September, something that makes sense given Samsung’s new found penchant for getting its devices out quickly after announcing them.

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

The Galaxy Note 3 will arrive on September 4th.

It’s not clear exactly when the Galaxy Note 3 will land to replace the Galaxy Note 2, but at this point, consumers can expect it to land just a few weeks after its announced. That doesn’t mean the Galaxy Note 2 will disappear though.

Instead, the device will likely stay on board at some carriers, and retailers, as a budget option. Perhaps it will be sold both new and refurbished, perhaps one or the other, perhaps none. But there will still be a way to get the Galaxy Note 2 once the Galaxy Note 3 arrives.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rumored to feature a design that is similar to the Galaxy Note 2, including dimensions. If true, that would mean a device that weighs around 180 grams and checks in with a frame that is 9.3mm in size. There have also been rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could be a little slimmer than the Galaxy Note 2 and check in at 8mm.

At this point, given that we haven’t seen a credible image of the Galaxy Note 3 leak out yet something that can be blamed on Samsung’s tight security, it’s difficult to say just what the Galaxy Note 3 design might look like and what it might have on board.

Galaxy Note designs change year-after-year so expect tweaks to the Galaxy Note 3.

Galaxy Note designs change year-after-year so expect tweaks to the Galaxy Note 3.

What we can say is that buyers should expect a design that is plastic and one that isn’t identical to the Galaxy Note 2’s. Samsung likes to tweak its designs year-after-year, we’ve seen it with both the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S, so we expect there to be some changes, however subtle, to the Galaxy Note 3’s design. The company could opt to extend the design to accommodate the larger display and we could also see it use the improved plastic material that it used with the Galaxy S4.

There is nothing that indicates a full on re-design and buyers should expect Samsung to introduce a brand new design scheme with the Samsung Galaxy S5 in 2014, not the Galaxy Note 3 in 2013.


Something else that has changed year-after-year with the Galaxy Note series and Galaxy S series is the display. We’ve seen Samsung put increasingly large displays on its smartphones with the Galaxy S4 jumping from 4.8-inches to 5-inches and the Galaxy Note moving from 5.3-inches to 5.5-inches. So it should come as no surprise to buyers that the Galaxy Note 3 is expected to feature a display that is larger, and better, than the Galaxy Note 2’s 5.5-inch 720p display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should feature a larger, and better, display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should feature a larger, and better, display.

Rumors insist that the Galaxy Note 3 will have a display that is somewhere in the vicinity of 5.7-inches. 5.68-inches may be the official size but we expect it to be marketed as 5.7-inches, even if that is the case. Rumors also suggest that it will come with 1080p resolution, better than the resolution found on the Galaxy Note 2. We expect a higher pixel-per-inch count as well.

So what does this mean for consumers? Well, it means that we should see a Galaxy Note 3 that produces better looking content including movies, games and more. The extra real estate should also give S Pen users and gamers a little more space to work.


One of the things that didn’t change much from the original Galaxy Note to the Galaxy Note 2 was the camera. Both possessed an 8MP camera, both of which could capture good quality photos and video. And paired with Samsung’s fantastic camera application, there wasn’t much to complain about in regard to the overall Galaxy Note camera experience. Of course, there is always room for improvement and Galaxy Note 3 buyers should expect one from the Galaxy Note 3.

The Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S4. Rumors point to a Galaxy Note 3 with a larger display and 1080P HD resolution.

Like the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note 3 should have a 13MP camera.

Rumors have focused on a 13MP camera sensor for the Galaxy Note 3, possibly the same sensor found in the Galaxy S4. If true, that should mean better photos shot in low-light and noisy environments. There is also talk of Optical Image Stabilization, something that is arriving on next-gen devices like the LG G2, and which should help produce better looking photos and video.

While we can’t say for sure what will be on the Galaxy Note 3, buyers should expect a change in camera quality. With devices pushing the boundaries and the Galaxy Note in dire need of an upgrade, don’t expect Samsung to slouch.


The Galaxy Note 3 will benefit from a processor upgrade.

The Galaxy Note 3 will benefit from a processor upgrade.

Consumers should expect some upgrades when it comes to the rest of the hardware specifications on the Galaxy Note 3. First, we should see a processor bump. The Galaxy Note 2 had one of the better processors of its time, a quad-core Exynos 4, but the Galaxy Note 3 should have a Exynos 5 Octa processor in some areas and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor in others. It’s also expected to have 3GB of RAM as opposed to 2GB.

Both of those should mean enhanced overall performance, something that is key for a multitasking and gaming beast like the Galaxy Note. It should also mean better battery life. It also helps that the Galaxy Note 3 is rumored to have a larger battery than the Galaxy Note 2.

Buyers should expect the Galaxy Note 3 to have a microSD card slot and a removable back, hallmarks of Samsung’s smartphone designs. However, given the wireless charging capabilities that Samsung bestowed upon the Galaxy S4, it would be strange to see the Galaxy Note 3 launch without support. The Galaxy Note 2 does not have wireless charging support.


Software is one of the key features on the Samsung Galaxy Note series because it makes it more than just a smartphone with a big screen. For those thinking about versions of Android, the Galaxy Note 3 is almost certainly going to have Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an improvement over the Galaxy Note 2’s Android 4.2. The Galaxy Note 2 should get Android 4.3 in the next few months but likely won’t get it before the Galaxy Note 3 arrives.

More important though is the TouchWiz software from Samsung that will arrive on the Galaxy Note 3. While rumors are scarce, buyers can expect a number of upgrades to the software’s S Pen applications. The S Pen will likely be up one of the biggest selling points for the Galaxy Note 3 as it battles a number of large screen devices later this year.

With so much at stake, there is no way that Samsung keeps things the same with the Galaxy Note 3. Expect some killer features for the S Pen and some possible additions to the device’s already powerful multitasking. We should also see some Galaxy S4 features emerge on board as well.

The Galaxy Note 2 will likely benefit from some of the software that the Galaxy Note 3 brings but that update shouldn’t arrive until sometime next year. Instead, look for the Galaxy Note 3 to bring all of what the Galaxy Note 2 currently has to offer and more.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 arrived on a host of carriers, establishing itself as one of the go-to Android phones on the market. Thanks to its success, we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to arrive on the same carriers which should include launches on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.

Expect an improved camera with supporting software.

The Galaxy Note 3 should hit a number of carriers, Verizon included.

We don’t expect to see a host of smaller carriers, if we see any at all, and those who are looking to buy on Verizon should expect it to hit Big Red’s 4G LTE network last.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note has always arrived with a $299.99 price tag, just like the Galaxy S has, in recent years, arrived at $199.99. We don’t expect the Galaxy Note 3 to differ much from the $299.99 price, thanks to its large screen and its S Pen.

Look for a new design from the Galaxy Note 3.

The Galaxy S4 kept a familiar price tag. Expect the Galaxy Note 3 to as well.

There are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could drop the 16GB variant in favor of a 32GB model, and even then, we expect carriers to keep a familiar price point in the United States.

We expect the Galaxy Note 2 to drop in price once the Galaxy Note 3 rolls out and we should see bargain bin prices emerge at retailers like Amazon, a place where the Galaxy Note 2 is already offered at dirt cheap prices.



  1. SA_NYC

    08/21/2013 at 7:55 pm

    Nice article, thanks, I appreciate all the detail. Looking forward to the 3!

  2. Dave

    08/21/2013 at 9:57 pm

    What?! It better not be on Verizon last!!! Noooooooo…..

    • Julio Villanueva

      08/23/2013 at 5:09 am

      By ‘last’ it means 1 or 2 weeks later. No big deal. It gives you time to sell your Note 2 and recoup some of your investment. I’m putting my Note2 on eBay in 2 weeks

  3. ckh14

    08/22/2013 at 12:48 am

    I’ve been looking forward to getting the Note 3 for months, reading up on all the rumors and news. Now, I have to say I’m still picking one up, but I have to say I’m a little bummed at what the Note 3 is going to offer vs my Note 2. We were ah expecting a 5.99 inch true tablet phone that could utilize the s pen to its Full extent. Now it seems that were getting an incrimental update to our Note 2. The difference between 5.55 inch screen and a 5.68 is only 3mm which is so negligable it probably will not even be noticeable. Sure the processor will be faster, but again the Note 2 was already extremely fast and smooth so its not like its going to be majorly different in real world performance. Then the battery… I Know people were all wanting ridiculous battery sizes but a 3350maph battery will offer no mare use time with the more power hunger screen and processor. Lastly the full hd screen. On paper its awesome to say full hd but again on a 5.68 screen the difference will be minimal vs Note 2 720p.’It’s stacking up to look more like a phone for those who do not own a Note 2 rather than the mini tablet powerhouse us Note fans were expecting. The irony of this is that those who dont have a Note 2 mainly dot like the large screen so it wont matter if its 5.68 or the desired 6 inch screen as the general public still will be turned off by the size, meanwhile us Note lovers have to wait another year for the Note we were wanting. Shame at this misstep by Samsung as other Companies are putting out 6inch plus devices with nearly identical specs. here’s hoping maybe Note 4 will deliver the device we want.

    • Dustin

      08/22/2013 at 4:01 am

      I do agree with you in some area’s.

      I think that Note 2 owner’s to will be much happier with the update to Android 4.2.2, or 4.3. Since that’s what we are supposedly getting instead of 4.2.2, I just think it’s another reason to delay the update for the Note 2 for the third time now…

      It will be almost a year from release and us Note 2 owners will still be on Android 4.1, the same version of Android the phone came with out of the box.

      We were supposed to get 4.2.2 back in July. And as everyone say’s, it’s not just getting Android 4.2 or 4.3 it’s the full update from Samsung. The new Touch-Wiz 2.0 UI (that would give us all the new features, change in looks, new toggle switches in the notification panel, basically a whole new design) then you get software like the new Camera with it’s new feature’s… The new version of S-Voice and the all new S-Translate and a allot of tiny bug fixes.

      The update would basically bring all of the S4 features and update our Note features. As well as bring us new Samsung software, like the new version of the Camera, The new S-Voice, yada,yada,yada.. As I said before. And all the new Android feature’s, fixes and enhancements.

      Now…… The one main reason I wouldn’t buy the Note 3 is the lack of support the Note 2 has had. Just the fact we had 4.2.2 made for the Note 2 supposedly being worked on for 7 months and then Samsung decides they are going to skip that upgrade and go right to 4.3 for the Note 2 is pure BS. They could have always released the update then when 4.3 was ready, could have released that to us as well.

      This just shows Samsung is not upgrading our device so they can market
      The Note 3 with all of the software the Note 2 should have received. THE FACT THAT THE NOTE 2 HASN’T RECEIVED A UPDATE WITH ALL OF THE NEW FEATURES IS A MARKETING SCAM. That us Note 2 owners have to deal with.

      If anything Samsung should make sure the consumer’s that went out and bought there flagship Note 2 device. The Note 2 Should be getting updated before the Note 3 is released with 4.3 and all of the new Samsung features.

      So my main reason for not upgrading to the Note 3 is lack of support from Samsung.

      How do we know that they won’t do the same thing to Note 3 owners when they are months away from releasing the Note 4 about nine or ten month’s from now.

      If Samsung acts swiftly and updates the Note 2 within weeks from right now, maybe more people will trust them. It’s not just me. There are thousands of people thinking the same thing on web forums everywhere. Allot of people are not going to even buy another Samsung device due to what Samsung is doing and scamming there own customer’s.

      All so Samsung can sell more Note 3’s they push all Note 2 updates to the side. It’s sad to see a company that makes so much money and are the top smartphone brand in the world pull this BS..

      • ckh14

        08/22/2013 at 8:16 am

        Yea I agree with you. Samsung has no incentive to push the 4.2 or 4.3 update to the note 2 whatsoever. So while the hardware might be basically the same, albeit what you’d expect a year late it’s complete bullshit about the updates. We are still on the same launch software with some random bug fixes. They’ve obviously don’t this as a means of trying to push people into reupgrading from n2 to n3. Like I was telling a buddy of mine who also has note 2, we won’t see 4.2 or 4.3 until long after the note 3 has been released and sales are steady…. probably around December or January which means it’ll be well over a year since 4.2 was released before we get the update. To me, the biggest bullshit is the delay between google release of an os till the release by samsung, typically around 11 months waiting on average. This is obviously a ploy so that those who are tired of waiting for improvements, new features, and bug fixes will run out and buy new phones half way thru their contracts. For me the hardest part of having waiting for the note 3 besides still being on 4.1.2 is how minimal of a difference there will be between the phones period. 3mm of screen size or appx 1.5 mm length and width is too small to matter, when they even announced it as 5.99 in march. They obviously are doing this small bump in size and technology to save room for note 4 and note 5 to come, which annoys the hell out of me. The whole point of the note is s size and s pen, yet at least for me, the s pen on my note 2 is nearly useless given how little room you have to use it. This is why I was looking forward and w a it information for almost a year excited about note 3, only for this to be what they deliver.

        • Don S.

          08/22/2013 at 2:58 pm

          I’m sure hoping they have a Google Play Edition for the Note 3. If they don’t, I might go with something else.

      • Julio Villanueva

        08/23/2013 at 5:13 am

        They did the same with the Note 1 when the Note 2 was announced. So it’s not really a surprise

    • Julio Villanueva

      08/23/2013 at 5:03 am

      You can get the Sony Xperia Ultra. Has the size you want a and also has the S.pen capabilities. Plus is water resistant. I’m thinking giving it a shot

    • Ahmed M Fuad (@AhmedMuthanaF)

      09/06/2013 at 11:53 am

      agree with U because it dosent offer too much features than the note 2 soo i’ll not upgrade to note 3

  4. roy

    08/22/2013 at 2:17 am

    Hello adam. i must say samsung is doing great but i dont see much change in design. samsung keeps working on the same design again and again but some manufacturers like HTC and Sony are working on their designs too. thats why i love HTC. yes they are facing tough times but still they are better. samsung should try to provide more. i am waiting for HTC One Max

  5. DB

    08/24/2013 at 11:05 pm

    I have to agree with a lot of the views. There is really not much of a reason to upgrade from my n2 to the n3. Minimal upgrades. Should have gone to a 5.99″ screen as well. I will be keeping my n2 and hoping for 4.3 to come along.

    • Julio Villanueva

      08/25/2013 at 9:21 pm

      Size is not all that matters. If new Note 3 is the same size is fine with me. All I care is faster processor and better screen quality. The actual fine is fine right now. Fits right on my hands. Any bigger would make it uncomfortable to hold it. I don’t understand why so many people complain about size. If they want something bigger go for new Nexus 7.

  6. Tee

    09/08/2013 at 9:57 am

    How to call out the function key of Screen Capture for Samsung Note 2 ? Is screen capture available ?

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