The Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently the cream of the crop when it comes to Samsung smartphones. However, it will have some serious in-house competition later on this year from Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, specifically, from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. With consumers likely setting their sights on both, it’s now time to take a look at the most important things to know about their match up, prior to the launch of the Galaxy Note 3.
Earlier this year, Samsung announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4 after months of rumors, speculation and build up. Thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 became one of the most anticipated devices of the year and perhaps, ever. And while it’s still unclear if that will translate into huge sales, it’s clear that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the best smartphone options on the table at the moment.
Pairing a 5-inch 1080p display with a quad-core processor, slim design, and a 13MP camera, along with some powerful software, the Galaxy S4 is a force to be reckoned with. Given its high-powered specifications and its high-profile, the Samsung Galaxy S4 figures to remain a solid option for the next year or more.
What that means is that it’s on a collision course with several devices, not named the HTC One. Rumors suggest that an iPhone 5S is on the way. That a Motorola X Phone is on the way. And that an in-house competitor is on the way.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rumored to be out this year and when it does replace the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, as is expected, it will become a competitor to the Galaxy S4. And for good reason, it will likely be one of the top smartphones of the year.
It will certainly be a match up that consumers will be following closely and here now are the five things that we consider to be the most important to know about the match up before it arrives later in 2013.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Hardware Will Compare
As we noted, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a pretty powerful device, boasting Samsung’s first 1080p smartphone display, a speedy Qualcomm 600 quad-core processor, a new 13MP camera sensor, and an assortment of other features that give it the most horsepower than any other Samsung smartphone in existence.
And while the Samsung Galaxy S4 trumps phones like the Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, it’s likely not going to be able to trump the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 when it comes to specifications.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 figures to be an extremely powerful device as well with rumors currently pegging it as having a massive 5.9-inch 1080p display – like the Galaxy S4, a Exynos 5 Octa octo-core processor – like the Galaxy S4 outside the U.S., 3GB of RAM – more than the Galaxy S4, a 13MP camera – same as the Galaxy S4, and a design that could very well look similar to the Galaxy S4’s slim and durable form factor.
There is also talk of it having a flexible, unbreakable display which would likely be an improvement over the Galaxy S4’s Gorilla Glass 3 display. Either way, expect the Galaxy Note 3 display to be durable, its design to be similar, and its specifications to be comparable to Samsung’s current flagship smartphone.
The Galaxy Note 3 Will Have an S Pen
When the Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived, it arrived with some pretty unique software features including the Air View ability that allows users to hover over content with their finger to get a preview. This feature, as we’ve pointed out, is similar to the Galaxy Note 2’s Air View feature which does exactly the same thing. Only, users need to use the S Pen stylus to perform it.
The fact that the Galaxy S4 can perform this type of feat without the S Pen may have some people wondering whether or not the Galaxy Note 3 will have an S Pen bundled in with it. The answer is yes.
Samsung has spent far too long developing S Pen applications, and fantastic applications at that, to just abandon it now. The Galaxy Note 3 will likely have some new S Pen features on board, whether it’s new or refined applications, and it’s possible that we could see the company improve the accuracy of the stylus with a new type of display.
The S Pen and the Galaxy Note’s massive display are two of the most unique aspects of the Galaxy Note and they are big draws. We’re hearing that Samsung will definitely be keeping a large screen with the Galaxy Note 3 and consumers should know to expect an S Pen on board as well.
Software Will Be the Same, But Different
The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board and a host of new features for Samsung’s TouchWiz software. And while we don’t expect new TouchWiz features any time soon, we do expect the Galaxy S4 to receive a major Android update in the near future.
Google is heavily rumored to be debuting either Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie at Google I/O in just a few days. Perhaps both. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean at this point seems to be the most likely and if it does arrive, we expect a release date shortly after I/O. And if that’s the case the Samsung Galaxy S4 should be on the forefront of updates thanks to it already having Android 4.2.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should have Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or whatever Google announces at Google I/O, out of the box. If Android 5.0 isn’t announced, it will likely arrive in the winter with the Nexus 5, missing the Galaxy Note 3’s release. At the very least, we expect the Galaxy Note 3 to be running the same Android software as the Galaxy S4 when it arrives.
As for the other software, Samsung’s TouchWiz, we expect the Galaxy Note 3 will have plenty of the Galaxy S4’s features including the camera app improvements and likely some of the smart software features as well. However, it will also have some unique properties as well. S Pen apps are a given but it’s also possible that we could see Samsung add some other TouchWiz features, features that would likely hit the Galaxy S4 down the road as well.
Galaxy Note 3 Will Be More Expensive
Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S4 across the board. That means through retailers and that means through carriers as well.
The past two Galaxy Note models have launched for $299.99 on-contract and that’s a price that we think Samsung and the carriers will zero in on this time around as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived for $199.99 and $250 and that’s a price that likely won’t drop through carriers for awhile. Through retailers, it’s much cheaper which means that even with Galaxy Note 3 discounts likely, it will still be the cheaper option of the two. Something to keep in mind for those that are thinking about putting some money away for later this year.
They Will Boast Similar Carriers
Finally, consumers should know that the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will boast similar carriers. Samsung has made it clear that it intends to launch its big name devices on the nation’s five largest carriers and with the success of the Galaxy Note 2, we don’t see any carriers skipping out on the Galaxy Note this time around.
That means that the Galaxy Note 3 should mirror the Galaxy S4 and arrive on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. And given its success and the fact that the Galaxy S4 will be hitting a host of smaller carriers, we could possibly see the Galaxy Note 3 hit several smaller regional carriers as well, something that the Galaxy Note 2 declined to do.