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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 3: 7 Reasons to Buy the Galaxy S5



In April, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will arrive to replace the Galaxy S4 as the company’s flagship Galaxy S smartphone. However, the Galaxy S5 won’t be the only flagship on shelves. The Galaxy S5 will join the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a device that comes with some enticing features of its own. Consumers will likely be weighing the two and here, to help move the process along, we offer some reasons why consumers might want to opt for the Galaxy S5 rather than the Galaxy Note 3.

Before the Samsung’s Galaxy S5’s arrival back in February, rumors pegged the device as a juggernaut, one that would push the Galaxy S series to whole new level. Rumors of a metal design, QHD display, Exynos 6 processor, and more filled the air in the buildup to Mobile World Congress. As we now know, none of those features made it to the final version of the Galaxy S5 that will be coming to the U.S. and other regions starting in April.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 that will be released next month isn’t the juggernaut that rumors made it out to be but it’s still an extremely enticing smartphone and one that will certainly compete and do well against the likes of the HTC One, iPhone 5s and Samsung’s own stable of Galaxy-branded devices.

Despite its new features, there are plenty of people that consider the Galaxy S5 to be an incremental upgrade over the Galaxy S4. That’s debatable but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re seeing some consumers take a cautious approach to Samsung’s “Next Big Thing.”

In recent weeks, we’ve heard from a number of family, friends and readers who, instead of immediately deciding on the Galaxy S5, have started to ask some questions instead. We’ve been asked questions about the Galaxy S4 and we’ve also been asked this question: “Should I buy the Galaxy S5 or the Galaxy Note 3?”

We can’t offer a definitive answer, everyone’s situation is going to be a little different, but what we can do is offer solid reasons to consider buying the Galaxy S5 over the Galaxy Note 3.


The size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is going to be a concern for a lot of people. The Galaxy Note 3 is a massive smartphone because it offers users a massive 5.7-inch display. The Galaxy S5, which offers a large 5.1-inch display, is much smaller than the Galaxy Note 3. The photo below will give you an idea about how wide the Galaxy Note 3 is compared to the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy Note 3 is larger than the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy Note 3 is larger than the Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s monstrosity measures 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm as opposed to the Galaxy S5 which is 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm. The size difference means that the Galaxy S5 is far more pocketable and much easier to use with one hand. Those with larger hands may not run into difficulties with the Galaxy Note 3 but those with smaller hands certainly will.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 might be older than the Galaxy S5 but it commands a steeper price tag. Instead of starting at $199.99 like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 3 is available for $299.99 on-contract through U.S. carriers. That’s $100 more than the 16GB Galaxy S5 and potentially $50 more than the 32GB Galaxy S5. The Galaxy Note 3 comes in 32GB form only.

Amazon sells the Galaxy Note 3 for $199.99 on-contract though we expect the Galaxy S5’s price to be lower than that once it arrives in April. Typically, the price of new Galaxy S smartphones gets slashed by $20 to $30 right off the bat. We’re certainly expecting retailers to offer deals on the Galaxy S5 given how competitive the market is at the moment.

Armed with a cheaper price tag and features that are comparable and in some cases better than the Galaxy Note 3’s feature set, the Galaxy S5 is an extremely smart buy for those who aren’t looking to break the bank.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 comes with a solid 13MP camera that can shoot good looking photos and even 4K video content. Many consumers will likely focus on the Galaxy S5 camera’s megapixel count and how 16MP is more megapixels than 13MP, but that’s not the important thing to consider when comparing the two.

The Galaxy S5’s camera will come with the ability to shoot higher resolution photos and will also feature ISOCELL technology that will help produce better shots in low light environments. We can’t say how much of an improvement these will be from the Galaxy Note 3 camera so we’ll just tell you what we do know.

We know that the Galaxy S5 camera comes with an extremely fast auto-focus. We’re talking speeds as fast as 0.3 seconds. When we saw it side-by-side with the Galaxy Note 3 camera, the difference was apparent. For those that love to snap a lot of photos during important moments, the auto-focus is something that should be taken into account.

The Galaxy S5 features an upgraded camera with new modes and a faster focus.

The Galaxy S5 features an upgraded camera with new modes and a faster focus.

The Galaxy S5′s camera is also capable of real-time HDR photos and video. The Galaxy Note 3 does not utilized this advanced form of HDR, it offers the standard solution. The Galaxy S5 also takes advantage of other features like Selective Focus, video stabilization and more. The camera is one of the most attractive features on board the Galaxy S5 and it’s a good reason to choose the Galaxy S5 over the Galaxy Note 3.

Resistant Design

Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S5 comes with a design that’s vastly different than the Galaxy Note 3’s faux leather plastic. The device’s perforated plastic back panel not only looks good but feels great in the hand. The Galaxy Note 3 can hang in the looks department but it falters when it comes to durability.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3 - 4-L

The Samsung Galaxy S5’s design comes with an IP 67 certification which means that it’s resistant to water and dust. This is something that we saw arrive on the Galaxy S4 Active last year and something that is rumored to be on board the Galaxy Note 4. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does not boast these qualities which means that from a durability standpoint, it’s inferior to the Galaxy S5.

Those who take their smartphone into rugged environments either for work or for pleasure will certainly want to take a long hard look at the Galaxy S5 because its design will afford you the most comfort in those situations.


Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes with an added layer of security and convenience that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does not and will not ever have. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports your basic physical home button that users can press to return to the home screen. The Galaxy S5 also sports a home button though its functionality is much different.

The new home button on the Galaxy S5 (right) is also a fingerprint reader.

The new home button on the Galaxy S5 (right) is also a fingerprint reader.

While it does serve as a navigational tool, it also serves as a security feature. Embedded inside of the home button is a fingerprint reader that allows users to use their fingerprint to unlocked the device. You can add up to three fingerprints. The perk not only helps to protect the phone from nefarious users but it also makes it a whole lot easier to lock and unlock the phone.

What’s more is that Samsung has opened up the fingerprint to developers which means that companies should bring fingerprint support to their applications in the future. This will be especially useful for apps like PayPal where money and information are exchanged.


Samsung’s new smartphones always come with new software features. The Galaxy S5 is no different. The company has loaded up the Galaxy S5 with additions to TouchWiz. Many of the Galaxy S5’s new features can be seen in the hands-on video below so we’ll touch on a few of the bigger ones.

Kids Mode is designed to let parents share a smart phone with a kid without worrying about kids deleting apps and sending messages by accident. Also on board is the new Ultra Power Saving mode which stretch the life of the Galaxy S5 significantly when the battery gets low. The Galaxy S5 also comes with an updated S Health app that pairs with the device’s unique heart rate sensor that is found right next to the camera.


Here’s the deal. While the Galaxy S5 might get some of the new features from the Galaxy S5, it probably won’t get all of them. Samsung tends to update older devices with a couple of new features rather than the whole feature-set in an effort to drive sales of its new product.

Don’t Care About S Pen

In our opinion, there are two big reasons to buy the Galaxy Note 3 over the Galaxy S5. One, the larger screen and two, the device’s bundled S Pen stylus. The Galaxy S5’s display is on par with the Galaxy Note 3’s in terms of resolution, it’s just .6-inches smaller. It also comes with another impressive feature that the Galaxy Note 3 display doesn’t have.

The Galaxy S5 features a Super Dim mode that drops the brightness down to 2cd/m2, which as one might guess, is extremely dim. This mode is designed to make it easier on the user’s eyes in the dark and to avoid bothering others.

So really, what it comes down to is that you’re paying an extra $100 or so for the .6-inch difference in size and the Galaxy Note 3’s bundled S Pen stylus.

The Galaxy Note 3 features a collection of applications that take advantage of the S Pen stylus. There are many Galaxy Note owners who absolutely love the S Pen and its apps and can’t live without them. There are also those who spent the extra money on the Galaxy Note, only to realize that they didn’t actually need the S Pen or its features.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 offers a large, beautiful display, comparable hardware, a unique software feature-set of its own, all at a cheaper price. If you don’t think you’ll use the S Pen, the Galaxy S5 is probably going to be a much smarter choice.



  1. Fawad Mirzad

    03/20/2014 at 7:19 pm

    To be honest , Note 3 looks alot more beautiful , And s4 and s5 looks uglier than midrange phones of samsung.

  2. Nathan Kirsch

    03/20/2014 at 7:33 pm

    I completely agree with you Note 3 FTW!

  3. Destin

    03/20/2014 at 7:43 pm

    Let’s not forget the 3 gbs of ram the note 3 had compared to the s5s 2 gbs.

  4. Tanisha

    03/20/2014 at 9:23 pm

    I love my note 3

  5. liz

    03/21/2014 at 12:22 am

    I would never change my note 3 for an s5 i love my note 3 :)

  6. dotk53

    03/21/2014 at 2:25 am

    I love my note 3 too. I was at an important lecture recently and realized I’d left home without a notepad. So I opened up my note 3, took out the s pen, and took many (about 25) “pages” of notes on my phone in my own handwriting. I’ve referred to the notes for myself and others several times since. Awesome features to this phone.

  7. Rohit

    03/21/2014 at 2:49 am

    Note 3 is King of Smartphone which S pen features are different than others smartphone.

  8. Casey

    03/21/2014 at 7:46 am

    I couldn’t live without my Note 3 and frankly, don’t know how I ever did. This is by far the best phone I’ve ever had. The apps and features are bar none.

  9. Casey

    03/21/2014 at 7:52 am

    On top of that, the S5 looks like a cheaper version without the cool features. Coming from a BlackBerry background, I was afraid of the nonexistent keyboard, but the stylus solved that problem. I wouldn’t be able to type or click links within webpages without it. I don’t know how people use just their fingers.

  10. steph

    03/30/2014 at 3:35 pm

    I simply upgrade from S3 to Note 3 and I suppose the extra screen size and larger battery mean I’ll never go back to the smaller format. fits in a very pocket and that is all that actually matters to me. Biggest that fits in a very prime jacket or shirt pocket is probably optimal.
    Minor imperceptible CPU variations 2.three or 2.five GHz) are meaningless in practice.

    • John Smith

      04/05/2014 at 1:17 pm

      I updated from an S2 ,still love the S2 but the Note3 is awesome, seems like someone needs to organise a Note3 lovers club!

  11. Irish

    03/31/2014 at 11:42 am

    Quit with the $100 difference already!!! Because it comes with 32GB, the comparative model is only a $50 difference, and throw in that you get 50% more internal RAM (3GB vs 2), the note is a far better deal!

  12. John Smith

    04/05/2014 at 1:07 pm

    Note3 for me every time.Using the stylusnow for this comment.Excellent handwriting recognition and will easily follow verbal dictation too.Still a lot of features I don’t understand after 6 Months of ownership but the best gadget I’ve ever owned. And my hands are small, but you know?- it’s neverbeen an issue, Couldn’t live without it ! 😊

  13. Danny

    04/06/2014 at 12:38 am


    • Joseph

      04/16/2014 at 10:59 pm

      NOTE 3! Don’t even need to think!

  14. fito

    08/11/2014 at 9:31 am

    If you look at the price… You do not belong to a note 3. Buy a a galaxy monster I think you can the first galaxy for free. It cost more because it’s made it with a lot of tools to work and no for bohemian guys that just want to know the heart rate, take pictures and listen to music.

  15. fito

    08/11/2014 at 9:39 am

    Sorry for you small hands… You can use a great device. By the way it’s not a phone it’s a phablet. So makes people only bring one device no the two of them.

    My friend has an iPhone and an iPad and he carries them all the time. He also hate the note 3 because is big. Can you belive that? WTF?

    • linda

      08/13/2014 at 9:02 am

      I can’t imagine carrying an iPad around w me everywhere! Way too big, even as small as it is. Love my Note 3!!! And Note 4 coming out this fall!

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