Connect with us


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.



  1. Wyldway

    02/24/2014 at 9:23 pm

    Doesn’t the new S5 lack a replaceable battery and Micro SD card support. Those seem kinda big. I noticed alot of android bloggers are staying hush hush on that…why?

  2. crazyemon3y

    02/24/2014 at 10:22 pm

    No, the back cover is still removable and you can put in an sd card abd have access to remove the battery

  3. crazyemon3y

    02/24/2014 at 10:26 pm

    The reason why those features were not included in this article because the main focus is on differences. Both phones support a user replacable battery and a micro sd card so its nothing different.

  4. Ronald

    02/24/2014 at 10:43 pm

    Man WYLDWAY is a idiot for writing that…people really are just awful and should die for not knowing anything

  5. Jamie Root

    02/24/2014 at 11:05 pm

    I am a note 3 user, and upgraded from the note 2 shortly after the release of the note 3. The release of the S5 is important because usually all the upgrades in the new galaxy S models will make their way onto the new note model. I’m excited to see what the note 4 will look like, but I want more than an S5 with S pen capability. I was disappointed with a few things that I hope can be improved in time for the note 4, or else I may be waiting on the note 5 before making another switch.
    First disappointment was not having the 64 bit chip. This was rumored by almost all sources leading up to the unveiling of this device, and was a let down not making its way on.
    The screen resolution being the same as the S4 and note 3 was also a let down as I was hoping to see 2k screen resolution in the S5, and also hope the 2k will be available on the note 4. That said, since it wasn’t on the S5 and Samsung tends to use the same resolution in the new S model as they do in the new note models released the same year, I’m not holding my breath.
    S voice, Samsung version of siri, could also be improved to understand directives and interpret meaning and engage in basic dialogue. It would be nice to see some breakthroughs here as well. It would be fun to actually have siri and S voice engage in dialogue with each other, but I will give it a good 5 to 10 years before I can see giving siri one side of an argument and S voice another and rating how good they each did in arguing their respective positions, but until then, some progress in terms of tasks that can be performed would be nice to see.
    My last disappointment is in the front facing camera. All the focus tends to be on the rear facing camera, and having a decent front facing camera would have been nice to see. I’m not talking about earth shattering, but a 5mp front facing camera would have been nice.
    There were a few things I did like, and 2 of them were certainly worth noting. Those being the water resistant and dust proofing the device. Until reviews show weather the device can withstand being dropped in a bathtub or pool, I will reserve judgment. The other nice addition was having a fingerprint scan to unlock the device. It’s a pain always drawing the pattern to unlock my phone, and it was recently brought to my attention that if you look at my locked screen at an angle, you can see where I drew my pattern to unlock it, and subsequently would be easy to retrace and gain access to my phone.
    I will have to wait to see if any of the improvements listed above make their way onto the note 4, but if they dont, I can certainly enjoy the note 3, a phenomenal phone, for one additional year.

  6. Juliana

    02/25/2014 at 4:06 am

    Fantastic reply! Better written than the article in my opinion.

    • Jamie Root

      02/25/2014 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks to Juliana and Kristi Berthelot for your feedback. This was the first comment / review that I have done in over a year, and was worried that I may have gotten a bit rusty. Real quickly I wanted to touch on Riggzie’s comment concerning the galaxy mega. I’m extremely surprised that Samsung has not updated the device with a second generation model, and that there really are no rumors concerning a “mega 2” model. If they released a mega 2 with the same specs as the note 4 later this year around the same time, it would certainly get my attention.
      I think that the ideal size for me personally would be a little under 7 inches. I come up with this figure for three main reasons. First, is the purpose of the phone. Even though I use it for almost everything, I watch a tremendous amount of video on the device. I travel extensively, and watch Netflix almost daily, and from time to time, video news articles and YouTube content on my phone, which makes larger better. The second and third reasons are what limit me from wanting an even larger device. The size of my pockets prevents me from putting a phone any larger than 7 inches into it. Now before there’s a rush to create larger pockets, the size of my hands would be the final limiting factor. I feel the maximum size of the phone should be where I can place my hands at either end and comfortably touch my thumbs together in the middle. This is obviously so I can easily type and make selections with comfort and not straining my hands to do so. I have larger than average hands, but I am still limited to around 7 inches when the phone is long ways, so if they came out with a near 7 inch mega 2 that wouldn’t compromise the camera, processor, memory, or screen when compared to the same year note, I would be game. Until then, it looks like Rigzie and I both will be loyal to the note.

  7. Kristi Berthelot

    02/25/2014 at 5:06 am

    Well said Jamie Root.
    I feel the same. Have been a Note user since the 1st, switched to the 2 and now the with the Note 3. And what the S5 cones out with, I believe, the Note 4 will follow and up it just a bit (if for anything, it’s to tag in those extra hundred or 2)

  8. Riggzie

    02/25/2014 at 5:24 am

    I am new to the android market as I used to be on a windows mobile 6.1 phone (Sprint spc-6800 or something like that) and it was great. Cheap phone bill and cool apps. Now I moved over to the Galaxy S2 when it came out and loved it. My wife went to the iphone 4s and she likes it. Just recently I got her the iphone 5s and i went to the Note 3. I heard of rumors for the S5 and decided to not wait. I tell you what I am so glad. While the S5 is coming up with some nice features, I will be one who will ALWAYS own a Note… from here on out!.
    I like seeing cool features added to other phones because it gives thought to the new ones coming out on what they may get as either new features or enhancements.

    Thanks for the review! I would have gone with the Mega (as my eyes are going bad) but the dual core, less memory and other lacking features kept me from so…. I dont mind a larger phone…

    in Best Buy I added a 64gb micro sd card into my new Note 3 while some lady was trying to decide on 16, 32 or 64gb iphone… She saw me and asked me how much I paid for the card. I said $16… she switched over to a Note 3… hah…

  9. Dennis

    02/25/2014 at 8:18 am

    One huge ommission is the fact that the S5 will support the new 128 gb micro sdxc format while the Note 3 reaches its limit at 64 gb. I’m frustrated that Samsung is not releasing a 64gb ROM model, especially with allof the bloatware they and the carriers will add. And the S5 will be water and dust resistant, not water and dust proof. There is a difference. Resistant means it can stand a rain storm, where as proof means it could be submerged. The last gaping difference is the functional memory. The Note 3 is sporting 3 gb, whereas the S5 was redacted back to 2 gb. Now if the above features will be available in the Note 4, I think we will definitely have a winner.

  10. Eric Emslie

    02/25/2014 at 2:48 pm

    to bad 128 gb micro sdxc doesnts exist yet

  11. Philip Courtois

    02/25/2014 at 6:22 pm

    SanDisk released the world’s first 128GB micro SD card yesterday. You can buy it on Amazon now!

  12. Lagalag

    02/26/2014 at 12:40 am

    Phase detection? What phase?

  13. Jimmy Jimmens

    09/07/2016 at 9:17 am

    Hey why are we having all this talk about outdated android phones when there is something called Apple

  14. John Smith

    09/07/2016 at 9:21 am

    Because Android and Samsung are like 10 times cooler than Apple

    Sent from my iPhone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.