Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Galaxy Note 2: Spec comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Galaxy Note 2: Spec comparison

Samsung broke cover with its eagerly anticipated Galaxy Note 3 phablet at IFA 2013, but how does the new phablet compare to predecessor the Note 2 and which device offers the best value for money? We take a closer look at the key specs offered by both devices. For more on the older product, be sure to check out our full Galaxy Note 2 review, while for additional information on Samsung’s new flagship, check out our hands on with the Galaxy Note 3.

Size and weight

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 has a thickness of just 8.3mm and weighs 168g. The older Galaxy Note 2 has a larger girth (9.4mm) and is also a fair whack heavier at 183g. The newer phablet is microscopically taller at 151.2mm compared to the Note 2’s 151mm height, and also a shade narrower at 79.2mm (vs the Note 2’s 80.5mm width).

Display

The Galaxy Note 3 looks quite capable of pleasing the eyes, offering a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on its 5.7in display – a pixel density of around 386ppi. The Note 2, on the other hand, is likely to prove less retina-seducing, sporting a smaller 5.5in display with a standard HD resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, for a sharpness of 267ppi.

Processor and battery

Under the hood, the Galaxy Note 3 packs Qualcomm’s latest high-end SoC, the quad-core Snapdragon 800, comprised of Krait 400 CPUs clocked at a nippy 2.3GHz, and complemented by an Adreno 330 GPU. The older Samsung phablet sports a quad-core Exynos 4412 configuration with a clock speed of 1.6GHz. The Note 2 features a 3,100mAh battery with a claimed maximum 3G talk time of a whopping 16 hours, while the Note 3 ups the ante slightly with a 3,200 mAh battery.

Storage and memory

The Note 2 comes available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, while the Note 3 is a simple proposition with either 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage on offer. Hardcore content collectors will be pleased that the option of expanding the device’s capacity via a microSD card slot is available on both devices. The Note 3 offers 3GB of RAM, a boost on the 2GB memory packed by its predecessor.

Camera

In line with the current trend for high-end devices, the Note 3 boasts a 13-megapixel primary camera, an upgrade on the Galaxy Note 2’s 8-megapixel rear shooter. On the front, the Note 3 sports a 2-megapixel camera, while the Note 2 comes with a 1.9-megapixel auxiliary snapper. The real talking point for many, though, is that the Galaxy Note 3 is capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps and offers Full HD video recording at 60fps – the older device isn’t compatible with 4K and grabs 1080p at 30fps.

Connectivity and wireless

Note 3 and Note 2 alike support the 4G LTE standard, and what’s more UK phone geeks now actually have a good range of networks to choose from, with O2 and Vodafone having recently joined EE at the 4G party and Three lining up to gatecrash in December. For more on what’s available, check out our guide to the best 4G LTE in the UK. Elsewhere, the Note 3 and Note 2 both come equipped with NFC technology, though neither can charge up wirelessly.

Software

In the Galaxy Note range, the Android platform has one of its biggest sellers and brightest stars. The Note 3 will ship with Android 4.3 as augmented by the Samsung TouchWiz skin optimised for the S Pen stylus via Air Command. The Note 2 ships with an older version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.1, though it’s thought that it may skip version 4.2 and jump straight to Jelly Bean 4.3 in the not-too-distant future.

Extras

The Galaxy Note 3 and Note 2 both come with Samsung’s S Pen stylus, a note taking, annotating, drawing, and general productivity tool that many find useful.

Price, availability and opinion

Having now been unveiled in a grand fashion at IFA, the Galaxy Note 3 is expected to start arriving on UK shelves at the end of September – 27 September has been mooted but Samsung has yet to confirm UK availability. The 32GB Galaxy Note 3 currently carries a £600 SIM-free pre-order price via Unlocked Mobiles but, again, this is potentially speculative. Having broken cover at the same event last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is now widely available and can generally be had for under £400 SIM-free - Handtec currently offers the 16GB version for £330.

If the Galaxy Note is your weapon of choice, there’s little chance you won’t want to get your paws on the latest and great model, which is better built, more powerful, offers an improved camera, and benefits from a Full HD display, plus the addition of new TouchWiz features. That said, it looks like it’s going to cost you a pretty penny and pricing is likely to remain comfortably in excess of £500 for the foreseeable future.

The Note 3 is almost certainly the better device, but does the Note 2 actually offer better value? It depends on your priorities but, if you’re prepared to wait a few weeks, you may find that its price drops even further now it has been usurped at the top of Samsung’s phablet tree. We’re definitely taken by the Galaxy Note 3, but the Note 2 remains a compelling proposition.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 LTE

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE

Display

   

Screen size

5.7in

5.5in

Resolution

1,920 x 1,080 pixels

1,280 x 720 pixels

Pixel density

386ppi

267ppi

Type

Super AMOLED

Super AMOLED

Processor and battery

   

Family

Snapdragon 800

Samsung Exynos 4412

CPU

Krait 400

Cortex-A9

Cores

Quad-core

Quad-core

Clock speed

2.3GHz

1.6GHz

GPU

Adreno 330

Mali-400MP

Battery

3,200 mAh

3,100 mAh

Claimed 3G talk time

TBC

Up to 16 hours

Storage and memory

   

RAM

3GB

2GB

Internal storage

32GB / 64GB

16GB / 32GB / 64GB

microSD

Yes

Yes

Camera

   

Rear

13-megapixel

8-megapixel

Video

1080p @ 60fps; 4K video @ 30fps

1080p @ 30fps

Front

2-megapixel

1.9-megapixel

Wireless

   

Standard

4G LTE

4G LTE

Wi-Fi

802.11 a / b / g / n / ac

802.11 a / b / g / n

NFC

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

v4.0

v4.0

Integrated wireless charging

No

No

Dimensions

   

Size

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm

151 x 80.5 x 9.4mm

Weight

168g

183g

Operating System

Android 4.3 Jelly w/TouchWiz

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/TouchWiz

Price (SIM-free)

£600 (speculative)

£550

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