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).
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.
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.
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.
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
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
1,280 x 720 pixels
Processor and battery
Samsung Exynos 4412
Claimed 3G talk time
Up to 16 hours
Storage and memory
32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
1080p @ 60fps; 4K video @ 30fps
1080p @ 30fps
802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
802.11 a / b / g / n
Integrated wireless charging
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm
151 x 80.5 x 9.4mm
Android 4.3 Jelly w/TouchWiz
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/TouchWiz