The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has arrived to much fanfare, and it has all of the high end specs to hold back the raging tide of competition that has slowly creeped up onto its turf. So how does it compare to the best of the competition?
LG’s G2 (above) has an incredibly vibrant 5.2 inch LCD display, with excellent viewing angles
In a spec shootout like this, only the best displays can be considered and all of these smartphones have incredibly sharp Full HD displays. The Sony Xperia Z1 has the smallest display in our comparison, with a Triluminos Full HD 5-inch display with X-Reality technology meaning it has a pixel density of 441 PPI. The LG G2 features a Full HD 5.2-inch IPS display with a pixel density of 424 PPI.
The Galaxy Note 3 also features a Full HD display, but it’s of the Super AMOLED variant, and with a larger 5.7-inch display, its pixel density is 386 PPI. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra dwarfs even the Galaxy Note 3′s display with a massive 6.44-inch display. It’s also a Full HD display and features Sony’s custom X-reality technology from its Bravia TV line and a triluminos display.
Bottom Line: Suffice to say, these are all high-end displays and you’d struggle to find any pixelation with the naked eye. There’s also the little factor called personal preference. While some might like the over the top colors of a Super AMOLED, many prefer the much more natural colors that LCD displays provide. However, based purely on pixel density, we are going to give this round to the Xperia Z1 (just).
All of these smartphones are using top of the line processors. The Sony Xperia Z1, Xperia Z Ultra and the LG G2 are all running the Snapdragon 800, although the Xperia Z Ultra and the Xperia Z1 are both clocked at 2.2GHz, while the LG G2 is clocked at 2.3Ghz. Real world performance, however, should be relatively equal.
The Galaxy Note 3 will have two different chipsets depending on which market you are in. In some markets, the updated version of the Exynos 5 Octa (5420) will be found, while in others the Snapdragon 800 will run the Note 3′s impressive feature set.
The Exynos 5 Octa features four ARM Cortex A15 cores running at up to 1.9Ghz and four ARM Cortex A7 cores running at up to 1.3Ghz. They are in a configuration that’s called Big.little meaning it has the ability to swap between cores in order to conserve battery, using the lower power A7 cores when idle and then quickly switching to the A15 cores when needed to load a webpage or another high power usage case. It’s worth mentioning that this particular variant of the Galaxy Note 3 will not be going to the US or Canada.
The Galaxy Note 3′s Snapdragon 800 is clocked at 2.3Ghz, and like the rest of the Snapdragon 800 smartphones, it’s backed by the Adreno 330 GPU.
Bottom line: Overall performance should be similar from all smartphones, however, the Note 3 nudges them out with 3GB of RAM.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will feature a 13 MP rear camera with LED flash, and a 2MP front-facing camera. This camera will probably offer performance which is similar to the Galaxy S4, which we all know has a great camera. The LG G2 also has a 13 MP rear camera with LED flash, but it one ups the Note 3 by providing Optical Image Stabilization. Our very own Kristofer Wouk claimed the LG G2 as having one of the best cameras on the market, and it’s easy to see why.
The Xperia Z Ultra is quite literally outclassed here. It features an 8MP rear camera and it lacks an LED flash unit. The Xperia Z1 however, could make a case for being best in class with its 20.7 MP Exmor RS CMOS rear camera featuring G lens technology from Sony’s camera department.
Bottom line: We’ll leave the full judgement of the Xperia Z1 and the Note 3′s cameras till our full reviews, but for now it looks as if it’ll be a shootout between the LG G2 and the Xperia Z1 for the best overall smartphone camera.
The Galaxy Note 3 features the latest version of the TouchWiz Nature UI which runs on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It has the complete feature set from the Galaxy S4 (Smart Pause, Smart Scroll etc.), as well as a few nifty S-Pen features as well. These include Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window. To find out more about the Note 3′s impressive feature set click here.
The LG G2 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a custom LG UI on top. Features like Knock On, Guest mode and Slide Aside utilize gestures to ensure button-free operation. The Xperia Z Ultra and the Xperia Z1 both run Android 4.2.2 with the latest version of the Xperia UI on top.
Bottom line: While some might prefer the S-Pen features of the Note 3, others won’t find any use for them. We are going to put this round down as a tie.
Editors Note - we’re in the process of uploading our Xperia Z Ultra and Z1 footage, so please bear with us! Thank you for your patience. For more Note 3 videos, see our YouTube!
These smartphones are all top of the range devices, and the bar has been set extremely high. There are very few perceivable differences between the four of them and personal preference might be the biggest factor that makes you prefer one over the other. What we do know is that with such great options from a wide variety of manufacturers, the competition will compel OEMs to make even better devices which is a win for you, the consumer.
It’s a battle royale, and these are the most latest and most advanced smartphones in the world. Which one do you prefer?
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All is a great phone and for Specs Note3 sure is the winner, but I’ll go with Xperia Z1. :)
Smart choice, One Z ultra to replace note 2 for me aswell.
Why? If you don’t care about size, N3 is better.
Build Quality, and the look of it is horrible. I believe what I said about iphone being a diamond covered turd best quantify’s my decision… actually other way arround a turd covered diamond in this case lol. Not to mention specs wize their all the same seeing the heart and soul is a qualcom 800. Im gonna feel pimp with my rooted z ultra what you getting muffin :-)
a 3000mAh battery for a 6.44 HD Display ?! srsly ?
Yup run by my heavily customized highly efficient rom build. Being almost stock out of the box will spur great rom dev. Its not a compromize its a imposibly thin device with plenty of battery. Dont forget how much more efficient the hardware has gotten. What are you getting :-)
i am getting the z1,it would have been a perfect phone except for the bezzels part but anyhow it would do just fine.
about the efficient rom your talking about,mind telling me what is it ? i want it on my current s2
Not to mention that Sony’s Stamina Mode on XZ is absolutely fantastic. I used to own an XZ, and now I’m using S4. The Stamina Mode is the first thing that I miss!
like Honami)good points, Canada is like big Finland in terms of weather so I understand that very well :) I’m getting Nexus 5, doesn’t matter if it’s based on G2 or Honami (the Nexus in the Google’s Kit Kat video looks like Honami)
Great pick!!! Yea nexus is pretty kick ass I like it very much.
Of course it is, you can’t go wrong with Nexus :)
you have just looked at the photo of note 3 and you can talk about its build quality?
i just think that you are just repeating words someone has said and you haven’t your own opinion.
Sorry for you as the Z Ultra doesn’t have a flash. If I would drop the Note 2 for something without S Pen will be the LG G2 :)
LG G2 as its the most compact size(ergonomic design)
great camera results
great battery life results
and friendly price…………
Ok :) that’s your decision but still i’ll go with Z1 :)
+1, Perfect choice.
You as me, we have reasons to choice the Z1:
- A strong design with metal and crystal, can make the z1 accident resistant. NOT like samsung phones exploding in pieces when accidentaly drops.
- Under the rain, or any accident, with water, the first phone to die is the note3. The Z1 can to have fun taking images and video under the water. For that the bezel in the Z1, the metal frame armor need space you know, and the big battery, for that the boards are in the top and botton section of the phone, and the battery between them.
- With a better camera, with special optical zoom via “Boinz image processor”, low light skill and 20.7MP G lens, can take better images, specially if you work with the phone. I DON’T NEED A NOKIA POORVIEW 1020.
- Samsung puts “3GB” of ram, okok..but…WHY? easy answer: 1’000’000 APPS RUNNING IN THE BACKGROUND (¬_¬) Sony don’t install many apps in the phone, in a few words, more ram and more space.
-Not a bigger display seems to have better images, the triluminos display of sony have better color quality to enjoy videos, the interface, images, apps, ect, everything in a 5″ display, and the X-reality engine that controls the image and video quality, Sony don’t want to hurt our eyes.
-Do you want to play games in the z1, of course, with or without PS3 controller? Remember the Z and Z1 have ps3 native controller support via bluetooth.
- what the note3 have Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture, and all sensors of the world…AND WHAT? Many sensors…useless sensors, eating battery, is better the main sensors required by the phone to be useful and battery saving.
-Exynos Octa core on note 3? No thanks, now i have my domestic oven where cook everything.
- A s-pen is not important all the time, i have a note 2 and i use the spen 2 times by week.
- The Z1 interface is more mature in design.
- The G2 have 2.3 and the Z1 have 2.2..OF COURSE, Sony don’t want to put the S800 in the Limit, will be the offset to help us to have allways the best stable performance to keep healty the cpu, and for rooters…the posibility to overclock healty the proc ^_^.
-Have FM radio with RDS.
-The z1 have android 4.2, is better a stable 4.2, than a 4.3 with bugs, fixed with updates each week until launches the 4.4 like happens with samsung.
All and each word written here seems to say:
I’LL BUY THE Z1!!!
I follow you, ProudToBePinoy ^_^.
Thanks man, almost most of your points were the same as mine but you have more points than me LOLS…. :)
Xperia Z Ultra, because I already have a nice compact smartphone (Razr i) and now I want to get it his stronger big brother to complement my needs n.n
(I’ll check out Note 3 unique features first, though)
Yea man I get the phone to big argument now. Totally ate my words when I watched my bud try to put my phone in his pocket. When your not a freakishly tall giant as I am pant pockets are smaller and so are hands. Something giant dudes never really realize it seems.
Z ultra for me
z1 de largo, resiste al agua y camara de 20mp
To be honest, I’ll probably go with the cheapest of them all. In terms of cameras, I already have NEx-7 which will cover all video+photo needs. Oh and with QX100 announced with it’s own image processor, you can just buy any of these phones and use QX100 with it.
All of them have similar battery sizes relative to the screen sizes, similar performance except for slight edge in GSN3.
For ruggedness, I’ve already invested in a water-proof case for my Nex-7, so it is really not a necessity for me, although I can see the appeal of carrying Z1 with no case in my pocket. In the same argument, G2 have similar sized screen but with extremely smaller bezel and much lighter than Z1, so G2 with shock/water-proof case would be of similar size and weight to Z1.
For screens, I’ve already used Triluminos, but I cannot find any significant improvement in brightness and saturation compared to the IPS screen on G2. I personally prefer AMOLED because it still has saturation advantage to all LCD devices, and I can use ebook apps in night mode with black background which does wonders compared to leaky LCD blacks. But again, all these displays are top notch and I really wouldn’t mind one over another.
For extra features, GSN2 worked wonders until it didn’t. I still prefer S-pen over ultra z pencil as the latter reminded me of slower less responsive version of Note 1 s-pen. Again, some people love LOVE s-pen, I really don’t care about it all that much, my reason being a pen digitizer is worthless unless the drivers/API works with CAD softwares-I will never understand people paying for expensive Wacom based pen-digitizers just to use them as glorified note takers. Funnily enough, I actually think G2 would do very well in terms of additional features as it has none. I know for a fact that Optimus G had great support from Cyanogen and Paranoid. Since most of bloatware features are vastly outgunned relative to most custom ROM features, again I would probably buy the cheapest and root the hell out of it.
Design: I really honestly don’t give a damn. I only care about the dimensions and bezels, smaller lighter device with larger screen and battery FTW. Sony loses heavily in this aspect, but with their devices so rugged, you don’t really need to put them in protective cases, so again it kind of evens out. Although…Sony why did you put so much bezel in Z1? For handling, I really liked G2, the thin curved shape with ultra thin bezel is very comfortable, and the buttons in the back IMO is a big improvement over the annoying side buttons.
Pricing: Now this is just a estimation.
My hope is for G2, it being announced earlier with less features, it should be quite affordable.
Ultra Z: A bit sour about the price tag, but it really isn’t too bad.
Z1: I have a sneaking suspicion that Z1 will be at least couple hundred dollars more than Ultra Z, and that is NO DEAL.
Note 3, reflecting on the pricing of GS4, it shouldn’t be too bad, I guess around 500~600 dollars I guess.
Edit: I just realized G2 doesn’t have SD slot, that is a huuuge deal breaker for me, I got 500GB+ FLAC and AAC music collection, and I usually put at least 100GB in my music player.
Edit: I might just buy a next kindle HD with Snapdragon800 and LTE as my 7inch phone, I used my Nexus 7 as phone for awhile, and I don’t mind it at all. Also, I don’t have trouble holding it because I’m not one of those people who needs to take their phone out everywhere they go. Meizu MX3 is also a very good contender, it’s only 3G but me being in Australia with outrageous 4G pricing and fast 3G-honestly, 3G is nearly as fast if not faster than most broadband out here- 3G phone is not bad at all. Also, 128GB storage for 600$ phone is lovely.
Lol 500GB+ FLAC probably means you’re an audiophile, I’m an audiophile as well I have over 4TB+ FLAC music and hi rez downloads but I would never use a phone to listen to music as I can almost guarantee they are all garbage in terms of sound quality. For portable music(if you want good quality) listening I would get a separate player like an iBasso DX100, hifiman hm-901, terraplayer or something similar but all of these cost more than the phone itself lol.
As for which of these 4 phones I would pick, I will probably get the note 3 or sony xperia z ultra as I like the phablet form factor.
You are absolutely correct. I have PP6 custom IEM that has DAC and active crossover amp. I’m currently using it with Audio to USB app to play majority of music.
Best phone in best price in spec is….
LG G2 for me.
Honestly, all the new releases are more or less top spec and way good enough for 99.9% of users. Waterproofing is great but, at what compromise? Anything that cannot be placed in a regular jeans pocket is not a phone, its a phablet so that already benchmarks whether we are comparing apples with apples or apples and pears. Surely one of the most important criteria, one which all devices can and should be compared agains it the ratio of screen size to body. I have the Xperia ZL and I’m darn happy with it. I have to admit, I was hoping to upgrade to the Z1 but, I’ve decided I’m sitting this round at the side lines. The point I’m making is that most of us want the largest screen possible in the smallest form factor possible. This is where the manufacturers don’t seem to get it quite right.
What do you mean “This is where the manufacturers don’t seem to get it quite right.” ???
That is exactly what Samsung has done, better hardware, bigger screen in a smaller lighter phone !!!
Yes, well, not entirely. You cannot believe that this is where the general focus is even if Samsung have taken a few baby steps towards this. Add the reporting factor into this equation and I’ll bet you still can’t tell me what the ratios are; screen to body that is. Samsung still thinks (and by the way I have one of their recent tablets) that by adding a bunch of gimmicky apps and poking fun at iPhone, their are half way to achieving their goals. As far as I’m concerned, not enough effort is being made on screen to body and most likely battery life. I don’t need more pixels or nits or apps. I think we’ve reached a point of saturation on these. No offence, you’re question is well warranted. As always, the question is; is the glass half empty or half full. I just want a bit of top up!
Galaxy Note was 66.9%, the Note 2, 68.56% and the Note 3, just a bit more but I don’t have the exact figures just yet.
But I do agree, those are only baby steps and much more could be done with the available technology.
Of course Samsung is playing the same dangerous game as all the other companies out there.
They have to keep the shareholders happy, so they drop feed us the tech. very slowly hoping to make more profit
by giving us just enough to avoid losing our interest.
That is the way the market works.
If more people buy the Note 3 for those nice baby steps then other model for the extra ppi …
Then they will keep going in that direction.
It’s all down to what the mass market will choose.
In essence it’s the only true democracy left on this planet lol
LG G2 all the way, i didnt found any new innovation or ois camera in note 3 :(
what new innovation is in the LG? To me LG just caught up with Samsung and Sony!
ROFL :D hope sumthing burnt
Knock on, Slide Aside, OIS Camera, Guest Mode ??? wat all des are called dude ? dont worry they will come up in S7 or Note 5 :D
And the Note 3 doesn’t have anything? The only thing I give LG is the OIS, but Sony outclassed them already! Don’t be a hater…be unbiased! The Note does have cool new features, but yeah no real innovation over the Note 2, but the Note 2 brought features which are still top class even today!
Okay the Sony Z1 is 170g and the Note 3 is 168g…well done to Samsung to put all that tech in a phone and make it lighter than a smaller phone.
I love the Z1, but played with a Z once and the UI is not that great.
Note 3 won me over this round!
Plus Samsung is rolling out Android 4.3 to the S4 and S3 end of October! That is Samsung Support!
Plastic is much lighter. Duh!
I don’t really care about Android 4.3.
then why are you on Android Authority! ITS ALL ABOUT ANDROID!
Haha..G3 is cheap plastic
I don’t whine about updates. I have a bootloader unlocked phone with custom rom, so I think I know Android pretty well.
4.3 is pretty much the same as 4.2.
actually wouldn’t the opposite be true, you mean to say well done to sony for making a metal phone just as light as a smaller plastic phone
overall package I will go for G2 all the way………
The LG G2 Guest Mode really is one cool feature. :) You can have two pattern locks. One pattern lock that only you can open with your personal settings and another pattern lock for other people with a different set of apps and capabilities available to them. Much safer for the kids and for business ofcourse.
This web site :
wrote their article at the same time as the one above and they say thay the Note 3 does have Image Stabilization !!!
That would take back a point from the G2 or at lest tie them !
So who’s right ???
For myself I’m getting the Note 3 even if I would have liked the water proofing and 20MP of the Z1, there is just too many other features I prefer on the Note 3.
i was thinking of buying the sony xperia z ultra because of the coolness , i just wish if the z ultra will have similar feature of the airview , , because for a cool screen size of the z ultra and a water proof good for a nice juccuzzi dive or swimming or showering , we would like to see those features where u can chat / drag stuff in multi window / open a calculator floating over any window / writing notes on any place / easiely screenshot the screen and writing over the screenshot . things that is more important to me then organizing and searching and scrap book and stuff , since theirs apps that can take care of me for that , but as for the UI its very important to be comfortable , right now im not comfortable with my note2 , i keep clicking on home button to go open other stuff , and when running multi window it feels too much of a hassle to have 2 screens on , feels like im running a small screen , thats why my thoughts are for the z ultra , but after ive seen the note 3 features , its very persuaying over what the z ultra has to offer , but never the less , i will still go for the sony now .
There are plenty of 3rd party options that rival the ones you speak of. Paranoid android for multi tasking comes to mind. There dosnt need to be any compromize :-) once I strip down my note 2 there is hardly any touch wiz left.
I’m going with the G2 (had my heart set on it since the G/N4 came out :P)
although the Note 3 DOES look great (I need a compact form factor). I wish the G2 came with stylus support like the Note, but for all other purposes, the G2 is much better. I personally like LG’s displays FAAAR better than Samsung’s, so that is a factor as well. In the end, I use my phone in one hand while walking etc all the time, and the G2 will let me do that. It looks great, has a large screen, yet is still the same size as the HTC ONE and S4.. so to me the G2 is the winner. Can’t wait to get my hands on it in a couple of weeks in Canada :)
Note 3 for me
I wonder how much you can install on the SD card in the Xperia Z1? My Samsumg Note 1 limits many things to the internal memory only and Z1 only has 16 GB. Any ideas? I like the camera on the Z1 better .Hard choice between Z1 and Note 3 More RAM, Bigger screen ? Any thoughts?
I just don’t think that you can use all that 3gig ram(just my thoughts), If you use your phone as Gaming Console and install HD Games or LArge Size Games on your phone a lot maybe Z1 would be a little bit short for you.
Xperia Z1 is limited to 11Gb user space, from what I have read, at least.
Xperia Z1 or Note 3 ”International Version ” ?? Please reply….
If you have no problem handling a big screen phone and also like a stylus (S-pen) to go with it, then you have no problem on the Galaxy Note 3. But one the other hand Sony Xperia Z1 have the “best of what Sony has to offer” so if you want a stylish, waterproof/dustproof phone with a ginourmours camera (probably the same level as Lumia 1020) then the Z1 is for you. Other than that I suggest waiting for the reviews to come out first then make the decision. Cheers :)
W xperia z1!!!! ;)
HTC One guys… soon to be updated to android 4.3
super responsive UI and metal exterior, to ime it’s the winner of this year.
Z ultra for me! i just love the screen!! I already have a nex camera so i don’t need the z1 though i want it too. Hehe! But I’m more of a movie watcher here so big screen is better for me with phone features. So there, z ultra is the perfect companion for me
Xperia Z1 all the way! Goodbye Samsung and my note 2, hello honami.
Are you able to use the note 3 in landscape mode like when you tilt the phone in landscape the orientation of the entire UI changes to landscape mode kinda like the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Xperia Z Ultra?
The one who made the specs sheet is biased towards Samsung. Sony’s PPI for the Z1 was not put because it has the highest pixel density per inch due to the fact that it only has a 5 inch screen. Another thing is Sony Z1 has the latest version of Android 4.3 and 4.2.2! Paid Sammy troll had been seen on this poll.
I would like to get the Z1 especially with the extra lens that comes with it for free when you buy it. I have a feeling that the lens will be available here in the Philippines too as the Xperia Z came with freebies like the stereo bluetooth headset, speaker dock and smartwatch.
XPeria Z Ultra’s display beats all. Best phablet in the market.
What? The High-end display PPI showdown lists two phones that are
vaporware and won’t exist for another 4 quarters (as the previous
version of this post recognized). You need to edit AGAIN because they
are not eligible for a showdown.
The author’s comments
are also biased against Samsung’s SuperAmoled, claiming that only “some”
prefer it to the “many” who don’t. How do you explain the provable
facts that the Galaxy S2, S3, and S4 are the best selling phones in the
world (including iPhone)?! And what about the entire Note series which
has sold many millions of phones? And what about 3rd party leasers of
the tech like Motorola with the Droid Razr? No, The “many” prefer it.
Sure there are lots of other good displays, but until you can prove your
statement with sales, you should be more objective. Walk into any
phone store and ask customers which display they like. The only people I
have ever heard mention over saturation are fanboys of other manufacturers on forums like this.
BTW, the Galaxy Note 3 lets the user control contrast and saturation, — but I’m sure you didn’t know that either.
plan on getting the Note 3. I like the new Sony, but there is a limit
to how big a phone will fit in a dress pants pocket. Samsung
experimented with the Mega and it flopped. Sony went too large,
especially with squared edges.
The only mistake Samsung
made with the Note 3 is that it is not waterproof, and that was a
stupid thing to do given the current market.
xperia ultra more fun
You know what, you can call me a SONY fan…
My first mobile was a T610, which was one of the first with a good display and camera
Then came along the K500, with its amazing sound quality
Then K750i, with its Cybershot camera and LED Flash
W800 followed suite, with its WALKMAN application
Post this, came the S500, with its amazing colour accents
Then it was K850′s turn. It had a 5 MP camera and LED flash
I loved all these feature phone……
Then came the Android Xperia X10, which was an amazing phone, considering it had a 4″ screen and 8 MP camera with HD recording. I simply loved this phone.
Now, i rock an Xperia Z Ultra and there is no looking back
SONY….. Yeah baby yeah !!!
SONY launcher is the lightest among it all… anyday i would prefer the Google launcher…. But comparing Samsung’s TouchWiz, LG and HTC Sense, SONY is definitely better
Light launcher with minimal gimmicks
You know !!