MWC 2014 Coverage brought to you by: Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android.

The Galaxy Note 3 is one of the best smartphones of 2013, bringing together everything you’d ever need in a handheld device, backed by one of the (then) most powerful processing packages around. The latest Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S5, aims to take things to a whole other level. How do the two compare? We’ll find out in our quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3!

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 10

A lot of the design elements across both Samsung devices remain quite similar, with the Galaxy Note 3 featuring a slightly more rectangular design. You get the same chrome ring around the side of the smartphones, and the same button layout on the front, with the difference being the integrated fingerprint scanner with the physical home button of the Galaxy S5.

The bigger 5.1-inch display and associated increase in dimensions bring the size of the Galaxy S5 a little closer to the Note 3, especially in terms of thickness and weight, but the Galaxy Note 3 is still a significantly larger device.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 6

The Galaxy Note 3 was the first device with which Samsung decided to move away from a glossy plastic feel, choosing a faux leather back cover instead. The trend continues with the Galaxy S5, with Samsung favoring a soft-touch plastic back, with a feel quite similar to the first Nexus 7.

The other minor difference in design aesthetics is the inclusion of a plastic flap to cover the microUSB port of the Galaxy S5, that helps to serve its IP67 dust and water resistance rating.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 8

You get the same 1080p Super AMOLED display with both smartphones, with the difference in display size – 5.1-inch for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and 5.7-inch for the Galaxy Note 3 – bringing in a difference in pixel density, at 432 ppi and 386 ppi respectively. You get vibrant colors, lush blacks, great viewing angles, and everything we’ve come to expect from these smartphone displays.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 7

The Galaxy S5 features the current best in processing packages, boasting a 2.5GHz  Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, but it’s not that much higher than the Note 3’s 2.3 Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. The Galaxy Note 3 is extremely snappy and smooth, and the Galaxy S5 is only going to be better.

Slightly disappointing is the 2 GB of RAM on the Galaxy S5. It should be more than enough to handle all your multi-tasking needs, with the Galaxy Note 3 featuring 3 GB RAM, it does feel like a step back.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 11

The key difference in the hardware between both these smartphones is with regards to the camera. The 16 MP ISOCELL camera can take pictures with less noise, even in low light conditions, and also features 4K video recording, which is limited to 5 minutes of video, because of the large size of these recordings.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 29

You also get a swipe-type integrated fingerprint scanner with the Galaxy S5, which requires you to slide your finger from the top to the bottom of the physical home button to unlock your device. The Galaxy S5 also comes with LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO for faster transfers.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a smaller 2,800 mAh battery compared to the 3,200 mAh capacity of the Galaxy Note 3 battery. Of course, the Galaxy Note 3 requires a larger capacity to power the much larger display. Overall, Battery life of both devices should be similar, if not a little better for the Galaxy S5.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy note 3 aa 2

Samsung changed some aspects of TouchWiz, with redesigned toggles in the notifications dropdown, with the Settings also being re-done with round icons. Multi-tasking is also re-designed and easier, helped with the replacement of the capacitive Menu button with a Recent Apps button. You also get Kids Mode, that turns the smartphone into a device for kids where you can choose what apps are accessible, and requires a PIN to get out of.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 24

The Camera app on the Galaxy S5 has also been given a big update, with a big focus around the large plethora of settings now available for it, and offers quite a lot more than the already feature-packed camera of the Galaxy Note 3.

The Galaxy Note 3 of course runs the older TouchWiz UI, with a lot of elements of it being retained in the Galaxy S5, except for the additional S-Pen functionality and associated apps and features.

 Samsung Galaxy S5Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi5.7-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 386 ppi
Processor2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 GPU or 2.1Ghz Octa-core Exynos, unspecified GPU in Exynos SoC2.3 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Adreno 330 GPU
Cameras16 MP rear LED flash, 2.1 MP front 13 MP rear LED flash, 2 MP front
Battery2,800 mAh3,200 mAh
Storage16/32 GB, expandable16/32/64 GB, expandable
Networks3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO3G, 4G LTE (region dependent)
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LEGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
SoftwareAndroid 4.4 KitkatAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradable to Android 4.4 KItkat)
Dimensions142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm, 168 grams

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is still an absolute powerhouse, and if you’re looking for a device with a large display, the Note 3 is still a great choice, but if the latest and greatest from Samsung is what interests you, with its slightly updated processing package and amazing camera, the Galaxy S5 is the better option.

Joshua Vergara
Writer, blogger, and videographer - Josh is a former support technician that learned much about technology by fixing everyone else's. On the side, he wrote and performed spoken word, maintained his own personal blogs, and began his own video podcast. Now, he's here at Android Authority looking to put it all together!
  • AndroidBoss

    It’s kind of annoying that the bezels on the side are bigger. However, sometimes when you have your hands around your device you might press something on the screen of the S4 because the bezels are small. Also, it’s a good thing the bottom part is bigger since now you have more space to put your finger and at the same time you won’t press thing by accident.

  • AndroidBoss

    The black version of this phone looks better than the white one.

  • beboo

    2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with Ardeno 330 GPU
    2GB of RAM
    why not Snapdragon 801 and 3 GB Ram ? !!!!

    • Himanshu

      2 GB RAM is surely not enough. I am waiting for the launch of note 4 which is expected to release this september and i hope it comes with 4GB ram, atleast this website says that it will come with 4GB RAM.

  • Mystery Man

    Note 3 doesn’t have 16gb. Disappointing that they brought back 16gb for the s5. Only way its not disappointing is if it cost $500 USD

    • J Good

      Asia has a 16gb version.

    • smokebomb

      16 expandable to 64. It’s not that big of a deal.

  • wezi427

    I still prefer the Note 3. The bigger screen, in my opinion, is more important. I don’t think that there is a huge difference in the hardware, other then the camera. Obviously software will be slightly different. My point is if you have a Note 3, there really isn’t much of an incentive to move to the S5.

    • J Good

      Yeah, the S5 is just an incremental upgrade and the note 4 (when it’s introduced) will probably be the real upgrade with a snapdragon 805 and 2560×1440 resolution.

      Camera upgrade is nice but my note 3 already takes great pictures. Maybe the camera will really wow people once we get some in depth hands on reviews.

      • Wezi427

        I just hope that they don’t make the screen too big on the Note 4 when that is released. Before to long you will have to have hands like Hamburger Helper guy.

        • Peggysue

          I love the size of my note 3 as it is but for note 4, 5.9 is perfect. Oh! Samsung pls improve the battery of note 4.

          • wezi427

            I agree with what you are saying about the battery. I carry a spare battery with me wherever I go,I don’t think I should have to do that.

          • smokebomb

            What are you doing that makes you kill a 3200 mah battery?! I average 20 hours of medium use. Light use I can get through 2 days. Heavy use averages around 12 hours.

        • smokebomb

          I’m hoping they keep the note series around 5.7 inches. Any bigger and I’ll need to go back to wearing cargo pants just so the phone will fit in my pocket.

  • Otto Andersson

    I like the design on the back of the S5 more. Otherwise, I would totally get the Note 3 over this phone pending on how good that new camera actually will be.

  • Yu Wei Xu

    Hi I was wondering if any other note 3 users can help me with a problem. At night I leave my phone on but disable everything (wifi, gps etc) but it still drains my battery quite significantly. Last night my phone was at around 74% whereas this morning it’s down to 38% I don’t like having to charge my phone through the night since I heard it’s bad for the battery but I can’t have it draining my battery when I need to use it in the day. I don’t like turning my phone off at night in case of emergencies. Does anyone know why it’s draining my battery through the night? And does anyone know how to solve it?

    • theinternot

      It is a known bug with Google Location Services. Turning them off will significantly increase battery life.. Mine went from a few hours, to almost two days after turning it off… that said.. you will lose some location based alerts and functionality

      • shelika

        Turn off both the mobile data and wifi during your sleep. So it will not have any internet connection thus preventing any background app and automatic updates and your battery will not get drained. You still can accept calls and sms in case of emergency during your sleep so it’s not a problem. And anyway charging during sleeping is not so hurting the battery. I always do it with my phones since decades ago and i never have any battery problems at all even with 4 years old phone with everyday overnight charging.

    • Muhammad Elshenawy

      I leave my note 3 uncharged overnight, and naturally it will still use maybe 20-30 percent battery while it’s idle. I however don’t disable wifi. Even if u switch off all connectivity related settings, background processes will still occur depending on the apps you have installed meaning that your phone is still doing things while it’s locked. I suggest that you download an anti virus as well as checking which apps are always running in the background even after you close them. As for charging your phone overnight, I have done it with all of my phones, and does not make a huge difference in terms of capacity… you can always get a new battery in a year or two.The battery will degrade regardless. If you are still sceptical you can use a timed electricity switch which cuts of electricity to your charger after a set time.
      Hope I have been helpful.

    • Vix

      It’s usually not a problem with your battery. More likely, it’s a problem with your location and the connection. Do you have poor cellular connection at home in your bedroom? I’ve noticed with my phones that if its constantly switching from 3g to 4g to edge to LTE and whatnot, it really takes a toll on the battery. Whenever I work in the hospital my connection is really crappy and it drains as quickly as you’re describing. However, when I go to bed, my connection is stable on LTE and it drains maybe 3% overnight, if that even. Hope this helps!

    • smokebomb

      If you’re in a bad cell reception area, your phone may be sucking power to maintain the reception. More than likely connecting to WiFi and entering power save mode will address the problem. You can always turn mobile data off without affecting calls and regular SMS (messages via the carrier SMS system instead of apps like WhatsApp and Google voice that use data to send texts). Then there’s the end all be all solution, buy a new battery and see if the problem continues.

  • rob

    Note 3 and s4 are were it is at still the s5 is garbage.

  • Ruz

    2.5Ghz Quad Core is modified or overclocked version of Snapdragon which is good for nothing as it will consume more power while not being so beneficial for applications.. Think again

  • Jim0PROFIT

    I thought this would have help me to choose, this is not the case right now!

  • Mr. Famicom

    You forgot to add wireless AC in the “Connectivity” section for the Samsung Galaxy S5.

  • M.Azam

    Note 3 better then s5 ….i think s5 disappointing for large number of customers its 2 GB of ram battery life low as compare to note 3 only sensors and little bit camera are better other vise note 3 is best

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Why did the Note 10.1 2014 edition get the S5 icons while the Note 3 didn’t with Kitkat?