iPhone 5S vs. Galaxy Note 3

Vs Stephen Tenerowicz 15:47, Sep 10 2013

Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and Apple's iPhone 5S duke it out

Now that Apple's iPhone 5S is official it's time to see if it can live up to its biggest rivals. Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 made its big debut just ahead of Apple's newest iPhone, so it only makes sense to stack the two new devices side by side to see exactly how each measures up. 

While there’s no escaping the fact that the iPhone 5S looks as slick as ever (especially with those splashy new color options including silver, "space grey" and gold), it's what's underneath that really matters. Let's take a look at the phone inside and out to see whether it's truly better than Samsung's Galaxy Note 3. 

Read on for the full comparison.


The design of the Galaxy Note 3 and iPhone 5S are totally different, but I'll start with the 5S. The iPhone 5S is super thin and features the same great design the iPhone 5 had. It's a classic that includes brushed aluminum, a 4-inch display and a new fingerprint sensor on the home button.

The Galaxy Note 3, meanwhile, looks a lot like its predecessors, which is actually a good thing. It's sleek, thin and light in the hand. While it easily stands out for its size alone, the large form factor isn't the only thing that makes the Note 3 pop out from the crowd. The Note 3 also has a faux leather back that adds a nice touch.


Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 includes a 13MP rear-facing camera, 4G LTE, W-Fi, GPS, NFC and comes in either 32GB or 64GB storage options (with the option to expand via microSD). You're also looking at a top-of-the-line processor, the S Pen for stylus interaction and a boatload of other sensors.

The iPhone 5S uses the latest A7 processor and Apple said this is up to 40 times faster than the original iPhone. It also uses an M7 co-processor to deliver better graphics and it has 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth Low Energy and nearly everything you'd expect in a smartphone. The one major thing missing is NFC. 


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 features a larger screen than its 5.5-inch predecessor. Measuring in at 5.7 inches, the Full HD Super AMOLED screen on the third-generation Note offers a stellar video-viewing experience and a ridiculous amount of real estate for achieving those never-ending lists of tasks. 

The iPhone 5S screen is small in comparison to the Note 3's display. It's only four inches after all, which means it is totally dwarfed. In terms of color reproduction, though, the iPhone 5S is a real winner. You get a Retina Display with 326 pixels per inch. 


The iPhone 5S launches with iOS 7 and this includes a radical new version of the software that many of you are familiar with. The iOS 7 platform is still quite easy to use but now it's very colorful, has a lot of new tools for app developers and it includes new features like iTunes Radio. The iOS 7 platform should also have a ton of fun new apps to help you get the most out of your iPhone 5S. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will launch with Android 4.3 and Samsung's custom user interface. Android is a delight to use for calls, texts, apps and Web browsing. Samsung has thrown on some interesting customizations that can really help you take advantage of that S Pen.


The iPhone 5S features a faster, better 8-megapixel camera. As with iPhone cameras in the past, it likely takes great images consistently. The iPhone 5S has larger pixels and a dual-tone flash that could lead to better low-light shooting. 

The Note 3, on the other hand, sports a huge, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. The device snaps great shots, and speaking as someone who has owned the Note 2, the Note 3's camera is even better. In terms of overall image quality at this point it is too hard to tell which one wins, but I'm putting my money on Apple once again.

Final verdict

Obviously we haven't gotten our hands on the new iPhone or Note 3 yet, but I'm calling it a tie! Both devices are great entries in the smartphone market. The true winner here will be up to the consumer.

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