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iPhone 5S vs Galaxy Note 3 meet the new standard

Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5

iPhone 5S vs Galaxy Note 3

iPhone 5S is a svelte and sleek smart phone, offering performance and style in a small and slim package. They are oranges and apples, really - two very different smart phones that share a similar price point and release date. The Galaxy Note 3 is a phablet: a 6in device with the relatively large physical frame to match. But contrast Here we compare the specs and our first impressions of the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy Note 3.

Design and display

As is traditional for an \'S\' model, the iPhone 5S size, shape, design and weight as the iPhone 5 although it is now available in silver, gold and space grey. This means it is smaller, thinner and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but you would expect that. The Note 3 is a large screen phablet, after all.

Look at it this way, the iPhone 5S is the phone if you want to be able to do everything with one hand. The Note 3 requires two hands, but offers much greater screen real estate.

Build Quality

At first glance you might prefer the aluminum build quality of the iPhone over the Galaxy Note 3, but looks can be deceiving. The Note 3 is less decent in terms of build, but it is a forceful workhorse that does not require such cosseting. So for beauty, choose the iPhone: but be prepared to buy a case. If plastic and utilitarian is okay for you, go for the Note 3.


Touch ID here as it is a major and key feature of the iPhone 5S which the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does not have. Built into the iPhone 5S\' home button is a fingerprint scanner which can be used to unlock the iPhone instead of a pass code. It can also be used to authenticate your Apple ID.


The first thing that catches your attention with the Note 3 is a stylish leather back cover. This makes holding and gripping the sizable device an easier task than it was with the Note 2. The back is completely removable offers access to the phone\'s removable battery (a Li-Ion 3200 mAh cell). This is a definite plus for the Note 3 over the iPhone 5S: you can change the Samsung\'s battery if it degrades, with the iPhone 5S you can only change the phone.


The Galaxy Note 3\'s rear-facing camera has been upgraded to 13 Mp from 8 Mp, the front-facing has a hefty extra 0.1 Mp now too, making it a solid 2 Mp in total.

Again, both these devices have good smart phone cameras. Neither has great lens glass, however, due to the constraints of smart phone chassis design. So expect high-quality compact camera performance, but nothing like a super zoom camera.

Pixel density

By contrast the thinner and lighter iPhone 5S must make do with \'only\' a 4in display with a resolution running at 640 x 1136 resolutions.  This is a pixel density of 326 ppi on a phone that measures 59 x 124 x 7.6mm and weighs a marvelously light 112g.

Processor and performance

We cannot definitively articulate on this until we have spent more time with both handsets, but for now our focus is on the specifications.

Apple is touting the A7 processor as a major upgrade for the iPhone 5S. We have never found the iPhone to have any major performance issues but Apple says the iPhone 5S is twice as fast as the previous model in both CPU and graphics performance. It is the first smart phone with a 64-bit chip inside which at the moment is more a marketing tool than anything else. It does offer a small amount of future proofing. The iPhone 5S also has an M7 motion co-processor which handles specific tasks to make iPhone 5S even more power efficient. It comes in storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

Internal storage

The new Galaxy Note now has a staggering 3GB of internal RAM. Internal storage also now starts at 32GB and tops at 64GB, it has retained its micro SD card slot too. There is also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 processor under the hood. The end product is a very snappy phablet that is responsive to the touch and quick to open and close apps.


The Note 3 remains a big brute in the phone world, however, measuring 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm. The overall shape and appearance has smartened up since the Note 2, with the Galaxy Note 3 sporting a more sophisticated and boxy silhouette in our view. The Note 3 is also a little bit lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 168g. But this is much bigger and heavier than is the iPhone 5S.

But the Galaxy Note 3 wins back points with the reason for that extra size: the display. The Note 3 now has 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inch display which works out at a pixel density of 386 ppi. The new Super AMOLED display on the Note 3 looks incredibly sharp and impressive for a phablet.


Both the Note 3 and the iPhone 5S offer great performance in well-designed and built cases. But the Note 3 is much bigger, with a concurrently bigger display. The smaller, better looking iPhone 5S is lighter and allows for one-handed operation. But the Note 3 is more robust. And that is before we get into Android vs iOS, a debate with no end in sight. It is likely that you much prefer one of these devices over the other - but we\'ll leave that choice to you, now you have the salient facts from our review.




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