Galaxy Note 2 vs. Galaxy Note 3: Spec showdown

Samsung took to the stage of its Unpacked 2013 Episode 2 event in Berlin, Germany with the goal of putting on a big event. What do you need to headline a big event? A big screen. The Galaxy Note series of devices from Samsung are known for just that, so it was only right that the Galaxy Note 3 was introduced today. Continuing the tradition of big screens on small devices, the Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7-inch display that takes up the majority of the 6-inch surface area. But Samsung did its best to differentiate the device from its predecessors with more than just size. The Galaxy Note 3 is slimmer, has a whole new aesthetic, and a new set of features. But does it do enough to make Galaxy Note 2 owners want to upgrade? We put the two devices side by side in a spec showdown to see.


Galaxy Note 3


 Galaxy Note 2



Size 152.4 x 78.7 x 8.4 (mm) 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 (mm)
Weight 167g  183g
Screen 5.7-inch AMOLED 5.5-inch Super AMOLED
Resolution 1920×1080 pixels 1280×720 pixels
OS Android 4.3 with TouchWiz UI Android 4.1 with TouchWiz UI
Storage 32/64GB 16/32/64GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
Processor 2.3GHz quad-core 1.6GHz, quad-core Exynos 4
Connectivity Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n), 4G LTE, HSPA+
Camera Front 2MP, Rear 13MP  Front 1.9MP, Rear 8MP
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0  Yes, version 4.0
Battery 3200mAh 3100mAh
Charger Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store  Google Play Store
Price $N/A $300 with two-year contract
Availability October: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

The Galaxy Note 3 does everything big. It has a faster processor, more RAM, a bigger screen with a higher resolution, a bigger batter, and a higher megapixel count on its camera. Given that its been slimmed down in thickness and in weight, it’s impressive what has been packed into the Galaxy Note 3. Strictly from a specs standpoint, the Galaxy Note 3 is an upgrade over the Galaxy Note 2 and it’s not just a small step up. The Galaxy Note 2 is still competitive with many of the handsets on the market, especially in this particular screen size bracket, but it definitely looks like a previous generation of device compared to the Galaxy Note 3. 

The real make-or-break factor with the Galaxy Note 3 is going to be everything else that surrounds those updated internals. The Galaxy Note 3 comes in more color choices than the Note 2, but also has a new faux leather feel designed to replicate an actual notebook. Additionally, the device is full of new features that may be appealing to some but may amount to little more than additional gimmicks to others. The new S Pen features like Action Memos and S Finder expand the ability of digital handwriting, while My Magazine acts as a Flipboard-style content viewing solution. Some of this might come in handy but some of it may just get in your way.

If you’re purely going for power, the Galaxy Note 3 seems like a worthwhile upgrade over the Galaxy Note 2. But if you’re a little wary of the new features that Samsung has tacked on to its latest addition to the Galaxy Note family, don’t count out the previous generation of the phone. It still offers plenty of impressive specs. You can get your hands on the Galaxy Note 3 here in the US sometime this October.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: