Smartphone screens continue to grow and threaten to bust the seams of your pants pockets. Two of the newest entrants into the phablet market, the LG G2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, have the size to steal your attention. But do they have the specs that prove bigger is better? We take a look under the hood of these devices and see if the internals are impressive of the display with a spec showdown.
Galaxy Note 3
|Size||151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 (mm)||138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 (mm)|
|Screen||5.7 inch 1080p AMOLED||5.2-inch 1080p LCD|
|Resolution||1080×1920 pixels||1080×1920 pixels|
|OS||Android 4.3 with TouchWiz UI||Android 4.2.2 with|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||No|
|Processor||Quad-core Snapdragon 800||Quad-core Snapdragon 800|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC|
|Camera||Front 2MP, Rear 13MP||Front 2.1MP, Rear 13MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.0||Yes, version 4.0|
|Charger||Micro USB||Micro USB|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Ave. Price||$300 (with 2-year contract)||$200 (with 2-year contract)|
|Availability||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mob, Verizon||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mob, Verizon|
|DT Review Score||4 out of 5||4.5 out of 5|
Not only do the Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2 have big screens, they’re the two fastest phones on the market in Oct. 2013. On the inside, they are very similar. Both are powered by the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, though the LG G2 accompanies it with 2GB while the Galaxy Note 3 bumps it up to 3GB. They also have extremely similar cameras, both front and back, though LG’s camera does have a 9-point focus. The Note 3 also has a slightly larger battery (but a biggest screen to light). That’s kind of the theme of this showdown: Samsung’s device has a slight edge in most categories, including it’s larger display, but LG beats Samsung on price and holdability. While we consider the Note 3 to be a ‘phablet’ or practically a tablet due to its large size, LG manages to pack a 5.2-inch screen into a smaller form factor than you’d think, thanks to some thin bezels. The G2 also has an advantage in pixels per inch, at 424 to the Note 3’s 386.
Feature face off:
- Note 3 has the S Pen: Like previous Note phones, the S Pen is a big reason why you’d want this phone. There is no other stylus on the market that can match Samsung’s integrated S Pen in accuracy or integration. There are a number of built-in apps that use the S Pen, and Samsung has built a new radial menu that pops up every time you tap the pen to the screen, letting you more easily perform a number of functions. The Note 3 is also compatible with the $300 Galaxy Gear watch. If you want the Gear (and we’re not sure why you would), then you need a Note 3.
- G2 is built for one hand: Though it’s a big phone, LG has gone out of its way to make holding the G2 a more enjoyable experience than anything of its size. The power and volume buttons are now stacked in the middle-rear of the phone, right under the camera. This sounds odd, and is at first, but soon you realize its benefits. You can more easily hold the G2 without adjusting your grip and if you want to press volume when it’s in your pocket (or any time), you always know precisely which button you’re pressing. Accompanying this new feature is LG’s smart screen, which will turn on and off if you double tap your finger on the glass – no buttons required.
It’ll be up to you to decide if the differences warrant the extra $100, but we think the difference comes down to the stylus, and how you want to use your phone. If you want to be able to easily hold your phone in one hand, but still have a large screen, then we suggest the LG G2. If that S Pen excites you, you’re artistic, or you plan on holding your phone more like a tablet most of the time anyway, the Galaxy Note 3 is for you. Both devices are available on all four major carriers in the US, so getting your hands on each should be easy.