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Phablet faceoff: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Posted on 5 September 2013

Samsung has finally announced its hotly anticipated third instalment in the Galaxy Note series. But what's changed since the Galaxy Note 2 arrived on the scene? Here's Carphone Warehouse's guide to the differences between the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 2.

New design.

Despite bringing a larger display, a 5.7" panel compared to a 5.5" one, the Galaxy Note 3 has lost weight. It's just 168g compared to the Galaxy Note 2's 183g. It's smaller too, measuring 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm, whereas the Galaxy Note 2 is 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm.

The most noticeable difference though is that the back now features a stitched leather finish to give it a notebook feel. It adds a touch of quality to the plastic frame. Samsung has also added a colour option for the Note 3. As well as the usual black and white there's a soft pink version, which is sure to make your smartphone stand out from the crowd. So in terms of design the Galaxy Note 3's overhaul makes it more of a looker and easier to hold.

Bigger screen.

With phablets it's all about the size of your screen. Samsung has bumped the screen size up on the Galaxy Note 3, from 5.5" on the Galaxy Note 2 a sharp 5.7" one. That might not sound like a lot but the extra diagonal size makes a noticeable difference.

More importantly though, the resolution has been taken up to 1080p full HD from 720p. That means the Galaxy Note 3 has a pixel density of 386 pixels per inch compared to the Galaxy Note 2's 267 pixels per inch, so things will be sharper and more detailed.

The Galaxy Note 3 has kept the Super AMOLED screen tech of the Galaxy Note 2 so both are very bright, with high contrast and vivid colours. Thanks to the bigger screen size and higher resolution the Galaxy Note 3 is the clear winner when it comes to displays. You're pictures and videos will be sharper and you'll notice much finer detail.

Pure power.

The Note series was designed to be a great productivity device. Part of that means it needs enough power to keep up with the people using it. The Galaxy Note 3, therefore, has a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with a whopping 3GB RAM. That makes it the first phone with 3GB RAM, something that's crucial for anyone wanting to use the massive screen for seamless multitasking. The Galaxy Note 2 sounds rather average by comparison, with a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Power is on the side of the new model.

To keep the impressive processor ticking over there's a slightly larger 3,200mAh battery. Given the Galaxy Note 2's 3,100mAh battery gave most users a couple of day's life, we'd expect the new phablet to easily last a day out of the office.

Simple software.

Part of the reason that Samsung has given the Galaxy Note 3 3GB RAM is the new software features. The S-Pen, for instance, can now draw a window of any size and shape that you can drop an application into. That's an unrivalled multitasking feature that'll give you complete flexibility to do more than one thing at a time. The Galaxy Note 3 also introduces Air Command, which will bring up a range of functions with the new S Pen that make simple tasks faster.

The Galaxy Note 3 is also launching with the latest version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean. That should help extend battery life even further and will make the most of the awesome processor. Samsung has also pre-installed Samsung Knox, which is the best mobile antivirus software available. So while the two Notes might appear to be almost identical in terms of software at first glance that new version definitely has its advantages.

Beefed up camera.

Like the rest of the Galaxy Note 3, the camera has been improved too. The Galaxy Note 3 has a 13MP snapper compared to the Note 2's 8MP one. But there's a lot more to a camera than just the size of the image it can capture. Samsung is promising better low-light performance, stabilisation and more powerful flash. This icing on the cake of the new camera comes from the video recording capabilities. You can record Ultra HD 4K videos at a smooth 30 frames per second. A 4K video is roughly four times the resolution of standard HD, which means you'll be able to capture vastly more detail. There's also a slow motion mode, which lets you record at 120 frames per second at 720p resolution, so you'll be able to create some cool home movies.

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