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The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 3 battle for smartphone supremacy. See which flagship phone comes out on top.

Samsung has unpacked the Galaxy S5 in Barcelona and other device manufacturers unveiled their latest creations as well at the Mobile World Congress. The news world is now filled with headlines comparing the S5 with the iPhone 5S, but one must not forget that the former must also establish itself as the new flagship device of the brand.

For it to be a real top device in its own block, it will face formidable challenges from its own siblings such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Design

While one can expect the Galaxy S5 and the Note 3 to sport similar design lines, there are still subtle and obvious differences. In front, you essentially have the same layout with the Samsung branding on top and the home button at the bottom except that the GS5 integrated a fingerprint scanner with its home button.

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The Note 3 sports more angular sides compared to the flatter approach of the S5. Both devices are hugged by the shiny, chrome rim around its edges. At the back, the Note 3 has a more premium look with its faux leather cover while the S5 also veered away from the plasticky-feel with a soft-touch design. However, technophiles would have loved if the manufacturer gave the S5 a more premium metal body.

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The Galaxy S5 has an IP67 rating and for this, the maker added a flap cover for its microUSB port to keep water and dust away.

Just based on appearance, one cannot deny that these gadgets share the same DNA but read on to find out who’s designed to be better and outshine the other.

Hardware and Performance

If you are thinking how the S5 and Note 3 will fight against each other in a drag race, then you are in for an exciting one. Both have the capacity to go vroom vroom with the S5 having a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 that clocks 2.5 GHz working with a 2GB RAM under the hood. The Note 3’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor is a blink slower at 2.3 GHz but it has a 3GB RAM to give the device an extra oomph. Both also carry an Adreno 330 GPU.

Samsung has been known for its great displays and it installed 1080p Super AMOLED on both devices. The Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch screen real estate but with a pixel density of 432 ppi while that of the Note 3 is slightly bigger at 5.7 inches with a pixel density of 386 ppi. Users can enjoy the deep blacks, vibrant colors, and crisp images from a good range of viewing angles using either gadget.

The manufacturer has upgraded the camera of the S5 compared to its predecessor. The latest offering gives consumers a 16MP main shooter that also foray into 4K video recording. It also supports high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging that makes taking shots easier in different lighting conditions. Likewise, the Note 3 has a very capable 13MP sensor for its main camera but given the technical specs and packaged software, it might be a step behind its sibling.

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The S5 has a better battery life than the S4 with its 2,800 mAh pack but the Note 3 packs a bigger one with 3,200 mAh battery. The latter will not make a big difference since it will just compensate for the slightly bigger display of the Note 3.

Now that the basics have been covered, let us sweep everything aside and checkout the latest offerings of the Samsung Galaxy S5 that everyone is talking about.

The S5 features a physical home button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. This is to play catch up with the iPhone 5S. The obvious use is for phone security and a swipe from the user’s finger can unlock the device. It can also be used for authenticating purchases. Last we heard is that Samsung is working with PayPal to make most of this feature but this can be a problem if the rumors are true that the scanner is unreliable.

With mobile technology marrying the world of fitness, Samsung included a heart rate monitor to give the S5 some edge over its competitors. The sensor is located just below the main camera and it can give accurate pulse rate reading in a matter of seconds. Of course, things will make more sense if it will be utilized in tandem with the brand’s wearable meant for those who want to move and lose some pounds.

Of course, there is the S Pen. No point of comparing since the S5 does not come with it but fans of the stylus have their own reason why they find some advantage when writing or drawing on the screen with the said accessory. Others just don’t find it practical.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes out of the box running on Android 4.4 KitKat with a revised user interface that looks flatter and cleaner. Compared to the older version of the TouchWiz, the designers tweaked the notifications bar, the icons for the Settings menu have been redesigned as well. While the Note 3 also runs on KitKat and has the layer of TouchWiz, it does not have the newer features given to the S5.

Somehow, the UI has some resemblance to Tizen, something Android purists might dislike.

Then there’s the integration of the health technology features that may be the battleground of the next wave of smartphones. Users can track their heart rate and calories but one needs to be determined and disciplined in using such features to make most of it.

Early Verdict

If one should ask who wins, given you have the S5 and the Note 3 to choose from, then it will be the technophiles, of course. The newest offering of the South Korean technology giant is rid of the bloatware that made a lot of Android users cringe and packed the S5 with more potent hardware (although it might fall short when compared to its competition but that might be worthy of another post).

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While the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a slight advantage in terms of tech specs, there are Android purists and stylus fans who will still go for the Note 3. Samsung will also surely throw a good chunk of budget to market the device and challenge the iPhone as the must-have status symbol in many parts of the globe

Quick Specs Comparison:

Features Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Display 5.1-inch Super AMOLED Full HD (1920 x 1080) 5.7-inch Super AMOLED Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Processor 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 330
Main Memory 2GB of RAM 3GB of RAM
Storage 16/32GB + microSD (up to 128GB) 16/32/64GB + micro SD (up to 64GB)
Camera 16MP rear with autofocus, LED flash, advanced HDR mode/ 2MP front-facing 13MP rear with autofocus, LED flash/ 2MP front-facing
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 2 x 2 MIMO, 4G LTE, BT 4.0 LTE, NFC Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, BT 4.0 LE, NFC
Battery 2800 mAh 3200 mAh
Extras Fingerprint reader, heart rate sensor S Pen
Operating System Android 4.4 KitKat Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradeable to KitKat)

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