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Summary:

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 has a huge display and tons of power, but how does it compare to the other large-screen smartphones out there?

Galaxy Note3 FlipCover_004_Open Pen_Wild Orange

Samsung finally announced the Galaxy Note 3 on Wednesday, and it’s a beast of a smartphone in every regard. Of particular note is the 5.7-inch display, which makes it one of the biggest “phablets” I’ve ever seen. But is it also one of the best?

I’ve compared specs for the Galaxy Note 3 against the 5.2-inch LG G2 and the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega to see which phone reigns supreme in the ultimate phablet face-off.

I want a phone size that’s just right

Since we’re talking about phablets, the most logical place to start this comparison is physical size. And as you can see, I’ve only included phones with screens larger than 5 inches in this roundup. So if you’re still reading this, chances are you believe in the axiom that bigger is better. Still, you also want to be able to use these devices as a phone. With that in mind, the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega is probably too big for most users. At 6.60 by 3.46 by 0.31 inches, it feels more like you’re holding a 7-inch tablet than a smartphone. And at 7.02 ounces it’s heavy, compared to the iPad mini at 10.88 ounces or the Galaxy S 4 at 4.59 ounces. This phone will definitely weigh down your pocket, provided you can get it in there in the first place.

Galaxy Note 3 comparison

The LG G2 and the Galaxy Note 3 are much more reasonable. The Galaxy Note 3 gets you the most screen for your money, packing a 5.7-inch display into a design that’s actually thinner and lighter than its predecessor. It’s still a big device, but at 5.95 by 3.12 by 0.33 inches and 5.92 ounces, it feels more like a large phone than a small tablet.

But if that still sounds a little too big, the LG G2 is likely to satisfy; I have average-sized hands, and the G2 is probably the most comfortable phablet I’ve held. It measures 5.45 by 2.79 by 0.35 inches and weighs 5.04 ounces. So depending on which size you prefer, this category belongs to either the G2 or the Note 3.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Big screens and fast processors

Of course, what would a big phone be without an equally impressive display? The Galaxy Mega is notable for its sheer size, but its 720p resolution means it’s not nearly as sharp as the competition. And if it’s sharpness you’re after, the LG G2 gets you the densest display, with its 1080p resolution stretched across a 5.2-inch screen. The Galaxy Note 3 features the same resolution, but the larger screen size means its has a slightly lower pixel density. Additionally, the Galaxy Note 3 uses a PenTile pixel arrangement, which can make text and images look a little fuzzy. But it’s still plenty sharp, and it’s your best bet if you want the largest high-quality screen possible.

As far as horsepower is concerned, the Galaxy Mega is a non-competitor. It had already been around the block a few times before making its debut in the U.S., and you can see it in the hardware. The Mega’s dated dual-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM don’t stand a chance against the G2 and the Note 3, which both use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 processor. These two phones are a pretty even match, as they are both powered by the same 2.3GHz quad-core chip. Samsung goes one step further, loading the Note 3 with 3GB of RAM, while the G2 has the more standard 2GB. Both phones are going to be top performers, though the Note 3 gets a slight advantage.

Multimedia storage and pictures

With such a big screen, you’re probably going to want to store a ton of pictures and video on your device. The Samsung phones have a major advantage here. The LG G2 comes with either 16 or 32GB of memory, and that’s it. The Galaxy Mega also comes with 16GB of memory, but it features a microSD card slot for expandable storage up to an additional 64GB. The Note 3 wins, though, as it features a microSD card slot along with either 32 or 64GB of internal memory, for up to 128GB of potential storage.Galaxy Mega

The camera battle is a closer call. Again, the Mega trails behind, with a dated 8-megapixel sensor. The LG G2 and the Galaxy Note 3 both feature 13-megapixel cameras, each with their own advantages. The G2 is the first 13-megapixel camera phone to feature Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) without the need for a protruding lens. The Galaxy Note 3, meanwhile, can shoot 4K video. Which feature is better is really a matter of preference. But right now I’d rather have a stabilized image as opposed to a video on a device that lacks a screen to display it properly.

Software, battery life and intangibles

While the LG G2 and the Galaxy Mega are running Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), the Galaxy Note 3 is running Android 4.3, which comes with a host of improvements. The G2 and Mega are likely to see an upgrade in the future, but only the Galaxy Note 3 is running it out of the box.

Batteries are similar across the board. Just remember — the bigger the screen, the bigger the drain on your battery.

There are also a few less tangible features to consider. The LG G2, for instance, places all of its physical function keys on the back of the phone, below the camera, where LG is hoping to start a new trend. The Galaxy Note 3 comes with Samsung’s multifunction S Pen and works with Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Gear smartwatch. And the Galaxy Mega is basically a replacement for your 7-inch tablet.

As a side note, I also thought about including the 6.4-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra in this comparison, but there are no signs pointing to U.S. availability for that phone. It’s worth considering if you can get your hands on one – just think of it as a really big Xperia Z1.LG G2 rear

Bottom line

Which is the right phone for you? Unless you absolutely must have the largest phone available, I’d count out the Galaxy Mega, as it’s just a little too dated at this point. But it still comes down to a matter of size. If you want the best, biggest phone out there, the Galaxy Note 3 will undoubtedly make you happy. But if you want something a little closer in size to a traditional phone, but still big enough to turn some heads, the LG G2 walks a fine line between smartphone and phablet.

  1. I would like to see a comparison with the rumored HTC One Max if and when it becomes available. I’m really looking at the Galaxy Note 3 or the HTC One Max to replace my iPhone 4S

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  2. Don’t forget, the Mega is by far the cheapest as well! If it had a bigger battery I’d strongly consider it; 7″ tablets all have much bigger batteries but finding a solid voice enabled one is difficult. Right now I’m bouncing around between an S2 (too small), an AT&T Note 1 (too lousy), and a TMobile 7.0+ tablet (nice, but lousy camera, proprietary charger, and no cellular voice), all on TMobile. The Mega could cover 80-90% of my needs with a cheaper, smaller GSM phone as a backup. I still prefer 16×10. :)

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  3. Cool, sounds like the LG G2 may actually be the better phone… might have to look into it.

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  4. ATT just released the price $399 with 2 yr commitment. Retail Price:$809.99

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  5. All of these at retail price just makes me wish the Ubuntu Edge had pulled through. Now I have to settle paying the same for a lesser phone.

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  6. Unfortunately the best bet is to go with samsung on this one since they are always better at having the most recent version of android.Cyanogen mod doesn’t work well with the g2 since your gonna miss double tapping the screen to unlock when the phone flat on the table(Think about it!). I wanted the lg too at first. . . And then again later, but the note 3′s widget abundant 3gigs of ram, massive storage capacity and, more recent android version is gonna keep u happy for the longest and android phone will.

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  7. I’m calling BS on note 3 pentile matrix unless you pull out a source where you got that info. I hope that source is not your ass.

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    1. i was planning to call them out on that myself. I’ve searched for information to confirm this as well as many others and have had no luck. This makes me think this article doesn’t know what they are talking about.

      Show source or shut up! Being in journalism you people should know this!!!

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  8. I’ve had the galaxy note for a year and i have to charge it at least twice a day and i keep mine in a protective case which makes it even bigger. I love it but its size is frustrating sometimes. Im good on the giant phones. Id rather just have a moderate size smart phone and get a tablet for everything else.

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  9. Ferdinand Libertes Tugano Sunday, September 29, 2013

    I have mega 6.3 for about a month now. So fsr so good.. fyi mega 6.3 is cheaper by a hundred bucks. I got mine for 19,300php or less than $500. Compared to g2 or note 3.. you people should consider the price too.

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  10. After reading the Samsung.com SPEC pages on the Note 3 and the Mega, I have to tell you Mr. Colon, that this article’s specs are way off or it is the Samsung pages that are off!?!?
    MEGA: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SGH-I527ZKBATT-specs
    Note3: http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SGH-I717ZBAATT-specs
    Looking at both phones in the ATT Store, both do all, but it seems the Mega has the older OS. I have no looked at the LG phone yet.
    I would give my kingdom for a cell phone computer the size of a French Passport with Windows 7 and Windows SW.
    BB

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