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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One

on October 31, 2013 – 8:19 pmNo Comment

Samsung announced the third iteration of their very successful Galaxy Note series at the IFA earlier this year in the form of Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the successor of the extremely popular and successful Galaxy Note 2. Galaxy Note 3 has to live up to its hype that it generated and in terms of specifications, we weren’t disappointed and we definitely wanted Samsung to do something with the design and choice of materials. Samsung have understood that their plastic flagships are no match against competitors like HTC One and hence have tried something different with a faux leather finish at the back of Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

HTC One was announced prior to the MWC 2013 event and was available in India around June by which Samsung had already captured their market with their Galaxy S4. HTC One is the best looking and solidly built Android device yet as it is carved out of an Aluminum Unibody. Something that HTC gambled with their HTC One was its camera department where they introduced a concept called UltraPixel camera which was designed to take better low light images.

Lets check out how these two devices perform against each other.

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You can check out the comparison video right below.

Design, Build Quality

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One are quite different right from the outside. Samsung has continued to use plastic as the major build material for Galaxy Note 3 while HTC have given an Aluminum casing to their premium device. Samsung have improved over the all plastic build with a faux leather material on the back that makes it looks quite classy. HTC One looks quite solid and feels extremely premium in hand.

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In terms of dimensions, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is taller and wider than HTC One, but is thinner. As far as weight is concerned, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 weighs 25g more than HTC One. One of the things to notice here is that display size to phone size ratio is quite good for Galaxy Note 3, but the HTC One suffers in this case.

The positioning of keys is different in both the devices as HTC follows an Apple-like design approach with the power lock on the top of the device. On the right side, we have just the power lock key on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and on HTC One, we have just a volume rocker.

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On the bottom of Galaxy Note 3, we have a microUSB port, a loud speaker, S-Pen compartment and a microphone whereas on HTC One, things are less crowded with just a microUSB port and microphone.

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The volume rocker is present on the left side in Galaxy Note 3 while there is a microSIM slot on the One. The keys are made of plastic, but offer nice feedback in the Galaxy Note 3 while in the One, they are made of aluminum, but do not offer sufficient feedback and can be tough to use at times as they are not raised high enough to offer nice feedback.

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On the top we have a secondary microphone, IR blaster and 3.5mm audio jack on Galaxy Note 3, while there is just the power lock button and 3.5mm audio jack on HTC One.

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On the front, above the display, we have the earpiece at the center and the ambient and proximity sensors, the 2MP front facing camera are at the right of the earpiece in Galaxy Note 3 while things are very different on the One. HTC One is one of the first phones to come with dual-stereo speakers on the front. Above the display, we have a speaker which hides the earpiece and there is another speaker below the display. On the left side of the big speaker grill, we have the proximity and ambient sensors while the front facing camera is on the right side of it.

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Because of the big form factor, the bezels of the Galaxy Note 3 look really thin. The bezels on HTC One aren’t noticeably thin.

Below the display, we have the usual Samsung arrangement with a physical home button at the center and capacitive touch keys on either side on Galaxy Note 3 while there is another big speaker grill on the HTC One. Above the grill and just below the display, we have a HTC logo at the center which is of no use and there are capacitive keys on either side of it for navigation.

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Moving to the back, differences continue. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has an excellent faux leather finish that gives it a great texture and prevents it from scratches and finger prints while HTC One has a solid metal back that is quite strong and sturdy. The back of HTC One is nicely curved and sits quite well in the hand. There is a 13MP camera with an LED flash on Galaxy Note 3 while the One has a very peculiar 4MP UltraPixel camera with OIS. There is a secondary microphone on the back of HTC One. Below the camera, we have the logos of respective companies.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a removable back cover while HTC One is a sealed unit. Opening the back cover, we see that a microSIM card slot that is not hot-swapabble and a hot-swappable microSD card slot are stacked one above the other.

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Overall, in terms of build quality and design, it is tough choice between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One. The textured leather back of Galaxy Note 3 gives it an advantage over the HTC One, but HTC One’s relatively compact size and build quality(easily one of the best built Android phones) gives it an edge. Both the phones are sturdy despite being made of different materials.

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Display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7inch Full HD Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 386ppi while the  HTC One has a 4.7inch SLCD3 Full HD display with a pixel density of 469ppi.

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Both the displays are quite bright and absolutely gorgeous. The display on Galaxy Note 3 is just slightly ahead in brightness. In terms of contrast, Galaxy Note 3 is better because of its SuperAMOLED nature. But in other aspects like color saturation and viewing angles, HTC One was better. Also images were considerably sharper on the One. Sometimes, images appeared way too over saturated on Galaxy Note 3.

Overall, the display on HTC One is better.

Hardware and Performance

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is powered by a 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos 5420 SoC, 3GB and Mali T628 MP6 GPU while HTC One is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and Adreno 320 GPU.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available in 16/32/64GB variants while the One is available only in 32/64GB variant(we have the 32GB variant). Out of the 32GB, both the devices have around 24GB free usable storage. Galaxy Note 3 has a microSD card slot while there is no such facility on HTC One. HTC One is currently not available in India, but you can get the HTC One Dual SIM variant which comes with a microSD card slot.

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Out of the 3GB RAM in Galaxy Note 3 2.6GB is usable and 1.6GB is free when the device is idle while in the HTC One, out of the 2GB RAM, 1.5GB RAM is usable and 1GB is free when the device is idle.

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In terms of day to day performance, both the phones are quite snappy and there is hardly a moment you will notice any difference between the two.

In benchmarks, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 easily outperforms HTC One in all benchmarks.

Camera

Camera is significantly different in the two phones. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 13MP camera while HTC One has a 4MP UltraPixel camera. Both the phones are capable of recording 1080p videos from the rear camera and front cameras. Hwoever, only Galaxy Note 3 can record 1080p videos at 60fps. HTC One’s camera comes with OIS(Optical Image Stabilization).

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In terms of camera UI, both the phones are quite different. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a camera app similar to the one on S4 and S4 Zoom and comes with a variety of shooting modes like Surround Shot, Golf Mode, HDR, Panorama, Best face, Best photo, Sports Mode, Eraser Mode, Animated Photo, Drama Mode and Sound&Shot mode. On the One, there are not many shooting options except HDR, Panorama and Night mode.

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Overall, in terms of camera performance and usability, the one on Galaxy Note 3 is much better because of the high quality images and videos.

You can check out the camera comparison video right below.

Software features

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs on Android 4.3 Jellybean and is overlaid by TouchWiz UI. It is packed with Samsung features like Smart Stay, Smart Rotation, S-Beam, Multi-windows, Airview, Pop-out videos, Air Gesture, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause and Reading mode that optimizes the screen for reading and is available when certain applications like Google Books are opened. The main distinguishing feature of Galaxy Note 3 is its S-Pen stylus that lets you perform a lot of creative functions. It is a great tool for note taking and Galaxy Note 3 comes with a new S-Note app. There is also an Action Command option pops up allowing the users to access basic S-Pen functionalities with the click of a button on the S-Pen. HTC One is dwarfed by the amount of software features that Samsung offers. HTC One also does have a few tricks up its sleeve in the form of BlinkFeed, Zoe and Video Highlights.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a premium set of software features and they work quite together with the new enhanced S-Pen functionality. As soon as you take out the S-Pen, an Air-command menu appears on the screen(this can be opened by pressing the button on the S-Pen as well) and it lets you one of the five actions – Action Memo, Scrap Booker, Screen Write, S-Finder and Pen Window. Action Memo lets you take notes and use these notes based on their content, Scrap Booker lets you save content from the screen, Screen Write lets you write on the screen, S-Finder helps you find files within your device and Pen Window is the best of all that lets you create a window of any size on the screen and fits certain apps inside it. It can be great for multi-tasking. You can check out the software features of Galaxy Note 3 in the video below.

HTC One was launched with Android 4.1.2, but it received an update to Android 4.2.2 JellyBean. HTC BlinkFeed is on the lines of Flipboard as it tries to bring you news you want right into the home screen. Video Highlights in the gallery is a great feature as it combines the various photos in an album and shows a mini 30 second video along with some added effects. You can check out the software features of HTC One in the video below.

In terms of software features, Galaxy Note 3 clearly has the advantage with newer version of Android and better Software features.

Gaming

Gaming is good on both the devices. Almost all the games ran smoothly on both the devices, but newer games run fluidic smooth on the Galaxy Note 3. Since the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a bigger display and newer processor, Galaxy Note 3 has a clear advantage.

Multimedia

Samsung Galaxy Note 3′s default video player is absolutely the best as it plays almost everything that we throw at it. HTC One’s player is not that versatile, but still you can use the various third party apps for video needs. One main thing that tilts the scales in favor of HTC One is its dual front facing Boom speakers that are great for entertainment. These speakers are great when you watch videos without headphones(which is rare).

Battery and Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 3200mAh battery while the HTC One has a 2300mAh and in terms of battery life, we found that both the battery life on the Galaxy Note 3 was much because of the higher capacity.

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In terms of connectivity, both the devices are equipped with features like WiFi (802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, 3G, NFC, DLNA, WiFi Direct and microUSB(MHL) connectivity. HTC One Dual SIM variant is the only HTC One variant that is currently available in India. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the first device to come with USB 3.0 port which supports better speeds. You can check out the USB 3.0 demo video right below.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of Samsung’s two flagships and combined with Samsung’s software goodies, it is right now one of the best Android smartphones out there. HTC One is easily HTC’s best Android smartphone till date, but its pricing and poor camera are a let down. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is currently available for Rs. 46,900 while the HTC One is available for Rs. 48,999(Flipkart prices) which does little justice to the features.

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Advantages of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 over HTC One

  • Bigger display
  • Better performance
  • Better gaming performance
  • Better camera
  • Better battery life
  • Much better software features
  • S-Pen and S-Note are great for productivity
  • Relatively Cheaper(pricing makes no sense given that Galaxy Note 3 is a newer device with better specifications)

Advantages of HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3

  • Solid Aluminum build
  • Compact size
  • Better display
  • Boom Sound speakers
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Monish is passionate about smartphones who is also interested in User Experience and Design. He is currently using Samsung Galaxy S3. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+