We’re going to start off with the software, which is one of the most notable differences between the two handsets. The Nexus 5 runs the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat. What’s fantastic about Nexus branded phones is that they will always be the first to be updated to the newest Android versions while other devices like the Galaxy Note 3 will receive the update several weeks or months later.
In addition, Nexus users receive what is known as stock android, which is essentially how Google envisions Android. 4.4 KitKat is a bit of an overhaul and is generally cleaner, with new icons and translucent menus and bars replacing the older black-colored design.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 currently runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean which is still great and has tons of features, but it actually runs Samsung’s own skin over stock Android. There are also added features which can be a ton of fun.
Pen Windows allows you to draw an area on the screen to run one or more apps at the same time. What’s awesome is that you can also adjust how large each window is and move them around.
Multiscreen lets you share the display between two applications, and you can’t forget the ton of apps and features designed to take advantage of the Galaxy Note 3’s S Pen which is a stylus that allows you to draw, take notes, and do more.
The most obvious difference between the two devices is that the Galaxy Note 3 is much larger than the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 measures 137 milimeters tall and 69 milimeters wide while the Galaxy Note 3 measures 151 milimeters in height and 79 milimeters in width.
One of the main questions I’m asked about both devices is whether or not they can be held and used comfortably in one hand. The Galaxy Note 3 is very tough to use one handed and I’m unable to do it. The Nexus 5 on the other hand is much more comfortable in the hand and is for the most part fully operatable with one hand.
The Galaxy Note 3 is made of a softer fake or faux leather while the Nexus 5 is made of a matte material like the Nexus 7 2013. In my opinion the Nexus 5 is made of a nicer material. Both devices are very light but the Nexus 5 is 30 grams less than the Galaxy Note 3, but you must keep in mind that the Nexus 5 is significantly smaller. Overall they both have a pretty nice overall feel to them.
In terms of thickness the Galaxy Note 3 is actually thinner than the Nexus 5 by about .3 milimeters, but it isn’t too noticeable unless you have both devices side by side.
The Nexus 5 has a 4.95 inch 1080p IPS display with 455 pixels per inch. The screen is more realistic looking and performs a bit better in outdoor conditions, and The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7 inch 1080p superamoled display with 386 pixels per inch. Its display is more saturated and exagerated, but still looks fantastic.
The Nexus 5 is available in 16 and 32GB variants with black and also white available. Like the Nexus 5, the Galaxy Note 3 can be bought in black and white but is also available in a 64GB variant. There are no differences between the black and white Galaxy Note 3s but there are some design changes between the two different colored Nexus 5s, so for more on that go ahead and check out the link in the description.
The battery on both devices are very impressive. The Galaxy Note 3 features a 3,200 mAh battery and receives a good two days of usage and it’s practically impossible to go through the battery in one day. The Nexus 5 features a smaller 2,300 mAh battery that can also make it through the day, but it’s no where near as good as the Galaxy Note 3’s .
The Galaxy Note 3 has a removable back and also expandable storage. Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 has neither of those so if your battery dies or you’ve run out of space, you’re out of lukc.
Now both the Nexus 5 and also Galaxy Note 3 are extremely powerful. They both feature the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core and it performs extremely well. Both of these two phones offer super smooth operation of the Android operating system, and they’re easily capable of multitasking plenty of apps and handling graphic intensive games. What is different beween the two is the amount of ram they have. The Nexus 5 has 2GBs of ram while the Galaxy Note 3 has 3 GBs of ram. There isn’t a noticeable difference between the two because of it, but it’s always nice to have more.
The camera on both devices aren’t amazing but they’re pretty decent. The Nexus 5 uses an 8 megapixel rear facing shooter which performs pretty well, while the Galaxy Note 3 has a 13 megapixel camera. If I had to choose one camera I would choose the Galaxy Note 3 over the Nexus 5 because picture quality just seems a bit more vivid.
Both the Galaxy Note 3 and Nexus 5 are fantastic phones and I can’t recommend one phone over the other simply because they’re so different in terms of size. For myself the Nexus 5 is a better fit because the Note 3 is too large for me, and I prefer stock Android.