Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Rumours) vs Sony Xperia Z

Vs Paul Briden 16:49, 2 Apr 2013

How will the forthcoming Galaxy Note 3 stack up against the Sony Xperia Z?

With the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch out of the way, the Korean giant’s next product is said to be a third reboot of the popular Galaxy Note ‘phablet’, the Galaxy Note 3, which is pegged to arrive in September. As with previous models, it’ll feature a large display and S-Pen stylus input, along with Google’s Android platform and all the latest hardware.

The Sony Xperia Z is a new direction for the Japanese electronics company’s mobile division with its vast display, robust looks and re-designed interface. It features a Qualcomm quad-core processor and some seriously competitive touchscreen technology.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Key specs and features

While the Galaxy Note 3 hasn’t yet been officially announced there have been enough leaks to give us a fair idea of what to expect, plus there’s the fact that the Galaxy Note range shares a close association with Samsung Galaxy S flagship models.

The most prominent feature of the Galaxy Note 3 will be, as it has been with all its predecessors, the substantial touchscreen. Initial rumours placed this at 6.3-inches and while there has since been the suggestion of a 5.9-inch display, more evidence has emerged to steer things back to the 6.3-inch idea.

Notably, a leak from Samsung’s own database places the device with a 6.3-inch touchscreen, but also the fact that Samsung’s recently launched Game Pad accessory accepts devices up to 6.3-inches in size – it’s worth noting that there are no currently released Samsung Galaxy models at this scale.

There’s currently no indication of a possible resolution and pixel density. We think it’s a fair bet to say it will be Super AMOLED technology and will have a lower resolution than the 5-inch, 440ppi Galaxy S4 flagship. It’s possible Samsung might be able to manage somewhere around 350ppi.

A big, high-resolution display means the Galaxy Note 3 will, like its predecessors, be well-suited as a multimedia consumption device on the move and watching films or TV shows should be a great experience.

Another key area will be the processor. Previously this was believed to be Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa eight-core chip, as was expected in the Galaxy S4 flagship.

Now, however, it’s been revealed that the main Galaxy S4 model will have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz.

Given that Galaxy Note devices tend to have the same processor hardware as current Galaxy S models clocked at around 200MHz faster, it seems likely the Galaxy Note 3 will have the Qualcomm 600 clocked at 2GHz with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU).

However, what hasn’t been confirmed is whether Samsung will also launch the Exynos 5-equipped Galaxy S4 as a 3G-only model alongside its Qualcomm-toting stable mate, which in turn means we could see a similar scenario with the Galaxy Note 3.

In this case, we could see an additional 3G-only Galaxy Note 3 with the Exynos 5 Octa’s pair of quad-core clusters, one an ARM Cortex-A15 at 1.6GHz and the other a Cortex-A7 at 1.2GHz to ensure the optimum balance between high-end power and low battery consumption. Again this setup would have 2GB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX544MP3 triple-core GPU.

Either way it’ll still be a blindingly fast piece of kit with enough power to run anything from Google Play.

The Galaxy Note range’s S-Pen stylus input is a unique and somewhat divisive feature, but for those who enjoy stylus capability it is unquestionably the best implementation on the mobile market and we expect this high-grade execution to continue with the next Galaxy Note.

You can likely expect a higher level of pressure sensitivity and smoother interaction than with previous models, as well as some interesting new features in the vein of the Galaxy Note 2’s superb handwriting recognition and the like.

In terms of memory Samsung will probably stick with its usual 16GB and 32GB of onboard space and microSD capability for cards up to 64GB. There could well be a 64GB variant but whether we’ll see this outside of Korea is anyone’s guess.

Sony Xperia Z: Key specs and features

Like the Galaxy Note range, a major pulling point for the Sony Xperia Z is its enormous screen. It has a 5-inch LCD with a 1920x1080 pixel Full HD resolution at 440ppi. However, the real brilliance is from some of the underlying technology.

Sony is really leveraging its  home cinema expertise here and the Xperia Z has the Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2.

With this, you’ve got incredibly pure whites and rich, vibrant colours, while OptiContrast ensures darker tones have plenty of depth.

The end result is dramatic: this is easily the best mobile display in terms of overall picture quality we’ve seen in the office and the whole team agreed video footage almost looked like glasses-less 3D.

Power is reasonably potent from the included Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core Snapdragon S4 chip clocked at 1.5GHz, it’s backed up by 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU.

Admittedly, with the likes of the Snapdragon 600 prowling the smartphone space this is no longer the top predator, but with that said it’s still very high up on the food chain and for most users will be more than capable for dealing with a wide range of apps and games and intensive multitasking.

The design and build quality are also top notch. Sony has gone for a much more stark rectangular shape but it’s the materials used and the little touches which really make a big difference here.

The panel design along the contoured outer edges adds an almost Deco style while the Dragontrail glass on both front and rear lends a premium look and feel.

Not only is the visual design to a high standard, but there’s also the IP57 certification for dust and water resistance and waterproofing up to a depth of one metre, meaning you can Tweet in the bath risk-free.

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