Apple iPhone 5S vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Teardown

  • In September 2013, AppleTM and SamsungTM launched their new flagship products, the iPhone 5s and Galaxy Note 3. TechInsights has put both phones under the microscope to see how they measure up against one another. The result? In a world of big is better the Galaxy Note 3 clearly outclasses the iPhone 5s.

    While it can be argued that the Note 3 is a phablet (a category it created) and the iPhone 5s remains a ‘traditional’ smartphone both of these devices are pitting leading-edge design and technologies in a race to generate millions in revenues.

    Both devices are LTE based smartphones and both are available on a two year contract for $299.991 or without contract for $799.992 , but that is where the similarities end.

    TechInsights’ cost estimates place the 32 GB version of the iPhone 5S at $200 to make vs. the 32 GB Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at $237.50. So, which device would be the better buy for the customer? Clearly Samsung is placing more money into the Galaxy Note 3, but what does the customer get for that money? Let’s compare costs by function.

    1 Galaxy Note 3 from Best Buy 2 Apple iPhone 5S from Best Buy  



    The iPhone 5s is an evolution of the iPhone 5 and sports a 4 inch IPS TFT display with 1136 x 640 pixels. In contrast the Galaxy Note 3 contains a 5.7 inch Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 full HD display. The Galaxy Note 3 display is bigger, sports a brighter display based on AMOLED technology and is full HD. Likewise, the cost of the Galaxy Note 3 display/touch system is approximately $32 more than that of the iPhone 5s.


    The battery pack in the Note 3 is over twice the capacity of the iPhone 5s. One would expect the Galaxy Note 3 would handily outperform the iPhone 5S with battery life, but based on power consumption, that may not be the case. TechInsights will be reviewing power management and consumption in future research. That is an analysis for a different time. At any rate, the cost of the battery pack is about double that of the iPhone 5s.


    The Galaxy Note 3 packs more megapixels in their cameras, but the iPhone 5S has focused their attention on things like low light conditions. Given the different focuses, we believe the camera costs are a wash.


    The Galaxy Note 3 uses a 2.3 GHz quad-core, 32 bit ARMv7 processor compared to a 1.3 GHz dual-core, 64 bit ARMv8 processor in the iPhone 5s. The Galaxy Note 3 wins the race for pure horsepower and it does so while saving about $12.50 compared to the iPhone 5s.


    Overall, Samsung has delivered a superior device with the features that are most important to the customer – better display, larger capacity battery and a faster processor. While Apple has boosted more integrated software features (not covered in this hardware article) Samsung has boosted both software and hardware features to maximize the usefulness of the Galaxy Note 3, notably the S-Pen and forthcoming Galaxy Watch.