Samsung has announced its flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note 3, at the high-profile IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany. The Note 3 is the newest addition to the Galaxy Note series alongside the new Note 10.1, which was also unveiled at the same event.
The Note 3 offers a bigger and better full HD Super AMOLED screen for enhanced viewing experience and superior multitasking capabilities. In addition, the next-gen Note device introduces significant S Pen enhancements via Air Command feature such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window for an easier and faster Android-experience.
For instance, Action Memos transform handwritten scribbles into action like scribbling a number to make a call, while S Finder lets one search through the content of written notes. Another interesting feature supported on the Note 3 is the Multi Window functionality that lets you run or access two separate applications or browser windows on the display.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is touted to be a major market rival to Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, with a screen size of 6.4in. Xperia Z Ultra comes with IP55 and IP58 rating for its water-proof (up to one metre of water for 30 minutes) and dust-resistant capabilities, and it signals Sony's debut in the phablet (hybrid of phone and tablet) market.
IBTimes UK brings a detailed features comparison of the two flagship smartphones Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra:
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Display
Galaxy Note 3 equips a 5.7in full HD Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution at a pixel density of 386 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
In contrast, Xperia Z Ultra has a 6.4in full HD TRILUMINOS display for mobile, powered by Sony's latest X-reality for mobile picture engine. Its full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display has a pixel density of 344ppi, which is relatively lower than the Note 3, and could show slight pixelation at closer views. On the flip side, the Xperia phablet is rated to deliver an optimised visual experience with at least 60% more viewable screen space than most other smartphones.
Both the phablets support multitouch functionality. However, the Xperia phablet screen includes shatter-proof and scratch-resistant glass for protection against accidental damage.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Dimensions
The Xperia Z Ultra is taller, broader and thinner than its Samsung counterpart. In other words, the Xperia Z is extremely thin at just 6.5mm thickness, but its larger dimensions make it relatively heavier at 212g.
Crafted with tempered glass in an innovative solid metal frame on the front and back, the Sony handset looks stunning with the same OmniBalance design as the Xperia Z smartphone and the Xperia Z tablet.
In contrast, the Galaxy Note 3 is 44g lighter than the Ultra at 168g owing to its sleeker dimensions (height and width) as well as smaller display size.
Built with a classy leather back panel, the Note 3 reveals a serration pattern on its sides that gives it a premium look and feel.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Operating System
The Xperia Z Ultra ships with Android 4.2, while the Galaxy Note 3 runs the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box.
The Andoid v4.3 supports a host of new features and enhancements over its previous iteration (v4.2) such as Support for Bluetooth low energy, restricted access, dial pad auto complete, improvements to Photo Sphere, 4K resolution support, Improved DRM APIs and OpenGL ES 3.0 support for better game graphics.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Processor and RAM
Both Note 3 (LTE version) and Xperia Z Ultra are powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset based quad-core Krait 400 processor. The Note 3 has its processor clocked at 1.9 GHz, while the Ultra's processor runs at 2.2 GHz which Sony claims to be the world's fastest smartphone processor.
The 3G version of Note 3, on the other hand, will be powered by the Exynos Octa processor.
Graphics processing is handled by Adreno 330 GPU on both the phablets. The Xperia Z Ultra ships with just 2GB of RAM, while Note 3 packs 3GB of RAM which Samsung claims to be smartphone industry's largest RAM for faster and more powerful performance.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Camera
The Note 3 has a 13 megapixel rear camera with Ultra HD 4K video recording, Smart Stabilisation and high CRI LED flash features, which enable users to capture high quality images in great detail, even in low-light conditions.
In comparison, the Xperia Z Ultra is powered by eight megapixel camera with Exmor RS for mobile image sensor technology, which is rated to deliver excellent camera image clarity with reduced noise levels even in low-light conditions.
Both the phablets feature two megapixel front cameras. They include common camera functions such as geo-tagging, touch-focus, face-detection, panorama and HDR with full HD video recording at 30fps on both their primary and secondary cameras. The only exception is that the LTE model of Galaxy Note 3 supports a faster 60fps video recording in full HD.
In addition, the Xperia Z Ultra includes various integrated camera modes and features such as Continuous burst mode, Object tracking, Picture Effect, Quick Launch, Scene recognition, Self-timer, Send to web, Smile shutter, Superior Auto, Sweep Panorama and Touch capture.
In contrast, the Note 3 also features several built-in camera modes and features such as Dual Shot/Dual Recording/Dual Video Call Recording, Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Animated Photo, Eraser, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, Sports, Golf, Surround shot and Live effect.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Connectivity
On the connectivity front, both Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra offer Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v 4.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0 and Near Field Communication (NFC) and 4G LTE networks (unavailable on 3G version of Note 3).
In addition, the Galaxy Note 3 supports infrared communication with infrared enabled devices.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Storage
Both the Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra support microSD storage expansion up to 64GB. The latter comes in a single 16GB internal storage variant, while the former ships in 32 and 64GB models.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Battery
The Xperia Z Ultra is powered by a 3050mAh battery that is expected to deliver a standby time of 790 hours on 2G and 820 hours on 3G. In other words, the handset is claimed to offer 14 hours of 2G talk-time or 16 hours on 3G, 120 hours of music playback or video playback for 7.5 hours.
There is no word on the battery performance of Galaxy Note 3 as the device was recently announced and it has not yet been tested. However, Samsung has claimed its 3,200mAh battery to be more powerful and long lasting.
Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z Ultra: Price and Availability
The Xperia Z Ultra is up for pre-order on Clove UK. It is now available in black and white variants at an estimated price tag of £612.99 (including VAT) with a confirmed shipping date set for 12 September. The bundle offer includes free Sony SmartWatch and Stereo Headset SBH20 with purchase of every Ultra phablet.
According to a press release, Galaxy Note 3 will release in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink variants starting 25 September in more than 140 countries globally.
Update: Galaxy Note 3 is now available for pre-orders via UK carrier EE at a starting price of £149.99 on a two-year contract and the phablet will start shipping on 25 September. Another popular UK retailer, Phones 4U, has announced that every Note 3 pre-order will get £100 off on Galaxy Gear's price, besides a free flip case and a wireless speaker worth £120 as part of bundled offer.