Here is an interesting pairing of the new OnePlus One against the powerhouse Galaxy Note 3 that was released this past October/November, but was so spec’d out that it still holds up against the new flagships this year…it narrowly beat out the new Samsung Galaxy S5, so let us see how it stacks up against the OnePlus One. The displays are too close to call with almost identical sizes, although the OnePlus One is using the LCD technology versus Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology. The processors are also very close with the Note 3 using the Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz and the One using the newer, and slightly faster, Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz. Both are sporting identical 3GB of RAM. The main cameras are an identical 13MP, although the OnePlus One does up the front facing camera to 5MP versus the 2MP on the Note 3. Both devices are almost identical in size and weight – too close to worry about any differences. Even the batteries are only 100mAh a part with the Note 3’s 3200mAh slightly edging out the One’s 3100mAh capacity. So there are many features that are identical on these two flagships, maybe more so than separates them. Check out the specifications below and look over the two devices and then we will talk about what makes them different from one another and finally we will choose a winner of this comparison.
This is the new OnePlus One flagship device that we have been reading about – from a startup company in China that teamed with CyanogenMod to produce a high-end device at a reasonable cost, and from the specifications they seemed to have done just that. As mentioned above, the One and Note 3 are very similar in the display, processor, camera, battery, size and RAM department – one place they differ is how they handle internal storage. With the One you can choose between a 16GB or 64GB model, and the price difference is only $50 – with the Note 3 you can one choice, which is a respectable 32GB, however, you also have the option of adding an additional 64GB via a microSD card. The other place they differ greatly would be the user interface (UI) – the One uses a CyanogenMod overlay and the Note 3 uses TouchWiz, which users either love, hate, or would like to see thinned out a little. The OnePlus is a step ahead of the Note 3 with its dual, bottom mounted, stereo speakers. While the Note 3 positions its one speaker in the same, smart location, the OnePlus One speakers should sound much better. Price-wise, the One beats out the Note 3 in pricing at only $299 for 16GB or $349 for 64GB – off contract, besting even the Nexus 5 in price. If you buy the Note 3 on a two-contract it is a respectable $299, but off contract you would be looking at $700.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is very evenly matched against the OnePlus One – from screen size, to processor, to the 3GB of RAM, and even in the camera department, other than the One’s 5MP versus the Note 3’s 2MP front-facing camera, although only used for video chats and selfies, I do not weigh that option too much. The Snapdragon used on the Note 3 is the 800 quad-core variety clocked at 2.3GHz – the best of its day – and the One uses a slightly faster version, the Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz. The Note 3 does come with a base 32GB versus the 16GB of the One, which then jumps to 64GB. However, the Note 3 also has a microSD card slot to add an additional 64GB of internal storage, something the One does not employ. The Note 3 also uses the USB 3.0 technology and I do not understand why other manufacturers, including OnePlus, do not jump up from the antiquated USB 2.0. It offers significantly faster data transfer and makes for a much quicker charging time. The Note 3 also includes an IR Blaster, which makes changing channels a breeze using your smartphone. The batteries and size, right down to the weight, are almost identical. The other items of interest are the TouchWiz versus the CyanogenMod way of doing business on your Android device. People either love or hate TouchWiz, although Samsung is finally starting to make a few changes as shown on the Galaxy S5…also the Note 3 is still using Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on Verizon’s network, although it should be updated soon. The Galaxy Note 3 also has its own S-Pen and a silo to store it in – some love it and others ignore it. But Samsung has included features to take advantage of the S-Pen and many third party apps are geared toward the device, especially drawing, photography, and games…and business tools, such a note taking, Office-like software, and fantastic multitasking.
…And the Winner is…
Okay…this was really a tough decision for me – really it was. In my quest to be as impartial as humanly possible, this could almost be a tie…much like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 versus the OnePlus One. The reason I am leaning to the Galaxy Note 3 is two-fold: First off, these two devices are VERY evenly matched in the important areas of specifications, and even in the processor, there is only a very slight increase in performance. When that happens, you have to turn to features and the little things. The One does have a nicer speaker arrangement, but the Note 3 has proven itself to be a formidable device over the past six months. It offers memory expansion, a removable back and battery, an IR Blaster, USB 3.0, the S-Pen, software to support the pen, as well as an overall excellent device/software for business executives – and this just adds up to more productivity. While Samsung tries to add too many features, some of them are excellent – like the adaptive display to take advantage of whether you are gaming, watching a movie, looking at pictures or reading a book – the screen will adjust to give you the most natural look possible. Keeping the screen on as long as you are looking at it and not rotating the screen if you lie down to use your device are just some thoughtful and useful software from Samsung. The OnePlus One is an awesome device for the price, but with specs this close to the proven Note 3, we have to give the nod to the device that offers the most flexibility and availability on the networks.
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