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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. LG G Pro vs. Acer Liquid S2: Phablets unleashed

When it first came out a couple of years ago, the original Samsung Galaxy Note was welcomed with mixed feeling and reactions. Back then nobody would have thought that today we would be cheering the third installment in the lineup with an even bigger screen. Well times change, and in this industry, times literally flee.

But this time around, the Note 3 is not the only option. You see, Samsung may have opened people’s minds to the phablet realm, but it also inspired a lot of companies to launch rival products. Nothing wrong in that of course, as it leads us to this post where we pit the Galaxy Note 3 versus the LG G Pro and the Acer Liquid S2, with the latter being another fresh announcement off the IFA 2013 floor as well.

The Acer Liquied S2 as if jumped out of nowhere and wasn’t really expected. Acer rushed the opportunity prior to IFA 2013 to announce their 6″ Liquid S2 with a killer feature – its 13MP camera, which records 4k video. It’s not a slouch either with a Snapdragon 800 chipset ticking inside it, the phone runs Android 4.2.2 seamlessly.

Phablets require large hands and even then, they can be a bit unwieldy at times. That’s why specifications such as weight and width are crucial. Sadly, Acer hasn’t yet provided the weight of the Liquid S2, making the Galaxy Note 3 the lightest of the bunch as things stand now.

Samsung has really gone the extra mile to make the Galaxy Note 3 a true successor to the wildly popular Galaxy Note II. It has an updated innards (a Snapdragon 800) as well as an updated screen. It’s a 5.7″ Super AMOLED display of 1080p resolution, which catches up to the Full HD trend. Not to mention the updated S Pen and it’s plethora of new software tricks. You can read all about them in our IFA 2013 Galaxy Note 3 hands-on.

We put the LG G Pro here for a reason – it’s LG’s deliberate attempt to rival the Galaxy Note II and it outpaces it in almost every technical respect, except for the fact that there is no stylus included with it. Still, it’s interesting to see how it would fare against the latest Note 3 just as a reality-check whether it’s still relevant. Well, it’s time to find out – head over to the comparison table below.

 
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
LG G Pro
Acer Liquid S2
OS
Android 4.3
(Jelly Bean)
Android OS, v4.1.2
(Jelly Bean)
Android OS, v4.2.2
(Jelly Bean)
Display
5.7-inch
Super AMOLED
5.5"
IPS Plus LCD
6"
IPS LCD
Resolution
1920 x 1080 pixels
(386 ppi)
1920 x 1080 pixels
(401 ppi)
1920 x 1080 pixels
(367 ppi)
Height
Width
Thickness
151.2 mm
79.2 mm
8.3 mm
150.2 mm
76.1 mm
9.4 mm
166 mm
86 mm
9 mm
Weight
168 grams
172 grams
N/A
Processor
Qualcomm MSM8974
Snapdragon 800
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 
Qualcomm APQ8064T
Snapdragon 600
Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300
Qualcomm MSM8974
Snapdragon 800
Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400
GPU
Adreno 330
Adreno 320
Adreno 330
RAM
3GB
2GB
2GB
Storage
32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB
16GB
microSD card slot
Yes, up to 64GB
Yes, up to 64GB
Yes, up to 128GB
Primary camera
13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
13 MP, 4208 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
13 MP, 4208 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, LED ring flash
Primary camera features
Touch focus, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps
Touch focus, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, panorama, HDR, Video: 1080p@30fps, dual-video recording
Touch focus, geo-tagging, panorama, HDR; Video: 2160p@24fps, 1080p@60fps
Front camera

2 MP
1080p@30fps

2 MP
1080p@30fps
2.1MP
1080p@30fps
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Network
Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Quad-band UMTS/HSPA
LTE support

Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Dual-band UMTS/HSPA
Dual-band LTE support

Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Dual-band UMTS/HSPA
Tri-band LTE support
Bluetooth
Yes, v4.0 LE with A2DP
Yes, v4.0 LE with A2DP
Yes, v4.0 LE with A2DP
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Distinctive features
S Pen with pressure sensitive touchscreen
N/A
N/A
Availability
September
Available
October

What we have here is failure to communicate. These are three devices that didn’t heed the warnings that the world has had enough of giant phones. They’ve even forced the Oxford dictionary to add the word “phablet” to its database – that’s the length of their insolence.

It’s go big or go home and Samsung leads the pack with its pen-enabled Galaxy Note 3, which saw the light of day yesterday in front of a hyped up crowd both beyond the Samsung-made stage and in front of thousands upon thousands of PC and handheld screens. The Note 3 was a bigger affair than its predecessor (and we’re not just talking figuratively here) and one of the biggest to hit the stage (again, we’re dead serious).

Back in the day when LG officially unveiled the G Pro it was the Galaxy Note II killer it never thought would face. Interestingly, the G Pro still manages to be a worthy rival to the Galaxy Note III even if it doesn’t have the most powerful chipset under the hood, nor the fancy S Pen stylus. And since it’s been around for a while now, the G Pro should be cheaper to buy as well. Yes, it doesn’t pack 2160p video recording, but most people would be alright without it.

Make no mistake about it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a fantastic tablet that shows the company’s burning desire to continue dominating the very market it built up. As a result, there’s no denying the fact that it’s the very best one in the market that’s available.

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