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COLUMN: Samsung hits the right ‘Note’

SAMSUNG GALAXY Note 3 versus iPhone 5s comparisons are flying as thick as, well, flies.

And comparing the two smartphones is just about as smart as a fly.

Even some of those who have a hard time getting past the notion that people will laugh when they hold a “phablet” up to their noggins are saying the Note 3 is the most advanced phone out there.

That, however, doesn’t mean it’s “better” than the iPhone 5s.

It’s a matter of personal preference.

Me, I like the fact that the Note 3 makes my giant head look normal sized.

I also like my iPhone 5. I’m trying to decide whether the iPhone 5s or the Note 3 will be my next phone. Or should I want to see if Apple comes out with a super-sized iPhone?

Form or function? Pretty or powerful? Simplicity or everything including the kitchen sink?

Thanks to AT&T, I’ve gotten to play with the Note 3 and its companion Galaxy Gear smart watch for the last couple of weeks.

While the Galaxy Gear, which pairs with the Note 3 via Bluetooth, is fun, it’s not very functional. How can those who want their phone super-sized think the 0.35- by 1.65- by 1.61-inch screen on the Gear watch is big enough? And paying $300 for an accessory for the $300 Note 3 takes the fun out of it.

The Note 3 is a major upgrade over previous Note models, with a bigger, 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display that’s gorgeous, and much-improved S Pen features and S Note app.

Even though it’s larger than the Note 2, it’s thinner and lighter at 5.7 by 3.12 by 0.32 inches and 5.92 ounces.

It’s been given a big processor speed boost. And its built-in news app powered by Flipboard technology is handsome and easy to use and read on the big screen.

Don’t dismiss the Note 3 because of its size until you go hands-on with one in a store. I have no problem fitting the Note 3 into my pocket, but then, I wouldn’t fit into skinny jeans.

And, even though I don’t have unusually large hands, I’m able to make calls and type texts and emails one-handed on the Note 3.

The Note 3’s Samsonite-like faux leather back makes it easier to hang onto than the slippery iPhone and far easier than the Note 2 and original Note, which had slick plastic backs. Some say the Note 3’s fake stitching on the back is cheesy. It doesn’t bother me.

One of the most impressive things about the Note 3 is its long battery life, despite its speed, power and huge display. Even with heavy use, it easily makes it into the evening before it needs a charge.

The Note 3 runs Android 4.3 and Samsung’s nifty TouchWiz interface.

For me, one thing that tilts things in the iPhone 5s’ direction is the highly intuitive, clean and fun new

iOS 7.

The Note 3 has a 13-megapixel camera that takes great pictures with many photo modes, including two new ones, Golf mode and 360 mode.

It’s available for $299.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint and via

T-Mobile for $199.99 down and 24 monthly payments

of $21.

iPhone 5s or Note 3? It’s your heart against your head.

That’s what makes it so tough. Both are right.

Michael Zitz