After being with HTC One M7 for almost a year, I’ve finally have updated my phone; believe me when I say it’s a pleasure to return to Samsung hardware. And upon that return I received the Galaxy note 4. If you are familiar with the Note series, you already know it comes with a stylus and the Samsung suite of apps for all your doodling and health needs.
The most notable feature of the Note 4 has to be the screen, which is a 5.7” Quad HD super AMOLED display with a 2560X1440 resolution. But moving onward around the device, on the face and at the top you have your 3.7MP front-facing camera, proximity/gesture sensors, earpiece and notification light. And at the bottom is your home button and touch controls. On the right is your power/standby button while on your left is your volume control. At the top of the Note 4 are your 3.5mm headphone jack and IR remote and at the bottom is your MicroUSB and S-Pen port. Finally at the back of the Note 4 is the 16MP rear-facing camera and below is the rear speaker. With the HTC One M7, I liked the front facing speaker and I have grown accustomed to that but surprisingly the Note 4’s little rear speaker makes it self-heard, I had my doubts but at about 70dB it hits pretty good.
The Note 4, on the outset, is pretty much the same as the Note 3 – but it’s the guts of the device that makes a difference. So what’s driving this mid-sized phablet? How’s about a Snapdragon 2.7GHz Quad core processor accompanied by 3GB Ram and 32GB internal memory. If that isn’t enough storage for you, then the Note 4 supports up 128GB Micro SD. It also has the latest connectivity devices Wi-Fi (802.11 A/B/G/N/AC) and Bluetooth 4.1BLE. It works for me as I’m slowly making a smart home and I’m now able to track the location of my phone via BLE. I can also control just about every home theater device right from my phone with the S-remote, which was a very easy set up.
The guts aren’t the only difference with the Note 4; the camera deserves some shine, because it’s been beefed up to perfection; and when combined with the HD AMOLED display, it’s a force to be reckoned with. What’s been added to the phone to make it better; first is image stabilization, so no more blurred images/video for small movements. On top of that you can record at 4K if you so choose. Granted it’s gonna take up a lot of space, but if you have the equipment to view 4K vids, then this makes the phone totally worth investing.
The Note 4 comes with the standard package of apps and Samsung specific features, all running on Android 4.4 (KitKat – look for a Lollipop update soon). The few apps that stand out for me are the Download Booster, which alternates between Wi-Fi and 4G LTE. Then there’s the S-health app; underneath the rear-camera is a sensor you can place your finger to measure such things as heart beat, pulse and oxygen levels. You can also use that button to click a selfie. And speaking of selfie, the front facing camera is pretty impressive; I have used it several times for video calls and a quick selfie. The wide 120 degree option catches everything with my friends and I have yet to be disappointed.
The S-Pen has been updated quite a bit; the smart select feature is slightly better than before. It’s so much easier to select text or pictures and cut any shape you need. To move the desired content I just clicked the side button on the stylus and the commands come right up. Once you have what you want, the menu across the top allows you to paste or share the content.
My first concern I’ve held with phablet style smartphones is the grip; the Note 4 has a faux-leather back that makes for good skin to device contact and so far it’s done the trick in helping to get a solid grip, especially while partaking in one-handed controls. The software itself is a decent upgrade but backed with strong internals makes for smooth multitasking and maneuvering from one app to the next; I can respond to text, shoot out an email or Google a restaurant without any performance issues. Next, I do like the pen it’s very easy to use and great if you need to do a quick cut and paste of an image or doodle. Battery life is great as the Note 4 carries a Li-Ion 3220mAh that gives you 16hrs talk time, going up to about two days if you just listen to music on airplane mode. I usually leave my phone charging overnight since at work I’m moving about. But with the Note 4 I haven’t done that, it charges up so fast I usually do it at work and it will last all day, well into the next. Finally the camera and display deserve a nod; with the camera prepare to take some amazing pictures colors are strong, bold and Samsung always nails it with the darks, which shine with the Note 4. The display makes anything visually pop such as watching a movie, playing a game or checking out those images you just took – everything is simply beautiful to behold!
Dear god the price tbh (300 on contract, 700+ off); if you aren’t set on having a stylus I would definitely go with the Galaxy S5, which is quite a bit cheaper and gives you similar performance. The camera performs very well outdoors and in well lit areas. However, I found that during twilight or average light indoors, the camera didn’t hold up - even when putting it on different settings.
Now if you looking for something different and out of the box, you’re looking at the wrong phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an upgrade to its predecessor; don’t get me wrong as its one hell of an upgrade as it has a lot of nice features and runs really well. The Note 4 is a smartphone for someone on the go and someone who doesn’t have to worry much about money. Yet out of TOV 5 stars, I give the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a solid 4.