I have liked the Samsung Galaxy Note series ever since the original. I officially became a fan with the release of the Galaxy Note II. By the time the Galaxy Note 3 rolled around I had full trust in the Note series. Despite the minor flaws, I loved the big display, the efficient stylus and the multi-window features that brought multitasking to a whole other level. I was definitely looking forward to the Galaxy Note 4 since I was thinking it could only get better. Check out my thoughts on the Note 4:
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Specs
Display: 5.7 inch (143.9mm) Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440)
Cameras: 16 Megapixel rear-facing camera (with OIS) / 3.7 megapixel front-facing camera
Processor / RAM: 2.7 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Quad-Core Processor/ 3 GB RAM
Memory: 32 GB / 64GB Internal Memory with expansion slot
Battery: 3,200 mAh removable battery (Adaptive fast charging)
Connectivity : Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi / IR Remote / USB 2.0 / NFC
OS: Android KitKat 4.4.2
Features: Ultra power saving mode, download booster, S Health 3.5
As you can see from the specs, there’s a lot to took forward to. The display which was the game changer had to step up since others were trying to get into the phablet game. Samsung didn’t disappoint with this beautiful quad HD display. Even trying hard enough you can’t see pixels. Of course there’s saturation of colors as you can expect from AMOLED displays.
On the right side you have the power / standby button. On the left you have the volume rocker. On the screen you have the home button (fingerprint scanner) with the recent apps and back button to the left and right of it respectively. On the top right of the display you have the 3.7 megapixel front-facing camera. On the back you have the 16 megapixel camera and right under it you have the heart rate monitor. On the bottom left of the back side you have the speaker. Pretty much the typical build of Samsung Galaxy devices.
I like that Samsung was paying attention and decided to throw some metal into the build of the phone. The phone feels sturdy and a lot better than previous Notes. That is partially due to the metal frame and the textured backing. The Note 4 feels heavy enough without being overwhelmingly brick-like. It’s not the sturdiest phone on the market but certainly an improvement for Samsung’s build.
If you know me or have read any of my past reviews you already know that I love larger screens. I never had a problem with the phablet idea catching on. Now that the Note is up to it’s 4th and 5th edition (with the Note Edge). Samsung has the formula down packed — for the most part.
Samsung’s stylus AKA the S-Pen is what makes the Note 4 stick out from other phablets. The S-Pen takes advantage of the big screen and allows you, no, encourages you to multitask. What I do most with it is usually jot down notes. I pinned an Action Memo sticky to one of my screens and I use it all the time for random things. Screen write is still one of my favorite features. It’s one of the easiest ways to take a screenshot of something and make jokes or point something out in the picture. The S Pen hardly experiences delay when in use. It has great sense of pressure points and it’s beginning to feel more and more realistic.
I could do without the bazillion features. And it may be just me but there are less things pre-downloaded on the Note 4 than on the Note 3. I love this! I’d happily give up a few apps in order to have TouchWiz run a bit smoother. You would never know that Samsung had 3GB Ram with the lag that you experience at times. For the most part the Qualcomm 805 did a great job at taking on multi-tasking and app craziness. But TouchWiz can overwhelm even the strongest processors at times.
Even though the Note 4 has a lot of features, you’re bound to find something that suits you. Two features that I love using are “Optical Reader” and “SnapBiz Card“. Optical Reader can scan documents and take the text in images which has been useful at times. With SnapBiz Card you can scan business cards and save the contact information.
I can’t complain about the Note 4’s 16 megapixel camera. The pictures come out vibrant and crisp. At night, it doesn’t do such a great job. I had trouble getting pure blacks and not blurring out street lights most of the time.
If you go to the Samsung App Store you can download different modes on for the camera. I like this option a lot better instead of it having a ton of modes preloaded on to the camera. One of my favorite shots is “Food Shot”. In the age of social media and everyone shooting their masterpiece dishes, having a helping hand is nice. Food Shot makes your foodie pics come out nice and colorful. It looks really nice.
Taking a selfie is as important as taking food pictures. Many phones cater to that and the Note 4 isn’t any different. You can take a selfie by placing your finger over the heart-rate monitor. You can even take wide selfies (sort-of like a panoramic shot with the front-facing camera). Pretty cool that both cameras now have features to get the better shot.
S Health has an upgrade, It doesn’t only track your steps, but it goes on to track stress, UV, exercises, food, sleep, and oxygen saturation. Talk about getting the all around picture. For some of the features you need one of Samsung’s wearable devices (Gear 2, Gear S smartwatches for example). If you need a little guidance you can also use the Coach. You can get coaching based on what you’re looking to work on. Fore example when it comes to weight loss, the Coach suggests what you can do to lose a weight in a given time (Know your triggers, track meals, pack your gym bag, pack a work snack, and more).
The Note 4 is a big phone, therefore it has a big battery. Even though it charges via micro-USB I suggest you use the original charger (or the turbo charger) to charge the Note 4. Otherwise it will need to be plugged in for what seems like forever. With moderate to high use you can get a good 7-9 hours. If you’re on your last shred of power you can go into ultra-saving mode.
I am waiting for wireless charging to be one of the main features of the Note series. You can go for the option of buying a wireless back cover if you’d like to use your wireless charger. But 4 generations in, I think it should be a feature by now.
Pricing and Availability
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is available in the US for all major carriers. Depending on if you sign up for a 2-year contract, pay month by month, or pay for the phone in the full the price may vary. You can check out AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon for their pricing. It starts as low as $0 down.
With the Galaxy Note 4, you can see that Samsung is definitely a pioneer in the phablet game. They’ve mastered the display, productivity, features (maybe a little too much). I hope to see TouchWiz keep getting refined to maximize speeds over bloat. Along with more sophisticated builds like we see here (and in the direction of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha), Samsung can deliver such a reliable device in the future.
The little flaws that I don’t like about the Note 4 definitely don’t take away from the powerful device it is. It dabs into a little bit of everything, so while you may not use all features you will definitely find one that is very useful to you. With a great camera, beginner activity tracking features, and a nice display to view your entertainment the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 delivers as one of the go-to phablets of 2014.