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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 9.3
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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review
Introduction


Launched in 2011, Samsung's first Galaxy Note arrived at a market where phone screens were already getting increasingly bigger, but most were still nowhere near the 5" mark. We were just getting used to working with those "larger-than-life" 4.3-inchers, and out of nowhere came the Galaxy Note – a true monster with a 5.3" screen. It looked scary with its imposing dimensions, and it felt rather weird at first, partly due to its focus on the so-called S Pen stylus. However, Samsung believed in its new form-factor, so it kept pushing it, and most importantly – refining it. The following generations of the Note series all came with even bigger screens, better internals, and refined S Pen capabilities. One by one, hardcore smartphone users were making their bold first step into phablet territory, lured in by the gigantic screen size and added multitasking features. And while the mainstream audience was still mostly interested in the Galaxy S flagship line, the Galaxy Note established itself as a viable alternative for those who wanted a Galaxy S with more of everything. As time eventually showed, 'phablets' had turned into a juicy niche not to be overlooked.

So, what's next for the Note line? Even though multiple smartphone companies have followed in Samsung's footsteps by releasing their own phablet offerings, the Galaxy Note has remained the benchmark device in this supersized category. All eyes are on what Samsung has in store, as each new Galaxy Note defines what a top-shelf phablet should be – after all, no one has managed to leapfrog Samsung in this particular market segment yet.

The latest and supposedly greatest edition in the series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, has just begun hitting the market in some areas of the world, and as one can imagine, the hype is starting to reach critical levels. As the everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink device in Samsung's portfolio, the Note 4 is expected to pack all the latest technology available, in order to meet the requirements of its tech-savvy public. And, by the looks of it, the Note 4 isn't going to disappoint. The newest phablet by Samsung sticks with the same 5.7" diagonal as its predecessor, but significantly bumps the resolution to the extremely dense 1440 x 2560 pixels. Most other components of the device, including the chipset, the camera, and the S Pen, have also been upgraded, and make no mistake – there's a whole host of different sensors mounted on the device, just to add that extra level of versatility, which is so characteristic of the Note series.

With an enhanced design choke-full of hardware and software features, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 looks like a dream come true for smartphone enthusiasts who tend to be firmly convinced that more is better when it comes to technology. It's an ideology that we'll put to the test.

Design

A new metal frame adds a touch of premium feel, but is it enough?

Samsung typically isn't the kind of company that one goes to should they seek a meticulously crafted device, and that doesn't really change with the Galaxy Note 4. Nevertheless, Samsung has tried to step things up with its build quality, as the Note 4 now utilizes an external frame made of real metal. The frame itself has a bit of a strange shape, with slightly protruding areas in the four corners – this type of appearance isn't so mainstream, but rather, it tries to make a statement of sorts, though we aren't sure how one is supposed to read the message. Either way, the frame is not really bad, plus it adds a touch of high-end feel to the device.

Aside from that, most other elements of the exterior are unmistakably Samsung. The front of the Galaxy Note 4 is instantly recognizable, while the back has kept a lighter version of the faux leather pattern that was present on its predecessor. Most importantly, gone is the fake “stitching” element, so the back looks much more normal now. The downside is that it's more slippery than the Note 3's finish, though. Additionally, it's still made of a paper-thin piece of plastic, so overall build quality can't really be seen as impressive.

We'd guess that dimensions aren't really so critical for phablet users, since pretty much all of the devices of this type are quite chubby. It's a good thing that the Note 4 isn't outrageously big for a phablet (6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches (153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm)) – it has barely gotten bigger than the Note 3 (5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches (151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm)). Still, it's unpleasantly surprising that Samsung's new device has gotten heavier than its predecessor – from 5.93 oz (168 g), to 6.21 oz (176 g). It's not a major difference, but it's noticeable.

If we have to compare the Galaxy Note 4 with another contemporary and quite popular phablet right now, the iPhone 6 Plus, we can think of both good and bad things to say about its dimensions. On one hand, Samsung's phone is not as high, but on the other, it's significantly thicker, which makes it feel a bit less sophisticated and classy.

Naturally, the front is dominated by the massive, 5.7” display, with the speaker, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, and front-facing camera situated above it. That leaves the fingerprint scanner-enabled home button, as well as touch-sensitive multitasking and back buttons to occupy the bezel below the screen. A volume rocker resides on the left hand side, while the right is dedicated solely to the power key. The top edge is where you'll find the 3.5mm headset jack and the IR blaster, and the bottom is reserved for the microUSB port, as well as the slot for the S Pen stylus. The physical keys, which includes the home, volume and power buttons, are very well executed – they aren't phenomenal, but have a satisfying response with a reassuring clicky feel. They certainly work better than those of the Galaxy Note 3, and hopefully, they will remain like this in the long term.

After the water- and dust-resistant Galaxy S5, it's rather unfortunate that the Galaxy Note 4 doesn't feature those same capabilities. Indeed, spilling water or other liquids over your shiny Note 4 may cause irreversible damage, so you'll be better off exercising some special care when handling the device.

Now, let's say a few words about the execution of the new S Pen and its slot. The stylus isn't too hard to remove from the slot, but nor is it very easy and seamless. On one hand, that's good, because it won't accidentally fall off, but on the other, you do have to apply a bit of force in order to take it out, plus it might be a bit of a hassle in case your nails are too short. The pen itself isn't uncomfortably small, but it would have been better if it was a bit bigger – closer to the size of a real pen. Of course, there isn't nearly enough space inside the Note 4 for that kind of a pen, so Samsung has had to do with what's possible at this time.

Overall, the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 seems to be more than adequate in the modern phablet world. It maintains good balance between form and function, with that new metal frame it has, as well as the relatively decent dimensions and great screen size. We would have preferred it if it was a bit thinner and lighter, not to mention water-resistant, but oh well, maybe next time.


Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

LG G3
5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)

LG G3

Sony Xperia Z3
5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 inches
146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Sony Xperia Z3


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Display

Incredibly vibrant, or incredibly accurate – it's your call!

The polarizing AMOLED screen technology is back with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (what a surprise!), and guess what – it's way better than before.

Now that we've teased you about the exciting part, let's start from the very beginning... The Note 4 sports a “larger-than-life” 5.7” display, which is, naturally, way bigger than the average smartphone screen out there. This is the main asset of this device, and although the diagonal has remained the same since the previous generation, the resolution has been increased substantially – from 1080 x 1920 pixels, to 1440 x 2560 pixels. This has increased the pixel density from the superb 386 ppi, to the breath-taking 515 ppi. Well, actually, if you've had the pleasure of using a 1080p phone, you'll hardly be amazed by the appearance of this 1440p screen – mostly because the difference in clarity isn't that big. You'll really have to try hard to notice those slightly cleaner details, but those are still there, and they can quietly improve your viewing experience - in a very subtle, yet welcome way.

We've always been honest that one of our biggest gripes with Samsung's Super AMOLED screen technology is how inaccurate and pumped-up its color-reproduction tends to be. As undeniably eye-catchy as those ultra-vibrant visuals are, we've always imagined there to be a special screen mode that would allow Samsung's AMOLED-powered devices to exhibit more realistic screen tones. Sure, phones like the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3 came equipped with display modes designed to make things look more 'natural', but truth be told, in reality, those modes never did much in order to fix the issue of AMOLED's overly cold and greenish color character.

When the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablets arrived earlier this year, we were actually pleasantly surprised to find that they were armed with a new screen mode called 'Basic', which actually did a great job tweaking the display colors so that they look very true-to-life. That made us optimistic about the future of Samsung's AMOLEDs, and it also made us very excited, because we felt that this new, improved AMOLED technology is to eventually make its way to the company's smartphones.

Well, it seems like that time has finally come, as our scientific measurements of the Galaxy Note 4's screen indicate that its 'Basic' mode successfully adjusts the 5.7" screen's color reproduction to be impressively close to the reference sRGB standard - meaning that we finally have an AMOLED smartphone, whose color tones can get very realistic! Impressively, in this mode, the Galaxy Note 4's measured color temperature is almost ideal, at about 6650 K (Kelvin). That's extremely close to the reference value of 6500 K. This means that the balance between the primary blue and red colors is great. Thankfully, the third primary, green, isn't present in excessive amounts (as on Samsung's previous AMOLED screens), so things aren't looking decidedly greenish on the Galaxy Note 4's display.

With Delta E greyscale and Delta E rgbcmy values of 3.1 and 2.61, respectively, the Note 4's display proves that its various hues and nuances won't deviate much from their target values. In the realm of Delta E, which is a metric used to indicate amount of 'color error', figures around 5 are generally considered passable, while figures below 3 mean the display is very accurate (Delta E of 1 is considered to be the smallest amount of color difference a human eye can distinguish). This means the display of the Note 4 is doing a great job at delivering true-to-life colors when set to the Basic screen mode.

If you take a look at the color gamut chart in our display benchmarks found below, you'll see that the measured color points are very close to almost all of their reference values (the squares) - that's a good way to visualize the level of color accuracy exchibited by a display. Of course, should you wish to feast your eyes on the traditionally oversaturated and vibrant AMOLED looks, you can always switch to some of the other available modes ('AMOLED cinema' and 'AMOLED photo'), as those will present you with the familiar, punchy AMOLED outlook. There's also the Adaptive display mode which will try to optimize the screen's behavriour based on the content that's displayed.

When it comes to outdoor visibility, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 tends to be an excellent performer. Even though it can't quite measure up to the best of its rivals out there in terms of maximum nits when displaying pure white (that's our standard way of measuring screen brightness), the screen is quite comfortable to view under bright daylight, due to its low reflectance, and ability to crank the brightness up, when display content that features areas of varying colors – i.e. not pure white. Because of this inconsistent character of the screen's brightness output, the exact brightness you'll be able to squeeze from it will depend on the content you're viewing, but more often than not – everything will be easy to read on the Note 4's screen.

Viewing angles are traditionally good on AMOLED screen, and the Note 4 isn't an exception. Contrast and brightness remain high when you view the screen from an angle, but unfortunately, there's an unpleasant shift in colors which make them much colder than they otherwise are.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
1.56
(Excellent)
3.1
(Good)
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
3.05
(Good)
3.82
(Good)
LG G3 455
(Good)
9
(Average)
1:997
(Average)
7099
(Good)
2.26
2.10
(Good)
2.86
(Good)
Sony Xperia Z3 713
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1148
(Good)
10324
(Poor)
2.55
6.43
(Average)
9.28
(Poor)
View all


282 Comments
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posted on 08 Oct 2014, 10:17 46

2. MrKoles (Posts: 368; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


Phone of the year!
I need to get it!

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 10:31 40

15. MrKoles (Posts: 368; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


And the cons are so riddiculous...couldn't find out anything bad about it, could you Phonearena?

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 11:02 51

28. maherk (Posts: 4013; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


The cons are ridiculous!! Limited 4k video recording? They didn't even mention the LACK of 4k video recording in the iPhone 6's review.
Inconsistent software design! How? Atleast it's not the iOS8, which is a colored iOS5 and bunch of stolen Android and Samsung features, drop down notification bar, quick toggles, widgets, live wallpaper, lockscreen, and the revolutionary predictive keyboard.
And pleaseee tell me what is so inspiring about the magnificent iPhone 6 that you fell in love with PA, the flattened out HTC M7's back? The ugly white antenna bands on the gold and white version? Or the protruding camera lense or the back?
What a silly list indeed!
One of my cons would be the location of the loud speaker, not those stupid and fanboyish cons.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 11:26 31

46. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I'm really not surprised PA once again makes a dumb cons list. New PA is definitely inferior to the old one.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 11:27 28

47. maherk (Posts: 4013; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


"If we have to compare the Galaxy Note 4 with another contemporary and quite popular phablet right now, the iPhone 6 Plus, we can think of both good and bad things to say about its dimensions. On one hand, Samsung's phone is not as high, but on the other, it's significantly thicker, which makes it feel a bit less sophisticated and classy."
How the hell are the iPhone 6+'s dimensions any better than the Note 4??? It sports a smaller screen in a MUCH larger body, and yeah let me brag about the lil thickness of my iPhone, atleast it comes with the iBend feature when the Note doesn't. On another note, we didn’t see iphonearena criticizing the thickness of the iPhone 5 ans 5s and saying that it makes it less classy.
So much hypocrisy on this site, skip the score and read into the arricle and you ll notice the unprofessional review of any Android phone and the biased articles praising anything with the fruit on it's back, something I ll never find on a respectable site as GSMARENA.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 19:38 10

159. jegley23 (Posts: 8; Member since: 08 Oct 2014)


They dont want to get ban by Apple.

posted on 11 Oct 2014, 07:49 3

217. robocopvn (Posts: 435; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)


Agree. I read phonearena for fun.

But I take GSMARENA review very seriously. Just one drawback is their battery test is base of the 50% brightness, which is not 100% fair for all phone.

Anandtech has the better battery test which set all the screen to 200 nit brightness :D

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 11:45 5

66. Wiencon (Posts: 1920; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


Oh, hello hater, actually in both iPhones reviews PA listed lack of 4K capturing as con so go back to school.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 12:34

104. beachedwhale (Posts: 22; Member since: 30 May 2014)


Your do realize that the hideous 'leather' back of the note 4 has a protruding camera and the 6plus is the best phablet around, not because it is the most revolutionary device but because everything it does, it does as good or better than the competition, just look at the benchmark scores and you seriously think the note 4 is better

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 12:41 12

113. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


From a 6 Plus user, there are things the Note 4 excels at, and the main one is multitasking since it takes FULL advantage of not only software but hardware.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 13:27 11

127. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Wow hard core fanboy alert. Sorry how does the i6+ do better than the SGN4? 'Look at the benchmarking scores'. Well why don't you take a good look at the i6+ and tell me how they have used the big screen to their advantage? iTroll has nothing better to do except to bash Samsung...tsktsk

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 13:43 10

129. maherk (Posts: 4013; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


It's funny how things turn around in a second. Before the release of the iPhone 6, iLovers used to mock Android fans for using the benchmark as an excuse for their debates, now they are all over the Internet bragging about them. Still, let me educate you kiddo, the iPhone 6+ is running the benchmark while rendering the same resolution of the iPhone 5s, get back to me when it is fully tested at 1080 and when it starts playing 1080 games.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 07:34 4

236. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


IPhone 6 Plus :worse screen, worse battery life, no true multitasking, no true customization. The Note 4 is more flexible in every way (except the front pocket).

The phones are equal in speed/smoothness, but the Note 4 just does more. It's the better device overall, though each person has to make that decision on his own. I already have, my Note 4 is on pre-order.

posted on 25 Feb 2015, 19:32

278. Dr.Hye (Posts: 95; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


can your iphone multi task? no, i mean true multitasking like having 2 or more applications active on your screen at the same time. NO it can not. The note 4 can have 5 active screens at the same time. "Why do i need more than 1 screen active at the same time" you say? Well my dear boy if you don't know the answer to that one then I guess no one can help you from down there.

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 15:55 2

145. xtremesv (Posts: 298; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


I really like PA but I agree that sometimes their reviews are not consistent. IMHO they should continue rating devices but taking into account solely: build materials (not design because that's subjective), display quality, display-to-size ratio, battery life, camera and features, user experience (performance, interface, audio quality and innovating features), and perhaps the most important aspect, value compared to direct priced competitors.

posted on 09 Oct 2014, 14:54

190. ecmedic4 (Posts: 337; Member since: 02 May 2013)


How is the lock screen on the iPhone stolen from android or samsung? Its always had a lock screen. Also what about the protruding camera lens on samsungs phones, why do they get a pass? Because they aren't Apple? You speak like nothing more than a hater. Grow up.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 07:38 2

237. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Apple stole the slide to unlock concept from Neonnode. They've stolen some of the lock screen functionality from Android.

posted on 05 Dec 2014, 10:26

266. Kinogo (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Sep 2014)


Yea I'll give you that those are some pretty silly cons. But why so mad dude? It's an article about a phone....

posted on 10 Jan 2015, 09:39

274. Aliagha (Posts: 42; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)


That is soooooooo true

Sorry it isnt

posted on 10 Jan 2015, 09:35

272. Aliagha (Posts: 42; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)


True story

posted on 10 Jan 2015, 09:37

273. Aliagha (Posts: 42; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)


That is sooo true

posted on 08 Oct 2014, 12:17

89. Jobayer (Posts: 167; Member since: 22 Feb 2013)


The cons about touchwiz is right , this is the only reason I can decide to buy the note 4 , and waiting for nexus 6.

posted on 10 Oct 2014, 07:23 2

201. Diego! (Posts: 642; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


I agree. These cons are so off that I have to take the score as a joke. This is the phone of the year for sure! It's a 10 to me. Congrats Sammy!

posted on 11 Oct 2014, 22:22

234. Gdrye (Posts: 110; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


i work at At&t and we have the floor model of this phone and i am very suprised about the build quality of this phone, i know that who ever wrote this article says that the design isnt much impressive or whatever, but let me tell you something, i seen it and held it and i was like whoa, this is coming from an 6plus owner. the screen is amazing but thats nothing new with samsung. i always loved Sony or HTC more because of build quality...this is what Samsung should have done a long while ago with their phones. but great job none the less..the black one looks the best imo

posted on 05 Dec 2014, 10:27

267. Kinogo (Posts: 6; Member since: 18 Sep 2014)


Yea I agree. The design is kind of utilitarian but I really like it. It strikes a good balance between form and function which is less than I can say for Apple and other phone makers.

posted on 09 Oct 2014, 15:43

193. MR374 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Oct 2014)


me too

posted on 11 Oct 2014, 09:43

219. chocolaking (Posts: 494; Member since: 22 May 2012)


I rather get a passport than this.

posted on 09 Oct 2014, 16:42

194. mrochester (Posts: 555; Member since: 17 Aug 2014)


Only second to the iPhone.

posted on 10 Oct 2014, 13:29 1

209. heyhi (Posts: 131; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


agreed

my only complaint is the home button...i know is useful and handy, but that button...hhmmm...i dont know, makes the phone looks a little not so "nowadays phone", not so modern despite being the most powerful at the moment.
if only were capacitive, not on screen buttons, in my opinion it would improve the design.

posted on 27 Mar 2015, 07:50

280. hawk04 (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Mar 2015)


Best Phone 2015-2016 >>>>>>Trust me

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

OS: Android 5.1 5.0 4.4
view full specs
Display5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (515 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
Size6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
(153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm)
6.21 oz  (176 g)

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