Living with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, week 2: Lag? What lag?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

It has been over two weeks since the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 became my one and only personal smartphone. That was the start of a long-term review I was given charge of – a review meant to explore Samsung's best phablet in detail after the dust around it had settled. To summarize the impressions I've accumulated so far, it has been a bumpy ride. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has turned out to be an admirable smartphone, but not one I'd describe as flawless. 

Real-life performance leaves room for improvement

You see, when I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, I knew that it was supposed to be wicked fast with that Snapdragon 805 and tons of RAM under its hood. I wasn't expecting to encounter performance issues of any kind. And the phone was fast indeed – it could run any game, it could handle any web page, it could play any video without dropping a frame. Yet to my surprise, my smartphone was acting up – not much, but enough to annoy the perfectionist in me.

Every once in a while, my Galaxy Note 4 lagged for some reason, especially after it had been sitting idle for some time. For example, delays occurred when I wanted to unlock the phone, when I wanted to list my recent apps, when the keyboard had to pop up, when I pressed the home button to go back to my home screen. I know it might sound like I'm nitpicking, but I wouldn't call it that. In my opinion, a smartphone that costs an arm and a leg should deliver immaculate performance, or at least get pretty close to that point.

Thankfully, a little housekeeping remedied the situation to some extent. I removed my microSD card, disabled all animations, and turned off apps I didn't use, such as S Voice, Talkback, and S health. My Galaxy Note 4 performs noticeably better now, although it's still far from the state of perfection I wish I could achieve.

On a related note, there's hope for the Galaxy lineup. For the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge release, Samsung has built a version of TouchWiz that's supposed to eradicate lag once and for all. I really with that the Galaxy Note 4 will be given the same treatment one day, preferably in its next software update.

Battery life impressions in one word: meh

Another thing I've not been perfectly satisfied by is battery life. It is passable – I can last a day without being near a plug – but in all honesty, I was expecting more of the Galaxy Note 4 and its seemingly generous 3,220mAh juicer. I'm pretty sure that the way I have my phone set up takes a toll on its battery life. I have sync always on for essentials like email, notes, and Chrome data. I never turn my Wi-Fi or cellular data off. I also have a smartwatch paired with the handset. Furthermore, apps like Spotify, YouTube, and my camera are frequently used, although they're usually far from the top spot on my battery stats page. This honor belongs to "Android System" and "Android OS". 

Ultra Power Saving Mode? Yes, I used it once because it was my last resort, and I'm glad I did. It was last weekend; I went to a birthday party in the evening. I would have shown you a picture, but I couldn't take one because it was dark and I couldn't use my flash – my battery was already below 15%, which rendered my camera pretty useless. Once it got near the 10% mark, I enabled UPSM because I knew I wasn't going home anytime soon. When I woke up at noon on the next day, I still had 5% of charge left, which was impressive. 

If you're wondering why I woke up so late, it was because Samsung's Ultra Power Saving Mode has one serious flaw. It only allows a short list of processes to run, and by default, the alarm clock is not one of them. It has to be added manually. I didn't, which is why the alarm I had set up didn't go off. 

But here's where the Galaxy Note 4 shines

I feel like I should end today's post in a more positive manner because the Galaxy Note 4 is not a bad phone by any means. Since I got it, I has become my primary entertainment device. I genuinely enjoy watching videos on it, be it in the comfort of my couch or while having a snack – the screen is large, bright, and beautiful, albeit a bit too contrasty for my taste. The speaker on the back of the phone is decent. The best thing about it is that it is quite loud – I don't have to do the scoop to direct sound at me while enjoying a video. I wouldn't recommend the Note 4 for listening to music through its loudspeaker, but the headphone output packs a decent punch when paired with earbuds or headphones that are easy to drive. Gaming on the Galaxy Note 4 is also an enjoyable experience thanks to the large touchscreen, which gives plenty of space for my thumbs to move around. On top of that, the touchscreen has excellent sensitivity and would respond even when touched with the tip of my fingernail. And for games that require precise input, the S Pen comes in handy. Perhaps the Note 4's stylus isn't as useless as I initially thought.

To be continued...

That's all for today, but I've still got more to share in the coming weeks. My next update on the Galaxy Note 4 long-term review will cover my experience with the handset's 16MP camera, which I find to be great overall. And in case you've missed it, feel free to read my previous post, in which I went over the pros and cons of the Note 4's design.

Story timeline

Related phones

Galaxy Note 4
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3220 mAh(20h 3G talk time)



1. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

we know touchwiz make the phone lag time to time. Samsung fanboy will deny it regardless it is truth. Hope Samsung fix the studder and hick up on s6......

2. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Fix hick up on s6 hahaahahah , i guess hate starts even before device is released. On topic: Yes , sometimes i do notice slowdown on my brothers Note 4 , but its minor and expected, device is packing massive amount of software (and not bloat).

19. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

I'm a huge Samsung Fanboy. But I must admit, I hate it when people try to tell me something is wrong with my Note 4 (I've owned 4 total btw). I have used the international version, ATT version, and the Sprint version (for work). They all have this highly frustrating occasional stutter/lag/delay. Even sometimes occurs in Games. While I do think the Note 4 is one of the most exciting phones I've ever owned, you'd be crazy to think that it is absolutely lag free. Also, very tired of the "JUST ROOT" comments, or "USE THIS LAUNCHER." 1. A phone shouldn't require the use of root tools or a launcher for perform well. 2. Even after trying both, it still didn't help much. Let's hope the Note 5 Edge gets rid of these issues, as it looks like the GS6/GS6E have

30. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You are a PHONY Samsung fan. Anyone who is familiar with your comments will notice that. You always start/end you're comments with "i am a huge Samsung fan" to give more credibility to yourself while ranting about Samsung. I don't care how much you ll deny this, or who will come for your rescue, but google is there for those who are questioning my comment, and you ll find that 99% of his comments are bashing Samsung yet claiming he is a Samsung fan!

35. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Are you kidding me? I may have said I didn't necessarily love the Note 4 in the past, but go ahead and search my posts. After having owned one, I love it. I can say right now that hands down, the Note 4 is the best phone out right now. Phoney Samsung fanboy? Are you this much as a fanboy that anytime someone critisizes Samsung, they are a hater? lmao you are a moron. Leave.

37. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

LebronJamesFanboy's comment, pulled right from PhoneArena's Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review: "As a HUGE Apple fan and a HUGE Samsung fan, I cannot express how happy I am to admit that the Galaxy S6 Edge undeniably destroys the iPhone 6. I cannot wait to buy one (or wait for the note 5 edge). I mean, what are the flaws with this phone? Even if I'm being picky, I just might get on the battery size or the headphone output quality, but still! This phone is the new phone to beat. Drastically improve performance...check Increase specs and efficiency...check Make Camera the best in the industry...check Keep phone thin but don't sacrifice battery life...check Include a 1440p screen but doesn't hamper performance...check Make one of the most unique phone designs ever...check Implement a fingerprint sensor that rivals the iPhone...check Finally give the US some in house processor love...check I'm sure the list is longer, but wow. Samsung did it." Maherk is officially the biggest idiot on this website.

39. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

99% of his comments is the key word ;) now go look for his other comments. I am not gonna do your HW for you, but go and check his prior comments to this one regarding the S6 and S6 Edge, ugly this and ugly that.

41. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

You say that 99% of his comments are bashing Samsung when this isn't even close to being true. 99% of his comments aren't even on Samsung, so you still look silly. And Maherk? Many people originally thought that the S6 and S6 edge did not look too good when the renders were first revealed. Face it. You lost this one. But keep trying ;) The funniest thing about all of this is that you're a known troll on here. Yea, we have eyes too, and most will agree with me.

45. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

pot calling the kettle black just saying.

43. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

107. LebronJamesFanboy posted I find it hilarious that people are trying to defend the design. I actually was considering buying the GS6, but not with an ugly design like that. Samsung, two words: Fire Somebody! LebronJamesFanboy posted Are you paid by Samsung? The Company itself PROMISED change! How can you not be upset that the design, the one thing they promised they'd improve upon, has managed to get uglier? I'm a Samsung fan myself, but I'm completely outraged by such an ugly, uninspired device. ANDDDD here he contradicts himself. In his comment on this post he complains about the lag he found on the !!4!! Note 4s he owned, but here is what he said before: Can we be fair here? The note 4 and iPhone 6 perform relatively similar in real world use. I use both phones daily.

47. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

LOL Let me be completely honest here. I don't see anything wrong with the comments you listed that he has previously posted. First Comment - Sometimes, comments do look so incredibly biased on here that you may think someone is getting paid. And hey, it's actually something Samsung has done in the past. Not far fetched. Second Comment - He was specifically talking about the S6, which did look to be heavily inspired by the iPhone 6 at the time. Third Comment - I hate the iPhone, but can agree with his statement. To be honest, I'd say it's a compliment to the Note 4, since it has true multitasking and thousands more features than the iPhone. Having said all this...FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, give up already.

48. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

And this is ladies and gentlemen what true Apple love is all about. Thumbing up each other's comments(no pun intended) the exact moment they get posted, or jumping for their rescue and defend their hypocrisy. You 2 have a better love story than 50 shades of gray.

50. You_Dont_Say

Posts: 431; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

You better quit before you embarrass yourself even further. And this is what the MOBILE COMMUNITY is all about. People are giving us thumbs up because they recognize the fact that you are way out of line. Whether for Android, WP8, or iOS, people will come together if a delusional troll makes false accusations against one person. And to me, it really is a cool thing.

62. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

i know what your saying about that lebron guy, you're totally right about him.

70. TheOfficialOpinion

Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

If you haven't realized, you made yourself look very dumb in this thread.

46. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Well that may be true, but being a fan doesn't mean you can't bash your OEM of choice. I have owned phones mostly from Samsung and I had 2 iPhones. Even iPhone fans use to riddle me saying, you can't possibly own and iPhone because you speak so bad about them. Then I show them a photo of me holding it and they shutup. Owning something doesn't mean you can't bash an issue if there is one. However I do agree with him, his bashing is more from a hateful side vs a fan who is just saying yes I experience said issue.

57. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I say this all the time for my love/hate of android. I would probably enjoy android more if I didn't have issues or deal with peoples issues all day. However that doesn't stop me from buying one, actually quite a few, and still talk about it faults. I got rid of the note 3 I had because of the trouble. Got me a z3 instead, and I like it tons more. However it is not my daily driver it is my bring along. My 930 is. I don't deny I like WP more but I don't act like it is perfect for everyone and will glady sell a note 4, oh wait I did that last week 15 to be exact compared to my two WP :'(

72. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

I'm agree, we shouldn't turn blindly for an existing issue - for our own benefit. I had S2, Note3, Note 10 before decided to switch for HTC one m8, for one reason - Samsung device was ugliest hi-end phone ever (except Note 3), tw interface is cartoony and inconsistent and i'm feel bored after using it for so many times. I appreciate project zero, at least Samsung tries to listen. Maybe tw is ugly but i'm missing many of it's useful feature like S Pen, multiwindow, floating apps, etc...

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

It isn't just touchwiz but the kernel and optimizations. They have made it a very power efficient device and that sometimes comes back to haunt them. On a Nexus device you have a lot more RAM being used for the little things like the recent tasks menu being cached as well as keyboards and other animations. In touchwiz they literally do everything from scratch and even without touchwiz the settings deeper in the system (in the build.prop) show some conservation when they really shouldn't. The real issue is that Samsung has barely paid attention to its software when it comes to the little things. They always focus on the big things that you interact with once or twice a day, but the little things that you see 20x a day they left to chance. The opposite exists on iOS where the big things are foregone in favor of the little things which appears to make the experience better overall until you need that big thing and then that becomes a problem for you.

10. Awesoman64

Posts: 292; Member since: Mar 18, 2015

The problem with Touchwiz is it is very heavy which adds more strain to Android itself. Plus many apps ALWAYS run in the background without you noticing which would explain the lag. It is the software itself, not the hardware, that causes lag. If only Google would pay more attention to optimizing Android, it would be more like iOS, which runs fewer apps in the background. What bothers me about iOS is that Apple wouldnt bother giving us 2GB RAM then the phone would run like a beast. A common mistake with Android fanboys is they are too foucused on specs instead of the fusion of the hardware and software, which Apple is really good at, since they are the ones designing the hardware and software. I personally like Android for flexibility, not performance. Software optimization is where iOS,for me, is better than Android

52. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

NO, we dont want Apples approach to multitasking. And no i dont want anything from Ios in android. Yes android and defo tw can stutter now and then, but the only people having issues Are people Who should go and get that iphone.

6. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Nope it's the sd card reader that makes phones lag

23. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

It isn't only that.

34. IT-Engineer

Posts: 566; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Well it is, i do not have an sd card inside my Note 4, and the phone is 99.9% lag free. Though i am pissed that i didn't get the Lollipop update for my international version, but truth be told.

40. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Sammobile is your best friend buddy. I updated my n910c and my sister n910h exynos Note 4s by downloading the Lollipop update and flashing it through odin. You won't void your warranty and you ll keep on getting future OTA updates

44. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I like my Note 4, I have only encountered lag when I press the multi-tasking button. A computer that multi-tasks will have some delays. But in all, I experience no lag except with that. But let me ask, when you use a PC or MAc, and you click on an app, doe sit open right away? NO! When you load a game on a console, does it start right away? NO! When you use a catridge based game, does it load right away? No! Its not lag, its simply how computers work. When I compare how fast a phone is, I compare it usually to an iPhone, because eyou guys claim it has no lag. Fact is, it suffers MORE lag than any other Android device I have used. Example, Samsung sets the animations at default of .5x while on the iPhone its set at 1.x. The animations are their to fill the gap of the time you request the app vs when you see it. That right their shows it takes longer for iOS to load and app vs the Galaxy Note 4, and the iPhone doesn't evenfully multi-task. Android fans don't dey lag, they simply say based on how they use their own device, they may not experience any. Not everyone loads tons of apps they don't use, not everyone uses an sdcard. My experience has been, when you take a phone out the box and use it, as with my Note 4, it suffered no lag whatsoever. As soon as I loaded apps and sucked up 50% of the storage, it started to have a bit. But it only happens once in a while and when it does, why should I make a big deal out of it. All, Android phones that have Vanilla Android don't lag at all. TouchWiz does have SOME lag, but TouchWiz and Android are 2 different things. When I use Android apps, I experience no lag whatsoever. If I use something that requires TouchWiz, that sure there is some once in a while. There is nothing to admit, you simply like all ignorant Samsung haters, just think all Android phone slag and they simply don't.

61. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Not quite right. All my Androids have lagged. Surprisingly my Nexus 5 with 5.01 was one of the worst offenders. As of 5.1, it is much better but it is still there.

65. Awesoman64

Posts: 292; Member since: Mar 18, 2015

Please, when you argue, please make posts shorter. People won't read your crappy Ong posts.

66. Awesoman64

Posts: 292; Member since: Mar 18, 2015

Please, when you argue, please make posts shorter. People won't read your crappy Ong posts.

56. bittle

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 06, 2015

Indeed I'm also note 4 user and it happens that it lag time to time. So many unnecessary apps running on this phone. But all in all I'm still satisfied with this beast and beaty :)

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