Playing with the Note 4's UV and SpO2 sensors

Playing with the Note 4's UV and SpO2 sensors
Samsung's Galaxy S5 came with a dedicated heart-rate monitor, and while the benefits of this additional sensor remain dubious at best, the recently-announced Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge have something new to try and wow us with: dedicated UV and SpO2 sensors!

So, what exactly do these two new sensors bring to the table? Well, the UV sensor is pretty self-explanatory: when you're outside and point the sensor (which is positioned on the back of the Note 4) at the sun, it'll show you the current level of UV radiation and whether or not that's good for your health. Unfortunately, we were only able to test it indoors, so pointing it at the hall's lighting naturally resulted in an extremely low UV reading. On the other hand, giving the SpO2 sensor a try returned a result of 97%! We actually don't know if this is good or bad, but hopefully everything's OK. Check out the new sensor in action in the following video!

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)
Galaxy Note Edge
  • Display 5.6" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(18h 3G talk time)



1. bracketslash

Posts: 16; Member since: Jan 13, 2014

SpO2 readings above 95% are good,'re good. :-)

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Only question is how accurate is the SpO2 sensor? If the true SpO2 reading was 97%, then the Note 4 sensor can provide useful information. If the sensor is not accurate, then it is a gimmick and has no place on a smartphone that is positioned as a hub for personal health.

20. shrode

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

How accurate does a device need to be before it becomes useful? You can buy a SpO2 sensor for about $25 and it will be accurate to +-2% between 60-99%. Given your body's oxygenation is not constant it will fluctuate throughout the day. It will also change with your altitude dropping about 1% every 1/3 of a mile increase in altitude. An accuracy of +-2% is far more accurate than a general practicing physician will care about. Furthermore, some people have a normal that is below the average normal; what is typical oxygenation for them is quite low than most. This type of insight can be useful if you know you are almost always at 97%, but suddenly at 88%, 88% would not be too bad for someone who is usually at the low end of the spectrum of 92%. It's a simple indicator to alert you whether your body is producing enough oxygen for all your cells. Sometimes this is completely normal like if you are exercising. It helps you gain further insight about your body's condition and helps you train more efficiently. To say these devices should not be used for personal health is dumb. We build technology to help us.

2. BMmer328i

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

Do we really need all of those features. That's why the phone lags because it's trying to load all the features at the same time, and especially when playing gamesss. I mean nice phone...but to many features.. like the other people say "useless features"

8. JMartin22

Posts: 2389; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

It's a hardware feature that can more than likely be disabled at will.

9. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

not one review has mentioned lag, and it's obvious they only load when you specifically want them to. no need to get your knickers in a twist, if you don't lie the sensors, don't use them, or simply don't buy the phone.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17478; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Every hands on so far has described the phone as snappy, zippy, fluid and smooth. But the reviews of the Note 3 said the same thing and that never stopped haters from claiming it lagged.

16. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Hard to say they are haters specially if the reports are from androidcentral, androidforums, xda, etc.

18. maherk

Posts: 7017; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Well I will surely need this any time it's sunny outside. I have vitiligo, I've had it for almost 3 years and during this time I never was able to enjoy a sunny day like everyone does, why? Simple because I must not leave my skin exposed when the UV is at its max, and this thing will come in handy for me. Now I can tell if it's safe or not for me to go out under the sun. So for once stop being a fanboy and ask yourself why would others really need it, and trust me you will find plenty of reasons for it.

19. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

perfect example of note 4 user candidate:)

3. redmd

Posts: 1948; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Thats innovation. They could actually combine heart rate and SpO2 results with that sensor. .

4. jeeta444

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

samsung gonna add Urine testing sensor in S6..……lollll samsung = gimmick.

5. JMartin22

Posts: 2389; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Whatever you don't need, just don't use it then. It's still a phone with cutting-edge hardware, the best of it's kind. It just so happens to be a utilitarian phone. It has at least one thing that someone will find a benefit from using it. Kind of tired of seeing parroted broken record statements used on these tech domains, they lack depth.

7. rockers123

Posts: 137; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

Why you are looking at those 2 features only. What about the rest? are they gimmick as well in your opinion?

11. GalaxyS5

Posts: 430; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

and nokia-guy-turned-other-brand-supporter = dead ..... lolllll I hope they add "idi0t sensor" in the GS6, this way it'll start screaming every time people use it when you're around.......... lollll

13. tedkord

Posts: 17478; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Samsung = #1 smartphone manufacturer by more than 2x TIFTFY

10. dorell

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 03, 2014

typical hater logic

12. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I'm not sure what the spO2 is to be honest. Regardless if it's there at least it's an option. It seems silly to complain about an added feature even if you don't want it. I'm sure the 805 will be more than enough to handle anything that is or will be out in the next 2-3 years

15. tedkord

Posts: 17478; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's the oxygen saturation in the blood in your capillaries. It's a measure of how well you're absorbing oxygen, so to speak.

17. clearblack

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 04, 2014


21. Anonn

Posts: 230; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Oxygen sensor and heart rate monitor are excellent. Im diabetic and have heart conditions and these sensors would be very useful. I wish there was a blood sugar sensor too. Maybe on S6 or Note 5. Just keep the sensors coming. Whats not useful for some people would be very useful to others

22. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Biggest challenge for blood sugar monitoring is to get an accurate non-invasive reading. There is a reason why all of the blood sugar testers on the market need a blood sample. Whoever is able to crack the nut of producing accurate blood sugar results without needing a blood sample will be an instant billionaire.

23. zennacko unregistered

Nice sensors indeed, but IMO they would be better used on a fitness band rather than a cell phone put a 1000mAh battery on these bands and these sensors, THAT will be innovation, and will be useful as well.

24. coobyy94

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

How do i get to the proximity sensor controls on my note 4? It turns off when I answer a call but don't come back on when I move it away from my head to end the call...can anyone help

25. vaiphei

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

In the future galaxy samsung should introduce a new feature whic it should have done bofore, instead of uv,gesture,smart stay smart roll.. it is much important and usefull to indrouduce a feature the could check "BP(blood pressure)" .. that will be much more necessary.. a feature that ccould check "BP" instead of going and consult doctor.. easy way plus save money.. most importantly that everyone need it.

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