It has been about two and a half years since the very first Samsung Galaxy Note came out and single-handedly defined the phablet category. Since then, we've witnessed the launch of two highly-acclaimed successors, the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Note 3, and the attempts on Samsung competitors' side to deliver a worthy alternative appear to have had little impact on the momentum that Galaxy Note handsets have built up. In fact, we're only weeks away from greeting the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is shaping up as a beast of a smartphone. How do we know? Well, Samsung's J.K. Shin already hinted that a new Galaxy Note phone is in the works. He did not elaborate on the matter, of course, but hey, that's what we have the rumor mill for! So here's what is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 so far, based on all the recent leaks and rumors.
A photo of what's probably the Galaxy Note 4 in a protective case
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (rumored model SM-N910) will be a relatively large smartphone, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. What exactly it is going to look like, however, is not exactly clear at this point in time, although we have a handful of hints in the form of leaked images. Furthermore, we can safely assume that size-wise, it will come really close to the current Galaxy Note 3 model since the screen size is expected to stay at 5.7 inches. As far as build quality goes, we are expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to be a plastic-made phone with metal-made elements. Chances are it will not have a perforated design à la Samsung Galaxy S5. Also, rumors hint that Electric Blue and Copper Gold versions of the phablet are incoming.
UPDATE #2: We now have leaked images that increase the chance of seeing a metal-made Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The phone won't be all metal, however. Only the sides will be made of the premium material, as is the case with the new Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Take a look at the leaked photos for a clearer idea as to what the Note 4 might look like.
First detailed look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 4: alleged images leak
Resistance to the elements is said to be in the cards for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. To be more specific, the smartphone is expected to be protected against dust and water damage. This one should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it comes from a source that claimed the same for the LG G3. Yet on the other hand, since the Galaxy S5 has an IP67 rating, it won't be surprising to see a liquid-resistant Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
A fingerprint sensor is likely to come embedded in the Note 4's home button
Several new sensors are expected to make an appearance on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Rumor has it that the phone will sport a fingerprint scanner, presumably embedded in the home key, and a heart-rate monitor, just like the Galaxy S5. The use for these should be self-explanatory. In addition, Samsung might add a sensor detecting ultra-violet radiation. This could allow for better automatic brightness adjustments and could help to warn you if you are at risk for a sun burn when you're outside.
Of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will come with an S Pen resting in its dedicated slot. It is believed that the S Pen will come in an improved form, but what kind of improvements these might be is not yet known.
A Samsung patent visualizing a 'wraparound' curved display
One of the more peculiar rumors out there states that we should be expecting multiple Samsung Galaxy Note 4 variants – one with a typical, flat display, and another with a curved display. Actually, this one is not too hard to believe given that last year's Samsung Galaxy Round was basically a Galaxy Note 3 with a curved AMOLED touchscreen and without an S Pen. What's worth pointing out, however, is that the "curved" Galaxy Note 4 may have a Samsung-made YOUM screen that would extend around the edges in a "wraparound" fashion. The practical benefits of this design feature are anyone's guess at this time. If this curved Note 4 variant does turn out to be real, it will probably be available solely in niche markets.
Either way, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to sport a 5.7-inch display, just like the Galaxy Note 3. The resolution, however, will get a bump to 1440 by 2560 pixels (QHD) for a pixel density rivaling that of the LG G3's awesome screen. True to Samsung's traditions, the Note 4's display will most likely be of the Super AMOLED kind. Rumors are mum on whether the flat and curved Galaxy Note 3 variants will both have the same display specifications, or factors like size and resolution will differ.
UPDATE: A list of APK files obtained by @evleaks seemingly confirms the QHD resolution of the Note 4's display.
Interface and functionality
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Whatever version of Android ends up running on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it will most likely come in a heavily modified form. Samsung's TouchWiz interface in its latest variation – the one that we know from the Galaxy S5 – should be on board the device, along with goodies like Multi Window and whatever S Pen optimized features Samsung comes up with.
Furthermore, it is rumored that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will get swipe gestures of some kind. These could be used for waking up the device and possibly for launching the camera from stand-by. Another feature that Samsung is allegedly testing could be Smart Fingerprint. Basically, it could be a shortcut for accessing certain functions with a swipe on the fingerprint scanner. Features found on the Galaxy S5 are also coming to the Note 4, it seems. Download Booster is expected to be one of them, allowing users to download large files using the combined bandwidth of a Wi-Fi and an LTE network.
Naturally, modes and features that appeared on the Galaxy S5 should be pre-loaded on the Samsung galaxy Note 4, including the Ultra Power Saving mode. And if the phone does get a heart-rate monitor, then it will most likely ship with the newest release of S Health for all your fitness monitoring needs.
Processor and memory
As the case is with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be available in two different processor flavors. According to rumors, that is. North America, South Korea, China, and Japan are expected to get a variant powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC, while the rest of the world should be using Samsung's own Exynos chip, presumably the Exynos 5433. Both are probably going to pack at least 3GB of RAM, as that is what the Note 3 is rocking under the hood. No hints of storage space have been passed along so far, but we're inclined to believe that at least 32 gigs will be on board, with the option to add a microSD card for extra storage.
UPDATE: Model names for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have been leaked. It appears that all major US carriers will be offering the device with 32GB of native storage. Also, the white variant might be a Verizon exclusive, at least at launch. Here's what we know so far:
Samsung SM-N910A - 32GB, AT&T, Black
Samsung SM-N910V - 32GB, Verizon, Black/White
Samsung SM-N910P - 32GB, Sprint, Black
Samsung SM-N910T - 32GB, Black
UPDATE #2:Benchmark results for two versions of the Note 4 seem to confirm that there will be Snapdragon 805 and Exynos 5433 variants of the phone. As expected, both offer an outstanding display resolution of 1440 by 2560 pixels, 16MP main cameras, ~3.7MP front cameras, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. Listings on a retailer's web site suggest that 16- and 64-gigabyte versions could also be available.
The Note 4 is expected to have a 16MP camera
According to what's making the rounds, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be packing a 16-megapixel camera, just like the Samsung Galaxy S5. But unlike the latter, the Note 4 will be utilizing optical image stabilization for steadier videos and blur-free photos. Sony is said to be the supplier for the camera unit, which, if true, could mean that the Note 4 won't be boasting phase-detection auto-focus. Note that the the Samsung Galaxy S5, which owes its super-fast focusing abilities to the said technology, uses an ISOCELL sensor by Samsung, and special pixel pairs on the sensor's surface are what make phase-detection AF work. As for the handset's front-facing camera, we're not expecting any surprises. It is said that Samsung will stick with the S5's 2MP front-facing camera for the Galaxy Note 4.
UPDATE: According to Korean media, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 might come with a 12MP camera instead of a 16MP one. Sounds strange given the fact that the Note 3 uses a 13MP one, but we wouldn't label this rumor as bogus right away. The choice to go with a lower-resolution sensor might have been made to allow for optical image stabilization gear to be implemented. Interestingly, benchmark results seem to detect a 3.7MP front-facing camera on the device.
UPDATE #2: Rumors in favor of a 16MP camera are starting to pile up. Whatever the actual pixel count of the phone's snapper, rumors agree that it will be blessed with optical image stabilization.
Price and release date
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to be announced on September 3 – days before the start of the IFA in Berlin. This rumor is most likely on the right track as the Note 3 and the Note II were introduced around the same time and showcased during the same expo. Details on the phone's availability are expected to be made official at its announcement, but our guess is that the phone will launch within weeks after it is made official. As for its pricing, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is not going to be cheap, if our intuition is to be trusted. Last year's Note 3 was offered for $299 on a 2-year contract with a major US carrier, and the Note 4 is probably going to be about as costly. But if the phone is indeed bundled with a Samsung Gear 3 smartwatch, then the offer might sound quite tempting.
UPDATE: It is rumored that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is ready to go into mass production. Allegedly, Samsung is aiming to launch the device only days after its official announcement – during the second week of September. The phone is most likely going to be announced on September 3 as official invitations to a Samsung Unpacked event have already been sent to the media.