Introduction


HTC was the first Android phone maker to put its focus on style: its phones have been the embodiment of good industrial design, a refuge for people who value the marriage of premium quality feel and top-notch silicon running Android operating system. HTC’s latest flagship, the One (M8), released this spring, is the most refined version of HTC’s industrial design efforts, standing out amidst its plastic Android rivals like the Galaxy S5 and LG G3.

On the other side of the fence, after long taking hits for its uninspiring designs, Samsung seems to have finally taken note and it has reacted. The result of its new design work arrives with the Galaxy Note 4: a phablet with a sturdy metal frame and a nice faux leather finish that can finally approach HTC’s creations in terms of style. And while the two may differ in terms of size (the 5.7” Note 4 phablet is much larger than the 5” M8), fashionistas need no longer write off the Note series just for its looks.

The Note 4 has also got time on its side: it packs the latest silicon in the form of the Snapdragon 805 system chip and a polished 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization.

But is this enough of a reason to pick it over the One (M8)? Let’s take a deeper look at how the Note 4 compares to the One (M8).

Design

The Note 4 ushers Samsung in the era of premium materials with a sturdy metal frame, and a nice faux-leather back. The M8, on the other hand, exudes an aura of style with its curved unibody design.

The Note 4 marks a departure from plastic for Samsung and opens the era of metal smartphones for the company. This applies to the frame, though - the Note 4 still features a plastic back, but it is styled as faux-leather with a nice texture and feel (a bit rougher than the one on the S5). The HTC One (M8) in comparison features an all-metal unibody construction, a single seamless piece of aluminum that exudes confidence and a feeling of stability. Speaking of pure aesthetic appearance - as subjective as it is - the Note 4 feels like a step forward, but still not really on par with the meticulous finish of the M8. It's also worth mentioning that the Note 4 is noticeably larger than the M8, which makes it harder to operate with one hand.

The buttons on the Note 4 are in the traditional for Samsung position and layout: the physical home key with a fingerprint reader right below the screen, surrounded by two capacitive keys, one for multitasking and the back key. All other physical buttons are on the sides: you have a power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker is on the left. The keys are a bit too recessed, but very clicky and fairly comfortable to press on the Note 4. The One (M8) in comparison relies on on-screen buttons only, there are no physical keys up front. The biggest flaw in the M8 design remains the weird positioning of the power/lock key - it’s at the top of the phone, making it very hard to reach. Apart from that, it’s clicky and easy to press, it’s just the position that feels wrong. The only other key on the M8 is the volume rocker on the right - within easy reach and with conveniently large size, excellent travel and reassuring click.

Note that neither device is water or dust proof, and you’d need to take extra care to not get them wet.


Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Dimensions

6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.21 oz (176 g)

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

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



Display

Samsung's 5.7” Quad HD AMOLED is gorgeous, while the M8’s 5” 1080p screen is good, but not great.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560-pixels (Quad HD), while the HTC One (M8) sports a smaller, 5-inch screen of the IPS LCD kind, but a lower, 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution.

Both are very sharp, but the Note 4 has the upper hand with a pixel density of 515ppi, much higher than the 441ppi on the M8. In real-life use, the difference is very minimal though - you have to hold your phone very close to your eyes to see any pixelization. Pixel peepers would find it most noticeable when looking at text presented in tiny fonts. It’s worth mentioning that the AMOLED screen on the Note 4 uses Samsung’s PenTile Diamond pixel arrangement instead of the traditional RGB (used in the M8).

Turning to color accuracy, we’re impressed with what Samsung has done with the AMOLED screen of the Note 4, especially after earlier generations of AMOLEDs that were pretty inaccurate. In order to see the accurate colors, though, you’d first need to switch from the default ‘Adaptive’ screen mode to the color-accurate ‘Basic’ mode. In this mode, the greyscale balance is spot-on all across, as the white point is almost exactly at the reference 6500K value (meaning that we have pure white instead of colder one), and colors are very, very accurate. Impressive! As usual with AMOLED screens, Samsung also includes other screen modes, where you have richer, oversaturated colors that are definitely not accurate, but are pleasant for many people.

The HTC One (M8), on the other hand, while technically trying to adhere to the industry standard sRGB gamut, has a few problems. First off, the white point is a bit on the cold side at 7182K Then, HTC puts on its own fair share of artificial saturation boost, and the end result is a display with colors with an artificial pop, but very realistic look.

The AMOLED technology has long struggled with low brightness, but Samsung’s continuous improvements pay off in the Note 4 which reaches a sufficiently good 468nits, and reflections are also nicely filtered out so outdoor readability of the new Note is very good. The M8 does a decent job, but is a bit harder to read outdoors. Turning the page to night viewing, Samsung has also managed to cap off minimum brightness at the impressive 1 nit on the Note 4, which means that the screen won’t tire your eyes with excessive glow. The respective value on the M8 is the rather eye-torturing at night 16 nits.



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24 Comments

1. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

If you wan't more comfort, take One. If you wan't more functions, take Note.

2. SonyFindOneDroidple

Posts: 865; Member since: May 11, 2013

If you want aluminum, take One If you want everything, take Note 4

17. vega93

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 14, 2014

If you want fastest Android phone, take One If you want over advertised phone with cool screen and camera but poor, badly done software take "powerful" but SLOWER than One, Note4.

18. thegolubgeneration

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 27, 2014

That's just ridiculous, a thoughtless answer. The HTC is better pure and simple. It's a better design easier to manage, and let's face it, it has the best sound system of any phone ever. The note is bulky, and sure it's got the writing gimmick. I researched and worked with these both for hours. For you to say comfort vs functions means you probably play angry birds and search the web. The HTC is extremely complicated and I can do more with it than I have been able to with any other phone before. I can remotely take control over every device I have, PCs, tablets, TV's theater systems. I can tell the HTC to run through my PC so I receive texts and calls on the computer and can respond to texts faster that way. If I'm on vacation and I need access to my computer, I can run it remotely through that small HTC. The HTC is so complex that they added the HTC mini + yes it makes them money but it is necessary. You can answer phone calls on the mini while so you don't have to stop whatever you're doing on the M8. The Mini will also serve as a remote control to just about anything in anyone's home and a camera. The Note is cool, it's got great gimmick effect, and as a droid product can do many things the HTC can, but the HTC is the most complex and able phone created to date by far.

19. tashi1990

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 11, 2015

hey how do you acces your laptop threw your htc ? and how do you get your text threw it. that sounds awesome i want that

20. thegolubgeneration

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 27, 2014

hello there, I knew that write up would really get a rise out of people. I do like the Next Launcher, and think it's crazy that it's not mentioned, but there are a few others that are good as well. As for you, there is a few options but my favorite is an application called themightytext. Look it up in the app store, download it and and it will guide you on what to do on your laptop. The free version by itself is great, you can set it up so your pictures get backed up on the laptop (PC) version. You essentially log into a site and you can get your texts and pictures, even your notifications on the PC. You do not need to keep the website open once you are logged in to get texts and notifications. I got the premium version and that sets up MightyText in gmail and facebook as well. Or I'm not sure really which options come with the free and premium. You can open mightytext in an Ipad also. Two other options are Airdroid which is free, but with airdroid you can only use your stock text messaging. So you if you use hangouts or textra or any other third party texting app it doesn't work well with airdroid. You can also receive your notifications with it. Again this will work on Ipad as well. Another which was my favorite at first and then became my least is called MySMS which is similar to mighty text, accept there is also a windows 8 application that syncs to the phone from the PC. But I kept having issues with it. With Mightytext you can also receive your calls on the computer. All in all its the app I use more than anything. Good luck.

22. FireTwerks

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 11, 2015

you go golu you know witch is better and you stand for it thx #htc

3. Muklee

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

If you want a phablet, take Nexus 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

4. nohatenofanboy

Posts: 515; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

why ? 6 plus has no special thing about its screen its only bigger iphone. apps arent optimised to large screen.

6. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

So is nexus 6..

13. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Lol no special thing 1- 1080P screen with most accurate colors. 2- Bigger battery 2990mAh. 3- Best fingerprint scanner in phones. 4- Camera with OIS, IPhone 6 comes without OIS FYI. 5- One of the best camera in low light performance. 6- All apps works without issue.

14. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Yeah forget to mention that Iphone 6 and 6 plus has the most powerful chipset that found in any phone in the market that comes with 64- bit, 20 nm process and it does contains 2 billion transistors.

16. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

U forgot to mention the bend feature

5. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

If you want KING of phablets get NOTE 4...

21. FireTwerks

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 11, 2015

screw iphones they suck only features i like is the camera and smooth screen

7. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

htc m8 is a beautiful device and it is pretty unfair to compare it with beastly note 4, it is like killing m8... m8 vs z3 is a fair comparison

9. Eclectech

Posts: 355; Member since: May 01, 2013

The Galaxy Note 4 is, in my opinion, the most impressive device to come from Samsung. I played with one extensively at BestBuy. That said, I wouldn't trade my HTC One M8 in for one. I still prefer the hardware design and the software aesthetics of my HTC.

10. Muklee

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

HTC looks better, can be handled better, sounds much better, moreover is faster and snappier and costs 225 $ less. Galaxy Note has a better camera and a huge battery but far too oversized...

11. FarmerStyle

Posts: 37; Member since: May 17, 2014

Note 4 is still ugly when compared to the M8

12. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

The 1080P video way better on M8 than Note4 in both lighting condition. Note 4 1080P video in normal lighting dim and not as bright as M8 video.

15. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

M8 Destroys the Note 4 in design and they mimimalized that.... wtf?

23. thegolubgeneration

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 27, 2014

First off I want to congratulate firetwerks on a fantastic purchase and review. You got a huge phone with an attached pen and you for "f u golu bitc whatever etc." Why get a note if you are going to express yourself like a kindergartener who sniffs paint. At least if you made typos with a normal sized phone, you could blame any typos on your hot dog fingers and a tiny keyboard. The HTC one M8 has been rated phone of the year by just about every major expert, and yes I am an expert. Those who feel the need to mention the Note 4 say its the best large android phone of the year, because there Is so much competition in that category. The Note is neither phone nor tablet, its a hybrid which is unique. I didn't argue that it wasn't cool, because it is. It simply falls short in terms of performance, and yes this is based on what ice experienced not what I've read. The note has a place for a very specific type of user, being able to jot down quick notes is great for people in certain types of positions. Take that feature away and the phone is nothing special. Look no further than the app store where nearly every app runs perfectly on the HTC. We dont have issues with apps crashing or not performing as they should because this phone was built incredibly well and is the smoothest operating android device ever created up to this point period. I enjoy both phones and tablets but I want my phone to be a phone and my tablet to be a tablet. With the Note its cool idea that falls short, it doesn't compare with the better tablets and it doesn't run as well as other phones. It runs better than the Galaxy 5, but that says nothing since its the biggest disappointment of the year. I still have my Galaxy 3 which was amazing and its still a better phone than the 5 to this day. Also HTC one M8 is being called the phone of the year 2014 and we still have KitKat. The phone that is amazing already is about to get better. So all you note fans, enjoy you amphibian device and please take the time to reply with an "f u, both," I see a lot of HTC people writing intelligent reviews, perhaps the note just attracts very special people. "

25. megalosdog

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 06, 2015

that's probably the most intelligent comment I've ever read on any forum.

24. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

htc one sooo better in hand and so more beauty

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