Interface and Functionality

TouchWiz in the Note 4 is another small step in the right direction for Samsung, and the S Pen is better than ever, while Sense in the M8 is lean and clean, but lacks some features.

Both the Note 4 and One (M8) come with the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, on board, but the looks of the platform differ due to the two vastly different custom skins on top of it. TouchWiz on the Note 4 is modernized, but still retains a lot of its familiar colorfulness and some of cartoonish style. Samsung has moved in a slow, but consistent tempo with TouchWiz, and comparing it with the version we saw last in the S5, it is a slightly rehashed take on the familiar Samsung skin, brightening it up a bit with a new white-toned backgrounds, and cleaning it of clutter. The new set of fresh Quad HD wallpapers also looks great on the Note 4. While we did notice less of that typical TouchWiz lag, it was still there, and the difference could be felt when comparing with the snappy Sense skin on the M8.


HTC’s Sense user interface, on its part, feels lean and clean. Animations are fast and to the point, icons have a mature, modern look, and things are well optimized for touch throughout, while on TouchWiz, even core apps like the phonebook - annoyingly - do not support swiping to change between tabs.


Apart from that, basic functionality is as rich of an experience as you’d expect from these top-shelf devices. Typing on the built-in keyboard of the Note 4 is fairly fast as you have the convenience of a separate, fifth row for the numbers, but the One (M8) despite its 0.7-inch smaller display, features one of our favorite keyboard solutions, filled with large keys from one edge to the other, and typing on it is equally fast, if not even faster.

With the Note 4, Samsung introduces a few new functionalities, some of which, are absent on the One (M8).

The first one is health tracking, an area where the M8 lags noticeably behind as it features no single app hub. The Note 4 with its updated S Health and new blood oximetry and UV radiation sensors brings more to the table.

Then, there is the fingerprint sensor that is not to be found on the M8. On the Note 4, the fingerprint reader is of the same swipe type as in the Galaxy S5 - it requires you to swipe from slightly above the button (actually, starting from the bottom part of the screen itself) and through the key.

Accuracy seems to have improved slightly over the original finger reader in the S5 and we find it decent, though, not great.

Finally, the S Pen signature feature of the Note series is improved on the Note 4. It’s a bit easier to take out the pen in comparison with the Note 3, where you had to literally chop it out vigorously.

The S Pen is powered by Wacom and it uses a digitiser. The new S Pen comes with double the sensitivity: it now detect 2,048 levels of pressure, compared to 1,024 on the Note 3.

The big question for most users, however, would really be a very simple one: can I use this to take notes as I usually do on paper? The answer is ‘not quite’. Despite being more accurate, for handwriting the S Pen still draws with an annoying lag, and if you want to actually be able to read what you’ve written, you need to switch to a gargantuan font, so that your notes end up looking like a kid’s first attempts at writing (especially if you jot down quickly, on the move).

Processor and Memory

The Snapdragon 805 on the Note 4 does a good job coping with the load of the Quad HD resolution, but the M8 - despite its Snapdragon 801 - often feels snappier.

The Galaxy Note 4 arrives nearly half a year after the HTC One (M8) hit store shelves, and it takes full advantage of this as quietly humming under its hood is the latest and most powerful Qualcomm SoC: the Snapdragon 805. The M8, in comparison, also runs on a Snapdragon 800-series chip, but in its earlier iteration - the 801.

In daily usage the difference in speed is perceptible, but interestingly, it’s in HTC One (M8)’s favor. The M8 runs faster, and we’d attribute this to two things - the optimizations in the Sense UI, and the lower resolution. The Note 4 is not a slouch by any means (we actually think it runs slightly faster than the Note 3), but there is this noticeable pause between after you hit a button and you see the result of that action taking place.

Looking at pure specifications, both the Snapdragon 805 and 801 are quad-core chips, but the Krait 450 CPU in the 805 runs at slightly higher clock speeds of up to 2.7GHz, while the Krait 400 processor in the 801 - at up to 2.5GHz. The Note 4 also features 3GB of RAM, while the M8 has slightly less - 2GB.

While the difference in CPU compute is not huge, the Adreno 420 in the Note 4 is a big step forward from the Adreno 330. The new GPU allows the Note 4 to run practically on par with its predecessor, the Note 3, despite the huge bump in screen resolution. In practical terms, this means that games will run at similar frame rates on the Note 4 and the M8, and the benchmarks below prove that.

We should also point out that - while most Western markets will get a Snapdragon 805-equipped Galaxy Note 4 - other markets, mostly in Asia, will get a different version of the Note 4, powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 5433 chip. Unlike the Snapdragon 805, the Exynos 5433 is a 64-bit chip that ensures compatibility with all the 64-bit optimizations coming with Android L and the ART runtime. The Exynos 5433 itself is an octa-core chip with four low-power Cortex A53 cores and four performance-driven Cortex A57s in a big.LITTLE configuration.

The Galaxy Note 4 and One (M8) both feature 32GB of internal storage on board, ampler than most other smartphones that are offered with only 16 gigs of built-in storage. You can also expand on that initial storage allowance via microSD cards of up to 128GB on both.

Quadrant Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24053
HTC One (M8) 19139
AnTuTu Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 41185.33
HTC One (M8) 31075
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1230.33
HTC One (M8) 1171
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3041
HTC One (M8) 3657
Sunspider Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1087.87
HTC One (M8) 693.1
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 25.9
HTC One (M8) 28.3
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 11.2
HTC One (M8) 11
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1038.67
HTC One (M8) 1071
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1112.67
HTC One (M8) 888
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3259.67
HTC One (M8) 2613

Internet and Connectivity


You have a choice of two pre-installed browsers to surf the web on both the Galaxy Note 4 and the HTC One (M8): a custom solution, and Google’s mobile Chrome. Chrome features the familiar card-based interface, while the custom browsers in each one differ in their look, but are otherwise identical in functionality and both load webpages quickly (the HTC is a bit faster), and scrolling as well as zooming in and out is snappy.



In terms of connectivity, you have 4G LTE on both, but theoretical max on the Note 4 reach 300Mbps for downloads (on the Snapdragon model, that is, the Exynos model is equipped with a 150Mbps modem), while the One (M8) maxes out at 150Mbps. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.1 on the Note 4 versus 4.0 on the M8, dual-channel Wi-Fi on both, GPS, and NFC. Both devices also have an infra-red beamers with an accompanying app, so that you can use your phone as a remote for, say, your TV.

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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: 7; 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: 2381; 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: 2381; 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: 3282; 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: 349; 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: 7; 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: 2381; 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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