The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the finest smartphones we saw last year, and we have to say, it held its own pretty well throughout 2014. But the time has come for a better, faster, and stronger heir to stand up and announce its immediate appointment. The Galaxy Note 4 is every bit as good as its predecessor, only better in every regard. Samsung had to go far and out to ensure the Galaxy Note remains the king of phablets. A direct comparison with its powerful predecessor is a good way to find out whether the Galaxy Note 4 is up for the challenge.


Subtle, but impossible to miss refinements make the Galaxy Note 4 the most beautiful one in the series.

The Galaxy Note 4 represents a subtle, but impossible to miss refinement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's design. For example, its looks have become more aesthetically pleasing. Instead of dull and flat, the front panel is more sporty and vibrant, and the aluminum frame is not merely something for the plastic to hold on to, but a finely sculpted design detail. The faux leather texture on the back panel stays in the Galaxy Note 4, although it looks classier now that the tacky fake stitching is removed.

The button placement remains unchanged. In both devices, the power key is positioned to the right, while the volume buttons are found on the left. The Home button, positioned in the center of the bottom bezel, looks about the same, although the one in the Galaxy Note 4 houses a fingerprint reader, as with the S5. It is accompanied by the multitasking capacitive key to the left, and the Back capacitive key to the right. And to the lower right, of course, you will find the Galaxy Note's specialty - the S-Pen slot.

Talking about the S-Pen, the stylus itself is 99% identical between the two devices, with only minor cosmetic differences to account for. Notably, the one in the Galaxy Note 4 is significantly easier to take out of its slot – it simply slides in and out. The one in the Galaxy Note 3 required a much tighter grip and pull.

Which phablet is easier to handle? That's pretty hard to say. The Note 4 is taller (by 0.09 inches or 2.28mm), slightly thicker (by 0.008 inches or 0.2mm) and heavier (by 0.28 oz or 8 grams), but it is 0.03 inches (0.76mm) narrower than its predecessor. These tiny differences don't account for a noticeable improvement or decline in ergonomics, and the sameness between build materials makes both phones feel equal in the hand – large, solid and rectangular.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4


6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm


6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3


5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm


5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4


6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm


6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3


5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm


5.93 oz (168 g)

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


Past mistakes are forgiven! The Galaxy Note 4 has higher resolution and is super color-accurate.

Putting the Galaxy Note 3's 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display against that of the new Galaxy Note 4 shows how much Samsung managed to improve its AMOLED technology. The Note 4 display has the same 5.7-inch diagonal, but its resolution has been bumped to QHD (1440x2560). This results in a higher pixel density of 515 pixels per inch (ppi) compared to the Galaxy Note 3's 386 ppi. Thanks to this, the Galaxy Note 4's display appears sharper, its individual pixels impossible to spot with the naked eye from any viewing distance. The difference is not immediately apparent at first, because the Galaxy Note 3's display is still pretty sharp. But when the two phablets are put next to each other and viewed at a normal distance from the eye – say 16 inches (40cm) - the predecessor's screen seems a little blurry.

Resolution bump aside, picture quality is a huge area of improvement. In terms of accurate colors, the Galaxy Note 4 is the first Samsung phone to really have such. The Note 4's standard color temperature is a wildly impressive 6667 Kelvins - a hair's distance from the reference level of 6500 Kelvins. The Note 3, in comparison, verges far into the realm of cold colors with its temperature of 7972 Kelvins. The Galaxy Note 4 screen's color and grayscale errors are minimal, while the Note 3 has overblown colors and greenish look, that may wow somebody, but is pretty inaccurate. Note 4 not only has the most color-accurate AMOLED phone display, but also one of the best phone displays at all. However, if we nitpick, we must note the gamma level - the Galaxy Note 3, which measures 2.25, is almost on point with the preferred Gamma value of 2.2, while the Galaxy Note 4 measures a lower 1.97 gamma value. However, the lower gamma of the Note 4 is the result of brighter highlights only, with the shadows remaining as dark as they should be. This means that the screen ends up being a bit punchier and more contrasty than normal, though the effect is not so overdone as to be annoying or distracting. And it is still presents a much more realistic, color-accurate view than the Galaxy Note 3.

Finally, let's have a look at how the two displays perform outdoors and indoors. Pleasant outdoor usage requires a bright display covered with high quality, non-reflective glass. Both phablets are covered with high-quality glass that isn't overly reflective, so we have this part sorted out. But what about brightness levels? Although the Galaxy Note 3's display is reasonably well visible under direct sunlight, its maximum brightness level of 360 nits is surpassed by the 468 nits its successor is capable of. This means you will have a much easier time seeing and operating the Note 4 outdoors in the sun than its predecessor.

Bedtime reading requires a very low level of brightness to not strain your eyes. Both phablets fare very well in this regard, as the Galaxy Note 3 gets down to 4 nits of luminance, while its successor can muster a terrific 1 nit, ensuring a very comfortable night reading experience.



40. choozurmobile

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

best phones Samsung ever designed. Really a must have gadgets.

38. phonemonkey

Posts: 168; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Okay, how biased in the fan base of this website? Apple gets slammed constantly for changing nothing, while samsung consistently releases the same freaking phone with nothing but upgraded hardware components? Is anyone else tracking this? Why? Because samsung has little leverage over the software experience. It is horrible. At least apple is ballsy enough to have its own operating system. Oh, and by the way, they are doing an amazing job with it. Where is samsungs own proprietary operating system for… anything? Not to mention samsung down 60%, please let the excuses fly. Hate away.

39. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Tsk tsk. I pity your intellect (or lack there of).

37. liftmeup unregistered

Antutu benchmark for my Note 3 showed 41095, measuring it three times in a row, every result was above 41000..

36. Noonting

Posts: 135; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

I liked note3's stitch design

34. TheOldOne

Posts: 196; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Dear Phone Arena, please be so kind that on you next comparison you make sure you use the same wallpapers for the devices. This gives us a better base for figure it out for ourself which display is nicer for instance. In this particular example, the Note 3 looks way better than the Note 4th...

32. vivasomuvivek

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

awesome phone!!

29. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

The Note 4 has a maximum brightness of 750 nits. Once again, please get it right, PA.

25. UglyFrank

Posts: 2200; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Note 3 has a 1/3inch sensor

23. AndroidTech

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 02, 2014

I ve note 3.. Its still an awesome phablet.. Rose gold has much better look than chrome metal..

19. Sid91 unregistered

I saw a screen shot from one xda user for note 4 where Antutu score was 50272 for the exynos version, I wanna know how the score varies so much and if the quad core registers a lower score.

15. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Two beautiful phones from two generations. Gotta love em' Note series.

10. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

41000 on Antutu? The iPhone 5S gets 42-48,000 with iOS8. A year newer and the same Graphics scores on GFX Bench. Slower web browsing? Resolution taking its toll. Couple this with the fact that neither are future-proofed for 64bit Android L (and all updates from now on): and the Note 3 is clearly the better value.

14. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

You criticized the benchmark scores yet parsed the fact it has a 64-bit processor for future proofing. The 5433 destroys everything on the market. The N4 is without a doubt the most powerful smartphone on the market (as always). Best Buy has been demoing the N4 for about two weeks now and the 805 pushes that 1440p screen perfectly.

18. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2289; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Any is capable of pushing qHD. Manufacturer's choose not to use the screen resolution due to its higher cost and battery drain. Once the screens become more efficient and the cost comes down you will see more manufactuer's adopting the higher resolution. The Apple A Series processor is capable of pushing 4k, but it doesn't make sense on a 5"-6" phone.

27. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

qHD is 960x540p. AMOLED has come to the point where QHD is as efficient as the 1080p panel. GS5 LTE-A proves this.

21. alaw.14

Posts: 431; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

The 805 wont get a perfect score all the time. There is sometimes were the 805 gets 50,000 on antutu and you dont even want to know what the exynos 5433 gets on antutu.

31. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

That is Snapdragon 805 result. Exynos 5433 is far ahead this time and anytime reach over 50k benchmark. Also remember the iPhone 6 plus 3D benchmark had some issue where it run lower than 1080p resolution. Every others site is pointing out.

7. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Considering the price, Note 3 is 480$ and Note 4 is 750$ in my country, Note 3 wins hands down!

9. ilegales

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Here in central europe the note 4 is going for $1000 so your price of $750 is actually very good what country are you located ?? thanks

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It's $700-825 in the US depending on the carrier.

5. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Note3 is better Note3 = good battery life + good design + Has pen Note4 =only good screen

8. nohatenofanboy

Posts: 515; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

lol so note 4 has no pen and good design ?

22. mawhob2222

Posts: 219; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Note4 has pen but the design no, also the battery life very bad link...

30. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

What a nonsense reply. Note 4 battery test proof better than Note 3. Note 4 had 2x better sensitivity S Pen than Note 3. Note 4 design wise is much better and premium than Note 3.

12. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

dunno if serious or joking

16. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

wow, what a wise comparison... note 3 has pen+good design+good battery... note 4 doesnt have these... we need more such a knowledgable persons, you alone is not enough... world will be a better place if we have some more

33. Industriality

Posts: 131; Member since: Sep 08, 2014

I tried Note 4 in samsung Store in Paris (Fr) : - better screen - better build - has pen too - Back leatherette is awesome and very pleasant to touch - battery life hasn't been tested yet (wait for gsmarena and anandtech) Your comment is stupid.

35. Noonting

Posts: 135; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Note4 battery is better

4. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Battery life with 1nits while night surfing in bed , thats gonna be awesome

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