After a year of being on top of the Samsung food chain, the Galaxy Note 4 finally surrendered the throne and got succeeded by the newest S Pen-boasting phablet in the high-end Note lineup. Without the shadow of a doubt, the Note5 can be easily crowned as the most advanced and feature-packed smartphone Samsung has released to date, and from the looks of it, it will most probably retain that role for some time.

However, unlike previous battles between the old and new generation of Samsung's products, the Galaxy Note 4 is not ready to part with the top spot that easily. Despite the Note5 is the newer and more advanced device, the older Note still has a few key features that might stop some users from upgrading or jumping on the Note 5 train.

Is this truly the case? Is the Galaxy Note5 much better than the Note 4 and is it worth upgrading to the newest super phablet in town? Let's find out!


It's hard to take eyes off the exquisitely-designed Note5, which overshadows the Note 4 by a fair margin

Tailored in accordance with Samsung's new design trend that was introduced along with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge earlier this year, the Galaxy Note5 is a very good-looking “sandwich” of glass and metal, intertwining together to create a nice and premium design. It won't be an overstatement to say that the Galaxy Note5 is easily one of the better-looking handsets we've seen of late - Samsung really did much better with the design aspect this time around.

On the other hand, we have the Note 4, a device that was also lauded for its departure from Samsung's “plastic fantastic” design language short of a year ago. It was one of the first Samsungs to employ an aluminum frame with subtly chamfered edges, although still complemented by a plastic back cover. While it is not as head-turning as the Note5, the Note 4 certainly has a charisma of its own.

Even from a distance, it will be downright easy to distinguish that these two are made by Samsung. The fronts of both parties employ the time-tested and classic design language of the company, characterizing themselves with a proudly-exhibited hardware home button and pretty decent screen-to-body size ratio (an aspect in which the Note5 wins yet another solid victory). Alas, the Note5's glass back is a fingerprint magnet, which is not something to like, but that's the cost of using such a nice and shiny material.

Moving on to the side frames, one of the things that are first noticed are the Note5's separated volume buttons, whereas the Note4 employs a single-piece volume rocker. Another noteworthy difference is the placement of the 3.5mm audio jack – top of the phone for the Note 4 and bottom positioning for the Note5.

Size-wise, the Note5 is noticeably thinner and more elegant than its predecessor. But it's not only thinner, it's also a smidgen shorter and not as wide, making it distinguishably svelter. While both feel well in the hand, it's more comfortable to handle the Note5.

While it can't boast looks as exquisite as those of the Note5, the Note 4 has other aces up the sleeve – it might be a bit larger and heavier, but it has a removable rear cover and battery, which are two of the several features the Note5 doesn't employ. Still, both phablets proudly come with S Pen styluses and fingerprint readers embedded in their home buttons (touch-based for the Note5 and swipe one for the older device); we also have a bunch of biometric sensors at the back of both devices, but we'll talk about these later on.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5


6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm


6.03 oz (171 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 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5


6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm


6.03 oz (171 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)

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


We have mostly similar Super AMOLED displays on both, but the Note5 has the upper hand in terms of overall quality

Samsung did not change the core specs of the display on the Note5 much: the Note 4 boasts, it comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen which has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, while its successor is equipped with slightly smaller, 5.67-inch display, which has the same resolution. While both are pretty sharp, the Note5 has the upper hand on paper – with an estimated pixel density of 518ppi, the new phablet has a screen that is just a smidgen sharper than the Note 4's 515ppi one. A most negligible difference, that is.

From the looks of it, the Note5 has an almost identical display panel as the Note 4, just slightly tweaked, but mostly similar in terms of exhibited qualities. This is not a bad thing – the Note 4 came with one of the more accurate AMOLED displays we've seen, making it appear quite true-to-life if viewed in its “Basic” mode.

While maximum & minimum brightness and color temperature remain mostly unchanged, Samsung has got down to fixing the gamma of the display. While the Note 4 exhibited lower gamma levels at higher grayscale readings, which means that the brighter areas of the image appeared brighter than they should have been (we measured gamma levels under 1.8 at the lowest reading), the Note5 has fixed this issue to some extent – the gamma levels hardly ever dropped below 2 and never climbed above the ideal reading of 2.2.

Additionally, the improved gamma representation results in a much lower Delta E grayscale value — with the ideal measurement being 0, the display of the new S Pen warrior scores 1.94; as we mentioned above, this means that the various shades and hues don't deviate from the perfect readings on the grayscale. Same can be said about its Delta E rgbcmy measurement of 1.32, which means that the display is extremely color accurate. As a comparison, the Note 4 has a Delta E rgbcmy of 1.56 – still great, but not as good as the new star on the catwalk.



1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

The battle betwen perfect phones... #SamsungKorea

6. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

You must work for Samsung, because neither phone is even near perfect.

15. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

As a Note 4 user, the phone is nowhere near perfect! Then again, no phone is!

20. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

OK , let's say- best two phones. Right?

22. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

"Best" is determined by what users want. If you want a pure Android experience and couldn't care less about S-pen functionalities then these are not the best phones.

30. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

Only few freaks could prefer the boring "pure Android experience" We've seen how "good" sells GoogleEdition of the Samsung's flagships. Right? :)

32. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

We are not talking about sales here. We are talking about what users prefer and their preference defines what's best for them.

34. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

+1 this

45. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

sell those for subsidy or installmetns and we'll see.

60. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

let's just go with two great phones.

70. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Sad to say, but both Note 4 and 5 is undeniably worse than Note 2 in hand writing input. With Note 2, you can scribble multiple lines as fast as you can with S-pen and Note will recognize it. Try that with Note 4 or 5 and you get garbage.

78. nycguy54

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 13, 2014

The S Pen defect has yet to be fixed?

2. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Few improvements over the N4

7. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Offset by a few downgrades

3. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

The note 5 is really good but I rather buy the note 4 price wise

19. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

For me note 4 is better even if it's the same price. Because of the nice leather back and the functions behind it, But I agree that except of the lack of swappable battery, SD, and IR , Note 5 is better in everything else - even the size. P.S. We should not forget , though , that this Note 5 is the US version of Note. Meant to hunt for the apple's fan-base inside the nest Apple: US. This was what the apple's propaganda and all the tech media were whining about many year EVERY SINGLE DAY so far: "premium" tin-can-glass "design", and brainwashed the americans. Right?

43. rtimi26

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

If you want the Note 5 with a leather back, it can be done by getting this skin.

4. Loveneesh

Posts: 439; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

Note 4 is much better deal than note 5 due to:- Price. Original design vs fully copied design. Removable Battery. Sd card support (i use 128gb card). Note 5 S pen may damage your phone.

16. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

1)"Fully copied design"??? What are you talking about???? 2)"Note 5 S pen may damage your phone." ???? Do you still believe those apple-shills from Android Police that is so easy? Why didn't they show the video how they managed to damage it??? LOL

57. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

1) copy S6 design (even first generation note also copy design from S-line, but thats good actually :-/ ) 2) step one, prepare sledge hammer step two, insert s-pen backward and hammer it

23. TerryTerius unregistered

The S Pen on the note 5 won't damage your phone. But being an idiot will.

40. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

So, making a slight mistake of inserting the pen in the wrong way when in the dark is idiotic? Gimme a break. This is a flawed design on Samsung's part, Pengate, just like Bendgate was a flaw on Apple's part.

49. almostdone

Posts: 448; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

lol a flaw... You're an idiot.

53. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Yes, a flaw you shortsighted Numbskull. Why should a slight mistake of inserting the pen the wrong way permanently damage a so-claimed "flagship" device? Older generations of the device didn't have this flaw. But go for it, bend over and accept it as "normal" from Samsung.

58. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

nope, - normally user hold pen in exact specific way (may differ between person), and so they'll never put it backward since it became habit.. do you ever accidentally use helmet backward? or toothbrush? haircomb? backpack? etc.. - no matter how dark, your screen can help you - even if you accidentally put it wrong way, you'll notice it since u feel something wrong about it, since its part of habit (of course normal people wont shove S pen that hard until it broke some mechanism inside) lets see how many people will suffer from this PenGate

62. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

That's a lot of inapt analogies and dumb assumptions in 1 post. Regardless, I've picked up my Surface Pen multiple times in the middle, thinking it was up right. It's a simple and prone-to-occur (due to a part of the upper part feeling like the lower part) mistake, especially when not focusing on the pen. It's an easy fix of just flipping it like any other pen. Not the case with this Note according to reports. We'll see how many headlines this issue makes. Even Samsung is aware of the problem (they stated it in the Manual), yet die-hard fans seem to still be in denial.

61. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

I've owned Notes for the past 3 years. I have never inserted my S-pen in backwards. It's not natural nor easy to do by mistake. You are full of crap.

59. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

The whole pen-gate thing is blown out of proportion. Just put your pen in the right way and don't let small children play with your phone. I might wait awhile before getting N5. Still really like my N3. Does what I ask of it.

5. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

I had the S6 for a few months and just a couple of days with the Note 5. These phones are basically identical but for some reason I feel the Note is better. I mean yea the battery is bigger (I get about 45 min more screen on time compared to the S6..still waiting for a phone to consistently give me a minimum of 4 hours screen on time), the screen is bigger, and it comes with a stylus, but it's something else that I can't explain. It just feels more refined and fresh in every way.

9. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

You had a standard s6 or the edge? 45min less from note 5 is pretty darn good. Edge has 50 mAh bigger battey, so I'm just curious.

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