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.



83. Yousefjaber

Posts: 53; Member since: Nov 24, 2015

Note 5 ftw !!

82. sbjis

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 05, 2015

I Love Samsung not because of its design or its software but because of a wide range of app availability and that too is mostly free. If you are buying a new phone then do check urbanblurbsdotcom

81. iamweasel

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 04, 2015

"or an octa-core 1.9GHz Exynos 5433, the Note 4 is mostly humble when you compare it with the performance monsters we have now." Is it? :) You know exynos note 4 vs snapdragon note 4 difference, is way bigger than note 5 exynos vs note 4 exynos? Yet no one stated exynos note 4 to be a beast and make snapdragon humble. And now the note 5 with an insignificant gain (cpu wise), makes note 4 exynos humble? No point of further discussing this...

79. PhonyPhone

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 02, 2015

Holy crap note 4 is just way better than note 5! Let me explain something, the Note 5 is pure commercial! Software may be better but Samsung could just do the same thing with the note 4! 1. Note 4 has expandable storage 2. Note 4 has removable battery 3. Note 4 has a Faux Leather back, yes glass back is so fabulous BUT it doesn't freaking slip away! Note 5 is like a ski master, and Note 4 just sticks to surface and your hand(s) 4. And seriously, the hardware almost didn't change 5. Software can be updated by Samsung (but they don't do that heyyyy) and even some things are better from the note 4 software! THATS my opinion about these 2 phones, good job Samsung!!

80. PhonyPhone

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 02, 2015

Okay and even the stylus; it may feel better and the ejection system may be better feeling, but the ejecting system does not always work!

77. tmac7607

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 18, 2015

Note 4 is better and cheaper. Note 4 has best battery life of any lastest phone. No glitch between both devices. Since android came out there has always been sd card slot. Note 5 bummer. No universal remote on Note 5. In my opinion the Note 5 was released before they could finish putting back all original components.

76. gsbenke

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 17, 2015

Samsung trying to be Apple charging overpriced built-in memory. Give me back microSD or you wont be getting my cash.

73. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Way too many grammar mistakes. Was this article copied from a foreign publication and translated by google? Or is John V. just a poor writer?

66. TPenn

Posts: 47; Member since: Apr 18, 2015

I heard that if you put the Stylus Pen backward into the body, Note 5 stops working - a design defect. True? If it's true, then deal-breaker. Can you test that?

75. gsbenke

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 17, 2015

It is a minor thing mate, just feel the tip of the pen and there you go.

65. wlipman

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 12, 2015

I purchased my Note 4 at the beginning of August, and paid $49.99 (and a 2 year contract extension) from A T & T. With the identical contract extension, the Note 4 is now FREE. The slight processor improvements and built-in wireless charging aren't worth $400 to me; plus, I'm using the new 200 gb SanDisk card in mine, which works perfectly (note: any device that advertises being able to take "up to 64 gb Micro-SD storage" is, in theory, able to address Micro SD storage of up to 2 TB, when those are produced in the future. That's the XC standard). Since I live in a world in which it's nice to bring your own card, and replace your own battery rather than the entire phone, the Note 4 is the only Samsung Phablet for me, at present.

74. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Your phone is not FREE. It never was and it never will be.

56. darkkjedii

Posts: 31797; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

N5 is fantastic!

64. redmd

Posts: 1965; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Did you got one? Congrats!

55. Kambiz84

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

Galaxy Note 5 is a weakness to Note 4.for example 1:No sd card 2:leak a memory 128 for note5 if no sd card 3:The battery can not be replaced or access 4Lack of resistance to water and dust ،In particular, the battery can not exit and

67. TPenn

Posts: 47; Member since: Apr 18, 2015

And a design defect with the Stylus Pen

72. coldspring22

Posts: 349; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Yes now you need two motion to take out S-pen. Click and then pull, where as with Note 2,3,4, all you needed was just pull. I think that's also a regression in design, now the s-pen get stuck and break if inserted wrong way, which was impossible with previous versions of Note.

54. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 593; Member since: May 26, 2011

Yep, I just picked up a Note 4. Based on what I plan to do with this bad boy, the Note 5 would be a huge setback. I'm really glad I went with the Note 4, especially in the wake of Pengate. Unfortunately, the loosers in this particular situation will be those who are unaware and/or inadvertenly place the S pen back into the S pen slot top first.

50. MrEelSauce

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

I wouldn't say it's upgrade worthy, but I'd say that for any consecutive models. I'll hold on to my note 4. On a side note, if battery doesn't concern you too much, but expandable storage does, Android Marshmallow supports formating and mounting SD cards/Flash drives as true external storage via OTG. Meaning not only can you move files around like basic OTG, you can R/W app data (App to SD) as well. If you get a Note 5 and need the extra storage, all you need to do is wait for Android M and buy an SD Card Case.

48. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Im thinking that from LG my next upgrade will be Note 4.

47. techfanatic23

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

While the note 5 did lose expandable memory and removable battery I must say it's display is much better than the note 4 which I currently use. I checked out the note 5 demo in a Verizon store and did a side by side comparison. I had to order the 64gb note 5 because I know 32gb won't be enough. I just sold my wife's note 3 so now she's going to upgrade to my note 4.

46. cleatglitch

Posts: 170; Member since: May 25, 2013

i cant upgrade wit out a phone wit an edge...cant live witout

41. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I'm considering upgrading my OnePlus One to a Note 4, especially for the MicroSD Card expansion. Thought 64GB would be enough as it was more than enough when I was using Jailbroken iOS, boy was I wrong.

35. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Note 4 for me please :)

33. Andebad

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

My unrooted note 4 scores over 50k in antutu... Your review is showing 20% less

37. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

yes i have the exynos 7 (910c) and it has much higher performance than what they are showing to us which is misleading for the readers

39. jellmoo

Posts: 2687; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I get 48,000 + on mine. SD 805 version, rooted and running CM 12.1. 41k does seem oddly low...

42. cybertec69

Posts: 32; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

I got 51000 in my Note 4.

51. MrEelSauce

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

My snap805 note 4 got 44 on kitkat. 48 on lillipop

52. MrEelSauce

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Probably shouldn't walk through crowds and type next time.

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