Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4
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.
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.