|Style & Handling|
|+ Metal frame||- Still not fully metal|
|+ Super powerful||- Very similar to Galaxy Note 3|
|+ QHD display||- TouchWiz isn't great.|
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is premium in every sense of the word, from specs, to design to price tag. Few phones are this expensive, but for phablet fans it’s worth every penny.
Creating a phone that’s substantially different and better year after year must be a hard task and arguably Samsung hasn’t been entirely successful with the Galaxy Note 4, but while it’s rather similar to the Note 3 it’s still probably the best phablet that money can buy. Read on to find out why.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is one of currently very few handsets in the world with a QHD screen. In fact in the UK its only real competition is the LG G3 and the Note 4 has it beat. Its 5.7 inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display has a pixel density of 515 pixels per inch, so it’s big and sharp just as you’d expect from a QHD phablet, but it’s also every bit as bright and vibrant as other Super AMOLED screens.
With most content you won’t notice a drastic difference between this and the already impressive 1080p display on the Note 3, but the difference is still noticeable and it’s enough to make this one of the best smartphone displays on the planet.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is at once quite similar and quite different to the Galaxy Note 3. At first glance they appear almost identical and at 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm and 176g its dimensions and weight are almost the same too, but on closer inspection you’ll realise that while the Note 3 has a plastic frame the Note 4’s is metal.
That makes a huge difference and instantly makes the Galaxy Note 4 feel more like a phone that’s worth the enormous £629 it costs SIM free.
The only real disappointment in the design is that it still has a leather-effect back like the Galaxy Note 3. It looks fairly convincing, even more so than it did on last year’s model, but it doesn’t feel like real leather and it detracts from the overall look and feel of the handset. Next year we really hope Samsung either uses real leather or ditches the idea altogether and switches it for a metal or glass back.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 isn’t dust or water resistant, this isn’t a huge deal but it’s a feature that we’re increasingly seeing on phones, including some of Samsung’s, so it’s a shame the Note 4 isn’t one of them.
Power is one area where the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 doesn’t disappoint at all. It has a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM, which make it tremendously powerful.
Even under the weight of the still-rather-bloated TouchWiz interface it performs without a hitch and with 4G support you can enjoy blazing fast internet speeds too. It also has a download booster, allowing you to combine a Wi-Fi and 4G connection for even faster downloads.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, so it’s better equipped than most camera phones to counter motion blur and camera shake.
It’s an impressive camera all round, performing well in both bright and low light and is one of the best cameras we’ve seen on a smartphone.
It can also record video in 2160p at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps, so you can make your HD movie ideas a reality. The front-facing camera is 3.7 megapixels, which isn’t the highest megapixel count around but it’s above average for a front-facing snapper and good enough to take a quality selfie. Plus it doesn’t even leave you to fiddle with the screen, as you can use the heart rate monitor on the back as a selfie-taking shutter button.
The main feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is its S Pen Stylus, an addition which helps it stand out from other phablets like the iPhone 6 Plus.
This has always been a part of the Note range, making the phone a viable tool to sketch and write by hand on, but now it’s better than ever as Samsung has made it far more sensitive, so that it feels more like you’re using a pen on paper.
This in turn translates to more accurate inputs and makes it a more pleasant experience to use. Samsung’s also added an extra feature to the S Pen, making it easy to highlight, copy and paste chunks of text with it, which can really come in handy.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 also has a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. The latter is by the camera lens and works well if you just want a general idea, but isn’t accurate enough for medical readings. The fingerprint scanner meanwhile is slightly less impressive, often failing to read your print correctly, but it works most of the time and when it does it’s a whole lot faster than typing in a password.
Samsung’s also added a UV sensor to the mix. It’s a bit of an odd addition but as UV can be hard to get a read on in day to day life it could certainly prove useful.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a 3,220 mAh battery, which easily pushes it through a day of moderate use and can often stretch part way in to a second day, though you’re unlikely to get a full two days out of it unless you use the phone quite sparingly.
When you do come to charge it the Note 4 also supports fast charging, so you don’t have to wait hours to refuel it.
There’s 32GB of built in storage along with support for a microSD card of up to 128GB, giving it a total maximum storage of 160GB if you invest in a pricey card.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and infrared, so it’s one of the best equipped smartphones around.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a beast of a phone, combining some of the best smartphone specs around with a stunning QHD screen and a design and build that’s far higher end than last year’s model.
That alone would be enough to make it notable, but it also has an improved camera with optical image stabilisation, impressive battery life, a stylus that’s gone from novelty to genuinely useful and a bunch of extra features, such as a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor.
It’s not perfect as the build could be even more premium and as much as TouchWiz has improved over the years it’s still one of the more intrusive Android overlays, plus at £629 SIM free the Note 4 is tremendously expensive and in day to day use it’s not markedly better than the Note 3, but such is the problem with trying to improve on an already brilliant handset and with all the improvements that have been made it’s undeniably worth the money.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 SpecificationDimensions : 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm Weight: 176 grams Screen size: 5.7” Super AMOLED (1440 x 2560) Screen Resolution: 1440 x 2560 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 515 Processor: 2.7GHz Quad core application processor RAM: 3GB On-board Memory: 32GB (microSD card support) Camera: 16MP (rear) (3.7 megapixel front-facing) Operating system: Android 4.4.4 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes Battery capacity: 3,220mAh Colours: Frosted white, Charcoal black, Bronze Gold, Blossom Pink Launch Date: October 17th Price: £629