Earlier this month, we began receiving tips that Samsung was working on a new variant of the Galaxy Note 4 (check out our review here) with the internal designation SM-N916S. The device showed up in Geekbench sporting an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and the Android 5.0 “Lollipop” operating system.
Samsung made the news official today with the announcement of the Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A. Interestingly, Samsung isn’t playing up the processing performance or 64-bit capabilities of the Snapdragon 810, which features big.LITTLE architecture with four Cortex-A53 cores (1.55GHz) and four Cortex-A57 cores (1.96GHz). Instead, the company is touting the onboard LTE-Advanced modem.
Samsung says that the Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A is the world’s first smartphone to support tri-band carrier aggregation. Instead of combining two different frequency bands into a single high-speed connection like the standard Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A can combine up to three frequency bands. The original Galaxy Note 4’s LTE modem supports speeds of up to 150 Mbps. The Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A, however, supports LTE Category 6 speed (300 Mbps), which will allow you to download a 700MB video in just 19 seconds or 40MB worth of music, files in just one second.
The smartphone also supports LTE Category 9, which delivers data speeds of up to 450 Mbps. Unfortunately, wireless networks around the world aren’t capable of supporting 450 Mbps connections at this point, but Samsung says that support should come by the end of 2015.
“The LTE-A Tri-Band CA smartphone is a meaningful advancement in mobile and telecommunications technologies, and demonstrates Samsung’s long-term commitment to providing innovation within the telecommunications industry,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Communications Division. “We continue to set new challenges for the industry and push boundaries to take mobile technology to the next level and deliver the best possible customer experience.”
According to SamMobile, the Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A will launch in South Korea by mid-January. But the smartphone is likely not to make it outside of its home market, so U.S. customers will likely have to wait until the Galaxy Note 5 arrives to get a Samsung phablet with a Cat6/Cat9 LTE-A modem onboard.