Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review: It's Hot Hardware
Inspecting The Galaxy Note 4
As discussed, the Galaxy Note 4 sports a 5.7" screen with a better-then-HD 1440p (2560x1440) resolution, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC running at a swift 2.7GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 16MP rear camera, and a number of other additional sensors and features that allow for some interesting capabilities.
According to Samsung, though the Note 4 is a bit taller and heavier, it is more ridged and stronger than the Note 3, due to tweaks in materials and design. The Note 4 finally does away with the plastic ring, that surrounded previous Note devices, in favor of metal. The added rigidity and better materials definitely feels good in the hand—to me the Note 4 is Samsung’s best feeling premium device yet. Torqueing / twisting the Note 4 doesn’t result in any squeaks or creaks, and for giggles we even tried to bend it, to no avail. Though, admittedly, we didn’t go nuts trying to break the thing.
In addition to better build quality overall, the phone’s 1440p Super AMOLED 5.7” screen looks great. Couple those densely packed pixels and high resolution with excellent brightness and vivid colors and the Note 4’s screen is sure to impress. When placed side by side against a Note 3, the superior clarity and brightness of the Note 4’s screen was obvious and it appeared to display white backgrounds more accurately too. There were no “off color” whites and overall, things just plain looked great. The Note 4’s screen is clearly one of its standout features.
One area where the Note 4 takes a step backward versus the Note 3 is in terms of USB connectivity. The Note 3 could connect via USB 3.0, whereas the Note 4 goes back to USB 2.0. While this means transfer speeds from the phone to a PC will be slower, it doesn't mean much in terms of charging speed. Samsung implemented a fast charging circuit and different battery in the Note 4 that charges more rapidly than previous models (more on this later).
The Galaxy Note 3 is nice and thin at .33", and like the Note 3, it has a metallic band that runs along its edge. This time though, that metallic band is actually metal. Button placement and configuration is the same as the Note 3 as well, though the tolerances are noticeably tighter on the Note 4. This is a premium device through and through. The buttons at the bottom of the Note 4’s screen, however, are different than the Note 3. The home button is the same. As is the capacitive back button (the one on the right). The settings button on the Note 3 has been replaced by a recent apps button on the Note 4. One of the complaints with the Note 3 when multi-tasking was that users had to hold the Home button to see the app list, which took a few seconds each time. Now you can instantaneous jump to the apps list on the Note 4.
The Galaxy Note 4 is going to be offered in black or white initially, and like other members of Galaxy family, it has a removable back cover so users can access the battery, SIM slot, and micro-SD expansion slot. The finish on the back cover is now textured to feel like leather, though it is still made of a flexible composite material. We should point out that under that cover lies a beefy 3220mAh battery, which offers surprisingly good battery life, despite the phone’s high-end specs.
The 16mp rear facing camera, which compliments the front-facing 3.7mp camera, is also a nice upgrade over previous models. And just below the rear camera is a heart-rate monitor, which compliments the many Samsung S-Health apps. We should also mention the S-Pen. With the Note 4, the S-Pen now slides back into the device more easily, though it feels very similar to the Note 3’s pen.