Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review: It's Hot Hardware

Camera and Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 ships with a 16MP rear facing camera with auto-focus, optical image stabilization, and a built in LED flash, and a front facing 3.7MP camera for video-chat and 2-in-1 shot purposes. The main camera also features 4K30 / 1080p / 720p / VGA video recording capabilities and a multitude of different shooting modes.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Sample Photos
We found the Note 4’s camera to be pretty darn good. There is minimal shutter lag (the Note 4 is capable of multi-shot burst like many other recent smartphones) and the resolution is very high. We found most of the images to be slightly under-saturated, however. Overall focus in many lighting situations was also very good. In natural light or indoors, when the flash is not used, images look very good, but as you can see in the samples above, they aren’t too vibrant. When the flash is used though, especially with relatively close objects, things go in the other direction and the images can look a bit over-saturated. We’d speculate that Samsung tuned the cameras to produce images that look optimal on the Galaxy Note 4’s HD Super AMOLED screen, but once they’re shared from the phone, the slight deficiencies become evident. With that said, we’re nitpicking here. The Galaxy Note 4 has one of the best cameras we have used on a smartphone.

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The Galaxy Note 4's Camera Offers A Number Of Different Shooting Modes
The Galaxy Note 4’s camera isn’t just about higher-resolutions, however. Samsung also offers a number of features and capabilities carried over from the Galaxy S line. First, we should point out that the phone’s power button and volume rocker can be configured to act as shutter and zoom buttons, which can come in handy. Samsung has also incorporated a number of shooting modes, like Best face, Best photo, Panorama, and a few others that have been around for a while in one form or another on previous devices. Samsung also offers the ability to use the front and rear cameras simultaneously, which allows users to insert themselves into photos. The person taking the shot can be imprinted in a stamp or any one of a number of other styles, which can be moved around the screen, resized, etc.

We also captured some quick video with the Galaxy Note 4. As you can see, focus is pretty good, especially considering the number of moving subjects (and that they're behind glass and in water!), and color saturation appears to be decent as well, but you won't be replacing your HD camcorder with a smartphone just in our opinion.

HotHardware Battery Life Test
How Long Does It Last?

As is the case with any 4G smartphone with a large, high-res screen and quad-core SoC, battery life can sometimes be an issue. Samsung claims the Note 4’s 3220 mAh Lithium Ion battery can offer up to 20 hours of talk time and 82 hours of music playback. To take the Galaxy Note 4's battery to task, we used the controlled "worst case scenario" type battery test built into AnTuTu Tester.


According to this benchmark, the Note 4's battery life is among the best we've seen. It bested all of the other devices here, except for the large HTC One Max. In terms of real-world battery life, the Note 4 also impresses.  With moderate use, you could very likely get 2 full days of out this phone--and that without switching into the advanced battery saver mode that can stretch things out even further by disabling any non-critical functions and accessories on the phone.

We should also mention that the Galaxy Note 4's built-in fast charging capabilities also work very well.  You can charge the Note 4 to about 50% full in about a half an hour, so even if you find yourself in need of some additional juice, a quick trip to the electrical outlet will net a significant amount of charge.

Finally, we should also mention that this tool has been updated in the Google Play store.  If you're trying to compare your device to the Note 4 with the latest version of AnTuTu tester, the Galaxy Note 4 scores 6438.

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