At this point, the Galaxy Note line needs little introduction. After all, the Galaxy Note is Samsung’s biggest success in mobile. While Apple redefined the smartphone and tablet segment, Samsung defined the phablet segment. Despite widespread skepticism, the original Galaxy Note was a massive success. Combined with the Galaxy S2, 2011 was a watershed year for Samsung as they leapfrogged other Android OEMs. Since then, we’ve seen continuous improvement from year to year with each Galaxy Note. While there were competitors, Samsung managed to hold on to their first-mover advantage for multiple generations. However, with the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus we see one of the first significant threats to Samsung’s dominance of this segment.

The Galaxy Note 4 is Samsung’s latest iteration of the Galaxy Note phablet, and on the surface Samsung has put their best foot forward. With the highest bin of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 or Exynos 5433, the latest generation AMOLED display, a 16MP camera with OIS, and a new design, the Galaxy Note 4 encompasses some of the best hardware that Samsung can deliver. I won’t spend too much time here, but the spec sheet below should cover most of the key points.

  Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Samsung Galaxy Note 4
SoC 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805
RAM/NAND 3 GB LPDDR3, 32/64GB NAND + microSD 3GB LPDDR3, 32GB NAND + microSD
Display 5.7” 1080p Super AMOLED 5.7” 1440p Super AMOLED
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x25 IP block UE Category 4 LTE) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x35 UE Category 6 LTE)
Dimensions 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm, 168 grams 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm, 176 grams
Camera 13MP Rear Facing, 1/3.06" CMOS size (Sony IMX135), 2.1MP FFC 16MP Rear Facing w/ OIS, 1/2.6" CMOS size (Sony IMX240), F/2.0, 3.7MP FFC w/ F/1.9 aperture
Battery 3200 mAh, 3.8V, 12.1 Whr 3220 mAh, 3.85V, 12.397 Whr
OS Android 4.4.2 with TouchWiz UX Android 4.4.4 with TouchWiz UX
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0, USB3.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.1, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC
SIM Size MicroSIM MicroSIM

While all of these things are easily discovered, the most immediate impressions always come from the design of the phone. In this respect, Samsung has done a surprisingly good job. On the front of the phone, we see a relatively standard design for Samsung. This entails a pattern on underneath the glass, which appears to be a bit shimmery in nature, along with dark black pinstripes. This causes a noticeable pattern in the capacitive buttons when lit, as with the LED notification light. There’s the standard earpiece and Samsung logo on top of the display, and a home button on the bottom, which serves as a fingerprint scanner as well. This home button is noticeably clicky in nature, and feels much better than the Galaxy Note 3’s home button.

On the sides, we see a similar level of improvement. The volume rocker, which is on the left side, and power button, which is on the right side, feel fantastic in comparison to most phones, and is quite close to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in feel. Unlike most Galaxy smartphones, we see an aluminum frame that runs all along the side of the phone, which also has a chamfered edge to eliminate sharp edges. In this area, Samsung has made serious strides as the frame really helps to make for a better in-hand feel that far exceeds what we saw with the Galaxy Note 3 or even the Galaxy S5. Along the top of the frame are cutouts for the 3.5mm headphone jack and IR port which enables TV remote functionality. Along the bottom of the frame, we see the microUSB 2.0 port. While this is technically a regression from the microUSB 3.0 port in speed and power delivery, I suspect compatibility issues and the ungainly design of the microUSB 3.0 standard justified a move back, at least until USB Type-C is ready for shipping devices.

On the back of the phone, we see some more changes. Instead of the downward-firing speakers of the Galaxy Note 3, we see that the speaker has been moved to the back of the phone. The design of the back cover is more an evolution of the Note 3’s back cover than the Galaxy S5’s, which has a noticeable faux leather pattern although the feel is closer to soft touch plastic. There’s also no stitching to try and make it seem more like leather. Instead, at the edges it seems to meet with the metal frame. A similar level of fit and finish is seen around the LED flash module, which is now flush with the back cover instead of sunk into the phone as with the Galaxy S5.

Overall, the design of the Galaxy Note 4 is massively improved. While it isn’t quite as amazing as the rounded design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it’s one of the best designs I’ve seen for a phone with a removable back cover. The only complaint I have is that Samsung should use a flat black pattern under the glass to accentuate the high contrast of the AMOLED display, but this is quite minor in nature.

Software: TouchWiz UX
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  • KuyaMarkEduard - Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - link

    WOW! great decision Beck2050... hopefully I can also have my own Note 4 in the near future...
  • KuyaMarkEduard - Saturday, October 18, 2014 - link

    want to see the fairest and most unbiased review of both? go here:
  • KuyaMarkEduard - Saturday, October 18, 2014 - link

    Now, guess what, instead of making the truest, the fairest and the most unbiased reviews posible, you know what?, there webmaster is now getting busy of blocking my comments! Well if you do that, I shall keep on signing-up new account for each and every comment I'm going to post... Would you like that?
  • cj100570 - Monday, October 20, 2014 - link

    Wow! The comments on this are a hodgepodge of hillbilly hilarity and backwoods stupidity!
  • DIYEyal - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Great article, I found a typo:
    page 3:
    "transition to Snapdragon 801 and 805"
    Should have been "transition from 801 to 805"
  • Heartdisease - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    This is not a review. At least not an honest one. It is more a compare contrast the iPhone 6 + with a lot of facts omitted. Anandtech is becoming very very biased to the point I don't think I can trust the information here. The display is equal to the iPhone 6 + ??. Laughable. It has been measured to be the best mobile display ever made, setting new benchmarks in most categories.

    Yeah equal to the iPhone 6 + display sure.

    "the Galaxy Note 4 provides a very accurate calibration to the Adobe RGB standard, which is rarely available in consumers displays, and is very useful for high-end digital photography and other advanced imaging applications."
  • Donkey2008 - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    **Butt hurt Android fan alert**
  • Fidelator - Thursday, October 23, 2014 - link

    No video playback loop battery test? Hmm I wonder why you wouldn't show us a test where AMOLED would be the one to ace it... Much like LCDs ace the web browsing battery test due to the white backgrounds, that's a really important part of the review lost there, I'll just assume the note crushed most of the competition (6 Plus) in that test and you didn't want to show that.

    And this is coming from someone who usually buys phones with LCDs because of the burn in issues, the battery test was unfair
  • akdj - Saturday, December 6, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure of your reality, but I don't know a whole lot of folks enjoying 'video' all day on their phones. Tablets, sure if you're traveling, hanging out, or 'doing your own thing'. But most folks aren't gonna sit around for 20 hours watching movies
    Plentry of 'props' were given to AMOLED...& not just with the N4 review. Each iteration and improvement to AMOLED has been recognized.
    If all of you folks crying 'bias', and you've found sites that are correct with their measurements, why are you still here? It's ridiculous, this cult following of OEMs or a smartphone OS, it's laughable
    These tests are objective. They (each author doing mobile reviews) continue to prelude their measurements with their dissatisfaction with the testing protocols and options available --- but they're what's available TODAY to objectively measure performance
    A life spent cheerleading for an operating system on a mobile phone is a life wasted. Buy what works for you and get on with it. This 'comment' section is the funny place these days
    Apple's kicking ass right now for a reason. Samsung is building some incredible handsets, as are LG & HTC, Sony and Motorola. Competition is good for everyone and as an owner of a business, I use a Note 4 specifically for business
    I own an iPhone 6+ as my daily driver. Still have a Xoom and the original iPad too. If you don't 'get it' yet, you will. They're ALL incredible devices and a couple hundred points here or there when we're discussing measurements in the tens of thousands --- there's hardly a way to discern the way it's going to work for you, what you do and things you enjoy.
    If you're an idiot like me and can't decide, get both. Anyone in this comment section beating down the iPhone is wrong. Blaming the author as a biased Apple joker is pretty low, especially as extensive as this review is ...and the amount it cost YOU to read it!
    I love my Note 4, owned the first and the third as well. He's right. It's a Big leap forward in design. You guys making up the bullshit battery statistics crack me up too. MOST usage on a phone is done on white or a lightly colored display with dark text for contrast. Text. Call. Surf. Read, edit a photo, video, audio in a DAW...but if BOTH can run movies for ten hours plus, WHO CARES!
    No right minded person would spend that kinda time watching blockbusters on a 5.7" display. Games and emails, magazines and media, social networking and docs, spreadsheets or presentations ...NONE are tests AMOLED is going to 'ace'
  • leonhk1 - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    I have stock of Brand New Samsung GALAXY Note 4 for sale, sealed in box with warranty.
    Price: $500 per unit
    MOQ: 1 unit
    Bonus : Buy 2 get 1 free.
    Serious Buyers should contact for more details


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