Galaxy Note 4 review: Samsung’s true flagship

by: Joshua VergaraOctober 6, 2014

The Bottom Line

  • Exquisite, sleek design
  • Quad HD display with 2.5D glass
  • Sheer power with Snapdragon 805
  • S Pen further enhanced, more useful than ever
  • Multitasking more robust and much easier
  • Optical stabilization bolsters camera experience
  • Fast charging is always useful
  • Quad HD resolution still an untapped feature
  • No growth in battery life
  • The Briefing second screen app is still limited
  • Feature set may be daunting to the novice user
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is not only an improvement on the Note line, it just might be the best improvement we’ve seen in a smartphone, period.

When the Galaxy Note first burst onto the scene, smartphones with large displays were practically unheard of. Sure, there were a few fringe devices pushing the envelope before it, but those never came close to mainstream. Fast forward a few years, and – thanks to the success of the Note series – the big screen is now the current standard across all flagships. But while this has validated Samsung’s bet, it also means that the Note’s position is now threatened by numerous competitors.

Over the past couple of years, Samsung‘s release cycle has turned into a tale of two flagships, the Galaxy S line and the Galaxy Note line. The Galaxy S5 wasn’t the big upgrade that everyone was looking forward to, especially in terms of design, and that led to Samsung putting some real thought into the Note 4. With a changing climate in the Android world, we just might be looking at the definitive answer as to what is Samsung’s true flagship.

With this mind, let’s see how the new Note 4 compares to rivals from the Android world and beyond, as well as to Samsung’s own Galaxy S5. Here is our comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4!

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (10 of 20)

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the subtle glimmer that shines around its frame. Turn the device around, and you’ll find the familiar textured plastic Samsung first used in 2013. The Galaxy Note 3 was considered by many to be a step in the right direction in terms of design aesthetics. On the new Note, the aluminium frame provides a sleek addition to the returning faux leather backing, without the faux stitching all around the edges.

The Note 4 is basically flat all around, with just a bit of a rise around the top and bottom corners, making handling quite easy. These flat sides are chamfered, so they curve inward towards the panels, and the bare metal gives the device a discreet shine that contrasts with the matte finish of the sides.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (13 of 20)

Samsung’s well-known design motifs make a return, with the signature physical home button up front, now with an integrated finger scanner, flanked by the capacitive back and recent apps keys. As always, the S Pen is found nuzzled into the bottom right corner, the microUSB port (USB 2, not 3 like on the Note 3) is also found at the bottom, while the headphone jack is placed up top.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (15 of 20)

The faux leather cover provides the kind of texture that grips to the palm, making this a device that is very comfortable to hold. Below the camera, you will find the heart rate monitor, first introduced earlier this year with the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy Note 4 is the prettiest smartphone Samsung has ever made, and that’s not just considering the Galaxy Note line specifically. Even if the overall design hasn’t changed much, the subtle reflection of the slightly curved 2.5D glass and the metal frame give the Note 4 that premium look and feel we’ve been all been craving when it comes to Samsung flagships. Holding the phone really brings this point home, and it’s something that all Galaxy Note 4 owners will appreciate.

samsung galaxy note 4 ui aa 14

We’ve already mentioned the 2.5D cover glass above, but that’s only one of the enhancements to the display of the Galaxy Note 4. This cover glass reminds us a bit of the glass you’d find on high-end watches. It’s slightly thicker and raised up, but slopes downwards at the edges, adding some extra visual flair to the device.

The big upgrade is actually beneath the surface, with the Note 4 boasting a Quad HD resolution panel. Despite its large 5.7-inch size, the screen’s pixel density remains above 500 ppi, thanks to the high resolution, which means text and fine graphic details are completely fuzz-free. The high contrast and saturation of the Super AMOLED display bring the special experience that Samsung users have come to expect. Viewing angles are great, and colors are vibrant, making images almost pop out of the screen. If AMOLED is your thing, you will certainly enjoy anything and everything you do on this vivid display.

The need for the high resolution is still debatable, as there aren’t that many applications or media files that take advantage of it. That said, there isn’t a noticeably adverse affect on battery life, and while the higher pixel density isn’t obvious when compared to other high-end displays, most users will absolutely love this display.

samsung galaxy note 4 s pen aa (17 of 18)

Samsung flagships typically feature only the very best components, and that is certainly true in this case. The Galaxy Note 4 packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, clocked at 2.7 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The other version of the Galaxy Note 4 boasts an equally powerful octa-core Exynos processor, so you really can’t go wrong with either option.

samsung galaxy note 4 multitasking aa (7 of 12)

No matter how you look at it, this device oozes raw power, which is probably necessary, given Samsung’s penchant for over the top software experiences. That said, the TouchWiz interface on the Galaxy Note 4 is its most fluid iteration yet. There are moments of stutter or lag, but they are now rare and far between. Even with a lot of apps running simultaneously through multiple multitasking scenarios, or while playing processor-intensive games, there were very few issues worth mentioning.

This is definitely the best performing device Samsung has managed to put out, and while you may find smoother experiences out there, the difference will only be marginal.

In hardware, Samsung continues to push the envelope with the feature set it offers on their flagships. The signature S Pen has received some enhancements, but other additions have found their way to the Galaxy Note 4 as well.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (8 of 20)

The rear-mounted heart rate monitor first introduced on the Galaxy S5 is present on the Note 4 as well. Besides its obvious health monitoring purpose, the sensor can now be used as a shutter release for the front facing camera. Simply hold your finger over the sensor to take a selfie.

Also moving up from the Galaxy S5 is the fingerprint scanner that is integrated into the home button up front. The swipe-style scanner puts the device behind an extra layer of security, but thanks to integration with various apps, it can bring convenience to other areas of the user experience. For instance, using it with the LastPass password manager lets you authenticate to various websites with a swipe of your thumb.

Call quality was expectedly good, but not much can be said about the speaker setup at the bottom corner on the back of the device. Sound quality is just average, even if it does get decently loud.

Connectivity isn’t an issue, as even the European version we used for this review connected to T-Mobile’s LTE network without a problem. Storage shouldn’t cause any complaints either, thanks to the 32 GB of in-built storage, and the option to expand it by up to 128 GB via microSD card.

samsung galaxy note 4 battery sd card aa 4

The removable back cover gives you access to the replaceable 3,220 mAh battery. That’s not a big jump from the battery capacity of its predecessor, but even with the higher resolution display and upgraded processing package, I found battery life to be on par with previous Note generations. One day of heavy testing brought the battery capacity down to single digits in 14 hours, and moderate usage should allow for the battery to last a long time.

Of course, the Galaxy Note 4 also comes with some power saving features, such as Ultra Power Saving Mode, that should let you easily push the battery life to a day and a half, if not longer.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (3 of 20)

And while battery performance is more than satisfactory, the presence of fast charging will let even power users rest easy. Samsung claims that, using a 9V charger (instead of the standard 5V), you’d be able to charge the battery to 75% of it capacity in just 30 minutes. This isn’t entirely accurate, at least from my experience. But Samsung’s other claim — that you can fully charge the device in 100 minutes — turned out to be true.

While it means having a special charger on hand at all times, the ability to go from zero to work-ready in a short amount of time will undoubtedly be an indispensable tool for plenty of users.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (18 of 20)

The Note 4 features several microphones to help with voice recording, allowing you to cancel off sound coming from certain directions. It’s a nice feature, but ultimately not useful for anything but reference audio. Interviewers could take advantage of it the most, or students, in case they are allowed to record lectures to begin with.

And we finally make it to the marquee feature of the Galaxy Note series, the S Pen. It doesn’t carry with it many changes from the previous model, at least physically, but Samsung more than compensated with great enhancements to the user experience.

Higher sensitivity allows for finer stroke control in the S Note application. A new Smart Select feature lets you cut and save specific sections of your screen for easy access down the road. But perhaps the most useful addition is the ability to hold the button down and easily select text or other elements, just like you would with a PC mouse. By far, the S Pen as Mouse feature is the one I see people using the most on the Note 4. Lots of times, I found myself pulling out the stylus just for this purpose. You can find out more about the capabilities of the S Pen in the video above.

When it comes to the camera, the 16 MP rear shooter finally features the optical image stabilization we’ve been waiting for. A more open aperture should allow for better low light shots, and this is true for both the rear facing camera and the front-facing 3.7 megapixel shooter.

samsung galaxy note 4 first look aa (16 of 19)

Key modes return from previous iterations, like Live HDR and Selective Focus, with some new selfie-centric modes now available. The front camera’s wide selfie mode lets you stitch up 120-degree images so your friends can fit in, just like you would with a panorama image.

If you want to use the rear shooter for your selfies, a face detection mode helps achieve that, though focal width is definitely narrower. You also now have the option to use the heart rate monitor as a shutter button.

The quality of the 4K video capture is quite good, with a good amount of detail, but keep in mind that shooting in 4K will result in very large files.

Picture quality is quite good – images tend to be saturated, which makes for vivid, albeit slight inaccurate photos. Low light shots still suffer, as expected, but the optical image stabilization means the Note 4 yields better photos than any Samsung phone before it.

Shooting with the stock camera app is a pretty fast affair, but processing time tends to lengthen in low light or when using special modes.

samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (12 of 20)

TouchWiz returns on the Galaxy Note 4 with further enhancements for the S Pen, but also in the multitasking department. We already went through the S Pen updates above, but the S Note application has been given one very powerful addition, called Photo Note. For instance, Photo Note lets you snap the image of a whiteboard and do some edits to the captured text, like resizing and deleting. Unfortunately, you can’t convert images into editable text, which would’ve been an amazing feature.

Samsung’s feed aggregating app makes a return, though it’s now called Briefing. It’s still basically a big Flipboard widget, but its design is much easier on the eyes, and that actually makes scrolling through news feeds passable. Unfortunately, Briefing’s feed selection is still very curated, with no room to pick custom feeds. You can select from a limited amount of categories, but that’s about it.

samsung galaxy note 4 multitasking aa (8 of 12)

And finally we come to the multitasking capabilities, which have been heavily bolstered. Multiwindow has been put center stage, and it’s now easier to jump into, thanks to new quick access icons in the redesigned Recent Apps screen. Holding the back button still brings up the familiar list of compatible applications, which continues to grow, but tapping on any of these apps will bring up a floating window that brings another level of multitasking. From here, you can switch to a floating icon that can be put aside, enlarge the floating window to full screen, or drag it up or down to once again create the multiwindow combination.

The final, but flashiest new element is the ability to drag down from either top corner to enter multiwindow mode. When using a compatible application, it will shrink down to a floating window, after which you can perform any transition to multiwindow or floating icons.

This seamless movement from one multitasking method to another really shows the power of this version of Touchwiz. Even if you don’t really use multiwindow or floating apps, the ease of use just might convince you to try it more often.

samsung galaxy note 4 multitasking aa (4 of 12)

I’ve always said that Touchwiz, with its generally bloated elements (even after its recent aesthetic revamp), looks better on larger screens, and that’s still true here, especially with the higher resolution. It all seems to fit quite well, and, honestly, I haven’t wanted to install another launcher yet.

If there are a lot of features you have never used on previous Samsung phones, they will probably remain unused on the Galaxy Note 4. But Samsung’s effort to make multitasking and the S Pen even easier to use may just give them the longevity needed to survive the dreaded “Galaxy Syndrome.”

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be the premium offering across all carriers ($200-$299), and the off-contract price will be at least $700, which is no surprise for a high-end smartphone. Though the LG G3 and the Oppo Find 7 come to mind as competitors, thanks to their Quad HD displays, much of the talk will likely center on the iPhone 6 Plus as the main competitor. Stay tuned as we bring you full comparisons between all of these great smartphones.

editorschoice_four half stars

And so there you have it – a comprehensive look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 4! Updates to high profile flagships get a lot of buzz, but the incremental updates that we tend to get these days have somehow taken away from the excitement. In the case of the Galaxy Note 4, there are no giant leaps forward for the Note line, but the steps taken were the right ones.

Samsung has figured out design and crafted one of the most attractive phones I’ve seen. Quad HD was the expected step forward in display, but Samsung managed to keep battery life high, while adding fast charging to get you back to work quickly. Optical stabilization finally arrives and adds to Samsung’s already good camera quality. TouchWiz focuses once again on multitasking, providing seamless switching between multiple modes. And the S Pen remains unrivaled as the Note line’s marquee companion, further bolstered by capabilities that make a number of once menial tasks much easier.

The number of enhancements that are exciting and useful is longer here than in any past release, and that’s what makes the Note 4 such a great phone. In pretty much every respect, it has improved the experience for Note veterans and is an attractive starting point for anyone looking to move up to a large screen or stylus experience.

With the fourth generation in the series, Samsung has established the Note as its true flagship phone.

Now read: Best cases for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

  • Xavier_NYC

    Watched the review last night on Youtube.. Really great review.. Note 4 is def the best phone on the market right now..

  • Anonymousfella

    The best phone of 2014.

    • Mozaik

      Thats upcoming nexus 6 and sony Z3C my friend.

      • Pumpkin King

        In your predicates opinion.
        No one device can ever do everything the next and everyone has their preferences.

        But the Note 4 holds the overall largest set of advantages. And it’s the S5 LTE-A after that.

        Overall better displays, cameras, build materials, and features, as well as battery compared to most.
        The Z3 has better speakers, but not Headphone output. And the camera would only be possibly better in low light. More so compared to s5.
        And Sony does have better battery life right now. But not removable battery or ultra power saving mode.

        Nexus will have stock android appeal, but not overall best hardware or advantages.

        Those are the facts. What you prefer in the end is still your preference however

        • Mike_from_Saskatoon

          Z3 has excellent Headphone output according to reviews. And it does have ultra power saving mode (called Stamina Mode) which works very very well.
          The Z3 has a better camera than the Note 4.

          The Z3 has a better battery than the Note 4.

          The Z3 is water-resistant, unlike the Note 4.

          The Z3 has far less bloat than the Note 4.

          The Z3 is (subjectively) a better looking device than the Z4 (many reviewers have said this about the Xperia line)

          The Z3 can use the PS3 and PS4 controllers wirelessly without tinkering or hassle, unlike the Note 4.

          The Z3 can stream games from the PS4, unlike the Note 4.

          The Note 4 is an amazing device, and it would be on my shortlist (along with the Z3) if I was in the market right now. But it is not a slam-dunk case like you imply. They are both incredible.

          • Pumpkin King

            I never said that the Z3 didn’t have good Headphone output. It’s just not among the top.
            Stamina mode is not the same.
            The note 4 has the overall better Camera actually.
            They have some give an takes in photography. Where the note has more modes, can make more use of the full sensor, has ois, finally does good in low light, and takes definitely better video.
            Though Sony finally did do a better job with the software.

            Note 4 has world’s best mobile display.
            The note 4 is made out of more practical overall more durable materials.
            It has better Headphone output.
            It’s speaker is also louder though obvious not quite as deep as two.

            And actually battery life will probably vary between them and be a close call. The z3 only gets about 40 minutes longer in browser test. It has 5.2inch lcd 1080p.
            Note 4 has 5.7inch qhd Amoled. And Amoled uses more energy to show white… that’s impressive.

            Note 4 has a removable battery as well
            And ultra power saving mode.
            Plus it can charge to 50 or 75% in 30 minutes and full in 95 to 100 minutes.
            Where it takes the Z3 over 200 minutes.

            Note 4 has S805 at 2.7ghz vs S801 at 2.5Ghz.
            And it’s Exynos version is stronger than the S805 version.

            TouchWiz also offer many more features and options like Multi window too. And easy one handed mode.

            They are indeed both amazing. I never said other wise.

            The note is just overall better with some more objective advantages in most key aspects.
            It’s the overall most advanced there is right now.

      • namesib

        Lol, a stock device with relatively basic functionality and locked-down hardware doesn’t come close to the Note 4.

      • Rasmus Kristensen

        Honestly, they don’t even come close if they don’t multitask equally good or better. And if the nexus comes with the design I’ve seen, I wouldn’t get one regardless, but that’s just my preference in design.
        No other manufacturer has made anything close to the note3/4 yet, with regard to multitasking and the s-pen. This puts the note line aside from the regular big screen phones” like the z3 and nexus 6 which will just be an oversized phone.

        But that’s me. That’s my use. For someone out there, the 808 pureview is the perfect phone. For me, the note 4 comes closest so far.

        • Pumpkin King

          If Samsung would combine the Note with the Zoom and the Beam, and then use a larger sensor with larger pixels and bigger focal/aperture….it would be amazing.

          The 1020 definitely brought some nice improvements to the 808 like OIS.
          But decrease in pixels and sunlight legibility among some other things was not as nice.

          Hopefully they do bring a full fledged upgrade that meets and exceeds the 808 and 1020.

          • Seth Forbus

            I personally want the water resistant awesomeness of the S5. Before someone says a large phone like this can’t have it, See Sony Xperia Z Ultra. I have T-Mobile’s jump, so I think I’ll jump from my S5 to the Note 4. I will miss the water resistance my last 3 phones had though. (Xperia Z, Xperia Z ultra google play edition, Galaxy S5)

          • Pumpkin King

            I do too. I just think they maybe didn’t get water resistance up to their standards with the metal frame yet.
            I also am a fan of the back material on the S5. The soft touch indeed feels amazing in hand compared to others. No mess of fingerprints, great grip, better durability, and loads of comfort.

          • Mekhs

            I also love that stuff. Thanks a lot for your awesome review. I also love crictime. Thanks Team.

        • Mike_from_Saskatoon

          What’s the big deal about Samsung’s multi-tasking? My Sony has multi-tasking as well. All you have to do is hit the right button and it brings up any apps you have running. Then you just switch to whichever one you want, without having to shut down the current app. I can’t imagine that Sony is the only other one with that feature.
          I have an Xperia Z Ultra, and I don’t ever use it and think – man I wish I could look at two websites at the same time. The screen just isn’t big enough to want that for me. And that’s with a 6.44″ screen. With a much smaller 5.7″ screen I just can’t see the practical use for layering multiple apps open at the same time.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Thats fair enough.
            Myself, I like drag/drop between apps at certain times, I like windowed mode on certain things, like say a calculator as im browsing the web for the numbers going IN the calculator, I like being able to run a notepad alongside the browser as well in multiwindow. Just some small examples off the top of my head of things I enjoy with it.
            Like you, I never thought “i wish i could look at two websites at the same time”, so we are in alignment there. Its the useful things I use.
            How you use your phone is obviously a personal matter. I never used these things either until I could actually use them. I was fine with an S4 for a long time, it wasnt a BIG hassle to NOT have these features. Its just very nice to have them. For me. As said, it is very much a personal matter.

            I guess “the deal” about it is that its a better way to do it than switching full app to full app. But wether or not thats a big deal to you or not depends on the person.

          • Mike_from_Saskatoon

            That makes sense. I should add though, that Xperia already allows for the use of the calculator, timer, note-taker, audio recorder, and screen-cap apps onscreen while you use other apps. I’m not sure how that compares to the Note series though.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Ah that’s cool. I didn’t know that. How do they work in practice? Never used an Xperia device for long myself.

          • Mike_from_Saskatoon

            You just press the right button (the one that brings up the open apps), and that screen has a line of icons for each of the onscreen apps. You can move them around, resize them, close them, etc… from the app itself.

            I agree though, that is not always accurate to directly compare a Note 3/4 to a Z3 or Nexus 5. The Note series pushes multi-tasking and S-Pen usage so hard that it ends up creating a different category of device. For those who care about those features, there really isn’t anything else in that category. For those who don’t, those features are worth very little, and for some are actually drawbacks due to the added complexity and “bloat”.

            Myself, when I bought my Xperia Z Ultra it was a toss-up between it and the Note 3. I chose the Ultra only because a local retailer had a sale on it – I got it for $25 on-contract, while the Note 3 was $300.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Aye indeed, thats exactly what I think of the Note-line as well. Its not a big smartphone like a 6+ or a G3, its a sub-category type thing. Sure, its a great big smartphone, but personally its the features of it, including the spen, that for me theres no real competition out there. I wish there was, of course, as competition is always good for the consumer, but seems like noone else wants to make “that kind” of device.
            I thought Id just use the pen a bit and be done with it, when I got my note3. I went up from a S4 myself, and was super happy with the S4. But turns out I use it far more than anticipated, and I look forward to the improvements made in that regard with the Note4.

          • Ethan ‘blaze’ Parker

            You can use a physical pen on a Xperia Z2/3/3c/Ultra, heck I operate mine with the 3.5 mm earphones plug at times.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            You can do that on the note 4 as well. The difference is that the note 4 has an s-pen, not just something to replace your finger like on z2/3/3c/ultra. It does so much more, it’s not even comparable.

          • Ethan ‘blaze’ Parker

            Like what?

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Pardon the late reply.

            Like marking text far easier, to start with.
            Using smart select to throw together flight info from an email, hotel address and contact info from the browser, directions to the hotel and notable sights nearby in Maps, and the forecast for the duration of the trip, and emailing it as a pdf to the people traveling with me.
            Hovering over mouseover menus online.
            Getting previews of links received by hovering over the link.
            Taking notes (it’s actually great at that).
            Taking a photo of for instance a UI element in the new software for work and circling a specific area and making a note about it, if that makes sense =p .
            Drawing, obviously, if that’s your thing.

            Just off the top of my head.

          • Ethan ‘blaze’ Parker

            Agreed with all of the above, except for the pic to note feature. :p

            I’ve been doing that with Camscanner premium since a few months now.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Yeah I didn’t mean that, just making notes over a picture really. Obviously doable on an s2 as well, but the noting itself is just sweet on the Note =p

        • jamesinkorea

          Why the hell are you multitasking on a phone? Use a computer or a laptop to get real work done. This big screen phone should be for watching short video, quick web searches and making calls. The S-pen is OK, but it’s a bit of a gimmick.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Why? Because it’s great and effective. Why are you watching short video or Web searches on a phone, when you can use a computer or a laptop to get real video or Web searches.
            The only difference is our area of use.
            I like being able to float a calculator as I’m browsing the values that go in to the calculator. I like having a video up while taking notes. I like having the GPS on a popup if I’m going somewhere new. Just a few things off the top of my head, but you get it.
            I never missed it when I had my s4, but when it’s available I find myself using it quite a bit.
            I also watch shows and movies on my phone, when travelling.
            As said, it’s just about how you use the phone. Some don’t do what I do, and vice versa.
            Same with the spen. I use it more than I thought I would.

          • Mekhs

            Because I love it. Its more awesome than any other stuff even not star sports live.

          • Anshul

            S-pen is a gimmick!!! You fucking kidding mate, Its the best feature of the phone. I fucking love it, I dont look around for pen and piece of paper anymore… its great for scribbling down something, and you enjoy the precision.
            Htc got the boom speakers, Iphone got that fingerprint scanner, samsung got the s-pen… for me S-pen is the winner, and please dont tell me or others how to use their phones.

      • Clerigo

        The Best of 2014 is OnePlus One ;)

        • dkbnyc

          1+1. Sure it is. Keep telling yourself that. That’s just as funny as that dude up there thinking a Nexus could even come close to a Note. I have never experienced something so boring I just couldn’t use it any more. Thats Nexus.

          • Seth Forbus

            The nexus is a blank slate. Its setup to be customized. Tinkered with. Ect. It has an unlocked bootloader. You are SUPPOSED to mess with it. If you think a blank slate is boring, then you are boring, because you don’t know what to do with it.

          • dkbnyc

            Why would I pay for boring and have to fix it to get it the way I want it? I have a Nexus 7 2013 and after getting my Note 10.1 2014, I stay away from boring. Call me boring but I’m not spending countless hours loading custom roms and different mods to get it working they way I want it.

          • Seth Forbus

            The same reason that people buy project cars, or build their own computers or homes. Some people want a phone that can be everything they want it to be. Samsung doesn’t know /exactly/ what I want. Apple doesn’t know what I want. LG doesn’t know what I want. I know what I want. So I will take a phone that lets me modify it, and make it EXACTLY what I want. If you don’t want that, fine. But don’t know people who do.

          • dkbnyc

            I can understand that. I’ve been modding phones since the days XDA was a Windows Mobile only site. Let’s just say I’ve come to want something already 90% made to my standards out the box. I’ll add additional mods as I need but I don’t want to a project.

          • Mike_from_Saskatoon

            Sure there are people who want to tinker, or build project cars, etc… But there are also a lot of people who have no interest in doing that.
            Calling the Nexus a superior device is misleading. It is only a superior device for that very specific subset of users. As dkbnyc said, for the rest of society its “benefits” are unwanted and it’s lack of features are off-putting.

          • Seth Forbus

            People seem to forget that Google built the Nexus for developers. I never said it was the best phone, I just think its stupid when people hate on a phone because they don’t have the correct expectations of what it was built for.

          • Mike_from_Saskatoon

            That’s fair. You do run into a number of people who claim that Nexus are the best phones out there though, including a number on this thread.

            I personally think the Nexus is a great device, but only if you’re the right type of user. If you want your phone on-contract, there are better deals out there – but if you want it off-contract, it’s the best that I’m aware of for value.

            If you insist on vanilla Android, or rooting – it’s very good. If not, it is somewhat lacking in features.

          • Stephan Hall

            I agree. I’m a big time Nexus 5 fan. I love the phone and I wouldnt trade it for any phone …… but it is not for everyone!

          • Stephan Hall

            I can agree with you! I’m a big time Nexus person but it’s not for everyone! Instead of being a Nexus “fan boy” ….. I’ll leave it at that! :)

          • Stephan Hall

            Exactly! The reason I bought the N5, I was a long time Samsung person but since I have had the Nexus experience . . . . it’s been great. I don’t knock those who prefer something else but for me …..their is nothing like a Nexus! It’s the farthest thing from “boring”! I like my phone how I want it. The Nexus 5 has been the best phone experience for me by far! For me …. it is a “fun” phone to own. Love it! But … that’s me!

      • note4baby

        nexus 6 has an motorola camera. it’s been confirmed a couple times that it does, indeed, shoot poorly. and the z3 has camera struggles as well. you don’t get to be “best phone” with camera suck

    • Stephan Hall

      The Nexus 6 will make the Note a bad value. I predict that the new Nexus will out perform the Note 4 at $300 cheaper. Good luck sucker!

      • Anonymousfella

        Seen the nexus 6 price? Seen the reviews of the new note 4? Decide who willl end uo being the sucker…

  • Fabian Taveras

    I can’t wait to get my hands on the note 4! Its going to be awesome

    • charlitos

      Watch out, the back of that phone looks made of your crocodile skin.

      • Fabian Taveras

        Haha that would be interesting

  • Anonymousfella

    Apple fan site review: “Too large for one handed use. Doesn’t bend over for the user’s comfort. 5/10”

    • a+

      Joshua owns a OnePlus phone.
      Why don’t you shut up?

      • Anonymousfella

        Do you understand what the term “humor” means?

        • Andrew T Roach

          No and either do you folks.

    • Mozaik

      And it lags also ;)

    • charlitos

      Apple fan site review: “Looks like shit, event the crappiest HTC looks better than this thing”. I hope they fixed the gap tho.


        The gap is there for a very specific reason unless you want you phone to get a smashed display from heating and cooling

        • Andrew T Roach

          You really buy that BS?

          Countless devices have all-metal sides and back, with a glass front: And they never shatter from heating or cooling.

          If gaps are necessary: The design was poorly planned to begin with. Or it’s a QA issue.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            Its an irrelevant issue altogether, as its present on previous models, and absolutely 0 big problems arose from it in those models. So why would this suddenly be a problem?

          • Discuss

            Hey, look whos the idiot now after 2 months with the Note 4. What gap issues you idiot. Go suck stevejobs dick more lol

    • Android Developer
  • dodz

    Im torn to buy this right now, I heard rumors about the new z ultra coming this feb or march that has an sd 810, and I know if I buy this, 5 months later, a new killer is gonna arrive. and I dont want to burn a hole in my pocket. damn. this is why we cant have nice things.

    • Xavier_NYC

      You’re always gonna hear rumors about something better because technology changes at the drop of a hat.. By the time you wait for the Z ultra you’ll hear rumors of another device with better specs coming out shortly..

      • dodz

        exactly what I was thinking. Its like u want that premium latest device, but there is always that eerie feeling of a new more powerful one will come out. and if u buy this, few months later, samsung’s gonna have another version of the note 4 with an SD 810 slapped into it.

        • RodG

          Same here. Don’t know whether I should get this or the z3x when/if it comes out. That Samoled sure looks good though..

        • Xavier_NYC

          Yeah I could def see that happening lol but I’m just gonna get this or the Nexus 6 depending on how big it is.. If they come out with something better and it’s worth the money to upgrade then I will if not then I’ll just stick with what I have

  • vahdyx

    Is it me or does that video of the Rock look like it’s choppy?

    • Guest

      Yes. He said it was streaming through the app on 4g and he didn’t have a great connection.

  • Marty

    I was at BB yesterday with friends and handling the Note 4. This isn’t my first time handling one. I handle the Note 4 every time I go to BB, but this is the first time I seriously considered pre-ordering one. I ran into a problem, though. My BB had both the white and black ones and the white one made it easier to see the gap between the glass and frame of the display. Ordinarily such a gap wouldn’t be a problem. However, this particular white unit showed a gap on the right side and none on the left side. It showed that the glass was off center. Such a thing would bother my OCD…lol

    The black one didn’t show the gap.

    • dodz

      why is this gap even an issue?
      do you remember how cheap and crappy the Galaxy S lineup? I mean if u twist them, you could hear them creak. but no one seems to make a big deal about it. Its good to know that this is the most sturdy and solidly built galaxy phone ever built (note 4), just 1 small imperfection and it gets magnified to such large proportions.

      • Andrew T Roach

        You don’t expect perfection from something that costs near $1000 dollars?

        If you’re okay with getting a defective unit (and large gap IS a defect, despite what Samsung says), than the brand has done a hell of a job brainwashing you.

        • SaRPeR

          What about iPhone 6 and 6+ ? They bend and that IS a defect too but still iSheeps go and buy iCraps.

          • Marty

            So if I buy an iPhone 6 that isn’t bent and is flawless in every way, it’s still imperfect? However, if I buy a Note 4 that comes out of the box with an off-center gap, that’s okay?

            Just because the iPhone 6 can bend doesn’t mean the user will bend it. But the Note 4, the user is screwed right out of the box with the gap because there isn’t anything he/she can do about that.

          • Rasmus Kristensen

            That depends on whether or not that will be any sort of problem. History tells us that it probably won’t, as the same thing has been present in other models and we’ve not had issues with it.
            So while you will get a product with a gap you may fit a postit note in, it won’t be a problem, whereas the 6+ might be a problem. It’s basically a nonissue if this device holds up to the same standard as the other devices with the same gap.

    • lalala

      the gap is probably the same for both phones. its just that white makes the gap more obvious?

      • Marty

        Exactly. The black one, I could probably live with since I wouldn’t be easily able to discern any off-centeredness.

  • Lup Alexandru

    I admit that the multitasking is easier, but this phone is still an ugly Samsung phone without any innovation in it

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      I disagree. There’s a lot of innovation in it. Mostly multitasking though, as you say. As for looks, I disagree. I can’t find a single phone on the market that looks better or equally good, except the Alpha and 930. But that’s individual of course.

      • charlitos

        Lets just say that you have a pretty horrible taste. That phone screams imperfection and sloppiness from left to right. From the massive protruding camera, to the lumpy headphone jack to the leather back to the poor finishes in the plastic cover that makes it look porous and cheap. A 5 year old can do a better job that Samsung when it comes to smartphone design. I’m a sucker for iPhones but when it comes to Android, HTC & Motorola are doing a much better job in the design department than this PoS from Samsung.

        • Roberto

          You`re the man, keep comming.
          Samsung 4eva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Jerry Rich

          I’d say you’re the one with horrible taste if you like to suck on your apple phone. Luckily aluminum doesn’t rust. Do you think the apple 6+ with it’s protruding camera and huge bezels is a better looking phone than the Note 4? If you do, you might be a closet Samsung fan because the iphone 6+ is a clone of the Samsung Note 2. The only difference between the 6+ and the Note 2 is the latter doesn’t bend.

          • charlitos

            If the iPhone 6+ camera ring barely sticking out by 2 millimetres is a protruding camera then the Galaxy Note 4 has an irreversible tumour. But hey, why are you attacking Apple? Does that turn you on or something? I said that if I had to pick Android, Motorola & HTC have much better designs yet you take it on Apple? So not only you failed to question Apple’s build quality but you also failed to make a case as to why Samsung’s designs are better than Apple’s, HTC’s and Motorola’s. All I read was “I hate you! I love Samsung, Apple sucks, go away!”

          • Jerry Rich

            I certainly don’t hate you, who could hate a guy who named himself after a breakfast cereal. And I don’t have anything against apple except that they make crappy phones. Do you really want me to bring up apple’s “build quality”? You must be having an emotional time with this whole #Bendgate thing. Remember aluminum vs plastic ends up badly for aluminum.

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          Let’s just say you have horrible taste. Oh what constructive debate.
          The iPhone 6 looks like someone shat a HTC through an apple store, any metal back unibody designs feel just a lack of premium and too tryhard. The thick bezels of a lot of them make me cringe.
          See how subjective design is? Irrelevant to argue about.

        • Mike_T

          You’re in a tiny minority then. The Note 4 is a sexy phone. The HTC and iPhone have ridiculously large top and bottom bezels that make the phones *much* larger than they should be for a phone with that respective screen size. The round edges make them impossible to grip without a case. Protruding camera, hello Apple?! The Motorola is a good looking design, but the screen is horribly calibrated and they can’t make a decent camera. Plus, all three of those have fixed batteries that degrade over time. Note 4 is the best out there right now, it offers the best screen (no LCD can match the contrast of AMOLED), best resolution with no little to no loss to battery life, perfect calibration to sRGB, 16mp shooter with OIS, stylus that none other have, replaceable battery, SD slot, metal frame and quality design. Calling it a POS just shows your blind ignorance.

      • Lup Alexandru

        I like the 930 too, but i hate Samsung’s faux leather back, but you’r right, that’s individual :)

  • altimi

    Lol @ 4:25 screen on time…..Nexus 5 says hi ;-)

    • SirMakoto

      +1, rather disappointed with that screen-on time, but if Josh was playing at least an hour of games-then that’s different. hope it’ll get better after a few charge cycles.

    • southerndinner

      Nexus battery isn’t good

  • beatles

    #androidauthority is no android authority but just a bunch of fanboys

    • Will Ś.


    • then GTFO to

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      And analcumkittens arent actual kittens, but a website called middleagedwomenwithdespairandcokeintheireyes isnt as catchy. Point?

  • JAG

    Josh. You say in the review that the fast charge was claimed to be 75% in 30 minutes but Samsung claimed 50% in 30 minutes not 75%.

    • Joasgi

      From Samsung’s website:

      “Thanks to charging speed improvement, waiting times
      of Galaxy Note 4 have decreased significantly.
      Go from zero to 50% in around 30 minutes – usually a
      55-minute process. All you have to do is plug in and get
      dressed after taking a relaxing shower. If you’re running
      out of your time, use Ultra Power Saving mode.”

    • Pumpkin King

      It uses fast charge 2.0. Which supposedly allows up to 75% in 30 minutes. Now Samsung has said 50%. So maybe it depends on the charger you use. I’ve been wondering myself.

  • Discuss

    Galaxy Note. Androids True Flagship

  • Frank

    What is the tower defense game that’s featured in the video?

    • Gamer

      I want to know that too

      • shahin

        same here …

      • shahin

        just found it …its Anomaly Defenders

  • Clerigo

    Bigger and heavier than Note3(?) and with a screen that pushes down the performance and drains the battery? No thanks!
    I will keep my OnePlus One (the best phone of 2014)

    • Jerry Rich

      Do you still have the yellow streak on your display? Or those multii-touch issues? I thought you had given up on waiting for their tech support department to return your calls.

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      Not bigger, but those 8 extra grams should give you some trouble. I’m getting a wheelbarrow or a slave to lug my note4 around. Cause holy hell, those 8 grams.
      As for battery, it apparently doesn’t go down from the note3. So that’s a wash.

    • southerndinner

      Never Settle™

      Except for a yellow tinted screen, sexist marketing campaigns, defect denial customer service, unstable software, broken multi touch and an inexcusably poor supply chain.

  • Leif Michael Tesorio

    at least, they have never lied on using cheap metal.. hehehe. just to raise some fight…

  • Kasi Viswanathan

    good review as well as rating

  • lily911

    Omg i got her before Richard yarell could announce his man child boner for samsung hahah. Surprised the troll hasnt crawled from his swamp yet. That being said the Note 4 looks like it reset the bar to a new high. Just hate when people ruin samsung fans rep by calling all other manufacturers crap.

    • Andrew T Roach

      His Samsung check must not have come in the mail yet.

    • Anonymousfella

      Note 4 is the Gold Standard in technology. I will buy this new Note when it releases. Basement dwellers chose the Nexus. Nothing beats Samsung!
      *This comment thread was missing him. So I decided to do his impression*

      • lily911

        Lol haha you forgot pimp slapped and inception of android. haha what a character

  • Greg

    Great review, Joshua. Thanks!

  • charlitos

    Unfortunately the iPhone 6+ beat it in performance with half the RAM and a quarter of the Megahertz.

    • Jerry Rich

      no it didn’t.

      • Andrew T Roach

        yes it did. I can refute with no evidence too.

        Thumbs up.

        • Jerry Rich

          I think you and charlitos are the same person.

          • Andrew T Roach

            Since your comments are retarded as hell, I’m not surprised about your confusion.

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      Depends which test.

      • charlitos

        Overall performance- opening apps, playing video games, switching from one an app to the next. You know the things we regularly do with our phones. It got owned.

        • Jerry Rich

          Gee, I’d like to read this review, could you post a link?

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          Yeah? I usually multitask my apps, play videos, watch YouTube, text, etc.
          I thought the note4 did good in some things and worse in some things, but I haven’t looked much into benchmarks.
          Thing about benchmarks I guess is that there’s a certain threshold which when passed is fine. Personally I care about how the phone does for my use. If it feels unacceptably slow or not. If it does, I’m right with you. But of its theoretically slower than another phone, and that other phone can’t do what the note4 can, I wouldn’t switch.
          But I’ll have to wait and see how it does first.

    • Tom Rich

      I see that all your comments that you are an iSheep. Not an apple fan. Apple fans do tell the truth and agree when there are better options but isheeps will say that iphone is the best and comment lies on other phones. Get out you piglet.

  • Siyam Hossain

    Samsung will be laggy forever. If they want to change it, they need to stop using touchwiz and make a fluid ui like htc or sony.

    • Jerry Rich

      Why don’t you write Samsung a letter and explain your solution to them?

      • Siyam Hossain

        They will not listen to me

        • tom


        • Jerry Rich

          How do you know they won’t listen if you don’t try?

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      I don’t find my note3 large, myself. Running TW at base with a different launcher.

    • southerndinner

      I have a Note 4. It’s more fluid than any OEM you mentioned.

  • Abd
  • V-Phuc

    3 things that come to my mind. First, great phone overall (will read the review more thoroughly later). Second, Apple iPhone6Plus, a direct serious competitor? You’re kidding, right? Not light years close! I’m not a fanboy by any stretch of imagination, but I’d rather spend my hard-earned money on something that is worthwhile, and iPhone6Plus is just NOT one of them. Finally, why keep changing the charging USB port? Why just not keep it uniform with the one on Note 3?

    • Xavier_NYC

      It’s the closest competitor sales wise. Think about it, there’s only one (in this case two) phones that run IOS vs Android that’s on millions of different phones so people who are loyal to IOS but want a bigger device will automatically get the 6+. Spec wise it’s not even close but the average consumer (that’s not tech savvy) wouldn’t care about that. I think they changed the Charging port because 1) Not a lot of people took advantage of it 2) probably harder to carve out in the metal frame and would make it more susceptible to breaking.

      • V-Phuc

        Good point about the charging port though I’d think it’s very feasible. Just hate to flip-flop. About the iPhone6, you’re right about loyal customer. However, think of it for a second: you’re loyal to them, but do they really care? In the end, it’s your money. Spend it where it’s most worthwhile. Specs wise, it’s not even close, but then price-wise, it’s very close. Let’s just say, if you want to spend $500K on a sport car, you might as well spend it on a Lamborghini, Ferrari, or a bona fide sport car, not on a wannabe, or pretender such as …(put in the brand of your choice), correct? Don’t we work too hard for our money to waste it on something just because we want to be “loyal”?

        • Xavier_NYC

          Oh I completely agree. I’m not buying any iPhones lol I’ve given up on Apple. I owned every iPhone up to the 5 and then got the HTC m7 and LG G2 so I’ve been android for about 2 years now and I don’t miss Apple at all. I’m debating on the Note 4 or Nexus 6 as my next phone (I’m a phone whore).

  • C,mon what abt z3?

    • southerndinner

      Their piddly market share means fewer page clicks

  • Joshua Swedberg

    The claim for fast charge was 50% in 30 mins, not 75%……

  • Mali

    I played with a love demo unit at best buy.. And compared it to my note III… I really do love the premium metal feel along the sides.. Sadly I will be using a cover case which will hide and cover up that.. But I was overly impressed with 4.4.4 Android. Also samsung going back to the universal 2.0 USB charger.. Was a good idea.. I just hope the cord is more sturdy.. Because my note III one is fraying at the ends.. Also I hope the length of the cord is still as long.. Because it’s that first phones length that was long enough to reach from the end of my bed to me when I was laying down. I’m excited to get kine on the 17th…i really pray that it just magically shows up a few days early

  • Jerry Rich

    Finally we can all agree, Apple fans included, that Samsung has finally attained perfection. The best smartphone manufactured to date.

    • Andrew T Roach


      We who?

      We sheep?

      Think for yourself. Speak for yourself.

      • Jerry Rich

        we troll, get it dummy?

    • Fievel

      Is TouchWiz present? Yes? It is? Then you’re wrong.

      • southerndinner

        Nexus basement dweller spotted

        • Stephan Hall

          Your jealous! Self denial!

      • Rasmus Kristensen

        You’d rather see a note without any multitasking, spen features, etc? You’d love that note 4 just a bit more? I don’t get the TW hate. Sure, it made sense with the s3. But on a n3/n4 it just seems like people are crying about TW out of sheer habit.
        I’m running a TW room on my n3 with a launcher replacement and other changes (wanam xposed etc) and I don’t live in a slow moving syrupy experience. It’s fast and does quite well.
        So… For me, you’re “wrong”.

        • k4ever

          I agree. As someone who came from a “pure Android” phone and uses “pure Android” on my tablet, TW is not bad. The hate for TW is outdated and overblown. TW hate seems to be a reflex reaction for Android purists and a catch phrase for iOS users who never used a Samsung product before, but need something to say.

          After using my wife’s Galaxy S4, I found myself drawn to some of the features of TW. I even tried to add some of those features (and failed miserably) to my tablet. I wish Google would at least add mutli-windows support and a font manager to stock Android. TW on my Note 3 has so many features that I like that I’m afraid of losing them by flashing a custom ROM.

          TW is not bad. It is pushing Android to its limits on functionality. Android purist who reflexively spew hate towards it have their heads stuck in the sand and iOS users who do the same don’t really know any better.

          • Pumpkin King

            Exactly. And even going back a couple years yes TW had a few more issues…but so did every other Android and iPhone.

          • Discuss

            NEXUS = IOS of Android for the simpleton

      • dkbnyc

        I love people who have never used TouchWiz for more than a second to moan and complain about it. Touchwiz or not. The Note line is still miles ahead of ANYTHING else on the market.

        • Fievel

          “I love people who have never used TouchWiz for more than a second to moan and complain about it.”
          Me too. After owning a S3 and hating it (but appreciating the hardware) and then being bamboozled into getting the S4 (TouchWiz is SO much better!!!….. and the hardware actually was, thankfully), I will stand by my assertion that TW sucks.

      • Pumpkin King

        TouchWiz is what sets the Note apart.
        And those that claim it sucks are just online haters.

      • Seth Forbus

        Touchwiz has gotten way better than it used to be. The only issue with it is a few bloatware apps which can easily be removed with root access. ALmost every Galaxy gets a root toolkit from XDA that will root the phone in a few clicks. It seriously takes a computer/android savy person like 20 minutes to get rid of bloatware.

    • Mike_from_Saskatoon

      Trolling? There exists no such consensus, because people want different things.

      Many people hate Samsung devices for their bloat.

      Many people have zero interest in a tiny stick that they’re supposed to use for their phone.

      Many people want water-resistant phones.

      Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note devices are great, but they’re nowhere near perfection, and certainly not the best smartphone for every user.

  • AcemanX AcemanX

    Pwnage! Phone of 2014 goes to Note 4

  • [S]unjay

    “Con: Large size still not for everyone”

    This is not a con, the phone is intentionally large so that it can appeal to the market for large phones. This is it’s selling point, the reason for it’s existence.

    • Mrdioji

      The intent of “The Bottom Line” is to give brief points for someone whom may just want to take in the review at-a-glance. This may be a Con for some people, so it is listed. If someone were to get overly excited about the other features, then later found out how big it was, they may be disappointed. So it is a potential Con – though it is a Pro for me.

      • [S]unjay

        That is true but it’s just that the size is subjective and not a “true” disadvantage.

        • Mrdioji

          I agree. The “too many features” is also subjective. I like the options.

          • [S]unjay

            That too, many people say that every OEM should use stock Android but that would be a nightmare. We need OEM skins to make phones unique because they all have their own features and a distinct user experience. It won’t a Note without the features. The Note’s features is it’s selling point.

        • Walt Lonsdale

          They could have just as easily put it as a pro.

    • Captain Obvious

      Completely agree!! That is like reviewing an SUV and saying “Con:Large size still not for everyone”

      • [S]unjay

        That’s a good analogy.

      • Xavier_NYC

        great analogy

      • Andrew T Roach

        Compact spaces need not apply.

    • Angel Nieves

      I agree with you. That shouldn’t be a Con about the Note 4. It’s purposely marketed as a large phone and comes with it’s uses. Good comparison with an SUV. You can’t say it’s bad or a con to buy an SUV/truck just because not everybody can drive them or likes big vehicles. Those that are shopping for a phone should have an idea if they want a big or a smaller phone.

    • Adon

      Its like say a Rolls Royce is to BIG,its a Rolls Royce gosh. Personally i like Samsung could have easy given the a bigger screen,given the Note 4 still has a fair amount of Bezel. Then Again a compact (Not tiny)Note 4 would be killer with the S-pen and all,thats what the Alpha SHOULD (YES SHOULD) have been or something along that lol.

    • Mike_from_Saskatoon

      It’s a silly idea that the size of the phone should be a “con”. Some people want a large phone, others a medium, others a small. Unless you’re willing to call every phone’s size a con, it doesn’t make sense to call any of them.

  • Andrew T Roach

    Hardware fragmentation at its finest:

    Exynos: 64bit capable
    Snapdragon: 32bit capable.

    One of these versions gets 64bit Android L with ARMv8 instructions and gets 20-30% performance from JUST SOFTWARE ENHANCEMENT. One doesn’t, and will never be able to use the best performing version of Android after its FIRST UPDATE.

  • AbbyZFresh

    The s pen, latest specs, and multi-window feature is why the Note 4 will always stay king of phablets.

  • Kyle North

    Beautiful phone. Its definitely better looking than the iphone 6. Finally samsung is catching up with looks not just specs. Wish I would have held off buying my galaxy s5.

  • jeff k

    1. first super amoled screen [first ANY KIND OF SCREEN] to have accurate color gamut, accurate grayscale, and accurate white point. plus, of course, infinite contrast ratio.

    2. get $200 for your trade-in provided it’s really worth at least $10. see samsunggalaxypromotions dot com slash note4.

  • Tony T

    I have a question about this phone that I haven’t seen anyone answer clearly yet.

    I want to ask: when installing the google now launcher on this phone (or the Note 3) does the S-Pen and multi window still work?

    I need a phablet and its this or the iPhone 6 plus (or Nexus 6). I despise touchwiz. Its bloated and looks awful. I’ve been using a Nexus 4 with a google Now launcher and it works great. Easy and clean.

    • Jack Holt

      I know multi-window on the S5 works with other launchers, I don’t see that being an issue on the Note 4 with that being built into the core part of the touchwiz experience.

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      It’s not a problem.. As long as you don’t flash another rom you keep spen, multiwindow etc.

    • Joshua Vergara

      all the features will work. I tried it on my s4 I9505.

  • Jack Holt

    Making the jump from the S5 to this just for the S-Pen and fast charging alone. The review makes me want one now where as I could patiently wait before.

  • Will Ś.

    Its been years but nothing really comes close to the Galaxy Note line, they are clearly the best phablets out there. Having said that, the only thing I’m disappointed is by the lack of water resistance…

    • Its pretty plain and simple, nothing beats Galaxy Note 4, period.

      • woogybunny

        Does anyone mind that the original app options soft button at the bottom has now been reconfigured as the application switcher?

        • Now in kitkat all apps will have the menu/options button on screen itself. And if you are too concerned, long pressing the app switcher button will act as a menu button.

        • Pumpkin King

          As stated the long press still brings the menu. Otherwise it would bother me

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          You probably will be able to change this around with a wanam xposed type deal after people get to tweak a little with the phone on XDA. And launch any app in windowed mode and multiwindow, just like the Note3.
          Im not too concerned at all about that, myself. As people have said, longpress gives menu anyways. Until you can switch it to press=menu, longpress=recentapps.

    • Pumpkin King

      For me it’s lack of water resistance “maybe they haven’t perfected or with metal frames yet”, only increasing the battery by 20MAH, and the back track to USB2.0.


    What is the name of the game he plays???

  • Josh Thompson

    “Quad HD resolution still an untapped feature” WHAT?? Not to mention, the other cons you listed are not cons at all.

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      What do you mean “what”?

      • DT

        Let’s be clear, Samsung is the clear leader and innovator in this space. After the Palm Pilot died the industry ran away from the stylus like the plague. ANY, and this especially means CrApple, company that comes into this space is a bandwagoner and playing catch up.

        With that said, from multi-tasking, to the battery life, expandable memory, removeable battery, the screen and the the gradual improvements being made in the design quality there is no “rival” or runner up to this phone. Period. This phone has perfected what the competitors are trying to begin.

        I will hold out for the edge, but if the 4 had front facing speaker’s (the only thing keeping this from being a perfect 10) I would get this instead.

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          My point was merely that there clearly isn’t enough qhd content to not be called untapped at this time.
          I’m getting the note 4. Because of everything you mention above here, and more.

        • Pumpkin King

          Right. Samsung had great stereo speakers with the Omnias.

    • Anonymousfella

      He means not tapped yet by other apps manufacturers. Although most cons like large screen, big feature set seem kinda irrelevant to me.

    • Pumpkin King

      Yes. I agree. Some of the things listed as cons are not fair to list as cons. Nobody complained about 1080p or 720p being cons….as far as mature reviews.

  • Paul

    The notes screen is larger than the bendable iphone 6 plus, but the note is smaller in height. Makes an iphone look more suitable for the kiddies…

  • Alienjazz

    Speaker is enemic, tinny and vibrates. I can tell they used the same speaker as the S5. My note 2 had great sound. Always has to be something to ruin an awesome all in one package.

  • Jerry Rich

    Here’s the deal, Samsung just released the Note 4 phone. All the isheep that bought the apple iphone 6 realize that the 2012 version of the Note 2 they just purchased sucks. So the only thing left for them to do besides trying to straighten the bend on their new phone is to leave nasty comments on various sites. It’s something we as Android users have to deal with.

    • BullIsland

      Not just that, my closest relatives, sister and four kids, all Isheep, when I show up with my S4, they all start bleating “Apple is better” without the foggiest idea what they are talking about (other than the Apple store is a fun place to visit).

      This summer, my sister’s iphone was absent, and so I loaned her my S4 for a needed call. Forgetting the Iphone cult, she exclaimed “Oh this screen is so much better then my Iphone” (she like i are north of 50 and big screens are easy on the eyes) . . her daughter starting bleating “No, Iphone is better” . . .

      That just about sums it up . .

  • renaldo friloux

    Apple take note this is how you make a big screen phone

  • Rick_Deckard

    I am getting the Note 4… But I can only buy at full price… The question is At&T or Global Version??

  • Rick_Deckard

    Getting it for sure…. But I can buy it only at full price… Which version am I going to buy? The Note 4 AT&T comes with the Snapdragon 805 with all the huge AT&T bloatware that you can’t uninstall… The Global version comes with the Exynos 5433, which is having better perfomance…

    • Jerry Rich

      Global version if it has all the AT&T LTE bands.

      • Rick_Deckard

        True… I will double check the LTE bands of the Global version with ATT…

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Damn! This is good. Shitty sam not so shitty anymore

  • Anonymous

    It’s 0 to 50% in 30 minutes not 75%

  • JustinFlowers

    Am I just crazy or do these pictures look pretty pixelated and very noisy? I feel like my M8 takes better quality pictures than this…can someone please speak to this? Was planning on trading up for this even though I hate TouchWiz.

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      You can change the TW parts you hate either by new rom or just launcher and wanam xposed. If it’s the looks you hate, that is. Which I assume, because there’s nothing else to really hate on with TW on a device like the note4.
      As for your camera questions, I have no idea.

      • JustinFlowers

        Thanks. I had thought about that but thought it might incapacitate the spen features. Not sure I hate it that much. Also, not sure what wanam xposed is so will be looking into that too. Thanks!

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          Nah a launcher won’t interfere with the basic functionality at all. I run Nova on my note3. Look into wanam xposed etc, it let’s you modify SO much functionality and looks. So much.

      • jamesinkorea

        I dont want to root my phone and launchers just add more software to the phone – slowing the phone down even further.. There’s absolutely no way to get rid of Touchwiz without rooting.

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          Nope, it’s a ROM so… No you can’t. I’ve not felt a launcher make my phone slower myself, though.

  • PDAJah

    Not all smartphones are for everyone and the Note series is not for the novice and cannot be simply be compared to other high resolution high end devices. The S Pen is unique and no other device has this capability. This is therefore a strength and weakness as the digitiser cannot be cheap. The Note 4 will never be a main stream mass market device like the S5 or the Sony Z3.

    • aafasd

      except that the note is more mainstream than any smartphone released by sony

  • Johan Fourie

    Great review, but the cons you have listed just seems like nitpicking to me.

  • The Samsung Smart phone is Awesome and is very savvy style. Infotechline reviews it for best smart phone

  • Angel Nieves

    I am looking forward to getting this phone. I am switching from the Galaxy S4 to the Note 4. I was thinking of waiting for the Note Edge, because of the display but since it’s a limited supply phone, I don’t know how much follow-up Samsung is going to give when it comes to updates. This will be my first Note series phone. I love all the different things this phone can do. It’s not just about making a bigger screen phone like Apple did, but something that you can get more accomplished, specially for professionals/students. You can do so much more that you can’t do with any other phone. That’s what sets the Note 4 apart.

  • tony solinan

    I am in total agreement that this is the best note from Samsung,and if I do go for this size of phone, it will be this or the G3 from LG, I am looking at all the best 5″+ phones that will be on the market in the next month or two before I make my choice!

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      Enjoy your comparison! What are your main selling points? Just out of curiousity.

  • thepowerof

    Impressive stuff.

  • POY

    I have my Note 3 with the zerolemon 10,000mah battery. I wonder if they’ll make it 11000mah for this phone.

    Not really much of a reason to upgrade from a note 3, but maybe a note 1 or an S4…

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      Depends on your use. For me, it’s a definite upgrade. Mostly due to sw (pen and multitasking), but also the screen and design changes.

  • Oscar Cavail

    I hate the idea of buying the same model of smartphone twice in a row but I feel like I will be upgrading from Note3 to Note 4. I wanted a stock Nexus experience but I will have nothing to do with Motorola ever again. I like the build quality of the HTC but a non-replaceable battery is a deal breaker, once you enjoy the pure bliss of a quick battery change you can never go back to making due with one internal battery. I love the quick charging of the Oppo 7 but it also doesn’t have a quick change battery. The OnePlus One has bezels that are too big and the software still needs much refinement. The LG G3 comes closest with a replaceable battery and a 5.5″ display but its not AMOLED and the back button is on the far left with no way to move these capacitive buttons around. The iPhone 6 Plus s a downgrade for the money, even the wall charger is a downgrade over the USB 3.0 that comes with the Note3.
    Right now the Note 4 is the undisputed king of hardware, features, battery convenience and longevity with the best display. No other phone at any size does as much as the Note 4. I just wish they did away with the physical home button like Nexus and LG which would allow for either a bigger screen or a smaller housing. And the pen as a kick stand too.

  • k4ever

    Josh, thanks for the review! I just pre-ordered mine today.

  • sdzn

    Isn’t the Note 4’s quick charging 50% in 30 minutes?

  • honu

    Great review. Thanks for the way you highlighted the features and your good use of descriptive language.

  • Kai Boogie

    over the Z3… nah… I’ll go with the sony for the win for 2014

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      To each their own, of course. If you merely want a bigger screen device and not the multitasking/spen features, and dont care about the screen quality improvement the Note4 has over the Z3 (both excellent screens of course), the Z3 is a solid choice.
      I might have considered the Nexus6 or the Z3 myself if the Note4 didnt live up to expectations. But thats me, my design preferences and my use. Highly personal choices.
      So, I get that for you the Z3 might be the device that hits you right where it fits. Much like for some the 6+ is just right for today.

  • Guest

    Lol. Saw this at Best Buy

  • markeb

    sadly my note 3 contract has some time to run but love this phone ,time contract out will be looking at note 5 cant wait ;-)

  • Hieu

    Hey Josh, great review on the note 4! By the way, where did you get that drink with the teddy bear design on the froth? Please let me know! And thank you!

  • Adon

    So far so good the Note 4 is almost perfect,and the Note 3 is STILL great too (still one of the best phones). Right now, the Note 4 is at the top of my list. only con is the pennies $$$$$,its cost abit,will wait abit.

  • Lace

    An error with the review I noticed is the charging rate Samsung claimed. In their press release it’s 0-50% in 30 minutes, not 0-75%

  • WPhotography

    iPhone 5/5S inspired chamfers…sigh…

    • Rasmus Kristensen

      why sigh?

      • WPhotography

        I wonder if any phones before the iPhone had chamfers. Just so if anyone accuses Samsung of copying Apple I point out that other phones had chamfers as well.

        • Rasmus Kristensen

          Obviously Samsung has copied apple, just like everyone copies everyone in this business.
          Personally I don’t care if the original chamfered edges were found on Jesus, I just know I like them on the note 4.

  • ack

    Note 4 looks very nice! Apple can keep their bendy phone and child-safe wall o’ icons.

  • carlos

    note edge is still for me but if unabailable then note 4

  • The Doctor

    I was contemplating getting this phone, then Sony announced the Xperia Z3v. I want my phones waterproof and dustproof because I work outside and the Note 4 isn’t an outside phone when it’s raining/snowing/blowing dust, etc.

  • jamesinkorea

    It’s still looks like a cheap plastic piece of crap. Currently, I’m a Note 3 owner. For as expensive as the Note series is, you’d think they could hire some decent designers. Also, I want at least a 6 inch screen. I’m passing on the Note 4 and will probably buy the Nexus 6.

  • Andrew Tan

    Anyone know anyway to contact Samsung Korea Headquarter.

    I want to complain! How could Samsung Malaysia did a silent (without publishing out but silently send to selected ex customer email) unfair invitation event for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 this coming 15/Oct at The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur time 7PM to 9PM, you get free Gear S on that day.


  • silentpinoy

    I am a bit hesitant to pre-order the N4 because of the current benchmarks that were revealed by macdaily news, regarding poor graphics performance etc. Before I go on, I am not trying to cause a BS debate, I am merely wanting some clarification etc. Here is the link.

    Can someone/anyone private message me or reply in regards to the evidence so far?

    • Alex

      The note 4 by no means has poor graphics performance, having read that article I would say its slightly misleading. The IPhone 6 does better that the note 4 partially because it has to push a lower res display. The fact the note 4 can push all those pixels and not lag is testament to how powerful it is. If you had the iPhone 6 GPU push a screen of QHD resolution the benchmark scores would probably drop dramatically (I don’t know that for sure though) in real world performace the note 4 should prove than adequate.

      • silentpinoy

        Alex, thank you for the reply. I was trying to piece it all together, graphics, GUP, RAM etc. Unfortunately I am not as versed as some other in terms of these technicalities, but I can hold on my own to a general degree. I was HIGHLY considering the LG G3, but having had the Note 2 for over two years and my spouse having had her Note 3 for a year now, we, as regular consumers, have had no major issues. No, we don’t hack the phones or do crazy things to our devices The only thing I do agree with, is the bloatware. If anyone else would like to comment, please do so.

  • Torrez Toro

    I just got a message from T-Mobile telling me my pre-order note 4 has shipped with tracking number!

  • Rick_Deckard

    This is the best review of the NOTE 4 so far! Getiing the Note 4 international version! This could be the best cellphone of the year!

  • shamatuu

    You didn’t talk about the gap gate? Because of that not getting it.

  • ive82

    Can’t wait to see what Galaxy s6 brings

  • latido44

    you only got 4 hours screen time on? that very bad battery life compare to gsmarena/phone arena test. Could you check it again. Thanks you

  • NTD

    I enjoyed the review. Those touting other devices should note:
    1. As far as I can perceive customer satisfaction, the note users are at the top. Better than iPhone, certainly *far* higher than the S4 (S5 is better, but not at the Note’s level), Sony or my beloved circa 2013 MotoX
    2. There are real preference variations. I thought the MotoX was perfect in size a year ago and now am looking for a larger phone. The year before that I had a smaller smartphone where I thought “one inch bigger would be perfect” and yet it wasn’t. There is a rule with technology that the most intense users are unsatisfied. The Note caters to intense users. My smartphone usage went up dramatically with a 1.5″ screen size increase.
    3. Durability. (e.g., drop tests). I wonder how the Note 4 will do?
    4. Pocketability. I’m not a small person. But “thick” items in my pocket annoy me (so no otterboxes need apply). How is the Note4’s pocketability? I love Android smartphones due to the HUGE range of features they brought that I always have with me. The day I buy too big of a phone is the day it is left in the car. That means no phone, no camera, and no handheld computer.

    I personally think the Note4 will do outstandingly well.
    But it isn’t enough of a computer to push me to make the transition. The Qualcom chips aren’t quite fast enough nor is the A15 (sorry, but who really uses more than 2 cores?). I’m waiting for Intel, nVidia, the A57 (on a smaller process), or a new core to take smartphones to that next step. It isn’t that I do not think the Note4 isn’t the best large phone out there (even versus the iPhone 6+), it is that for me to devote that much ‘pocket real estate’ to a device would require it be far more than today’s small tablets. That takes CPU power. CPU power *almost* there in mobile form. 16nm should get us there… We’ve just been stuck on 28nm too long…

    Until then, I will watch the ‘gymnastics moms’ buy their Notes (I’ve stopped seeing iphones among the parent who go activity to activity with their kids).


  • Abd

    Obviously your battery testing is quite flawed. Note 4 battery is quite better than Note 3.

    Gsmarena battery test (hrs)
    Note 4 = 87
    Note 3 = 75

    Phonearena battery test (hrs:min)
    Note 4 = 8:43 (Excellent)
    Note 3 = 6:8 (Good)

  • brittany

    I just got the Note 4 on Friday and I love it…except that I can’t turn off the voice in the calculator app. I can’t figure out how to turn off the sound for just the calculator. Help please!

  • MrGalaxy

    Just picked one of these up last week and the battery life on this thing is abysmal. With average use, I’ve had to charge this thing twice a day. It’s just… Awful. No wonder they’ve been making such a big deal about the speed charging, trust me you’ll need it! Samsung acknowledges the problem, but no fix so far. Yikes!

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Cool story.
      But you must post it all over the net.
      Thumbs up.

  • Lilith_Black

    The note 4 have a fabulous display (Basic mode will greatly tone down the colour saturation to something easy on the eyes, though I would recommend the photo one for the whiter whites), the battery life is great and Touchwiz is finally lag-free (as it should be on cutting edge processor). My only gripe would be the KNOX e-fuse (preventing me from rooting and enjoying xposed, greenify and titanium). Colour scheme wise, I would prefer the colour scheme adopted by LG G3 in the notification panel. The menu bar used in stock email needs further refinement. (It is still a bit awkward). I love the s-pen functions which have been improved on from the already great Note 3, and handwriting feels and looks more realistic. I love the new look of the phone too!

    Sony Xperia Z3 has a stock android look and with minimal bloat, it is has a fluid UI. It also looks and feels much more pleasant with its rounded edges compared to Z2, and the camera is one of the best. The 1080p display has really good viewing angles and remained competitive. The Z3 also manages to have a longer battery life (I am excluding ultra power saving mode), however, this should not be a high concern as both can easily last through a day of rather intensive usage.

    I have a gripe with both phones though: I can’t root the phone without losing some functionality and permanent void of warranty (no way to completely restore to original condition T.T) much less get custom roms!

  • Lilith_Black

    They should use this design on S6!
    The pleather looks so much better than the plaster design!

    I wish Samsung could expand the Note line to tablets the size of an iPad Mini/Nvidia Shield: the multi-tasking and notetaking features etc would be so much more useful!

    Currently, the closest would be the Note 10.1: however, the s-pen isn’t as good as Note 4…

  • The-Sailor-Man

    “I found battery life to be on par with previous Note generations.”
    So I should come to AA to hear that.
    All other tech sites (most of them honest iLovers) state that Note 4 have better battery life than Note 3.
    I’m confused. Who to believe?

  • Christian

    For the persons saying the speakers sound tinny.
    I can confirm that when I played with it at the store I had the volume halfway in a crowded place and I didn’t want to increase it any more than it was.
    They’re loud, for being on the back of the phone, they’re pretty damn loud. I hesitated on buying this phone for skipping the stereo speakers but neh, good enough.
    Can also confirm that the build of the phone feels premium and steardy. Felt great in the hand.
    Phones I’ve had: Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, Htc One X, Htc m8 and Nexus 4.
    Hated TW back in the days and hated the build quality of Samsung.
    But, truth is that they did pretty damn well..
    I myself am going for the Note 4.
    Thanks for the review!

  • Martin Jakobsen

    I love My Note 4. The one and only. I Was looking at IPhone 6+ but Note 4 was the winner. I have ben through note 2-3 and now 4. No regrets.

  • Jayesh Soni

    i want it…. and m gonna win it in Choose your own android giveaway…!! Thanks AA..!!!