The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has just been officially announced at the IFA 2014 conference, and we've got more than enough material to make a first comparison with its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 3. Lets see if Samsung has provided us with a simple upgrade, or a new phablet worthy of the "best phablet in the world" title.
Design and build quality
The Galaxy Note 4 doesn't differ from its predecessor too much in terms of design. When viewed from the front, it's mostly the same as the Note 3 (albeit a little less rounded), but on the reverse things have changed more noticeably, with the Note 4 sporting a textured, faux-leather back panel. Samsung has often been criticized for the plastic feel of its flagship phones, so this time the Note 4 is supported by a metal frame, following a similar design aesthetic to the Galaxy Alpha. Because of this, the Note 4 feels a little sweeter in the hand, despite it being a little larger than the Note 3.
|Galaxy Note 4||Galaxy Note 3|
|Display||5.7-inch (2560x1440), 515ppi||5.7-inch (1920x1080), 386ppi|
|OS||Android 4.4.4||Android 4.3 (updated to 4.4.2)|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (N910S), Exynos 5433 (N910C)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (N9005), Exynos 5 Octa (N9000)|
|Internal Memory||32 GB + microSD||32 / 64 GB + microSD|
|Camera||16 MP (rear), 3.7 (front) with autofocus, image stabilization and dual-LED flash||13 MP (rear), 2MP (front)|
|Extra||Fingerprint scanner, heart rate-monitor, stylus||Stylus|
|Dimensions / Weight||153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm / 176g||151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm / 168g|
|Price||TBA||Currently 599 USD for 32 GB variant|
The Note 4, like its predecessor, is a technical powerhouse and arrives with a next generation processor and upgraded QHD display. Both the front and rear cameras offer more mega-pixels for your buck this time around too, but to what extent these improvements affect the overall experience is yet to be tested. An aspect of the Note 4 which has been noticeably optimized, however, is the pen input, which not only includes new S-Pen modes but also superior input-detection and handling.
Finally, it should be mentioned that Samsung has optimized its much-criticized fingerprint scanner for the Note 4. On the surface this only looks like a slightly larger home button, but in our test it was clear that it had been developed for improved usability.
The Galaxy Note 4 technically doesn't make any big leaps, but it improves upon most of what consumers have asked for: upgraded hardware, better S-Pen functionality and premium feel. It's certainly a contender for the number one spot in our best Android smartphones of 2014 list, but we'll have to wait until its release to find out.
What do you think? Will the Note 4 live up to expectations?