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Opinion 651 Shares 22 comments

Why you should buy a Galaxy Note 4 instead of a Note 5

I recently wrote about the best reasons to buy a Galaxy Note 5. But I have to admit that it's a pretty marginal upgrade to the Note 4 and in some ways a regression, as you would have read in our Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 comparison. In many respects, now is a great time buy a Galaxy Note 4. Here's why.

For starters, the Galaxy Note 5 falls quite nicely into that 'incremental upgrade' category that Samsung seems to have been tagged with ever since the Galaxy S4. Sure, the Note 5 has a faster processor and more RAM, but its specs sheet seems a little too similar to the Galaxy S6 – a six-month old phone – for most people's tastes. So you're not missing out on too much specs-wise.

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The Galaxy Note 5 (left) shares design and specs with the Galaxy S6 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

Then there's the lack of a curved display. I've already written about my disappointment that we won't see a Galaxy Note 5 Edge, but its absence on the Note 5 is doubly disappointing. Not only does it mean the Note 5 has none of the nice Edge software features, it also means we probably won't see a Galaxy Note Edge 2 either. So the Note 5 doesn't have that going for it either.

Then there's the design. I really liked the Note 4 design, but sadly it looks like it was a one-off, at least for a Note. The Galaxy S6 looks a little too iPhoney for me, and with its new iOS-like icons, the Note 5 seems to have headed down that path too.

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The app icons on the Note 5 looks a little bit like iOS icons. / © ANDROIDPIT

On the software side, if you're worried that the Note 4 won't getting the new Air Command options, such as customizable shortcuts, there's actually no reason to believe they won't be delivered to the Note 4 via a software update.

The new S Pen on the Note 5 feels a lot like the old one on the Note 4 too. Unless you really want that funky ejector mechanism or slightly slimmer bezels, there simply isn't that much that feels new on the Note 5. In fact, the Note 4 has features many people wish the Note 5 has, most importantly, the microSD expansion and removable battery.

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The Note 4 is the last Note to feature microSD expansion and a removable battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

In short, if you're not sold on QHD displays, like the option of a spare battery, keep all your music or photos on an SD card or don't particularly love the new Note 5 design, then the Note 4 is a great option. It will likely get the same software as the Note 5 via an update, and the difference in specs isn't really all that great; the Note 5 is basically just a Galaxy S6 with an S Pen, so the usual year's worth of spec improvements has shrunk to five months: the duration between the launch of the Note 4 and the S6.

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Based on price, I think the Note 4 is the better buy right now. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy Note 4 will also receive a hefty price cut now that its successor is out. So there really is no better time than now to buy one. You'll get a great device that looks good and has two of the best Samsung features that are missing from the Note 5, and the price is about to be very nice indeed.

What do you think of the Note 5? Are you more impressed by the Note 4?

Readers' favorite comments

  • Mike Aug 15, 2015

    I already have the Note 4 and it is the best phone I've ever owned. No reason to upgrade, I'll just wait until the next one comes along. Hopefully, they'll put the removable battery and SD card back in the next version. If not, maybe I'll look elsewhere.

  • Alvin Williamson Aug 15, 2015

    My thoughts exactly.


Write new comment:
  • Jshaw5 Aug 22, 2015 Link to comment

    90% of the Android users I talked to agree w/u. Not happy w/ Samsung's move to attract iPhone users on the Note 5. I will be upgrading to the Note 4. JS.

  • guys, don't buy note 5, samsung choose to abandon their loyal poweruser fans, and now we should teach them a lesson by not buying it. so they can say hello to iphone fans jumping to samsung because of the "beauty...(yuck...)", and say goodbye to most faithfull android superuser (smart people who understand technology should help them be more productive and flexible). i myself using s5 and note4, and i don't see any reasons to buy samsung anymore. might as well jump ship to lg or sony who really hear their fans want.

  • BruinGuy Aug 17, 2015 Link to comment

    I have a Note 4 and just ordered the Note 5. Why? The lag on the Note 4 is killing me. Sometimes it takes up to 30 seconds to respond. I've done several factory resets and it's always fine for a week or so but then the lag returns.

    • Meaning there's something wrong with your note4, perhaps too much apps running simmultaneously and they eat the ram so u get the lag.

      I personally use s5, and it's smooth as butter (i've rooted it as well), because i can manage the running apps and not forget to close them. reason why iphone isnt lagging is because they don't use multiple thread running multiple apps at once (multitasking) like android, so lag is very less in iphones.

      s5 is the greatest phone i've had, i can take it to take a picture of me swimming underwater.

  • I am using the note 5 now. Stupid phone .all the features which made me switch to samsung have all been taken away. I have decided to abandon the samsung and go back to the note 4. Once it dies i will give up on android and return to apple.

  • Galaxy Note Edge is still the way to go.

  • OTACORB Aug 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I agree the Note 5 is a step back, it's not bad looking though. Nonetheless, I am looking to get away from Samsung after having Note 3 and now 4. The lag, slow camera, stuttering Bluetooth have finally done me in. I find I have to clear my cache and partition cache pretty often or this thing slows to a crawl. It's not surprising that they keep adding more and more memory with faster processor because that is what it take to run the combination Android and TouchWiz. I would like to think there is a better Android experience but this time around I am going iPhone 6s. Say what you want but it does not suffer from the crap I deal with on the Note 4. I should not have to do the things I do to keep this Note 4 running smooth. So Google this time around can kiss my glass. LOL Oh, I know some are going to say I never have those issues, well all one has to do is look at many forums and all these issues are reported over and over. I am not a huge fan of Apple by any means, but it looks like I am heading that way.

    • While many will argue and tell you your choice is wrong, consider the plus sized version of your new potential i-device. the screen size will be similar to what'd you're used to and the battery life, camera, keyboard is much better.
      I have a Note 4 and the 6+ and switch between them from time to time. The 6+ sips battery compared to the Note after 5.0.1... waiting for 5.1.1

    • I have the Galaxy Note 4 now and it will be my last Samsung phone. I in the same situation as you. I was told the combination of the new TouchWiz and software for the Galaxy Note 5 use 2GB of ram.

      • According to a post found on Chinese social media site Weibo, the LG G4 Pro will feature a 5.8-inch screen with a 1440 x 2560 resolution. Driving the handset is the Snapdragon 820 SoC. 4GB of RAM is inside along with 32GB/64GB of internal storage. A 27MP camera adorns the back of the phablet and an 8MP snapper can be found in front, ready to snap selfies. An all-metal body is confirmed.

        So the big question that you have to ask yourself is whether you want to settle for the LG G4 now, or hold out until October for a more spectacularly spec'd LG G4 Pro. You do have to keep in mind that these specs are not official and you should take this story with a grain of salt. Still, if the LG G4 doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, it wouldn't hurt for you to wait to see if the LG G4 Pro does become reality.
        (source: phonearena LG-G4-Pro-specs)

      • The Lg PRO Will Not Have 820, So Keep Dreaming.

  • I have been a fan of Samsung phones and tablets. My wife and I each currently own a Note 4. I like the stylus, the extended memory and the removable battery. It seems that the Note 5 is doing away with 67% of the features I love (that is, the battery and extended memory). Sure, they say that the battery can charge very quickly, but unless the battery is one that will last 48 hrs per full charge, that's not going to cut it. All my pictures and music collection is in my memory card, which uses most of the 64 gb, so that is not looking good for me either. I was planning to buy a 128 gb card, but seems it may just go to waste. I am currently not in the market for any phone, but unless Samsung goes back to those two features, I will use my Note 4 and go to my spare Note 3 until they no longer work. After that, I may be leaving Samsung altogether.

  • I have the Note 4. Tried the iPhone 6 plus but hated the screen quality. I've used the Note 2 and Note 3. I'm fairly tough on phones, don't like cases. The micro SD is not a deal breaker but the battery is. Based on reviews from S6 users, the new processor isn't providing the real world results everyone expected with respect to battery life.

    I really wanted this phone to win me over. I'd choose it over an iPhone, for sure, but will stay with the Note 4. Besides, all that smudgy glass would be soon destroyed in the Plant environment I work in. I will drop it.

    Since my screen has scratches and I have an upgrade coming soon, I may consider picking up the Note 4 edge or a Note 4 in a different color. Unless something else interesting comes along soon.

    • Lamar, you might want to consider investing in a Tempered Glass screen protector. I've has one on my note 4 since I got it and it's still in perfect condition suprisingly! They are much tougher than the Gorilla Glass screen and if you do manage to wreck it you can remove it and replace it with another. Just make sure to get one of the more expensive ones with slightly curved edges. There is an imperceivable curve to the screen that causes the cheaper tempered glass protectors to not stick around the edges properly. That should keep your phone in almost new condition a lot longer. Hope that helps!

      • The tempered glass protectors are Not tougher than Gorilla Glass 4. I've cracked several and live by the extra layer of protection they provide my Note 4. You're right on with the tip about the curved edge.
        When they get scratched or crack, just peel and replace.

      • OTACORB Aug 16, 2015 Link to comment

        Great suggestion. I've used these Glass Screen protectors on several devices now and they really do provide a peace of mind. Plus as you said if you crack one, you just remove it and then install a new one. The display itself is still good as new.

      • Matthew Aug 18, 2015 Link to comment

        Hi David, which glass do you have? I have a Note 5 which is arriving tomorrow. Upgrade from my current Note II.

  • Already have the Galaxy Note 4 and have always put a great deal of research into every phone purchase I've made, to the point of waiting an extended period of time for a specific model to be released before upgrading. In relation to Android handsets I waited for the Qualcomm 1.5ghz dual core to be released before settling on the HTC Sensation XE and then waited almost 4 years until the Note 4 was released before upgrading. As a Director of an IT company, flash memory with MicroSD expansion is a must for me, as is the ability to swap batteries if the phone dies whilst I'm in the field. Fixed batteries are only going to be an option for me once a phone can survive for 24 hours minimum with almost constant use - we're not there yet. The Note 5 is 2 steps forward and 3 steps back for use as a handset by power users such as myself, I'll stick with my Note 4 for the forseeable future!

  • I've been happy with Note 3, skipping the S4, S5, Note 4 and S6, but seeing which awful iPhoney direction Samsung's taking with all their new top models, will definitely get that Note 4 now.

  • I have a note 4 and it's a great phone and for all the miner updates to the note 5 I have no reason to change I like the micro SD card slit and I like the extra battery so I will stay with what I got to bad Samsung your following the iPhone to close go your own way and you will do better Yours Truly A Dedicated Note User

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