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Was the Galaxy Note 4 the last great Samsung phone?

Since the departure of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in 2016 and the lackluster performance of the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy Note 4 has grown to be the preferred device for phablet fans. Despite the fact that the Note 4 is now well over two years old, demand for the device has continued to ensure its viability within the smartphone market. Does this mean that the Note 4 has become the undisputed King of all Samsung devices? Maybe - you never can tell. Let’s take a look at how the Note 4 might have earned this perception.

It did almost everything

When designing smartphones, there are always things which don’t make the cut, for whatever reason. A feature or part of the time, that wasn't delivered due to budget or time restraints. This wasn't really the case with the Note 4. What’s interesting about the Note 4 is that it kind of did everything.

It had the fastest processor at the time, a world-class QHD display, and a fantastic camera. The inclusion of the quad-core Snapdragon 805 with GHz with 3 GB of RAM ensured that the Note 4 was one of the most powerful smartphones available. It had wireless and quick-charging functionality. It had a fingerprint scanner and a heart-rate monitor.  

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The Galaxy Note 4 - the smartphone that does practically everything. / © AndroidPIT

Essentially, it included all of the features you would want from a premium Android phone. It also had the S Pen, the stylus that elevates the Galaxy Note series above typical tablet fare.

And features it did lack, were part of a trade-off. It wasn’t waterproof, but given the removable battery this was to be expected. It didn’t have front-facing speakers, but Samsung must have (correctly) identified that these were way down on customers' lists of priorities.

What’s interesting about the Note 4 is that it kind of did everything

Crucially, the Note 4 was the last major Samsung handset to offer expandable storage and a removable battery pack. It was almost sacrilege when Samsung dropped these from its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series, which goes some way in explaining why the Galaxy Note 4 is still so well-regarded.

It stood out from the crowd in all the right ways

Another factor in its enduring popularity is the lack of real competition at the time. Even the iPhone 6 that was released at around the same time couldn't compare, lagging far behind what Android users had become accustomed to in the power stakes. At the time of its release the Note 4 was streets ahead of everything in terms of both performance and features. 

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The Galaxy Note 5 wasn't as well received as the Note 4. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung put everything it could into the Galaxy Note 4 and the result was a phone that captured the hearts of Android fans and non-Android fans alike. Though its successor, the Note 5, offered several tiny changes that did make it better than the Note 4, it still doesn’t offer what the Note 4 is able to deliver.

So, what comes next?

At the moment there is a great deal of discussion, and even more speculation, on what we can expect to see released by Samsung in 2017. Many Samsung devotees are patiently waiting for the release of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, so there is a chance that the popularity of the Note 4 may experience a bit of a downturn. That said, for the time being its looking as though Note 4 owners will still be able to continue to use their devices. Batteries can still be purchased from Samsung, and the Note 4 is continuing to receive software updates and security updates. 

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The Galaxy Note 4 - the last great Samsung device?. / © AndroidPIT

But when can we expect to see a successor to the Note 4? Should we even be expecting a successor? These questions are currently going unanswered by Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7, spontaneous combustion issues aside, was a worthy contender in this respect, but did the issues which caused its downfall also spell the end for the entire Samsung Note series? At the moment this is a fairly open question. Samsung may surprise us at forthcoming Mobile World Congress with a new phablet - most likely the Note 8 - as serial leaker Evan Blass has indicated there may be one on the way. Whether or not this is the case, only time will tell. 

Was the Galaxy Note 4 truly the last great Samsung device? Should we be holding off on the final verdict until the mythical Samsung Galaxy S8 is released? Let us know in the comments below.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Heather Cox Nov 3, 2015

    Before I purchased my note 4, I had the note 2 for 2 plus years and loved it. Many phones caught my attention within those years but I wouldn't let go of my note 2. The shit pen on my note 2 was great but lacked things u could really use. With my note 4 I am thrilled to have a fully functional S pen, it's a great and amazing pen along with all the other great things that are here with the note 4. I don't believe that any other phone after the note 4 will really compare, I'm sticking with mine!! Samsung has always out beat a iPhone in my eyes because of the battery an storage, there are reason that these phones have different names and manufacturers. Samsungs are compatible with so many other devices as well y would u limit yourself with....to my fellow note 4 users keep enjoying all the great things this phone offers and to the manufacturer of samsung note 4 stop trying to b so much like an iphone please, my opinion we stick with u and android because of just what it is. If we wanted a iPhone we would have purchased one.

  • br77494 Nov 1, 2015

    Most definitely, the Note 4 is still the best.

    My wife and I both have had a Note 4 since they came out over a year ago. We'll still be using ours long past when Note 5 and S6 users have their batteries crap out and decide that the internal memory isn't enough anymore. I'll pop in a new battery and a larger microSD and be good to go. And we protect our expensive phones with nice cases - so who cares if the bare phone has a "premium look" to it or not?

    Samsung just wants us to buy new phones every year or two. I get that. But, I have news for Samsung - I'll be using my Note 4 for a long, long time, or until I feel it's finally time to upgrade to an even better phone with the same fundamental features of removable battery and microSD card. I don't see that phone just yet though - no problem I can wait. If Samsung doesnt' change their ways I might be looking at LG.

  • Jonathan Mogale Nov 1, 2015

    I have the phone. Best phone I've ever owned. It does everything the Note 5 claims to do and more. The Camera is not far off from the Note 5. Expendable storage. S Pen functionality. Super Good screen. Handles Multi Window pretty well. All in all with everything considered I'm not going to upgrade to the note 5. It's clearly an inferior device from what I'm using.

  • DaX Nov 1, 2015

    So true man

127 comments

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  • Diz 1 week ago Link to comment

    I had the Note 2 and the Note 4 since the week it came out and it's an amazing phone, almost an insult to call it a phone, I use it for so very much more. I use the pen function a LOT, it's fast enough, expandable enough, the Samsung on the go (OTG) feature rocks for transferring files or photos to an external hard drive or thumb drive, I even got an iRig guitar adapter designed specifically for the Note 4 an a few other Samsung phones, an that rocks, plug a guitar and headphones into it and you're set.

    Unless the Note 8 has a replaceable SD card, and battery I won't get rid of my Note 4. My son has the Note 5 and is already missing the SD card and battery options.

    PLEASE heed our requests Samsung. Your Note 7 debacle could have been a WHOLE lot less with a removable battery.

  • The S5 and the Note 4 were Samsung's greatest devices. Anything after that lost features and appeal. They became another Apple copy-cat which let down their loyal customers who liked them for being plastic, for having lots of features and for the ability of replacing the battery and the sd card. Until they release something which has all the S5 (or Note 4) features + some more, I'm staying on my SM-G900F.

    • I know Moni, I'll never give away my Galaxy S5 Mini even when I upgrade soon. I put a new battery and microSD card in and it feels like a new device. No slow downs and I can do everything well.
      —SAMSUNG LOST SOMETHING—
      While some improvements were made the company needs to reflect on what customers want. I personally like Apple devices for certain features but I want a healthy alternative. And another premium glass device is not the solution. If Samsung focused on the mid-range it could retake much of the market from Apple. Maybe Samsung could just focus on a couple of devices instead of having so many on the market. The company's research is unmatched and we could even make the argument that Apple is copying much of its technology.
      A plastic Note 8 with a removable battery would blow everyone away. I wish there was some way to bring this to the attention of the company. There are many tech journalists and Android community members who voice this but it still isn't clear. SUGGESTIONS ANYONE!!!???

      • Mark 1 week ago Link to comment

        Yes Cory I have a suggestion they will listen to. Stop buying the sealed battery models. Planed obsolescence was started by Apple. They got away with it so now everybody is doing it. The only thing they will listen to is a lack of sales. As consumers it is our only voice. I did not need the G5 I have two other phones. I supported them for their courage for trying something new. The only way I could as a consumer, I bought one. I will likely buy the V20 for the same reason, along with it being the best phone of the year in my opinion and others.
        www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6vAp3nz2d4

  • Im still kicking my ass for letting it go if it wasnt for the BS with note7 debacle. Yes that is still the best phone out there by far but thank u smasung grt job with the note7 peache bitch ass sory for the my pissed off words but they have it coming!

  • Samsung could improve on the Note 4, but only if they do not throw away the baby with the bath water! Replaceable battery, IR, expandable memory should be retained. And while you are at it, I miss the FM radio. should stay. These were the reasons I went to Android and Samsung to begin with.

  • note 5 is the best, design wise, and also everything else.

  • The Note 4 is the only Samsung phone I've owned, so you know I'm not in any way biased when I say yes, it's the best.

    I'm not a heavy user, so I can mostly only rattle off the features that others in these 100+ comments have mentioned. But they are what attracted me to and made me keep the phone:
    The S-pen - more for sketching than note-taking.
    The removable battery - as said I'm not a heavy user, so I don't need to whip out a fresh battery halfway through the day. But it'll be useful for a bit of longevity for when the current battery starts to wind down. I'm not one to rant (too much) about consumerism, but when you say the Note 4 is 'well over two years old', you make it sound like it runs on steam...
    The IR blaster - along with the Sure remote app, especially useful for controlling my TV and freesat box (and Roku box, though it doesn't use the blaster) now that the official remotes for all are broken or missing.
    The space for an sd card - granted, haven't had to use it yet, but good to know it's there as my phone fills up.

    Last, and maybe least, the S-view cover. I'm fussy about scratches on my phone screens, but also about trapped dust and bubbles from screen protectors. I used covers with my last phone and was happy with their protection, despite the difficulty of wrenching the phone out and cramming it back in when I needed to, with the resulting cracks and replacement covers.
    I happened to get an S-view cover with my Note 4 (a bundle from an ebay seller) and I love that it does it's primary job - screen protection - while being an integral part of the phone: not just a complete replacement for the removable back cover that adds minimal thickness, but the accessibility of certain functions from the S-view display. I know there are S-view covers for later Notes and other Samsung phones, but I'm looking with some scepticism at their corner clips and reviews talking about stress cracks. Been there, done that.

    So when Samsung brings out an updated Note soon after I bought mine, and it goes back on several of these satisfying (even reassuring) features of the Note 4... nah, I'm good, thanks.
    And the next one after that, with the same lack of Note 4 features, has to be recalled almost immediately, apparently because of problems relating to the sealed, irremovable back cover. ('Necessary' waterproofing... I'd say that's just a bit more relevant to normal phone use than it was for wristwatches in the 80s and 90s)

    So I'll say it was the last great Note. Can't say much about other Samsung phones, except that they also lack the N4 features I like, so there's that. Last great Note ever? That depends on whether these rumours indicate a return to the line, and possibly on whether Samsung are still determined to make it 'just another iPhone' (as the refrain goes) or even 'just an S8 with a stylus'.

  • is this the last great article ever written..... now come to the point samsung galaxy s7 was the best ever amdroid smartphone made. samsung is the apple of android phones accept it.

  • "Simpleist The Best Better Than All The Rest" that what Samsung could proudly sing to the others, Note 4 was a phone that offered nearly everything a consumer wanted on there phones, No worry about the battery life with Removable Battery option and no Memory Full alarm with the micro sd card slot on offer, plus the Stylus to stop you worrying about fingerprints on the screen, camera Top Class, Worth its true value anytime and a very reliable phone, but why didn"t Samsung realise this seemed very odd indeed as Galaxy Note 4 users who wanted to upgrade to the next Note phone, were very let down by Samsung who had Apple phones in there minds an thought copying the iPhones would improve there sales, but it back-fired on Samsung with the Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 models by not offering the removable battery or micro sd card options and the Sales were not too good

    • Ryan 1 week ago Link to comment

      The Note 4 battery was AWFUL! Why would anyone want to walk around with spare batteries!? I would rather a phone with a long lasting battery then to walk around with phone a crappy battery powering it and another crappy battery in my pocket. I don't have time for that all that nonsense of spare batteries, SD cards. Make a better phone

  • I use the Note 4..rooted,custom ROM with S pen functionality still working as I need it to..perfect phone..

  • Ryan 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    The Note 4 wasn't even that good. Very cartoonish, battery was AWFUL, and it lagged.

  • Mark 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    I have said it a hundred time on this site. Nothing in Samsung's lineup beats the Note 4 for versatility and longevity. The Note 4s will be going strong long after the S7s and S7 Edges are all in the trash can because of bad batteries. Sure you can spend $200 buck to have the battery replaced, but is it worth it? The $20 bucks I pay for Note 4 batteries it is defiantly worth it. I have 4 of them never have to worry about an outlet or being low bat. IP68 would have been nice on the Note 4 but not really necessary since you can remove the battery if it gets wet to prevent damage. Unlike sealed batteries, which sit there and short out because you can't remove the power sources. My S3 has been drowned 3 times and always has come back to life after removing the battery and drying it out. My Note 4 is over 2 years old, my S3 is over 4 years old still running everything.

  • I've had note 4 for about 6 months and I can honestly say its without doubt its the best phone I've had. The camera is great the screen is fantastic and it all works so well. Why on earth did Samsung drop the changeable battery I will never know. I tried a LGG4 and I was totally underwhelmed by the camera the pictures looked flat most of the time it missed out on focus points unlike the note 4 which focused everytime and the pictures were more vibrant. The note 4 is far better for playing games on also I found the screen on the N4 far less tiring on rhe eyes.Guess what phone I will get when the N4 eventuly wears out and that most likely will be another N4. I will never downgrade to a crappy IPhone

  • BoneDatt Dec 19, 2015 Link to comment

    The Note 4 running lollipop 5.1.1 is indeed an awesome phone. I started with the original note back in 2011, used my Note 2 from 2012 until September 2015. When it was time to replace it, I decided against the Note 5 and bought the Note 4 (The T-Mobile rep really tried to sell me the note 5, :). Oh and this is the second Note that I'm skipping). Anyway, I'm not a huge Touchwiz fan, but I tolerate it because I'm a huge S-Pen fan. With regards to the lack of removable batteries, I can forgive that, since I know it can be replaced once it stops holding a charge (HTC quoted me $40 to replace my HTC ONE M7 battery, so I know it's definitely doable to replace a built-in battery). Lack of an expandable storage on a device that is supposed to be a productivity device... that's unforgivable in my books! So, Samsung, bring back the IR Blaster, removable battery, SD card slot and for the love of baby Jesus, get rid of that gorilla glass back. It's not sensible! The Note 6 needs to be just as awesome as the Note 4 for me to consider another Samsung Note again.

  • Yes note 4 best phone ever

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