SamMobile’s experience with the Galaxy Note 4

At its UNPACKED 2014 Episode 2 event, Samsung has just announced the Galaxy Note 4. The fourth generation Galaxy Note device looks even better and features a gorgeous display. Samsung gave SamMobile the opportunity to test their new devices just before the event. You can read our hands-on with it below:

The two things which we noticed immediately, when we got our hands on with Samsung’s latest Note device, were its gorgeous looking design and its stunning 5.7-inch QHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display.



In terms of design, the Note 4 has a 2.5D glass screen, inherited from the Galaxy S3, which offers extra protection while perfectly complementing the device’s rich viewing experience. This glass screen looks like it’s actually located on top of the device’s display and has nice edges making it a pleasure to feel with your fingers.
It features metal design sides, like the Galaxy Alpha. It has the signature back from the Note 3, but the texture is a bit more refined. It provides incredible comfort that makes it easier to control with one hand. The device not only looks beautiful, but also offers a superior grip and enhanced durability. Also, it doesn’t feature the Note 3’s large data/charging USB3.0 port, but the regular micro USB 2.0 port again, though with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0.


Its extraordinary 5.7-inch (143.9mm) QHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display reproduces clearer and more vivid images with deep contrast, better viewing angles, and response times as fast as a millionth of a second, providing a terrific viewing experience.


S Pen

The Note 4′s S Pen has significantly been improved. When compared with the Note 3′s S Pen, the Galaxy Note 4′s S Pen features double the pressure registration points, from 1024 to 2048. The S Note software has also been improved and extended as well and now the S Pen offers a much more authentic pen experience, with a more natural brush effect that perfectly emulates writing on paper with a fountain or calligraphy pen.

Due to the improved pressure sensitivity, writing on the Note 4 feels a lot more like writing on conventional paper. The writing looks more and more like real handwriting and the S Note software also ignores all other input (like your hands) while writing, making it a pleasure to use. It also considers things like the speed of your drawing, for example when your try to draw a straight line. When you draw a straight line quickly, it automatically straightens the line. When you draw it more slowly, it does this a bit less, creating a more shaky line.

The improved S Pen also features a new selection mode, which enables you to draw a rectangle while multi-selecting files (just like on your computer) and also for fast text selection, making it more of a joy to multitask on the Note 4.

User Interface

The user interface of the Note 4 is mainly the same as the TouchWiz version found on the Galaxy S5, Samsung’s current flagship Galaxy S device. It has, however, improved a lot in terms of multitasking (Multi Window). It now enables users to multitask between applications with one quick gesture (from the top-right of the screen, downwards, diagonally). The user can then directly resize the application to allow efficient multitasking. It also gives the user four new buttons, so they can also choose to (for example) minimise and maximise their applications right away, or close the applications from there. When minimized, the application becomes just a round icon preview, floating on the rest of the user interface.

The S Pen also features a new button when using Air Command, which is called Smart Select. Smart Select enables the users to quickly select pieces of information from the screen. It does this by mainly taking partial screenshots of the screen, allowing you to aggregate all kinds of information at once, from every application on your device. These are also gathered in a floating icon on top of the rest of the user interface.

When your smart selection is done, you can tap on this floating icon to get an overview of your Smart Selections. From here, you can directly email or share those snippets to wherever you like; it even allows you to drag-and-drop this content into other applications.

The S Note application, which is mainly used for note taking, is now also extended with a useful feature for people in college or universities; it allows the users to take a photo of a paper, classroom board or a whiteboard. The angle of the photo doesn’t matter much, as the software will automatically correct these to get a straight and optimized image out of it. It then converts the optimized image into an S Note, which is then fully editable by the end users. This means that most graphs and illustrations would become an image, and all text would be text in terms of handwriting.


Voice Recording / Microphone

Samsung also focused on improving the microphones and recording mode on the Note 4. The Note 4 features 3 microphones (1 on the front, the regular one) and 2 on the bottom of the device. These 3 microphones can be used for Noise Suppression while calling, but also for new features like Directional Recording that can be used for recording in Interview Mode or Meeting Mode. A built-in Voice Recorder offers eight different directional voice tagging and a selective playback capability that allows users to isolate and listen to specific voices in a group conversation.


Samsung has packed a ton of sensors in the Note 4, which include Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB, IR-LED, Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart-rate Monitoring and SoO2 (dependent on market).


The main (rear-facing) camera of the Note 4 is a 16MP autofocus camera, featuring Smart OIS (optical image stabilization) and 4K video recording. The secondary (front-facing) camera is a 3.7MP camera with f1.9 to take QHD resolution photos.

Samsung has also been working on enabling you to make the ultimate selfies! The ‘Selfie angle’ on Note 3 was 77 degrees, on the Note 4 it will be 90 degrees by default and it will feature Wide Selfie mode (panorama-selfie) with an 120 degree viewing angle. Also, to take selfies, one can use the fingerprint/heartbeat sensor on the back of the device as a shutter.



Samsung has equipped the device with a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC with ARM’s big.LITTLE and Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) technology; 1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core, ARM Mali-T760 GPU with a clock speed of 600MHz / Snapdragon 805 SoC with Quad-core Krait 450 CPU clocked at 2.7GHz, 600MHz Adreno 420 GPU, 3GB of 32-bit dual-channel 933 MHz LPDDR3e RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is expendable via micro SD slot up to 128GB. The device runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and Samsung’s latest TouchWiz UX, out of the box.


In terms of connectivity, the device is supports WiFi 802.11ac MIMIO PCIe, GPS, GLONASS, Baidu, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE / ANT+, IR LED for using as a remote control, USB 2.0 and MHL 3.0.


One other point Samsung focused on was the battery life and the charging times. The Note 4 charges up to 30% faster (measured on a battery of 3200mAh). The fast charging mode allows the user to charge up to 50% of the device in only 30 minutes. This is done by fluctuating the voltage and amperage while charging, a technology that has patents pending for Samsung. Next to that, it also features Samsung’s famous Ultra Power Saving Mode.


We think the Galaxy Note 4 is a very important device for Samsung, and is a worthy upgrade over the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung has really listened to its existing customer base and has created its new design philosophy according to their users’ suggestions. The design of the Note 4 really is spectacular, we couldn’t say this for many of Samsung devices in the past. Previously, Samsung devices were all about ergonomics, but now they are focusing on premium looks and build quality as well. With the Note line, Samsung always brings something new to the table, and it has done exactly the same with the Galaxy Note 4. It’s Samsung’s first global device to feature a QHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display, and is the world’s first device to be equipped with a UV sensor. Plus, Samsung is using the world’s fastest SoCs, the Exynos 5 Octa and the Snapdragon 805, to power its latest flagship device.


Phones 25
Related newsLatest news
  1. Thanks for the basic review!
    Actually the only thing I’m disappointed with is the rear speaker, maybe the change was made for the metal sides, but it still feels like a step back. Is the sound softened and somehow hard to hear like in all other galaxy devices except for note 3?

    And another question.. I noticed that some aspects of the UI have a touch of material design.. it looks overall coherent with the future version of android?


    • There are some more steps back:

      1. Micro-USB 2.0 instead of 3.0
      2. No IP67 certification like S5, so not water resistant
      3. The speaker spacement at the back of the device
      4. Increased borders at the top and the bottom (so increased phone dimensions)

      But in the whole it’s a very amazing device and a lot better than the most cpmpetitives! Only thing I don’t understand is the fact that it’s not water proof. That’s a great feature of S5 and I hoped the Note 4 to become this as well.

      • Well, I think that with the fast charging the usb 3 lost half of its appeal.. I can’t think of any other reason.. As for IP67.. maybe the spen slot was hard to make water resistant. All thing considered maybe the metal frame needed to be as solid as it could, so less and smaller openings was their approach. But maybe I’m wrong.

        Obviously I would have minded the absence of IP67 much more if the product were launched before summer..

        • FYI – Summer comes around every year.. just in case you didn’t know..

      • The top 3 are the deal breakers for me.. I’m also very confused with the lack of IP67… I’ve ripped enough note 2 and 3′s apart to know that waterproofing that would be dead simple..

        And why in hell drop 3.0 usb.. to appeal to the note 2 upgraders?

        Speakers.. My god I was soooo happy when I saw the note 3 speaker placement.. this made me rethink my upgrade…

        Going to hold back for the note 5.. hopefully they don’t backstep again and go with plastic frames..

      • Superb!!! The exact 4 points I wanted to say! Well said.

    • One another thing: Why they use rounded glass like in Note 2? That makes the device some more ugly.

      • that is IMHO more down to personal preferences. I do like the rounded glass

      • Yeah, I use tempered glass screen protectors and the rounded glass is a PITA when using them. Sits nice and flat on my N3..

  2. It’s nice looking but its evolution not revolution the backwards step to USb 2 I don’t like the USB 3 cable on the note 3 wasn’t problem for me n the fast file transfer with USB 3 r nice… Thanks for the review was really wanting something compelling to upgrade to the note 4 n its not there. Sure I may ug in 6 months when prices drop. But for now there’s nothing for me to wanna spend $$ the note 3 is still an awesome peice of kit.. Nice note 4 but not mind blowing well IMHO

    • If I had the note 2, hell yeah, i’d be waiting for the store to get em in with cash in had.. but since I have a note 3.. meh, gonna see what the note 5 offers.

      and that note Edge.. 6 months from now ebay will be full of “AS IS BROKEN SCREEN Note Edge” just watch :)

  3. Hooray it’s nice to see new Note Device!

    Let’s watch the livestream!!

  4. Very Galaxy S5/Alpha inspired…

    Too bad that it’s not IP67, and it doesn’t have Phase-Detection Auto-Focus (0.3) from the Galaxy S5.

    Speaker hasn’t been shifted at the bottom like the Note 3?

    • What about The ‘ISOCELL’ image sensor from the Galaxy S5? Did it make it over the Galaxy Note 4?

    • Speaker location is too bad!

    • I think they are appealing to the Note 2 crowd that has been using and getting used to the rear speaker for the last 2 years.. Note 5 will have IP67 and bottom speakers.. Hoping for front face dual.. but won’t hold my breath..

  5. The exynos version is 32bit or 64bit?

    • i was hoping for 64-bit too. but then since the the processors are quad A9 and quad A7, so it gotta be 32-bit. not too disappointed but i was really expecting it to be 64-bit though.

      • i’m terribly sorry, the exynos version is actually 64-bit. my bad. just went to GSMArena website for Note 4′s specs. yeah the processors featuring Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 & 1.9GHz quad-core Cortex-A57 (SM-N910C).

  6. the changes in note 4 are so minor, nothing makes me so excited that i wanna replace my N3 and grab the N4 , other features are all in the Software where all will can be added to N3 later with the devs work on custom Roms.i hate note speaker, and now i hate it more cuz its placed in the back…. really disappointed with note 4… NOW Note 4 Edge is something i would agree to spend more money on..

    • Note 5 will be the upgrade for the note 3 crowd.

      I can’t see the edge being that great.. it looks to gimmicky.. I’d be surprised if they make an Edge 2..

  7. Is anyone aware…whether the fast charging will be available on the Samsung Exynos version also? or is it a Qualcomm only thing?

  8. “SaschaHa 2 days ago said:

    There are some more steps back:

    1. Micro-USB 2.0 instead of 3.0
    2. No IP67 certification like S5, so not water resistant
    3. The speaker spacement at the back of the device
    4. Increased borders at the top and the bottom (so increased phone dimensions)

    But in the whole it’s a very amazing device and a lot better than the most cpmpetitives! Only thing I don’t understand is the fact that it’s not water proof. That’s a great feature of S5 and I hoped the Note 4 to become this as well. ”

    Very well said, exactly what I had to say!

    Also, Is the “Quick focus”, “Phase-Detection” and “Isocell” from the S5?

  9. This is definitely one of the best device ..

    However, I would like to see how the Touchwiz performs on this device .. in some of the previews, i saw it is taking (slightly) time to do a task. e.g. copy/paste contents, re-sizing video window (that wait circle should not be there at all)

    Such a great device Note 4 is .. but in my view; Touchwiz is again pulling it back .. slowing it down significantly .. Somehow Samsung should really need to look into this and work hard towards it ..

    BTW, has anyone noticed/saw the flawless/lag-less/fastest strong performance on Moto X ?? .. the UI is extremely fast (Although this stock UI, I don’t prefer) ..

Leave a Reply