This day was a long time coming and in the run up to this pre-IFA announcement, easily became the most anticipated device launch of the year. Of course we expected Samsung to announce other devices as well at its Unpacked event in Berlin and beamed across the world in similar Unpacked events in major cities. The Galaxy Note 4 builds on the legacy of the iconic Galaxy Note 3 both in the design and the hardware specifications. The software is inspired by the updated TouchWiz that debuted on the Galaxy S5 back in February and like many anticipated, the 64 bit Galaxy device is finally alive!
Design-wise, the Note 4 borrows heavily from the structure of its predecessor, the Note 3, but sticks with the premium build that was introduced with the 4.7 inch Galaxy Alpha a month ago. There’s a metallic frame around the device while the front retains the usual Samsung looks and the back retains the faux leather minus the stitching that the Galaxy Note 3 has. The arrangement of the camera and the LED flash at the back of the device remain the same as was the case in the Note 3 only that this time round the fingerprint scanner also shows up in an arrangement that is slightly tweaked so that it aligns itself with the Galaxy S5’s design while retaining the traditional Galaxy Note looks we’ve come to know over the last one year. Unfortunately, Samsung has gone back on some design element with the speaker grill going to the back instead of the bottom where it is placed on the Note 3.
Specifications of the device are as follows:
- Size & weight: 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g
- Display: 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440)
- Processor: 2.7 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 805 with an Adreno 420 GPU or 1.9 GHz Octa-Core (4 X 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 + 4 Cortex-A57) Exynos 5433 64-bit chip backed by a Mali T760 GPU (varies by region)
- Memory: 32 GB internal storage expandable upto 128 GB via microSD/ 3 GB RAM
- Camera: 16 MP main camera (with Smart OIS)/ 3.7 MP front-facing camera
- OS: Android 4.4.4 (with TouchWiz, of course)
- Battery: 3220 mAh
- Network: 2.5G [(GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE) : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz], 3G [(HSPA＋ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz], 4G [(LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) or 4G (LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)]
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe GPS / GLONASS , NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE,ANT+), IR LED (Remote Control), USB2.0, MHL 3.0
- Additional features: Dynamic Lockscreen, Multi-window, S Health v3.5, Ultra-Power Saving Mode, Air Command, Fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor, ultra-violet (UV) light sensor
- Colours: Charcoal Black, Blossom Pink, Frost White, and Bronze Gold
The size remains the same as the Note 3 though the biggest upgrade is in the display and camera departments with the QHD display likely to be the biggest standout feature.
Worth noting is that Samsung stuck with the 32 GB internal storage, a trend it started with the Galaxy Note 3. Unlike rumours we heard before, there won’t be a 16 GB version. Interestingly, the Galaxy Note 4 lacks the USB 3.0 port that the Note 3 has. Samsung says that there hasn’t been a lot of use of that particular port for its intended purpose (i.e fast data transfer speeds) so it is simply going back to the standard USB 2.0. The Note 4 also lacks Ingress Protection so you can’t go dipping the Note in your bath tub or taking underwater selfies in the pool. The device is meant for a select userbase i.e. business people. Want a phone for everyone that can go everywhere beyond meetings and everyday use? There’s the S5 for that. At least now we know where the boundaries are for the two.
The whole essence of the Galaxy Notes as the name denotes (sigh) is to be handy in note taking (hence the S Pen). Samsung reworked how the S Pen operates in the Galaxy Note 3 introducing Air Command, a feature that had several menus to take advantage of the stylus unlike the Note II which only had Page Buddy and several limited features. The Note 4 hasn’t gotten such a makeover as Air Command (which is pretty useful if you do take a lot of notes on the go) stays on with a few additions to the S Pen’s functionality being Image Clip and Smart Select and Screen Write which has been added to AC. However, Samsung decided to scale down the menus in Air Command so instead of the six that were there previously (as can be seen on the Note 3), you have just four main menus: Action Memo, Screen Write, Pen Window and Smart Select. Scrap Booker and S Search stay on but far away from Air Command.
The device’s battery has been bumped up a bit (20 mAh) and will benefit from Samsung’s addition of Adaptive Fast Charging so that you can refill your juice much faster. We saw something similar in the Oppo Find 7.
There’s also that thing we have about chamfered metal edges. Like we’ve seen on the Xiaomi Mi4 and the Huawei Ascend P7.
There should be other nifty software additions throughout the device. Stick around for more Galaxy Note 4 and IFA 2014 coverage.