Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Greater is better.

Even Apple saved the very best parts for its iPhone 6 Plus. And the Note 4 is a contender for essentially the most super-specced smartphone on the planet. A brand new 2K display screen, a huge 3220mAh battery, that Snapdragon 805 processor.

Extra importantly, it’s as compact as a phone with a large display screen could be whereas making said large display screen as helpful and usable as possible.

BIG AND (ALMOST) BEAUTIFUL

The LG is a beautiful little bit of smartphone engineering and is extra compact and comfortable to carry than the brand new Note 4. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, appears even larger than it must be and doesn’t sit within the hand as properly. The flatter sides of the Note 4 mix with a brand new softer, much less cheesy faux leather-based back panel to make the Note 4 fairly comfortable and simple to grip, and whereas there are nonetheless just a few lumps and bumps across the camera, headphone jack and microUSB port, the metallic band around the whole edge of the system makes the Note 4 really feel impressively sturdy and even a bit, premium. And that’s not a word we often use to explain Samsung phones.

At 176g, t’s lighter than it appears, too. Don’t misunderstand: this is nonetheless very a lot a two-handed phone and in case you’re used to common-sized phones (no matter which means nowadays) you’ll be extra aware of the Note 4 in your hand, pocket or towards your ear.

Apart from the front of the phone, although, which nonetheless looks like each Samsung smartphone ever made and the truth that waterproofing is lacking right here, the Be aware sequence design is definitely heading in the right direction.

There are extra lovely smartphones on the market – the HTC One M8, the Sony Xperia Z3– however you don’t purchase a Note 4 to indicate off design particulars. You purchase one to show off what it may do.

A SCREEN THAT WILL STUN YOUR RETINAS

One factor Samsung smartphones have all the time been capable of do is stun your retinas into submission with AMOLED colors and plenty of pixels. And the Note 4 takes this heritage next gen with an LG-matching 2560 x 1440 display, making this the primary 2K display we’ve seen from Samsung.

Loads of Samsung family traits are in proof: it’s severely vibrant (you’ll keep the slider method beneath midway in the event you don’t need your phone to offer you a suntan) and it makes use of the identical Adaptive Display technology discovered within the Galaxy Tab S range, which implies that it automatically adjusts its colors based on the warmness and brightness of ambient light.

Download a hi-res picture and, side by side with a lesser pixelled phone such because theiPhone 6 Plus, it’s such as you’re taking a look at two totally different photos. There’s baggage extra detail and so there must be when the Note 4 is 515ppi. And that’s not all. Blacks are beautiful and inky due to the AMOLED show’s skill to show off pixels to render black. And colors are eye catching if not accurate – nonetheless barely on the hotter, saturated aspect however if you wish to tweak this manually, head for the AMOLED cinema and Primary settings.

Whether or not this is the right display screen for you will depend on your habits. Homescreens and video games look attractive however emails, searching and ebooks do show up that usual AMOLED problem of distinction. Whites simply aren’t as pure as we’d like subsequent to the good iPhone 6 Plus, and it will get worse if you tilt the Note 4 to the side – stream a black and white film to see the distinction immediately. Likewise, if the 16Mp cam and massive display screen appeals to images followers, keep in mind that colors are additionally not as pure as the iPhone or LG.

Nonetheless, it is a leap to 2K accomplished very, very proper and if you happen to were a fan of Samsung screens earlier than, all those extra pixels will probably be a welcome deal with. As we saw with the Oppo Find 7and the LG G3, sky high resolutions usually arrive with a dip in battery life. Not so on the Note 4.

THE BEST BATTERY LIFE OF THE 2K SMARTPHONES

In actual fact, not solely is this the most effective battery life of any 2K smartphone we’ve examined, it’s even barely higher than the non-2K Note 3. Well, we’ll be damned.

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The detachable 3220mAh battery is only a smidgen larger than the Note 3’s unitand Samsung declare lots of the additional effectivity is all the way down to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, something Sony additionally pointed to when explaining the Z3’s insane stamina.

Within the week we’ve spent with the Note 4, ending the day with 10-20% nonetheless left within the tank has turn out to be the norm, with solely these days that we’ve particularly hammered it with gaming and photography for testing functions killing it faster. It additionally lasted simply over eleven hours in our HD video rundown check (Wi-Fi on, half brightness) which is an hour and a half longer than the LG G3.

It’s no Z3-type battery freak and it won’t final fairly so long as an iPhone 6 Plus, however in comparison with the overwhelming majority of smartphones it’s nonetheless a distance runner. And the battery is swappable. And there’s a low energy Extremely Energy Saving mode that’s helpful in emergencies (or festivals as we discovered with the Galaxy S5). And it has quick charging, with the equipped charger, of as much as 50% in half-hour. You get the concept.

 A REAL BENCHMARK BEATER

Qualcomm’s newest silicon saves the day, then. It additionally signifies that along with 3GB of RAM, the Note 4 is each bit the powerhouse you’d anticipate. Qualcomm’s new chip is beefy sufficient, actually, to turn the Note 4 into an Oculus Rift-like VR headset, when slotted into the Gear VR. Impressive stuff.

In daily use the Note 4 tears via Android games and demolishes its rivals in benchmarks such as AnTuTu, the place it scores a huge 45111 – greater than every other flagship. Fortunately, Samsung’s TouchWiz skin is getting increasingly fluid with each software program replace, so the expertise is as easy as you’ll get on a Galaxy. Smoother doesn’t imply good – there are nonetheless just a few extra stutters than you’d discover on an HTC One (M8) or the virtually pure Android Moto X. Samsung has accomplished an excellent job of tightening issues up however there’s nonetheless just a little bit of work to do.

One small however irritating attribute of Samsung phones is that whereas there’s a teensy little bit of lag to be discovered while you’re getting issues completed, they’ll additionally soar about opening apps you didn’t intend to. That’s a combination of some points – the marginally sticky out home button, the simple to catch capacitive buttons and the larger measurement resulting in extra finger slips. It’s occurred to us on each single Samsung telephone we’ve examined and the Word four isn’t any exception. It’s a little niggle however it bears point out.

Again to the excellent news. The essential mannequin is £630 nevertheless it does a minimum of include 32GB of constructed-in storage and is upgradeable by up to 128GB with an SD card, too. Contemplate that a 128GB iPhone 6 Plus would set you back the very best a part of £800, a Note 4 with a 128GB microSD card begins to look fairly good worth at a little bit beneath £700.

THE S PEN IS BETTER THAN EVER

There are a few different methods the Note 4 gives higher value than the common phablet, and those are also things that imply it merely makes extra sense as a giant phone. A kind of methods is the constructed-in S Pen and the other is software options such as Multi Window.

Each are iterations on the excellent Note 3, however each have been improved this time around.

The S Pen, which nonetheless hides within the decrease proper-hand corner of the smartphone, continues to be a bit low-cost-feeling and spindly, however the truth that it’s at all times there makes a a lot greater a part of your common smartphone week than, say, a third party stylus and an iPhone 6 Plus.

This time it’s twice as strain delicate, which makes a noticeable distinction when sketching – the pressure, speed and tilt of the S Pen now all have an effect on the thickness and opacity of the onscreen ink. Samsung has additionally thrown in fountain pen and calligraphy choices.

Once you pull out the S Pen you get a modified version of Air Command – apps that you need to use with the stylus. These embrace Motion Memo for quick notes, Good Choose for saving textual content and pictures to your scrapbook, Image Clip for freeform formed screenshots and Display screen Write for scribbling annotations on screenshots.

We’ve most used Motion Memo and Good Choose throughout our time with the Note 4 – each are merely faster than the finger-managed options each smartphone consumer shall be aware of. The S Pen would possibly spent loads of time sleeping (according to Samsung) however it’s nonetheless an enormous draw and holding the 5.7in phone in a single hand with the S Pen writing within the different feels very natural.

FEATURE PACKED: FREEBIES AND FINGERPRINT SCANNING

After which there’s Multi Window, Samsung’s characteristic for splitscreen multi-tasking. Hold down the again button and you’ll entry the listing of Samsung, Google and now a smattering of third occasion apps you could run aspect by facet, simply as earlier than. However the instructions get extra refined each time we use it and now you may come out one window to fullscreen, minimise multiple home windows to bubbles, swap the apps round and drag and drop textual content and screenshots between apps.

The final a type of continues to be a bit half-baked (it’s tough to inform what it would drag and what it gained’t) and we discovered ourselves by accident minimising all our apps within the first few days to pop out home windows. Even so it’s the closest factor to mimicking the convenience and velocity of utilizing a laptop computer to easily get issues performed and Samsung’s clearly persevering with to place the trouble in.

Elsewhere, the Note 4 packs much more options than pixels – or so it appears from the intimidating settings menu. As on the Galaxy S5, although, Samsung’s a minimum of packaged helpful freebies and Samsung apps into Galaxy Necessities and Galaxy Items so that you get to decide on which you obtain and reap the benefits of. In Galaxy Items there’s six months freed from the not-Spotify-but-close streaming service Deezer, 100GB of cloud storage for six months from RealPlayer, plus loads of different subscriptions and trials.

The Note 4 will get the S5’s fingerprint scanning and coronary heart price monitoring methods – each enjoyable, futuristic extras however neither executed fairly nicely sufficient. Protecting nonetheless lengthy sufficient to swipe a finger over the S5’s home button is painful sufficient – unlocking the Note 4 display whereas strolling down the street takes awkward to new ranges.

Actually, the fingerprint scanning is the one characteristic that we’ve struggled to make use of due to the Note 4’s dimension. You probably have small hands, you could be involved on the considered taking this ginormous Galaxy out snapping. Don’t be, it’s a doozy.

MORE MEGAPIXELS FOR A LOW LIGHT HERO

First, it’s quick. Outdoor it’s neck and neck with the iPhone 6 Plus, however while you flip the lights down low the Galaxy Note 4 is commonly the quickest to focus.

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Higher yet, the 16MP rear camera shoots reliably detailed and correct images in all circumstances. Optical picture stabilisation, additionally seen on the brilliant LG G3, helps in low gentle conditions as we discovered taking Instagram pics on the moodily lit 2014 What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Awards. So long as you’re affected person sufficient to carry your arms regular, you may get snaps with much less in the best way of noise and undersaturation than you get with rivals.

General, it’s not a clear phone photography champ. Nearer inspection reveals that theiPhone 6 Plus’ 8MP camera can take barely punchier, extra balanced photos with a greater range of tones. However add a transparent and brilliant 3.7MP f/1.9 front going through camera and smooth video as much as 4K, and the Note 4 continues to be a incredible all-spherical smartphone snapper.

The essential camera controls are easy to sufficient to the touch focus and press the shutter button with quick entry to HDR, decision, flash and timer controls in one or two taps. The massive 2K display makes for a really superior viewfinder, too. There are additionally guide controls tucked away and all method of extras and gimmicks when you select to make use of them, from the return of the software-primarily based selective focus to the much less helpful and slightly foolish twin camera. Talking of silly, the front camera now has a large-angle selfie mode, too. For pouts that don’t take up the entire pic.

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 4 VERDICT

The Note 4 isn’t higher than most smartphones because it’s large. However it’s higher at being large.

It could be a little bit overpacked with options, however sufficient of them make correct use of the additional display screen actual property to make sure it is a system that you simply use otherwise to a ‘normal’ phone – and isn’t that the purpose of phablet?

The iPhone 6 Plus looks like merely an embiggened iPhone 6 by comparability, whereas the simply-introduced Nexus 6 goes to have its work cut out to justify its 6in display screen to fairly the identical extent.

The design’s unlikely to take anybody to gadget bliss (you continue to want HTC or Apple for that), however that doesn’t should matter. The purpose is that the Note 4 is best made and simpler to like than virtually any earlier Samsung phone, and that’s one thing to get excited about.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 tech specs

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