Samsung’s line of Galaxy Note devices has set the standard for big-screened smartphones in the U.S. when its Galaxy Note 3, which launched last fall, hit 10 million units sold in just two months.
With the Galaxy Note 4, which Samsung introduced Wednesday, the company hopes to build on that success by adding a sharper screen, a more premium metal frame, and a few other nifty features.
Samsung is pushing the Note 4’s super-sharp Quad HD 2560 x 1440 resolution display as its standout feature. Although the screen is the same size as the Galaxy Note 3’s (5.7 inches diagonally), Samsung has crammed more pixels per square inch, which should make images appear incredibly sharp.
For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 5S has a 4-inch screen. Samsung’ flagship Galaxy S5 phone has a 5.1-inch screen.
The Note 4 also has a metal rim that makes it feel more premium than Samsung’s previous plasticky devices. It adds a bit of weight to the phone when compared to the Note 3, but overall it’s a welcome addition. You’ll notice the faux-leather back panel introduced with the Note 3 is present on the newest model too.
Samsung has made a few improvements to the Note 4’s camera as well. Like the Galaxy S5, it comes with a 16-MP sensor, but it will also feature Optical Image Stabilisation. This eliminates blur from shaky hands while snapping photos or shooting video.
The most noticeable camera enhancement appears to be improved zooming functionality. The Note 4’s camera is capable of zooming in up to eight times, compared to the Note 3’s 4x zoom camera.
Zooming in with the Note 4 is extremely smooth too. The camera responds instantly to pinch-to-zoom gestures, and was able to hone in on an object much more quickly than the Note 3.
Samsung also claims that the Note 4’s camera takes better low light photos, and says that the front-facing camera comes with a wide angle lens for capturing a broader range.
It will also charge much more quickly than the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung says the Note 4 comes embedded with tech that can charge it up to 50% in just 30 minutes.
The look and feel of Samsung’s stylus, called the S Pen, is largely unchanged, but the company has expanded its capabilities a bit. For example, you can now copy and paste text by hovering the S Pen over text and then tracing it with the stylus tip.
Samsung’s multi-window feature, which lets you run two apps at once, is now accessible through the Recent Apps menu as well, so you’ll be able to open more than one app in separate windows on the home screen without having to exit the Recent Apps menu.
Another handy addition is the ability to resize these windows and drag and drop them as you please, similar to LG’s QSlide feature.
The Note 4 will be available on all five major U.S. carriers when it launches, but Samsung hasn’t shared specific details on pricing and availability. The Note 3 sold for $US300 on a two-year contract when it launched, so we’ll probably see the Note 4 priced similarly.
Based on our limited time with the Note 4, Samsung’s newest phablet seems like a natural progression in its already successful line. The company is touting the Note 4 as a device optimal for those with productivity needs, claiming that the ability to open apps in multiple resizeable windows combined with the S Pen make it feel sort of like using a PC.