It only took 5 years but Apple is now back to parity with Samsung when it comes to screen-size. With that in mind, Samsung is now under even more pressure to make sure that they deliver a hit with the Galaxy Note 4.
Did Samsung deliver the goods? Letís check it out:
What about the Note 3?
On paper, the difference between the Note 3 and 4 is minimal. The screen resolution is higher and you get a newer SoC. Both cameras receive a bump in resolution plus you get a fingerprint reader, UV sensor, heart rate monitor and fast charging.
As it turns out, the Note 4 is a noticeable upgrade from the 3. While the extra screen resolution doesnít really make any difference, the screen itself is a big improvement. It looks more natural and whites are cleaner though also introduces some noticeable off-angle colour shift.
Performance is more or less the same because all the extra performance is eaten up by the extra screen resolution.
The camera is a big step forward in terms of image quality. You also get an optically stabilized lens.
The fingerprint reader is usable and a nice thing to have. The UV sensor, heart rate monitor and fast charger are also nice but I think most people arenít going to use them.
However, the biggest difference between the 2 is how they feel in your hand. The 4 has an exposed metal frame which really makes it feel much more expensive.
Bottom line, if you have a Note 3 and are happy with it, keep it. However, if you drop the money and upgrade to the 4, chances are youíll be happy.
What about the iPhone 6 Plus?
The biggest problem with the Note 4 is that while itís a brilliant device with no significant weaknesses, you can now buy an iPhone thatís more or less the same size.
Now let me give credit where credit is due; Samsung has done a great job designing and marketing their Galaxy line up. That being said, at least part of their success is because up until now, their phones are an alternative for people who want something bigger than an iPhone.
|Release date||Phone||Screen size||size difference
over existing iPhone
|Q3 2009||iPhone 3Gs||3.5"|
|Q2 2010||Galaxy S||4"||+0.5"|
|Q3 2010||iPhone 4||3.5"|
|Q2 2011||Galaxy S II||4.3/4.5"||+0.8/1.0"|
|Q3 2011||iPhone 4s||3.5"|
|Q3 2011||Galaxy Note||5.3"||+1.8"|
|Q2 2012||Galaxy S III||4.8"||+1.3"|
|Q3 2012||iPhone 5||4"|
|Q3 2012||Galaxy Note 2||5.5"||+1.5"|
|Q1 2013||Galaxy S4||5"||+1"|
|Q3 2013||iPhone 5s||4"|
|Q3 2013||Galaxy Note 3||5.7"||+1.7"|
|Q1 2014||Galaxy S5||5.1"||+1.1"|
|Q3 2014||iPhone 6 Plus||5.5"|
|Q3 2014||Galaxy Note 4||5.7"||+0.2"|
Both have metal bodies so itís hard to pick one over the other. I prefer holding the Note 4 because it feels more substantial. The 6 Plus is a bit too thin for my tastes. Iím also not a fan of of the curved edges on the Plusí display - it just feels really cheesy. The Note 4 also has curved edges but itís not as exaggerated as the Plusí.
Then again, if weíre going to talk cheese, the 4 has a faux leather back. Itís a toss up here.
As for the displays, itís also a toss up. The Plus is better off-angle and has more natural looking colour. The 4 display has deeper blacks and more contrast.
In case youíre wondering, why I didnít mention resolution, thatís because for all intents and purposes, itís not important when comparing the 2 because both are incredibly sharp. Actually, when I look closely, I prefer the Plusí display because the 4ís is laid out in a PenTile arrangement so solid colours looks grainy up close - not that youíd ever notice this unless you looked really hard.
As for the cameras, Iíd give the Plus an edge. While it has lower resolution, I get more keepers when I use it. If you take a lot of selfies Iíd also prefer the Plus since the 4ís wide-angle front facing camera is weird to use plus it makes you look 10lbs heavier if you use it up close.
On the software front, itís an iOS vs Android and Touchwiz decision. Some people love iOS and think Android is the worst thing ever and others feel the opposite. Iím going to sit this one out not take sides.
I guess, since weíre talking about Samsung here I need to talk about the Ďextrasí. The fingerprint reader, UV sensor and heart rate monitor specifically. I prefer the Plusí fingerprint reader because itís easier to use but then again, the 4ís isnít exactly hard to use.
As for the heart rate monitor - letís just say that I havenít used the one built into my GS5 in months. If i wanted to monitor my heart rate I would just buy a fitness band with one built in. Some, will find it useful, Iím betting most wonít.
As for the UV sensor, I also think that while some will use it, even more wonít.
I donít use the S-Pen and Iím guessing those who do use it, can be served just as well with a regular capacitive stylus.
Performance-wise, itís a toss up. While the Plus does better in benchmarks, the benchmarks donít reveal one big problem with the Plus; it only comes with 1GB of RAM.
When you use a Plus and switch programs, a lot of the time you have to wait for the program to re-launch when you switch back. Itís especially noticeable if youíre playing games and it really annoys the hell out of me. With 3GB of RAM, the Note 4 almost never has to relaunch anything.
Then thereís the fast charging. Itís a cool feature but you know what? The Note 4 has a 3220mAh battery - a lot of people arenít going to need to charge it halfway through the day. I guess it could be useful if you forget to charge your phone regularly.
Price-wise, in Canada the Note 4 is going to be $799 unlocked or $299 on contract (on Bell) while the 6 Plus is $859 unlocked or $359 on contract. Keep in mind that at that price is the Note 4 comes with 32GB of storage while the 6 Plus only gets 16GB.
Unless you're the type of user who doesn't load many apps on their phone, 16GB of storage is much too small. A more reasonable 6 Plus is the 64GB variant that costs $969/484.99.
So now we're talking $969 vs $799. I'll be totally honest, while the 6 Plus is an amazing device, paying $170 more for it is a total rip-off.
In the US, the pricing is a little closer. On AT&T the Note 4 is going to be $799/299 while the T-Mobile 64GB 6 Plus is $849 before financing while an AT&T locked one is $399 on contract.
Paying $50 USD more for a 64GB 6 Plus is much more reasonable.
Anyways, if you want an iPhone and a big screen then you now have more choice. That being said, Samsung is ready and has really upped their game with the Note 4.
What about the Galaxy S5?
Back when the original Note came out, the difference between it and the Galaxy S II was very pronounced. 5.3Ē on a 16:10 display is a lot bigger than the GSIIís 4.3Ē. However, since the Note 2, the size difference between the Note and Galaxy S line has been shrinking. On top of that, phones in general have been increasing in size to the point that even $150 phones come with 5Ē high definition displays.
While the GS5 is smaller than the Note 4, the difference between them isnít THAT big to the point that now theyíve become competitors.
If you can afford it, go with the Note 4 for its metal frame and extra storage. There are other differences between them but those are the 2 worth mentioning.
- 5.7Ē SuperAMOLED display
- 2560x1440 resolution
- 2.66Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage (24.4GB available to the user)
- 16MP camera with auto focus, LED flash and optical image stabilization
- 3.7MP front facing camera with 90 degree angle
- MicroSD slot
- 3220mAh battery
- Quick charge support
- S-Pen stylus
- Fingerprint reader
- Heart rate sensor
- UV meter