Galaxy Note 4: Specs & Features to expect and crave

Note 4

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Earlier this week Samsung sent out invites to IFA that all but confirm the inevitable: the Note 4 is coming. Back in 2011 Samsung unveiled the first device in a new genre of phones/tablets that we now call “phablets.” The original Note was met with skepticism. Would people buy such a ridiculously big device? History tells us that they would, and ever since then we’ve seen a new Note every year.

This year at IFA we will see the 4th edition of the Galaxy Note. Rumors started popping up about this device back in April. A few details have leaked out since then, and of course there are plenty of rumors to read. We’re less than a month away from Samsung officially “unpacking” this new phablet. Lets take a look at everything we know, think we know, and expect from the Galaxy Note 4.

Galaxy Note 4 Specs

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Rose Gold Verizon Wireless.jpg

There have not been tons of rumors about the specs of the Note 4. Luckily the main rumor involves the most important part of this device: the display. Back in May we heard that the Note 4 will have a 5.7-inch display, just like the Note 3. The big difference will come in the screen resolution. Samsung will bump it up to 2560 x 1440 from 1920 x 1080. This will give the Note 4′s display 515 ppi. With a screen this big it’s very important to have a high screen resolution. The Note 4′s display should look great.

Other rumors point to two versions of the device being available, one with Exynos and the other with Qualcomm. The Exynos processor will feature Cortex A57 and A53 cores. The Qualcomm processor will have the Snapdragon 805. A couple of other rumors have claimed the Note 4 will have a 16MP camera and the display will be curved. Let’s recap the rumored specs:

  • 5.7-inch Quad HD displays
  • 2560 x 1440 screen resolution (515 ppi)
  • Exynos Cortex A57 & A53
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
  • 16MP camera with OIS

What We Expect

Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

The easiest way to describe what we expect to see from the Not 4 is to imagine a Galaxy S5, but bigger. Samsung usually updated the Note series to match the specs of the latest Galaxy S device. We expect them to do the same thing with the new Note. They will add a fingerprint scanner, heart-rate monitor, dust and water proofing, a better camera, 3GB of RAM, and it will come in gold. No real surprises there.

The heart-rate monitor, fingerprint sensor, and “life-proof” features of the Galaxy S5 were big selling points. It only makes sense for the Note 4 to have the same features. We expect Samsung to announce some improvements to these features, especially the fingerprint sensor. The version on the S5 doesn’t work as well as the sensor on the iPhone. Many reviews had problems with it, so we’re hoping Samsung will address it.

“No surprises” has been the theme of Samsung devices lately. Both the Note and Galaxy S have seen incremental updates, despite the begging of the tech community to try something new. The Note 4 could be the first Samsung device in a while to get a new design, but more on that in a bit. To put our expectations bluntly, we expect to see a big phone with a Samsung logo. We are crossing our fingers for Samsung to blow us away with something special again, but not expecting anything.

New Design?

galaxy-note 4-concept-2014

Last year Samsung introduced us all to “faux leather” on the Note 3. The plastic battery cover was given a leather texture with fake stitching around the edges. Samsung did this in hopes of creating a premium aesthetic. With the Galaxy S5 they tried yet another texture on their plastic backing, but this time it looked more like a band-aid. What will they do with the Note 4?

In April we got a hold of a patent filed by Samsung, and the sketch of the device in the filing shows a brand new form. The back still appears to have the fake leather texture and stitching, but the shape of the device is all new. The edges of the display seem to be curved, and there is a “metal” casing that wraps around the back. The closest comparison would be the Samsung Captivate.

If Samsung does use this brand new design it would be a major step in the right direction. The Samsung Captivate was easily the nicest looking Galaxy S device for a long time. We would also love to see Samsung ditch the physical “Home” button in favor of virtual keys. By doing this they could reduce the bezel even more, which is important on such a large device.

The Plastic Problem

samsung

It’s hard to talk about Samsung devices without mentioning plastic. In fact we’ve already talked about it a little in the section above. It’s no mystery that Samsung loves to use plastic. Actually, it’s no mystery that almost every phone manufacturer uses plastic. You never hear people complaining about the plastic-y feel of a Moto X, LG G3, or even Nokia Lumia. Why is that?

The type of plastic Samsung chooses to use for their devices feels cheap. It attracts fingerprints and has some give to it when you press down with a finger on the battery cover. The fact of the matter is Samsung phones are no cheaper or fragile than most other smartphones. Still, many Samsung devices are harped on for feeling cheap and poorly built. Samsung needs to fix this.

We’re aware that it’s probably unlikely that Samsung will come out with a metal Note 4. We have accepted that Samsung is a company who doesn’t want to give their customers the “perfect” device. When they did release a phone with a metal body it had only a 720p display. There will always be sacrifices made. What we hope for is Samsung to use higher quality plastic and build. Plastic doesn’t need to feel cheap, and neither does the Note 4.

What are you craving?

samsung note the date 2014

The Note series has surpassed all expectations to become one of the most popular Android devices. They are great for people who want big screens, the ability to take notes, have trouble reading small text, or just want a slightly more pocketable tablet. No matter what happens at Samsung’s IFA event in September a lot of people will buy the Note 4. However, it might not be as many as usual.

We’ve talked about the rumored specs, shared our expectations, and gushed about design. Now it’s time to hear from you. What does Samsung need to do with the Note 4 to get you interested? How do you feel about the current design of the Note series? What specs are you hoping to see? Be sure to join the Note 4 conversation in our forums!

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  • Dr. Mark Lipschitz

    Upgrade in hand… waiting to see what they actually put on the table. I hope it is something special.

    • The one

      I don’t think we will really see much of anything special any more. It’s becoming like the desktop computer market where just about every phone is powerful enough to do the tasks most people need.

      • PoisonApple31

        I just love all these “power users” hammering away on Facebook.

  • AA-Ron

    What about better speakers? That’s been an area that a lot of manufacturers have been ignoring for a long time.

    • Borhg Borghu

      HTC One speakers are amazing!

    • d ! ks

      Not HTC. ;-))

    • The one

      Really seems like a pointless feature to waste resources on. They will never be as good as small bluetooth speakers or good ole headphones.

      • AA-Ron

        Speakers aren’t as important as having that crisp beautiful screen and amazing camera. However, imagine if they could cram some decent stereo speakers into your phone, on par with some of the small Bluetooth speakers that are out now. That’s one less device that you have to worry about carrying around and charging.

        • hohopig

          NAh, to me that is just another thing that will hog the power. And like most people, if I need to listen to music, or watch movie or do anything that requires good audio for an extended period of time, I will either use a ear bud or pair it with my blue tooth speaker

          • DDroid45

            What you mean most people, most people don’t watch movies on their phone for extensive time periods unless on a plane or a train or bus and then you will use ear buds not Bluetooth speakers, most people watch short videos, play a game or check out a song real quick and good speakers like on the M8 is more than useful and a worthy hardware specc

    • PoisonApple31

      We don’t need bigger bezels thanks to front facing speakers.

  • Defenestratus

    I have the note 3 now. It took a while for me not to vomit everytime I had to use touchwiz. I got rid of most of it but you can’t ever totally get rid of it (contacts, dialer, settings menus).

    I’d like to see the design up there – without a physical home button. But we all know thats *NEVER* going to happen.

    Basically, I could care least about the fleather. I could care less about the plastic, I could care less about the actual shape – but every time I touch that physical home button, I feel like I’m using my old Droid X from 2010.

    • Paul Monroe, Jr.

      I’m with you about the design. That and having a micro SD card slot would be the sole reason I would get a Note 4. I think it’s already a given that I’ll have a good processor and at least 3 gigs of ram.

    • Jesse James

      Well said but lets face it, that home button ain’t going anywhere.

    • PoisonApple31

      Samsung has always had the home button since the first Galaxy S, they just didn’t force it on the US until the Galaxy SIII.

      Why would they change that up when it is a staple for them?

  • whirly89

    4gb of ram please

    • DDroid45

      Why

      • Jesse James

        Touch Wiz

        • DDroid45

          You think it takes all that RAM to run touch wiz, Noooope, if Samsung learn something called optimization, they could run touch wiz, with just 2gigs

          • uniquename72

            Yes, it does take all that RAM to run TouchWiz, because it’s crap software.

          • DDroid45

            Ok, well I do agree with you on that, Samsung shouldn’t increase ram, they honestly should focus on software and volume quality

          • Fuzzypaw

            If Samsung learned how to optimize, sure, that’d be true! But they haven’t and won’t.

          • DDroid45

            And that’s y I don’t buy their products

      • whirly89

        Because the more available ram the less lag that affects the phone

        • DDroid45

          The more available the more features will be added resulting in lag and hiccups anyway… Touchwiz needs optimizing

          • ReverseRoxas

            Well, maybe we should put it a different way. No matter what you do, if you increase load on a CPU or have too many cached processes in the background of a device, it will be slower than it should be. No matter how good the processor and RAM, that added crud will bog it down. Touchwiz can be optimized for better day to day performance, yes, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t end up slowing down the phone. Even stock Android can be slow unless properly optimized (Which is the case between Vanilla ROMs such as CM and AOKP) and that’s just something we all have to expect and also accept.

  • Steven58

    Nice article, Joe. TY.

  • dreadnatty08

    The Note 3 already has 3Gb of RAM so not sure why it’d be considered an upgrade? Perhaps ya meant 4Gb?

  • Guest

    Bahahaha 200 votes in that poll and not a single user chose Heart Rate Monitor!

  • No_Nickname90

    Meh. A bigger battery doesn’t solve the battery issue. It just allows me to have Google Now for a few hours more. LoL!!

  • The one

    Eh, forget all this metal vs plastic garbage. I just want it to have a QHD display, water resistance, and a better battery than the Note 3.

    • PoisonApple31

      QHD is fantastic and since YouTube allows it on Android now, you can actually find QHD content to watch on your phone!

    • Defenestratus

      You have a problem on your Note 3?

      I get like 2.5 days of charge out of mine.

    • Logan

      If they go with a QHd then I hope they have the battery/software optimized for it. If I’m playing games on my G3 it doesn’t make it through the day. I don’t really care, but it would be nice not to have to charge mid day.

  • Squeak

    I’m expecting a much bigger focus on drawing and art. Notice how the invite has a hand drawn appearance. The Note 3 was a lot awesome but lacking in a few areas. I won’t go into my opinions of Touchwiz, but it was definitely lacking when it came to signal strength. Mine was fine in areas that have excellent coverage, but if you ventured out of the city or into a block building would lose coverage far sooner than my wife’s iPhone 5 and the Droid Maxx that replaced it. I also had problems with inconsistent battery life, it would be great one day and terrible the next. I won’t be buying another Samsung phone anytime soon.

    • Marc Perrusquia

      Based on your description I really think you got a defective model.

      • hohopig

        I concur with you. The battery life seems a bit weird. With the same usage, my note 3′s battery life is quote consistent. Of course total battery life can varies from 12 – 13 hours (from very heavy usage) to 30+ hour (from very low usage).

        • Squeak

          I think the battery life issue was tied to the signal issues. I know searching for signal, switching between 1x, 3G, and 4G uses more battery than just having consistent signal. There were times when I would get my phone out of my pocket an hour or two after taking it off the charger and my battery percentage would already be in the 80′s. other times it would be above 95%. I also had a battery issue tied to using an SD card. If the card was inserted it would cause “Android OS” and “Android System” to suck a large percentage of my battery. It may have been a formatting issue, but I found it easier to just ditch the card since I still had plenty of unused storage on the phone. I picked up the Droid Maxx while I was struggling to get the phone replaced under warranty and really liked it. Once they finally replaced the Note 3 I went back to it for a few days and the signal was better than the defective phone, but still not on par with the Maxx. In the end I liked the MAXX better and chose to keep it and sell the Note.

  • Philly Jim

    I’m really Hoping Sammy bring’s out the Big Guns, I love my Note 3 , but is the Note 4 going to a superior upgrade ,enough to drop another 700 , Guess we’ll see I’m really looking to buy one……….

  • NexusKoolaid

    GPE please!

  • Toasted_Cracker

    Stereo speakers on the bottom like the One Plus would be nice. A bigger battery is always welcome. Adding a eraser to the s-pen would also be very nice.

  • anonymously_redacted

    Okay, I’m probably spitting into the wind here, but who cares about plastic? Seriously, jaded reviewers aside, who honestly cares? There are precious few people foolish enough to go caseless. Once you’ve slapped a case in the phone, the build material becomes irrelevant. I cannot understand it.

    I carry both an M8 and a Note 3 (work and personal respectively). The M8 is provided to me at 0 liability if it breaks and will be gone after 3 months. Suffice to say, no money was spent on a case. That mother is slicker than a jailhouse bar of soap. There is NO chance in hell I’d have a metal phone line that without a case of it were my personal phone.

    My Note, on the other hand, sits nicely in its Seidio case. Whatever feelings one has any the build material, you phone becomes the case. That’s fixable.

    • uniquename72

      Agreed. I don’t use a case on my GS4 because plastic phones can handle rougher treatment, and the glass won’t crack as easily. Also, I’ve never seen a metal phone with a removable battery & microSD card, and I won’t buy a phone without those.

      • Joey

        Htc Desire Z said hello from the other world.

      • hkklife

        Droid X and X2?

    • Fuzzypaw

      As the article points out, the problem isn’t plastic but crappy plastic. There are higher grades of plastic available that would keep all the advantages of a plastic phone without feeling like a flimsy piece of crap that will chip at the slightest opportunity (as my Note 2 has).

      • hohopig

        FYI the plastic used in Note 3 and S2 is NOT cheap at all. A cheap plastic will not have such flexural strength to withstand repeated bending motion (with a radius of around 3 – 4 cm when I tried it myself) up to 180 degree from its original position. That is one of the rare piece of plastic component that, in my own experience, have been able to exhibit such durability.

        And note 3′s plastic, while I am of two mind about the texture, is no slough either. Compared to the faux metallic coating at the side (which is highly unnecessary IMO), the back panel has withstood abuse by keys, coins, clips as well as falling damage extremely well, without a scratch at all despite me going without a cover for the phone for 3 weeks and dropping it a few times during that period.

        And lastly and above all, please do not mistakenly think that Aluminium is a “premium” material as it is just one of the cheaper, weaker and softer metal available. As a matter of fact, it is not that much more expensive than a good grade plastic composite.

        • Gamblor77

          I have to partially disagree about the material. The faux lather back is awesome and I love the feel of it. Since I bought the black one that actually has a larger texture. However the chrome painted plastic ring around the outside is made of the shittiest, softest material ever. The rest of the phone looks perfect but that ring looks like it has been through 3 tours of Vietnam. Why would they make the flashiest part of the phone the easiest to damage? Even if they kept the rest 100% the same and made that ring out of a GOOD grade polycarbonate or some kind of metal it would be awesome
          … but the soft Fisher Price crap annoys me. Because I’m ocd I may upgrade to the Note 4 if they actually make it from better material and added a 16mp OIS. Only if the 16mp option actually takes 16mp photos with a proper aspect ratio. I don’t want to be limited to set it down to 9mp because the 16mp only does 3:2 instead of 16:9. That’s the other major annoyance of my Note 3.

      • ronk2010

        I am still using the s3 I preordered. Take it out of my otterbox commuter and it looks like it did comming out of the box.

    • andrew__des_moines

      The fake chrome bumper is the only part I take issue with — ugly and guaranteed to look two years old after two weeks.

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      Only the apple-loving hipster snobs seem to care about “premium metal feel”. Everybody else (and even most of the snobs) just end up putting the phone inside a plastic case anyway.

    • LiterofCola

      Just because you like slapping cases on your phone doesn’t mean everybody else does or should.

      • The T-Mo Guy

        Well when your phone falls and is cracked or scuffed, we DON’T want to hear you whine and show pictures of it. Awww how sad!!!

    • Martin B

      I don’t think the Note 4 will have a metal case, and I am just fine with that.

    • Captain Obvious

      Well the problem is sites like this one keep calling it “plastic”. Samsung uses polycarbonate – a very premium material that is stronger, lighter, and wears better than the aluminum used in competitors. Other places one could find polycarbonate include: commercial airline windshields, cockpit of fighter jets, safety glasses, and bullet proof glass.

  • Fel Pe

    Me want it !!!! Here’s 700 bucks!

  • andrew__des_moines

    I have a Note 3 and I had a Captivate. The Capi was fugly and should not be imitated. One of the worst design cues OEM’s have been embracing — with lack of anything inspiring — is the large radii on the top and bottom. I hope Samsung doesn’t go this route just to do something different.

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      My wife was still happily using my old cyanogenmod’d Captivate until just YESTERDAY when the internal flash storage finally gave up the ghost (got her an unlocked Moto X to replace it (for only $225)).

  • metalspy8

    original note 3 had 3 gigabytes of Ram ,…YOu meant 4 gigs..idiot

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    My next phablet will feature: NO PHYSICAL BUTTONS wasting precious bezel space, so, keeping my Note 3 until that requirement is met (possibly with the Shamu, or G4)

  • LiterofCola

    Meh

  • Philip

    What upgrade would you like to see on the Note 4. There is no selection for “Front speaker”. :-(

  • Martin B

    For me, it’s all about the Camera and the screen. I know the screen will not disappoint. Hopefully the Camera will be a significant improvement from ones in the past. If the rumors are true that Sony is involved in the production of the camera. That is a very good sign.

  • Martin B

    I would love to see the Note 4 case beautifully carved from one piece of Titanium with a separate back to access the battery.

  • mitch molina

    things freeze i would like to take out the battery