Everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 4

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The Galaxy Note 4 is official and will launch around the globe later this year, so what’s the deal with Samsung’s latest and its Galaxy Note Edge counterpart? What about the Gear S and Gear VR announced alongside it? If you missed today’s unveiling or anything along the way, here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Tell us about the specs

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, as expected, features some of the best hardware we have seen on a smartphone to date. Not only is it a substantial upgrade over last year’s Galaxy Note 3, but it also features a few noteworthy improvements over the Galaxy S5 flagship Samsung launched earlier this year. It is Samsung’s first smartphone to feature a Quad HD display and sports an impressive processing suite and large battery.

The complete rundown:

  • 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED HD display
  • 2.7GHz quad-core processor OR 1.9GHz Octa-core processor (depending on market)
  • 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, microSD up to 64GB
  • 16 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilizer, 3.7 megapixel front camera with f/1.9 aperture
  • Dual-band WiFi ac MIMI, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS w/ GLONASS, IR blaster, USB 2.0 and MHL 3.0
  • 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g
  • 3,220mAh battery
  • Improved S-Pen
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

The quad-core version of the handset should be running a Snapdragon 805, while the octa-core variant available in some regions will utilize Samsung’s Exynos platform. The Note 4 will also feature LTE Category 6 in some regions, offering the fastest cellular data speeds currently available.

Users can also take advantage of an improved fingerprint scanner, an update to another technology first introduced in the Galaxy S5.

And the software

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will once again utilize Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, in this case running on top of Android 4.4 KitKat and carrying over the updated look and feel introduced with the Galaxy S5. Of course, with the Galaxy Note 4 the emphasis is on multitasking, and Samsung has been sure to include new features to enhance productivity.

The Note 4 offers such features as Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip, and an improved version of Air Command, which gives users access to shortcuts and other actions by hovering the stylus over the phone’s display. A Smart Select function allows users to quickly select multiple lines of text or images, copy and compile them, and share. All of these functions rely on the Note 4’s S Pen, naturally.

As its name implies, the Note 4 sees no shortage of options when it comes to taking notes. S Note is available for jotting down a quick thought or sketch, Snap Note turns captured images into notes of their own, and Voice Memo records reminders when hands are tied.

How about that S Pen?

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As with every Note iteration, Samsung has once again strived to improve the S Pen experience. The latest edition of Samsung’s stylus is described as providing a “more authentic pen experience.” The S Pen is designed to mimic the strokes of a fountain or calligraphy pen, and the Note 4 should be more accurate while showcasing increased pressure sensitivity to create a realistic, responsive feel.

The S Pen sees some aesthetic changes, but as always is designed to be stowed within a slot on the Note 4. The stylus has always been a major part of using any Note handset, but with the Note 4 it seems Samsung wants to make the S Pen nearly indispensable.

What’s the Galaxy Note Edge?

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The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is a “special edition” version of the Galaxy Note 4, utilizing largely the same hardware configuration save for one major addition: Edge Screen. Edge Screen utilizes curved AMOLED technology to present users with a secondary display on the edge of their device that can showcase shortcuts, notifications and alerts, frequently accessed content and more.

Think of it as a matured version of the notification ticker introduced on the Samsung Continuum, one that functions in much the same way as a Galaxy device rocking an S View case.

Aside from Edge Screen, which Samsung hopes third-party developers keep in mind when creating apps, the Note Edge offers an identical feature set in terms of software and the S Pen stylus.

The Gear S? Gear VR?

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The Gear S is Samsung’s latest smartwatch, one incorporating a large curved display that conforms to the wrist. Unlike Samsung’s previous efforts, the Gear S is designed to be capable of standalone functionality with built-in 3G support and the ability to place phone calls directly from the device. It doesn’t get more Dick Tracey than that. The Gear S, however, isn’t intended to replace the smartphone, and its Tizen-based interface will still interface heavily with the Note 4 and other Samsung devices.

As for the Gear VR, this is a virtual reality headset that for some time now has been rumored as Samsung’s Google Glass competitor. That isn’t quite the case, as the Gear VR (the VR stands for virtual reality, obviously) actually is more akin to the Oculus Rift. In fact, the Gear VR relies on technology developed by Oculus to make the device a reality, but with a Samsung twist.

You see, the Gear VR’s display is actually the Galaxy Note 4, which is inserted into the headset and positioned in front of the eyes to create immersive experiences like movie theater mode. Your videos are presented in front of you on the virtual big screen, but if you look around you will see actual theater seats to your left, right, and behind.

Gimmicky? Maybe, but Samsung is putting faith in VR as one of the next technology frontiers, and they are offering plenty of compatible content out of the gate, including games, virtual tours, and eye-popping IMAX video clips.

So when can I get it?

A specific release date for both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge has not been revealed, nor has Samsung announced pricing for either device. What we do know is that the Note 4 will launch globally, and the Note Edge will be available in select markets including the US. All four major US carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile — plan to launch both editions of the phone. U.S. Cellular will launch the Galaxy Note 4, as well.

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