Aug 7th, 2014

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


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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