I was very excited about Samsung’s Unpacked event from a few days ago, but I can’t say the same thing in the aftermath, now that I’ve seen what the South Korean company has come up with.
After expecting at least one true innovation, I could not find anything that would make me want to upgrade from the Galaxy Note 3 to the newly announced successor.
On paper, Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s specs have been boosted in all aspects, but the upgrades do not seem to bring any real advantages when it comes to user experience.
Let’s start from the beginning. The Galaxy Note 4 is heavier, larger and thicker than the Galaxy Note 3. It’s 0.2mm thicker and 8g heavier, but let’s say that this is something that lots of Galaxy Note users might not notice if they are used to carrying such big devices with them all the time.
Even though both Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4 pack 5.7-inch Super AMOLED displays, the latter comes with a QHD screen that supports 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. While this does sound incredibly cool on paper, it doesn’t bring any benefits to the user experience, on the contrary.
Apart from the fact that you will hardly notice any differences between the full HD display of the Galaxy Note 3 and that of the Note 4, the QHD display will drain your battery even faster.
Whatever Samsung or other handset manufacturers will tell you in presentations about these QHD displays, no matter how hard they try to make it more battery efficient, they will still suck more energy than full HD displays.
During Samsung’s Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event from Berlin, the company’s officials talked quite a lot about the “new” S Pen, how it was enhanced to mimic better handwriting while using it on the phone’s display and how you can do even more things with it on the new Galaxy Note 4.
Well, who cares about the S Pen? I’ve never seen anyone using it on their Galaxy Note phablets and I’m pretty sure that a very small percentage of people actually use it at its full potential.
So why is this even part of the Galaxy Note launch if people barely use it? Perhaps Samsung wants you to use this gimmick or perhaps due to the fact that the company did not have anything else to tell us about the Galaxy Note 4?
Now let’s talk a little about the phone’s hardware. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 packs the latest Qualcomm chipset for high-end devices, the quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.7GHz.
However, Samsung also made its own Exynos 5433 chipset for a variation of the Galaxy Note 4, which accommodates an octa-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz. Both versions of the phablet come with 3GB of RAM.
The amount of RAM is the same as in the Galaxy Note 3 and the Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz that’s been included in this model is powerful enough for anything you might throw at it (apps, games).
I agree, it’s nice to have another, more powerful processor inside each flagship smartphone. In fact, this might be the only improvement that some Galaxy Note 3 owners might take into consideration for a Galaxy Note 4 upgrade.
Moving on to the camera, we all know how crappy Samsung’s cameras are in comparison to competition such as Nokia and Apple.
Even though Samsung has bragged about the fact that it’s not about the number of megapixels, but the technology and components behind the camera, during the Galaxy Note 4 launch event, the phablet was announced with a 16-megapixel main camera.
This is a slight improvement in the amount of megapixels over the Galaxy Note 3, which packs a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. I have the feeling that, except for the higher number of megapixels, the Galaxy Note 4’s camera has the same features as the Galaxy Note 3’s.
In fact, this has already been confirmed in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 full specs sheet. Seriously Samsung? You decide to put the same mediocre camera that allows the competition to laugh at you since forever, and then you give us a speech on how it’s not the number of megapixels that counts?
Oh well, perhaps Samsung Galaxy Note users don’t want the same high-quality imaging technology that Nokia puts into its phones. Perhaps they want to be able to take only mediocre shots while on the move.
But the camera isn’t the biggest problem of the Galaxy Note 4. It’s the battery that will probably make it a flop. The good news is Galaxy Note 4 comes with a slightly higher-capacity 3220 mAh battery.
But the bad news is that it has only been improved by 20 mAh over the Galaxy Note 3 model, although Samsung added lots of hardware components that should require more energy, like the QHD display, a more powerful processor and LTE Cat.6 (300Mbps) support.
All these and Samsung promises that your Galaxy Note 4’s battery will be 7.5% more efficient than the Galaxy Note 3’s.
When Galaxy Note 3’s battery barely lasts for one day, 7.5% doesn’t mean anything, especially when you put a QHD display inside your device. So, there you have it Galaxy Note fans, you get the same battery that doesn’t last for a day, so let’s hope you already got used to recharging your phablet every day.
Oh, speaking of which, Samsung was kind enough to allow you to charge your Galaxy Note 4’s battery faster than the previous models.
Thanks to the Fast Charging technology, Samsung claims the Note 4’s battery will charge up to 50% in about 30 minutes. Well, you’re going to need a lot of those 30-minute fast charges in order for your battery to last more than a day.
To make things even worse, the microUSB 3.0 port has been downgraded to version 2.0, so you can kiss goodbye to faster charging through USB now. Well, in fact that’s pretty stupid at so many levels.
I mean you offer Galaxy Note 4 owners the possibility to fast-charge their battery with the charge connector, but you take away a similar option using a microUSB cable? Tell me this isn’t incredibly stupid.
I haven’t got any explanations for the reasons that determined Samsung to replace the microUSB 3.0 with an older generation, but from what I hear, the company made some research and reached the conclusion that most users weren’t familiar with the microUSB 3.0 feature, so they decided that the number of those interested was too small for the feature to be worth putting in the Note 4 as well. Sounds typical for Samsung, right?
I would be very happy to be wrong about all that's written above, but I have a feeling that most readers will agree with me and that’s not a good thing for Samsung. Hit me up with your comments below and tell me why are you still excited about the Galaxy Note 4.