As expected, Samsung has taken the wraps off its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 4. The phablet that lots of people have been waiting for has just been officially introduced during Samsung’s IFA 2014 press conference.The four differentiators from the rest of the Galaxy Note models are the display, multitasking, the S Pen and the camera. Design-wise, Samsung confirmed that it kept the same form factor of the previous model, including the soft-texture back cover, but added a premium metal frame.
In addition, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with 2.5D glass screen. Previous Samsung smartphones featured the same 2.5D glass, but according to the company, the one embedded into the Galaxy Note 4 model has been improved to offer greater protection.
Next in line, the multitasking function has been improved as well over the previous Galaxy Note smartphones. Given the fact that Note owners preferred to use the multitasking feature with the Recent apps key because it was easier than the Samsung Multi Window feature, the South Korean company refined its own software and made it better and more intuitive to use.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 users will be able to choose how to access their apps with full, split or pop-up screens, and then change the size and positioning of apps on the screen with a single swipe.
The S Pen has been further enhanced to offer even more capabilities than the one included in the Galaxy Note 3 model. For example, Galaxy Note 4’s S Pen now offers a more authentic pen experience with a more natural brush effect that simulates writing on paper with a fountain or calligraphy pen.
Other S Pen features such as Air Command, Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip and Smart Select have been improved as well. There’s also a brand new Smart Select feature that allows users to put together content from different places, and then share it very easily.
When it comes to camera, Samsung’s smartphones are definitely not among the best camera phones. However, with the Galaxy Note 4, the handset maker says it has focused more on the quality of the pictures and less on the number of megapixels.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with an impressive 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash and Smart OIS (optical image stabilization). One of the improvements included in the camera is the fact that it can capture brighter and clearer photos even in low light conditions.
In addition, the phablet packs a no less impressive 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera which features a special Wide Selfie mode that allows users to capture more people in a selfie photo. That’s possible thanks to the f1.9 aperture that offers a default 90 degrees shooting angle and up to 120 degree wide angle.
Hardware-wise, the Galaxy Note 4 is armed with a powerful 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, but Samsung has announced that another model powered by its octa-core Exynos 5433 chipset that accommodates a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU will also be available.
The phone’s processor will be complemented by 3GB of RAM and no less than 32GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 64GB via microSD card slot.
Another strong point of the Galaxy Note 4 is the stunning 5.7-inch Super AMOLED Quad HD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution.
Depending on the country, the phablet may feature LTE Cat 4 (150Mbps/50Mbps) or LTE Cat 6 (300Mbps/50Mbps). Other connectivity options include 3G HSPA+ (42Mbps), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC (Near Field Communication), IR Blaster, USB 2.0, MHL 3.0 and GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS.
The Galaxy Note 4 measures 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm and weighs only 176 g (battery included). Speaking of battery, Samsung says that the 3220 mAh Li-Ion removable battery features Fast Charging function, which means it will charge to 50% in about 30 minutes.
Samsung also claims that even though the Galaxy Note 4 comes with improved hardware in comparison with the previous model, the phone’s battery actually lasts more.
Due to the fact that all the components are more advanced technologically, Galaxy Note 4’s battery should offer 7.5% better efficiency than Galaxy Note 3, even if the former comes with a Quad HD display.
Software-wise, Samsung's flagship smartphone will ship with the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system out of the box, as well as with lots of free premium apps and games.
If all the new features mentioned earlier did not convince you to buy the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung brings another alternative to those looking for a phablet that would stand out.
The Galaxy Note Edge is another version of Galaxy Note 4, but with slightly different features. The most important one is the curved display that allows owners to use it in ways that they could only imagine.
The phone measures 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3 mm and weighs 174 g (battery included). The phone’s curved 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display supports Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution, just like the Galaxy Note 4.
On the inside, the Galaxy Note Edge is equipped with the same 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 64GB through the microSD card slot.
It sports the same 16-megapixel camera on the back, which features autofocus, Smart OIS, LED flash and video recording, as well as a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video calls.
Connectivity-wise, it packs the same options as the Galaxy Note 4, including LTE (Cat 4 or Cat 6), 3G HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC (Near Field Communication), IR Blaster and GPS.
Another difference between the two Galaxy Note phablets is the fact that the Galaxy Note Edge is powered by a slightly lower 3000 mAh Li-Ion battery, which comes with the same Fast Charging function.
Obviously, the selling point of the Galaxy Note Edge is the unique curved display that provides quick access to frequently used apps and games, alerts, emails and other functions of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge owners can receive notifications directly on the so-called Edge Screen while doing something else like watching videos. You can also customize the Edge Screen to display certain themes or just the clock.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be available for purchase in Charcoal Black, Frost White, Bronze Gold and Blossom Pink in global markets beginning October. The Galaxy Note Edge will only be available in Charcoal Black and Frost White in select markets sometime later this year.