[IFA 2014] Samsung announces Galaxy Note 4

Photo Credit: The Verge

Yes, it’s finally here. The update to last year’s wildly popular phablet, the Note 4 is doing everything to fix the shortcomings of the Note 3 – of which there were many – and at first glance, it has done so quite a fair bit.

Everything has been what we’ve expected, if you’ve allowed yourself to ride to roller-coaster of leaks that have been gushing out for quite a while now. The display, as predicted, is a 5.7 inch 2K resolution (1440p) Quad-HD Super AMOLED panel, and the fingerprint scanner and heart-rate monitor from the Galaxy S5 also feature.

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However, unlike what was being predicted, the Note 4 camera doesn’t sacrifice resolution for OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation). The new module is a 16 MP one, and in what is a first for Samsung, includes OIS which we first saw go mainstream with the HTC One (M7) back in March 2013. The front-facing camera also sees a bump to 3.7 MP.

Thankfully, the Note 4 is the first flagship device from Samsung you cannot lambast for being chock-full of plastic. Gone is the tacky faux-leather rear and chromed plastic band around the periphery of the chassis. The Note 4 has replaced it with a textured, soft-touch leather-like finish without the faux stitching that was on the Note 3. Just like the Galaxy Alpha, the phablet is now ringed by a metal band rather than easily dented plastic. The band has sculpted, chamfered edges and great improves both the look and feel of the Note 4 over its predecessor.

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The Note 4 really looks like the Note 3, but what’s more joyous to see is that it has shifted towards the fantastic design we saw with the Galaxy SII. Looking more rectangular, you still won’t go gaga over the design, but it’s miles better than the ‘band-aid’ Galaxy S5.

The QHD (1440p/2K) Super AMOLED display looks nothing short of stunning. Unlike LG’s half-baked attempt at it with their G3, the Note 4’s AMOLED panel has vibrant colors, exceptionally wide viewing angles, and no visible pixels. It is also much more brighter and the screen is naturally sharp – nothing like the post-processing nonsense LG tried and failed with. Until we get a review unit though, this is all just based on a quick glance.

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Under the hood, we see the brand-new quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 humming along at 2.5 GHz alongside 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage and a micro-SD card slot. The battery capacity has seen an incremental increase to 3220 mAh, and it can now charge from zero to 50 percent capacity in just 30 minutes, while the Note 3 took 55 minutes. What’s better is that it does so with the standard microUSB 2.0 port, and doesn’t need the messy microUSB 3.0 they had in the Note 3.

The Note 4 will ship with Android 4.4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz (Samsung’s UI) slathered on top. Samsung has borrowed a couple of ideas from Android L for the Note 4’s interface, including the stacked card multitasking view. Dual-window multitasking has been improved with the ability to have various apps open in smaller windows at the same time. Among the S Pen improvements is the ability to quickly pin short notes to your homescreen. Samsung also says the S Health fitness app has been improved and enhanced for the Note 4.

Our first impression is that Samsung has really played its cards right with the Note 4. It shied away from any radical changes, yet improved on almost all that I criticised the Note 3 for. Together with LG firmly planting themselves into the phablet market with the G Pro 2 and G3, and Apple looking to introduce a 5.5 inch iPhone 6 themselves, Samsung has elevated themselves onto a really strong platform with the Note 4.

Here’s the full photo gallery of the Note 4, images courtesy of The Verge:

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