The Galaxy Note 4 was one of the last big launches of this year, following the likes of the Apple iPhone 6 (and the 6 Plus), the HTC One (M8), Sony Xperia Z2 and Z3 and LG G3, among others.
In the midst of such stiff competition, all eyes were on Samsung, which started the ‘phablet’ trend with its first Note phone, to come up with a device that could hold its own.
The one thing that the Korean company certainly got right in its new Note 4 is the display; the device’s 5.7-inch screen, although sized the same as its predecessor, now comes packed with a superior, beefed-up Quad HD Super AMOLED display, which offers users brilliant colours and perfect clarity.
Hayssam Yasssine, head of Telecommunications at Samsung Gulf Electronics, asserted to Gulf Business that it is the “best of its kind in the market.”
One of the other interesting features about the device is its stylus, the S Pen. Specifically targeting the Middle East market, the Note 4’s S Pen comes with Arabic recognition technology, and is also billed as being more intuitive to the user’s writing style. We liked what it can do on web pages, and it is certainly a plus for a person who is used to taking notes.
In terms of design, the phone feels a bit more premium with a metal rim surrounding the outer edge. Samsung has also given the rear a leather-style finish, but it is unmistakably still plastic, and at 176g and measuring 8.5mm thick, the device may start to weigh on your hand, especially during prolonged camera usage.
Talking about the camera, the Note 4 comes with a 16MP rear camera with smart optical image stabilisation, which takes great photos. The device also comes with a new ‘wide selfie’ feature, which basically lets a user take a panoramic shot with the 3.7MP front camera.
We were impressed with the range that our ‘wide-selfie’ photo captured, but the main subject appeared to get distorted in medium-light conditions.
In terms of other specs, the Note 4 comes with 32GB internal memory and 3GB RAM. Operating on Android 4.4 (KitKat), it runs on a 2.7 GHz Quad-Core processor, which is fairly fast.
The 3220 mAh battery lasts for a long time, but note that watching too much video on sites such as YouTube could cause over-heating.
Features such as Multi Windows are a nice-add-on, and the S-Voice works better than some of its rivals in the market. The S-Health Tool also proved useful, although deleting data from it turned out be far more complicated than expected.
Available in four colours including black, white, gold and pink, the Note 4 works for those looking for a big phone that delivers on look and feel.
But the device is king-sized in every way; priced at Dhs2,799 in the UAE, it certainly doesn’t come cheap. And while there are some modifications from its predecessor, they may not be persuasive enough to convince a Note 3 user to make the switch.
And then there’s the obvious – if you are not looking for a phone that doesn’t fit into your pocket, then the Note 4 is simply not for you.