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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs. Galaxy Note 3

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September 4, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (left) with last y...

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (left) with last year's Galaxy Note 3

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This week Samsung revealed the latest version of the world's most popular phablet, the Galaxy Note. Is it worth the upgrade over last year's model? Let Gizmag lend a hand, as we compare the features and specs of the Galaxy Note 4 and Note 3.

Size

Dimensions

Not much of a difference in size – or appearance, for that matter. The new model is just a hair longer and thicker.

Weight

Weight

The Galaxy Note 4 is also about 5 percent heavier than the Note 3. This is similar to what we saw with the Galaxy S5, as it too was a bit heavier than its predecessor.

Build

Build materials

Samsung didn't push this point very hard at its launch event, but the Galaxy Note 4 has a metallic frame wrapping around its edge. Though that might not sound like a big deal, it is a step in the "premium" direction, for a company that's known for its long-term love affair with plastic.

Colors

Color options

We're looking at four color options for the Note 4.

Display (size)

Display size

No differences here, as we're looking at the first member of the Galaxy Note family that doesn't build on the screen size of its predecessors.

With rival phablets moving into the 6-in range within the last year or two, I find this a little surprising. But on the other hand, you could argue that it's a step in the direction of improved experience taking precedence over a bigger, faster, more! mentality.

Display (resolution)

Display resolution

The Note 4's screen does pack in 78 percent more pixels. Though I enjoyed the Quad HD display on the LG G3, I don't think the difference between Quad HD and 1080p is as pronounced in experience as it is on paper.

Unlike the G3, though, the Note 4's Quad HD display uses Super AMOLED technology. It tends to produce richer colors and greater contrast than IPS LCDs.

Capacitive (below screen) buttons

Capacitive keys

In addition to the physical home button, each device has two capacitive buttons sitting below its screen. The Note 4 joins other recent Samsung devices in switching from the menu key to a recent apps key.

With the Note 4, Samsung's unique multitasking features are now tied to the recent apps button (as well as gestures). We saw some demos of this at the launch event, but will need some more time with the device to fully grasp the changes there.

Stylus

Stylus

The S Pen (stylus) in the Galaxy Note 4 has some upgrades in tow, including double the pressure sensitivity of the Note 3.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor

Like the Galaxy S5, the Note 4 adds a fingerprint scanner (also swipe-based), for some extra security and convenience.

Heart rate monitor

Heart rate sensor

Here's another sensor making the leap from the GS5, as the Note 4 has a pulse monitor on its backside.

Water resistance

Water resistance

The Note 4 doesn't, however, take on the Galaxy S5's water resistance.

Cameras

Camera megapixels

The Note 4's camera has a higher resolution, as well as a few goodies thrown in. The front-facing camera, with an f/1.9 lens, also shoots with a wider angle (for capturing those group selfies). And if your group is really big, then there's even a panorama mode for front-facing shots.

OIS

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

Another upgrade in the Note 4 is the Optical Image Stabilization thrown into the rear camera.

Battery

Battery capacities

Samsung reps tell me that the Note 4 will have longer battery life than the Note 3, but we'll need to wait for some hands-on testing to see if that holds water.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Samsung's innovative Ultra Power Saving Mode, which limits available processes to turn a tiny bit of juice into a lot of uptime, makes the jump from the Galaxy S5 to the Note 4.

Fast charging

Fast charging (0-50 percent in about 30 minutes)

When it is time to charge, the Note 4 has a new Fast Charging feature that, according to Samsung, can juice your battery from 0 to 50 percent in "about 30 minutes."

Infrared

Infrared

Both phablets have IR blasters, so you can use your Galaxy Note as a universal remote control (for things like your TV or cable/satellite box).

Storage

Storage

Samsung's US press materials only list a 32 GB model for the Note 4, but it looks like the company will indeed be releasing a 64 GB option – at least in some markets.

Processor

Processors (for LTE versions)

Mobile processor upgrades are much less necessary today than they were a few years ago, but the Note 4 gets some faster silicon nonetheless.

You'll want to note that the Snapdragon processors listed above are only for the LTE versions of each device. The international/HSPA variants will have octa core Samsung Exynos chips instead.

RAM

RAM

Samsung is sticking with 3 GB of RAM in the new model.

Software

Software

Both devices run Android 4.4 KitKat at their core. The Note 4 does bring along some of the GS5's TouchWiz updates, though, as well as some S Pen-related goodies.

Release date

Release dates

The Note 3 launched at the end of September last year, and the Note 4 will be hitting store shelves this October 17.

Starting price (off-contract)

Starting price (off-contract)

We still don't know what the Galaxy Note 4 will retail for, but I imagine we'll see the same price points that the Note 3 had at launch (around $700 off-contract or $300 on-contract). And of course that could vary from carrier to carrier.

The US$600 figure listed is a ballpark figure that reflects the Note 3's current discounted price. In fact, with the iterative upgrades that we're looking at in the Note 4, this isn't a bad time to keep an eye out for clearance deals on a Note 3.

For more, you can check out our full review of the Galaxy Note 4.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
6 Comments

Does Note 4 have an FM Radio ?

Satya Banerji
5th September, 2014 @ 02:14 am PDT

It was a big mistake not to make Note 4 water resistant.

This mistake may ruin all efforts they made.

I'm very dissappointed.

Rumata
5th September, 2014 @ 05:22 am PDT

Let's don't forget that the Note 4 introduces compatibility with the newly announced Gear VR. The Note 4 has special drivers that give VR software direct access to the video hardware for a smoother experience.

kalqlate
5th September, 2014 @ 02:59 pm PDT

Why isn't anyone sharing that the Note 4 has only one radio, and thus can't surf on LTE while talking on the phone like the Note 2 or Note 3 could on Sprint's network...

Note 2, 3 => 2 radios

Note 4 => 1 radio

WTF. I never would have "upgraded" had this been disclosed.

Gabriel Grant
23rd October, 2014 @ 01:33 pm PDT

@Gabriel Grant, its more likely a programming, Sim card issue or your where not receiving 4G Data at the time. When on 4G Data and Voice use 2 different channels or lines on the radio but when on 3G your phone establishes a connection very similar to a Modem using the phone line you can only do one thing at a time. as to the 1 radio argument the new single radio now has WiFi and Bluetooth on the single radio sharing multiple antennas while the note 2 & 3 had a Cellular Radio and a separate WiFi/Bluetooth radio that shared the same antennas, so that wouldn't cause an issue, Living in BFE like I do where 4g Coverage doesn't reach my house I have this issue all the time with my old note 2 & 3 and with my brand new note 4 on Verizon

Daniel Blackiston
23rd October, 2014 @ 03:41 pm PDT

Why no mention of the backwards step of going from usb 3.0 back to usb 2.0 connection on the note 4?

I am glad to own a Note 3 instead of a 4.

Evelyn Wyngowski
22nd November, 2014 @ 02:07 pm PST
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