Samsung’s latest Tablet is an evolution, not a revolution like the earlier Note models
carved out its very own niche in the market when it first launched the Samsung Galaxy Note series back in late 2011. Although numerous competitors have been released since, the Note still stands as the premier phone-cumtablet hybrid, with the Galaxy Note 4 being the latest edition. Compared to what we’ve seen in the older versions of the Note series, the Galaxy Note 4’s exterior is a noticeable upgrade.
The use of premium materials, including a quality faux leather back and a ring of metal around the edges, leaves the Galaxy Note 4 looking like one of the best Android devices we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. This is without doubt a luxury product, targeted at the very highest end of the market. As well as giving the phablet a facelift, Samsung have also brought the Note bang up to date by adding this generation of device’s must-have features: a removable battery and a microSD slot.
However, these updates are incremental, and beyond a cosmetic refresh, don’t offer a lot more than the Note 3 did. For instance, the quad-core processor is powerful enough to blast through anything you throw at it, but is not a major update on the Note 3 and no better than other fl agship handsets. There’s also the small matter of the S Pen, which remains pretty much the same, but it’s easier to use at an angle and a wide range of shortcuts can now solely be accessed through using the stylus. Signifi cantly, in a world where phablets grow ever larger, the Galaxy Note 4 has also kept the same 5.7-inch screen size as the Note 3.
This is still a massive device to hold in one hand, however the Note 4’s extra thin body makes the task a little easier. The screen itself is a noticeable improvement, however, and the bump to quad HD helps make everything seem vibrant. Colours especially look good here and both icons and lettering are as crisp and clear as we hoped for.
For a device that specialises in multitasking, moving around the device is a real pleasure. It’s testament to Samsung’s vision of being the best Android manufacturer out there that arguably the biggest change in the Galaxy Note 4 is with its TouchWiz interface. All the usual S Penenabled apps have seen updates, while there are new side menus to quickly move between apps and screens. It’s just a pleasure to use and although it’s still not as simple as stock Android, the gap is gradually closing with every update. The other major change is the 16-megapixel camera.
This time around there’s a helpful image stabilisation feature to help keep blur to an absolute minimum, while low-light photography is taken care of with the designated night mode. Images can sometimes look oversaturated, but it’s still a big improvement over previous models. To use all of this, you’re going to want a battery than can keep up. The 3220mAh battery here is a behemoth and will undoubtedly keep you going for a couple of days before requiring a charge – no matter how much you use it.
The battery is also removable, but fi nding how to get into the back was slightly confusing at fi rst. Lets set the record straight: the Note 4 isn’t as revolutionary as we’ve seen before and may even be a small disappointment to the most critical of Android users. But what it offers, however, is a small improvement in nearly area of the device.
The design has been revamped to cater for Samsung’s new premium aesthetics, TouchWiz is easier to use and the S Pen has fi nally come of age. If you are a long-standing fan of the Note series and have been waiting for an upgrade, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be your next device. Note 3 users might not fi nd quite enough reasons to move across, however.