Some said it would never catch on, but here we are four years on from the original Galaxy Note phablet with the fourth generation device – the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
The Galaxy Note’s big screen and S Pen stylus are certainly not for everyone. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Alpha offer a more mainstream smartphone setup – the Note 4 brings together big power, a big screen and big productivity.
If you’re after a top-end smartphone which won’t break the bank (or your palm, pocket or handbag) then you’re probably in the wrong place.
At over £600 (around $840, AU$960) SIM free the Galaxy Note 4 is not cheap. On contract in the UK a free handset will probably see you shell out upwards of £40 per month for two years. It is a considerable investment.
It’s up against the likes of the Nexus 6, Nokia Lumia 1520, Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and the steeply priced iPhone 6 Plus, with the latter the only one matching the Note 4 in terms of cost.
Unlike the previous three iterations Samsung hasn’t deemed it necessary to increase the screen size of the Note 4, so it sticks with the same 5.7-inch dimensions of the Galaxy Note 3.
It’s not the same screen though, as Samsung has given the Galaxy Note 4 a hefty resolution boost – but more on that on the next page.
When it comes to design Samsung has definitely listened about its latest line-up feeling plasticky in the hand and has decided to give the Note 4 more of a premium finish.
There’s a metal rim surrounding the handset, shielding the rest of the chassis like a velvet rope protecting celebs from real people in a club.
It sports exactly the same shape, style and rounded corners as the Galaxy Alpha, only on a bigger scale and thanks to the increased size the plastic rear is more noticeable here than it is on the Alpha.
Samsung has tried to make the removable plastic cover feel more premium by giving it a leather effect finish, but there’s still no fooling your hand with that unmistakable texture.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 measures 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, almost the same as its predecessor and smaller in width and depth than the Galaxy Note 2, which is impressive considering this is the first of the Note series to sport a metal frame. I’ve also been using the 5.5-inch OnePlus One recently and there’s really not a lot to choose between the two in terms of size. It’s safe to say then, if you’re already accustomed to the larger league of smartphones then the Galaxy Note 4 will feel right at home in your palm.
This, then, is the Note handset with the most premium and accomplished look and feel to date. Samsung is finally providing the build quality its top-end devices have been yearning for.
Samsung has managed to keep the dimensions manageable – it’s certainly a lot easier to hold than the 6-inch Lumia 1520 and Ascend Mate 7 – and while the iPhone 6 Plus may look sleeker, the Galaxy Note 4 boasts a bigger, better screen and very similar dimensions.