Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review
During Samsung’s Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 press conference in Berlin, we expected the company to officially announce the Galaxy Note 4. While it did just that, Samsung also announced another entry in the Note series: the Note Edge. While the Galaxy Note 4 looks to continue the smartphone/tablet hybrid tradition of the Note series, the Note Edge looks to shake things up a bit with its curved display. Let’s take a closer look at both devices, starting with the Galaxy Note 4.
Updated on 09-18-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Samsung says the Galaxy Note 4 will be available for preorder, starting September 19 and arrive in stores October 17. Added T-Mobile pricing.
Preorders start September 19
Just one day before the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus arrive in stores, Samsung announced that its Galaxy Note 4 phablet will go up for preorder on the same day, September 19. The Galaxy Note 4 will be available in U.S. stores on October 17. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular will offer the Galaxy Note 4 to subscribers. Samsung will also sell the device in retail and online stores such as Best Buy, Amazon, Costco, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart.
The company did not announce pricing for the phablet yet, but said that anyone who preorders the Galaxy Note 4 between September 19th and October 16th will be guaranteed a total trade-in of $200 for their old smartphone, so long as it’s in working condition. You can read more about the promotion on Samsung’s website.
Shortly after Samsung made its announcement, T-Mobile revealed the pricing for the new Note 4 for customers on its Simple Choice Plan. At T-Mobile, the Note 4 will cost $0 down, but you’ll have to pay $31.24 a month for 24 months, making the final price $749.76. It looks like the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will end up costing the same amount.
Hands on video – Samsung Note 4
Big phone, big specs
The Galaxy Alpha kicked off Samsung’s new design language, which includes aluminum sides, chamfered edges, and a faux-leather back. The Note 4 continues that design language, with the back cover losing the stitches that were found on the Note 3.
The Note 4 retains the same screen size as its predecessor, though it improves on it by packing a 2,560 × 1,440 pixel Quad HD Super AMOLED display, compared to the Note 3’s 1080p display. The company says the 16-megapixel camera found on the back will take great pictures due to Smart OIS, Samsung’s optical image stabilization software. The 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera is capable of taking selfies as wide as 120 degrees and with better low-light support, thanks to its large aperture lens.
The Korean version of the Note 4 will be powered by an octa-core Exynos 5433, which is composed of a 1.9GHz quad-core processor for beefy activities and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor for other less intensive tasks. Other regions, including North America, will feature a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor with a 600MHz Adreno 420 GPU.
Regardless of which version you get, the Note 4 will include 3GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of memory that is expandable up to 64GB through the MicroSD card slot. Much like with the Galaxy S5, the Home button also acts as a fingerprint scanner, with a heart rate monitor on the back underneath the camera.
Even though the Note 4 packs a 3220mAh battery, only 20mAh bigger than its predecessor’s, Samsung equipped the phablet with quick charging capabilities. According to Samsung, the Note 4 charges from 0 to 50 percent in half an hour, so long as you use the charger that comes in the box.
What’s the new software?
The Note 4, by all intents and purposes, features the same UI as the Galaxy S5. However, Samsung threw in a few new features to take advantage of the Note 4’s S Pen. Snap Note allows you to take a picture of any note, such as notes written on paper or a blackboard, and converts it into a digital note.
Samsung also improved Multi Window, which now lets you drag your finger or S Pen to the center of the screen from the top-right corner. This turns the app into a floating app, which can be resized and convert it into a multi-window screen. In terms of the S Pen itself, Samsung doubled its pressure sensitivity. This allowed the company to throw in two new S Pen modes: calligraphy and fountain pen.
What about the Note Edge?
In terms of specifications, the Note Edge might as well be a carbon copy of the Note 4. However, what differentiates the Note Edge from just about every other smartphone in the market is its curved display. This allows users to check on their frequently used apps, alerts, and device functionality, even when the phone’s cover is closed. You can also receive notifications on what Samsung calls the Edge Screen without them interrupting any videos you might be watching.
Hands on video – Samsung Note Edge
The Note Edge will be available in “select markets” later this year.
Samsung’s greedy when it comes to flagship smartphones. One simply isn’t enough. The Galaxy S5 represents the pinnacle of its smartphone endeavors, and the Galaxy Note 3 is its current top-of-the-range smartphone/tablet hybrid. Announced in September 2013, it’ll inevitably be replaced by the Galaxy Note 4 around the same time this year. Rumors, speculation, and gossip are already giving us some clues about the next big thing from Samsung, so let’s take a closer look.
Everything we know about the Galaxy Note 4:
- Teaser trailer shows S-Pen in action
- More high-end specs
- What it will look like
- Release date and arrival in stores
- It will be called the Galaxy Note 4
- Samsung may add an iris scanner
- Expect a bigger screen
- Display might be bendable
- Samsung plans high-res screen
- Handwriting recognition to unlock device
Updated on 08-14-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Samsung releases touching teaser trailer, as full specs and images leak at online retailer from Indonesia.
Teaser Trailer shows S-Pen in action
Samsung posted a teaser trailer for the Galaxy Note 4 on its Chinese media page. The promo tells a touching tale of an arguing couple who are brought back together by their adorable son’s drawings and photo annotations made on the Galaxy Note 4 with the S-Pen. In addition to pulling at your heart strings, Samsung also shows off the Note 4’s design and the new S-Pen’s amazing capabilities.
We can’t embed the video here, but you can check it out on Samsung’s Chinese media page.
How about the other specs?
In August, Indonesian online retailer Erafone posted the full specifications for the Galaxy Note 4.
Snapdragon 805 Processor: Let’s start with the processor. Samsung has chosen the Snapdragon 801 for the Galaxy S5, which it could also repeat with the Note 4. However, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 is expected to be ready for the second half of 2014, making it a possible candidate, too. Some reports have linked the Note 4 with Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 810, but its 2015 release date makes this highly unlikely. No matter which of these processors it has, it will be a very fast phone. The Erafone post confirmed the presence of the Snapdragon 805 processor.
4GB RAM: In the past, Samsung has stuffed plenty of RAM inside the Note phones, and this year may be no different. Its newly developed LPDDR4 mobile memory – smaller, faster, and more energy efficient than current options – could make 4GB of RAM possible on the Note 4. The Erafone posting confirmed that the Note 4 will have 4GB of RAM.
128GB Memory and a huge battery: A Chinese report agrees, and adds the Note 4 may also come with 128GB of internal memory, and a battery between 3,600mAh and 3,800mAh in size. It also mentions 4G LTE, 4K video recording, and dual-band Wi-Fi. Although the Erafone listing did not confirm the battery size, it did say that storage options up to 128GB will be available.
Waterproof: Like the Galaxy S5, there’s a good chance the Note 4 will be waterproof. Samsung reportedly cancelled a large phone antenna order in favor of ones that would be easier to waterproof, but the technology wasn’t available at the time the Galaxy S5 was in production. It could make it into the Galaxy Note 4, though. We’d also expect Android 4.4 KitKat to be installed as the operating system. Compatibility with the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and the Gear Fit is also almost certain.
20.7-megapixel camera: Finally, rumors have suggested Samsung will fit a 20.7-megapixel camera to the Note 4. We’ve seen evidence Samsung is planning to introduce 20-megapixel cameras across its high-end devices in 2015, but stated it would stick with 16-megapixel cameras throughout 2014. A report from ET News in late July stated that the camera will have a 16-megapixel resolution and feature Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The Errafone listing confirmed recent reports that Samsung will stick with a 16-megapixel camera, which comes with 3456 x 4608 pixels, optical image stabilization, autofocus, and dual-LED flash.
What will GN4 look like?
Shortly after Samsung issued invitations to an Unpacked event on September 3, high-resolution images of the Galaxy Note 4 were leaked to GSM Arena. The photos show that the Note 4 will have a plastic back that features a design that mimics the look and feel of leather. The edges of the device appear to be metal and the stylus sticks out slightly on the left corner when viewed from the back. Overall, the Note 4 looks very thin and flat, much like the Galaxy S5. It also appears to have a heart rate sensor near the back camera. An image of the retail box was included as well.
In late July a new report from Korea’s ET News stated that the Galaxy Note 4 may be the first Galaxy smartphone made of metal. Samsung is reportedly testing out aluminum, magnesium, and other kinds of metal backs in addition to plastic. The article hints that there may be more than one version of the Note 4, so one may be metal and the other plastic. The display might also be flexible, the report claims.
According to Samsung executive Yoon Han-kil, who spoke to Reuters on a variety of subjects, this year’s Galaxy Note will have a new design, but he didn’t elaborate any further. However, he did talk about the company’s need to break into the premium market. We may finally get a metal Galaxy phone or the Note 4 take on the curved screen seen on the Galaxy Round.
Samsung schedules Unpacked event for September 3
Samsung likes to show off its Note hybrid devices at the IFA tech show in Berlin, which takes place September 4-10 this year, and sure enough the company has started sending invitations to Unpacked Episode 2, an event which will take place on September 3 in Berlin. The invite tells us to “Note the Date,” and adds an exclamation mark in the shape of a stylus. It’s a safe bet we’ll be introduced to the Note 4 on the day.
The confirmation of the event follows a string of rumors about the phone’s launch date, which began in April, after anonymous Samsung sources told the Korea Times the company was considering holding an event during the IFA show this year, and was “in the middle of finalizing the specification” for the Note 4 at the time.
Meanwhile, AndroidGeeks, which correctly leaked last year’s Galaxy Note 3 launch date, reported that the Note 4 would be unveiled on September 3, which was echoed by a report from Korean news outlet ET News. The publication added that Samsung will start selling the Note 4 much sooner than it did with the Note 3, which took almost a full month to arrive in stores after it was announced.
Then, in early August, a new report from Android Authority hinted that Samsung may start selling the Note 4 earlier than ever before. A tipster told the site that Samsung has forbidden employees to take time off between September 3-5 for IFA and the 15-28. based on this information, the tipster believes that Samsung will start selling the Note 4 during the week of September 15.
If this report proves true, fans of Samsung’s phablet may be able to get their hands on the Note 4 much sooner after its announcement than ever before. As many tech pundits have pointed out, the early arrival of the Note 4 in stores could have been prompted by Samsung’s desire to beat Apple to the punch. Apple is also expected to reveal its phablet, the iPhone 6, in early September, but many reports hint that the phone won’t arrive in stores until October.
It’ll almost certainly be called the Galaxy Note 4
Samsung likes numbers, and if the Galaxy S5 has proven anything, it’s that the company isn’t afraid to keep counting upwards. We doubt it’ll start adding meaningless code numbers to the title, or the word “new” to its title, so expect the Note 3 sequel to be known as the Galaxy Note 4.
A leak has given the Galaxy Note 4 the model number of N910, and Samsung is apparently using the codename Muscat internally. The Galaxy Note 3’s primary model number is the N9000, so this does seem logical, and we can also expect the company to add numbers on to the end, so as to differentiate between different versions.
Will Samsung give the Galaxy Note 4 an iris scanner and other new features?
A few different rumors indicate that Samsung is testing out several new technologies for the Galaxy Note 4. In mid July, Samsung tweeted an intriguing photo from its @SamsungExynos account, which hints that an iris scanner may arrive on the company’s devices soon. The tweet shows an eye on what looks like a smartphone display, with the caption, “Security can be improved using features unique to us. That’s what we envision. What would you use? #ExynosTomorrow.”
Many tech pundits jumped all over the tweet as evidence that Samsung will include eye-scanning technology on the Note 4 for additional security. After all, the feature was rumored to arrive on the Galaxy S5, but fans of futuristic security measures were disappointed, when it launched with a fingerprint sensor instead. Perhaps the technology will be ready in time for the Note 4.
— SamsungExynos (@SamsungExynos) July 12, 2014
According to an earlier report from SamMobile, Samsung is experimenting with four features: Multi Network for Booster, Aqua Capture, Swipe to Launch Motion Launcher, and Smart Fingerprint.
Multi Network for Booster could end up being the Download Booster feature found on the Galaxy S5, which allowed you to use Wi-Fi and a mobile data connection for faster downloads. Some carriers weren’t too keen in letting consumers use the feature, and it will likely feel the same way if it comes to the Note 4. Meanwhile, Swipe to Launch Motion Launcher will likely exhibit the same functionality that’s found on the HTC One M8 in that you can wake up the Note 4 or go into the camera app with a swiping gesture.
Aqua Capture will presumably allow you to take pictures underwater while improving from its previous iteration, which was found on the Galaxy S4 Active in the form of Aqua Mode. Finally, Smart Fingerprint will likely be an iteration of the fingerprint scanner found on the Galaxy S5, allowing for greater functionality of the scanner. SamMobile notes that these features aren’t final and they could change over time, though we’re likely to hear more news about possible Note 4 features in the coming months.
How big will the screen be?
A massive screen is the Galaxy Note range’s claim to fame. The original Note had a 5.3-inch display, the Note 2 upped this to 5.5-inches, and the Note 3 has a giant 5.7-inch screen. It seems the only way is up for the Note 4, and if it’s another 0.2-inch rise, then it will have a 5.9-inch display.
There’s a chance Samsung may not follow tradition with the Note 4. A leak published by GSMArena indicates it’ll stick with the 5.7-inch screen from the Galaxy Note 3, and instead increase the resolution to make it standout. This fits in with the current trend, and could mean the Note 4 is Samsung’s second phone of 2014 to feature a 1440p display.
A second leak from Samsung itself seems to confirm that the Galaxy Note 4 will feature a 5.7-inch display with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The leak appeared on a web profile for an unannounced smartphone called the SM-N910A. Seeing as the Note 3 from AT&T is known as SM-N900A, it follows that this mystery device could be the upcoming Note 4.
In August, Indonesian retailer Erafone listed the Note 4 with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, featuring a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
Samsung considers bendable display for Note 4
The size of the display may not be the headline feature though. At the beginning of January, a Samsung patent was uncovered showing what could be the Note 4, complete with a curved-edge display, making it look like the screen doesn’t have a bezel. The design is different to existing Note phones, due to there being no hardware Home button on the front panel. There is a slot for the S Pen stylus, though. A source inside Samsung told this Korean publication a curved screen was “one possible option” for the Note 4.
Subsequently, Samsung’s Lee Younghee spoke to the Wall Street Journal, and said the firm is considering using a flexible display for a future Note phone. There is a difference between a display which is curved, and one which is flexible. Samsung has currently only experimented with the former. Apparently, Samsung was in the early design stages for this unofficial phone at the time, and it’s not certain it’ll end up being the Note 4 at all.
Then, in July, ET News from Korea stated that the display will be flexible.
What about the resolution?
The Note 3 has a 1080p resolution screen, just like the Galaxy S5. However, by the end of the year, phones with a 1440p resolution will probably be more common, perhaps starting with the LG G3 before the summer. Will Samsung opt for a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution for the Note 4?
Rumors spread that Samsung would use a 1440p screen on the Galaxy S5, which didn’t happen, so one on the Note 4 is certainly possible. A Chinese source posted a basic spec list for the Note 4 at the start of April, showing the device with a 1440p display.
Another report suggests Samsung may go down the same route as Oppo, offering a standard Find 7 smartphone with a 1080p screen, and a premium version with the full 1440p display. We heard similar talk related to the Galaxy S5, but in relation to the materials used for its construction.
The same leak which suggested Samsung will stay with the 5.7-inch screen size seen on the Note 3, also listed the Galaxy Note 4 with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
Handwriting recognition could change the way the Note 4 is unlocked
A Samsung patent has hinted the Note 4 may come with advanced handwriting recognition, which will make better use of the S Pen stylus. The first aspect of this new feature may improve security on the phone. Instead of using a PIN code to unlock the phone, or a pattern system like Knock Code on LG smartphones, the Note 4 may recognize a signature drawn on the lock screen using the stylus.
Additionally, by writing the name of an app, or a specific command, the phone could be unlocked with the app automatically opening, or the command being carried out. For example, calling the office, or your partner, without having to do anything other than writing their name and the word “call” on the lock screen.
We’re still several months away from the Galaxy Note 4’s official launch, so we’ll be updating this article as more news emerges.
Updated on 08-11-2014 by Malarie Gokey: High-resolution photos of the Note 4 leaked on the Internet alongside an image of the retail box.
Updated on 08-08-2014 by Malarie Gokey: New reports says Samsung will sell the Note 4 in stores during the week of September 15 to beat the iPhone 6 to the shelves.
Updated on 08-06-2014 by Andy Boxall: Samsung announces Unpacked Episode 2 event for September 3.
Updated on 07-25-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report that Samsung will launch the Galaxy Note 4 in early September at IFA.
Updated on 07-22-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new report that Galaxy Note 4 will be made of metal, sport a flexible display, and a 16-megapixel camera with OIS.
Updated on 07-14-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added tweet from Samsung that hints at the possibility of an iris scanner on the Galaxy Note 4.
Updated on 06-16-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Added new leak from Samsung, hinting at 5.7-inch QHD display.
Updated on 05-23-2014 by Williams Pelegrin: Several reported features of the Galaxy Note 4 have been leaked, as well as the September 3 unveiling of the unannounced handset. We’ve added them in below.
Updated on 05-20-2014 by Andy: Added in more rumors of a 2560 x 1440 pixel screen, a possible model number for the device, and talk of a flexible, 5.7-inch screen.
Article originally published on 04-19-2014