Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge: A hands-on review

Samsung hit back at Apple last night with the Australian launch of its Galaxy Note range; arguably its best ‘phablets’ yet

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

This week Apple treaded on Samsung’s territory with the release of its first phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung pioneered the phablet category three years ago with the original Note, and now it is being forced to defend its share of the market.

The South-Korean company has hit back with two variations of its popular Note range: the evolutionary Note 4, and the innovative Note Edge. Both of these smartphones represent radical improvements over the Note 3.

Gone is the tacky feel of plastic as this series is built on a metal chassis. The Note finally feels as though Samsung has crafted it with a great sense of pride. Samsung draws attention to the material by shaving the painted metal down with chamfered edging.

Going one further is the way the metal chassis curves in all the right places. It morphs around different components, such as the 3.5mm headphone jack up-top.

Stealing the show without question is the display. The Note 4 dons a 5.7in Super AMOLED display, enriched with a Quad-HD (2560x1440) resolution. These figures add up to 515 pixels being crammed into every inch.

There’s more to it than sharpness, though. The Super AMOLED panel used is dizzyingly bright. Proof of this can be seen in the photos featured, which although were taken with a Samsung NX200 mirrorless camera, required the Note’s screen brightness to be dropped to its minimum level.

Display technology is a strength of Samsung. The company partnered with Oculus to develop the Gear VR headset, a virtual reality accessory that makes use of the Note 4’s display. Few other smartphones have a display that could pull off such a trick.

And no other company thus far has released a smartphone with a fall-away screen like the Note Edge. Usually the sides of a smartphone taper from the rear upwards. The Edge’s left side reverses this formula in what is a confronting — yet cool — party trick. This variant isn’t for the everyday man, but rather those who are constantly plugged in online or at work.

Cameras on both Notes have undergone upgrades. The rear cameras mirror that on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with a jump in resolution to 16 megapixels. The front camera benefits from improvements too by capturing photos at a larger 3.9 megapixels. Low light photos should benefit from an improved aperture of f/1.9 and a wide 90 degree lens allows more people to fit in the frame of a ‘selfie’. Even the heart sensor on the Notes’ rear lends itself to selfies by working a camera shutter key.

Further differentiating the Note 4 from the Note Edge are the removable batteries; the Note 4 has a capacity of 3200 milliamps-hour (mAh), while the Note Edge has a respectable 3000mAh. Powering the large and vivacious display proves demanding on batteries.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 alongside iPhone 6 Plus
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 alongside iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung has worked on battery life by including its ultra power saving mode, which turns off all but the most basic of features to squeeze 24 hours of standby from just 10 per cent of charge. There’s also a fast charge feature that replenishes a flat battery to 45 per cent in 30 minutes.

Samsung and Apple are playing the same market in different ways. Apple uses its software to compete, while Samsung, a traditional maker of hardware, plays the spec race. And it plays it to win.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will be released first in Australia on 29 October for $949. The Note Edge variant will follow on 5 November and sell for $1249.

Good Gear Guide will strive to have reviews of both devices published before then.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags galaxysamsungAndroid 4.4S Pen4NoteedgeKitKat

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Tony Ibrahim
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?