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Galaxy Note 4: Samsung finally listens to its fans, and it pays off

Florence Ion | Oct. 17, 2014
With the Note 4, it feels like Samsung took every little comment stuffed into its cobweb-covered suggestion box and actually listened to what its users want.

Is that a TV in your pocket?
The Galaxy Note 4 employs a 5.7-inch Quad HD display--that's a 2560x1440 screen, giving it a density of 518 pixels per inc. This puts it in second place for exorbitant amount of pixels in a smartphone, right after LG's G3. The two displays are decidedly different, however, due in part to the fact that they both utilize different display technologies--Samsung uses Super AMOLED and LG uses IPS LCD--but also because Samsung's Note 4 is just a tad bigger.

While movies, games, and other extremely colorful applications appear bright and vivid on the Note 4's Super AMOLED display, there's still that noticeable color over-saturation that appears in certain applications. When you're browsing stark white websites, for instance, there's a bit of a blue-hued tint. It's obvious when you place the device alongside another type of display technology, but it's not so apparent that it'll ruin your entertainment experience. And with Super AMOLED, at least you'll get the blackest blacks.

Battery life is of the essence
Samsung offers two versions of the Galaxy Note 4: one with an octa-core Exynos 5433 processor, and one with a quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805. Both are paired with 3GB of RAM, but the latter is the version that is sold here in the United States, and the one that we used throughout testing.

The Note 4 is quite speedy--multitasking is that much better when you have so much power throttling behind you. It also helps that interface doesn't feel as weighed down as it has in previous generations. As a day-to-day driver, the phone will do just fine running in and out of applications, dealing with hoards of notifications, and getting you to work with the help of memory intensive apps, like Google Maps. I'm more curious to see how the Galaxy Note 4 will perform with Samsung's Gear VR, since it's meant to be used with the virtual reality headset accessory. Even if you don't plan on using that device, you can rest assured that the Note 4 features some of the most powerful components on the market.

I watched the phone for a few days to gauge how much life the Note 4 squeezes out of its 3200mAh battery pack. It lasted two and a half days--from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon--before it hit 14 percent and started screaming for a charge. Annoyingly, the Note 4's camera app won't snap a photo with the flash on if it's below 16 percent battery, so keep that in mind. I know when I'm at a music festival or a night out, I try to squeeze every last dying bit out of my phone before it's totally out of juice.


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