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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.

As for Screen Write, it just blatantly does what it describes: allow you to write on top of a screenshot of your choosing. When you save it, it will be filed away in the Gallery application.

Still Touchwiz...
The Galaxy Note 4 features the same TouchWiz Nature UX 3.0 interface that's standard on all of Samsung's latest mobile devices, including the Galaxy S5. It comes with a few helpful interface-specific perks that you don't get on other Android devices, like One-handed operation, which offers options for reducing the screen size or placing controls in easier-to-tap spots so you can more easily use the phone one-handed, and increased touch sensitivity, which lets you use the device with gloves on.

My personal favorite is Pop-up view, a part of MultiView, which open up apps in their own individual windows, allowing you to essentially multitask like you would on a PC or a Mac. It's a creative addition on Samsung's part to attract the business-minded crowd, who might find that moving windows around feels a little more natural than tapping in and out of apps to get things done.

If you absolutely have no use for some of the features described, you can opt out of them entirely, though you're mostly stuck with Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX even if you do spend some time attempting to customizing the interface. 

Both Samsung and AT&T bundled a bunch of applications with the Note 4 that I never ended up using. Most of Samsung's apps live behind the Galaxy Apps icon, though apps like Milk Music and Flipboard come pre-loaded on the device. Also, Samsung did away with My Magazine and instead offers the ability to enable Flipboard as the default app that lives all the way to the left of the Home screen--makes sense, considering that the service was just a modified version of Flipboard in first place. 

A phab-ulous phablet
Yes, the Note 4 is bigger than some of the other flagships out on the market--it's even bigger than the LG G3 and HTC One (M8), which are both rather large phones. But when you factor in its beautiful screen, powerful hardware, and the utility of the S-Pen, it becomes a worthy consideration. 

But as I said in the beginning: it's not merely the fact that Samsung debuted another phone-tablet hybrid device, it's that it feels like the company is actually starting to listen to what its users want. The Google Apps are displayed front and center, Samsung's apps are mostly opt-in, the chassis feels more premium than ever, and even Touchwiz is becoming less gaudy with every iteration. Maybe it's because of Google's iron-fisted demands that we're starting to see this significant change, or maybe it's just because Samsung will do anything to stay on top as long as it possibly can. Whatever the motivation, it's working. This is Samsung's best phone ever, and one of the best phones of the year.


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