Samsung today lifted the covers off not one but two Note devices at IFA 2014 — the first is an update of Samsung best selling product category — the Galaxy Note smartphone — the Galaxy Note 4 and the other is Samsung’s first ever Galaxy Note to feature a curved display, the Galaxy Note Edge.
Galaxy Note 4
Hardware features takes a back seat in the latest version of the Galaxy Note smartphone. Instead, the Galaxy Note 4 focuses a great deal on software improvements and enhancements, but before we go into the details, let’s talk about the topline specs of the Note 4.
In terms of hardware, the Note 4 gets the same size display, at 5.7-inch, as the Note 3 but where the old Note pushes full HD resolution, the Note 4 display gets a Quad HD (2560×1440 pixels, 515ppi) Super AMOLED display — essentially the display technology hasn’t changed just the pixel count has been bumped up.
It’s a similar story with the camera, where the Note 3 got 13MP camera, the rear camera on the Note 4 pushes 16MP with optical image stabiliser (versus a digital image stabiliser on the Note 3). At the front, there’s a 3.7MP camera with a f/1.9 wide-90 degree lens versus a 2MP camera on the Note 3. For group-selfies, there’s a wide-selfie mode that expands the front camera’s angle up to 120 degrees by stitching a series of pictures together. In addition, Samsung say the sensor technology on the Note 4 camera has been improved allowing it to capture 60% more light.
Processor wise, there are two versions depending on where you are. For some countries, the Note 4 will come with a 2.7GHz quad-core Processor (up from the 2.3GHz quad-core unit in the Note 3). For other countries, there’s a 1.9GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) version as well. Both versions will have 3GB of RAM (similar to the Note 3) and 32GB of on board storage with support for micro SD card up to 64GB.
Battery capacity remains the same at 3200mAh but on the Note there’s adaptive fast charging that fills the battery up from zero charge to 50% charge in about 30 minutes. This is not as fast as the VOOC charging technology available on some Oppo devices but its still better than nothing.
In terms of dimensions, at 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g, the difference between the Note 4 and Note 3 (151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm) is marginal. You also get a heart rate sensor and Fingerprint Scanner (Samsung says its improved on the Note 4) like the one first seen on the Galaxy S5, as well as the dimpled, faux leather back cover.
If you do a lot of recording, the Galaxy Note 4 comes equipped with multiple microphones and an improved speaker phone for better noise cancellation when speaking in loud environments. There’s a built-in Voice Recorder offers eight different directional voice tagging and a selective playback capability that allows you to isolate and listen to specific voices in a group conversation. It’s nifty but we’re not sure if many people will find it particularly useful.
So what are the features you should look forward to in the Note 4? It’s software enhancements mostly. Samsung claims the S Pen offers a “much more authentic pen experience” than previous Note devices. The S Pen software is improved to make it easier for you to screen capture images and additional tip effects like fountain pen and calligraphy brush.
On the Note 4 there are now four ways for you to “write” a note. In addition to typing and writing, you can use the Note 4 like an OCR scanner to convert printed or written text into a typed note. If you like, you can note things down using your voice with the Voice Memo feature.
That’s the Note 4 in a nutshell really. There’s really not much to shout home about but the updated features still make the Note 4 probably the best large-format smartphones in the market. After all, Samsung created the niche and it’s no surprise that they are the leader in the segment. Look out for our hands-on video soon.
Galaxy Note Edge
Samsung threw a curve-ball at the IFA event today with the announcement of the Note Edge — the brand’s first Note device to feature a curved display. Samsung’s done curved displays on smartphones before but where the Galaxy Round is a study of the possibility that curve screens open up for smartphones, the Galaxy Note Edge brings Samsung’s expertise and understanding of curved displays to a whole new level. The Note Edge has transformed curved screens from a novelty item to something practical and useful, taking the Galaxy Note experience to a new level.
The way in which the curved screen on the Note Edge is laid out means users get a new and very useful way to access information and do much more. The Galaxy Note Edge’s unique curved Edge screen makes quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and other device functionality omnipresent even when you’re using the main area of the display for something else (like watching a movie for example), and this improves multi-taking tremendously.
In terms of hardware, the Note Edge is virtually identical to the Note 4 and if had to choose, we’d go with the Note Edge. Hopefully it will be available in Malaysia.
As expected, pricing and availability details have not been announced other than October. So we will all have to wait to closer to the launch date before local information about the Note 4 and Note Edge becomes available.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge