Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a flatteringly fabulous Phablet with an improved S Pen

Finally Samsung has decided to launch the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in Jamaica as originally reported in my article Samsung Launches quartet of Note-worthy Products to Tab into the Gear S Alpha in all Jamaicans!

It was launched in fine style too during a fairly low-key Meet and Greet Press Event held at Samsung Experience Store in Half Way Tree that’s celebrating its one year anniversary since being opened back in September 2013 . The pleasantries and strange food-on-a-stick aside, ma cherie, I’ll just get to the meat of the matter and tell you all about Samsung’s latest Toy, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

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I held it in these two (2) hands people! For a phablet, I tell you, it is gorgeous! Holding it was a lot like being Frodo Baggins when he slipped on the Ring of Power. In that instant of handling this 5.7” beast, the whole room seems to freeze, as if time stood still, everything moving in slow-motion. In those infinitesimal minutes, I truly felt ……powerful.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – Love affair with Metal and Gorilla Glass 3 compares well with other Phablets

Samsung seems to be having an affair with silvery metal. Like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which is also going on sale here in Jamaica, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a nice metallic silver band around the edge. It feels sturdier and has a nice back that, albeit faux leather, is a little less slippery and thus unlikely to fall out of your hands.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes in four (4) new colours when compared to the Note III:

  • Black
  • White
  • Pink
  • Gold

The new colour is Gold, possibly added in a move to counter the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus.

The 5.7” Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a little bigger than its predecessor, albeit like the Note III launched back in November 2013 it has the same screen size. Yet its vital statistics of 153.5 by 78.6 by 8.5mm (6 x 3.1 x 0.34 inches) lets it stand almost shoulder to shoulder with the Apple iPhone 6, which it slightly resembles when placed side-by-side.

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On inspecting the Note 4, I noticed it’s running the latest version of Google Android version 4.4.2 aka KitKat. Samsung has slathered their TouchWiz UI all over this phablet, but this time it’s a little less in-your-face like with the Note III. That’s the other thing too that’s noticeable; the screens a lot sharper, something which I thought was my imagination.

Turns out I wasn’t, as indeed the Quad 1080p HD AMOLED Screen that’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 has a resolution of 2,650 x 1,440 that translates to an eye-popping 515 ppi (Pixels per Inch), completely smashing the Note III’s 386 ppi and even the Apple iPhone 6 Plus’ 401 ppi.

Translation; sharper, almost photo-realistic images that weren’t too bright but were just readable in the well lit room to not give off too much glare! I’d have liked to have turned the light off to see how bright the screen was, but I wasn’t afforded that opportunity. Good to note in terms of numbers, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 gets beaten out by the LG G3 phablet, as shown below in my handy chart.

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Comparisons aside, the Note 4 does look like a Samsung Galaxy S5 that’s in need of a serious diet. Not much has changed from the Note III, as the physical Home Button with the Fingerprint Reader, a crib of Apple’s Touch ID, is conveniently placed betwixt the capacitive buttons.

The power/lock button are on the right spine and the volume rocker are on the left, both bulging out a bit, but not disrupting the smooth lines of an otherwise sweet design. A Rapid Charge port sits snugly at the bottom with the 3.5mm jack, the S-Pen holster and an IR port for point-to-point transfers between smartphones crowning the top of this beautiful beast.

An optical Heart-Rate sensor is on the back below the 16 Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera. Like its predecessor, the Battery is removable, something I personally dislike, as it makes the phone feel plastic-ish and easy to fall apart should it hit the ground. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has 3 GB of RAM that supports 32 GB of Internal Storage. An extra SD Card slot allows for an additional 64GB of extra memory, though personally I’d have loved it support the newer, more advanced 128 GB SD Cards as you’ll see why later on.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – Multi-Tasking S Pen Panache with S Health App for my Health

Multi-Tasking seems to have gotten a boost on the Note 4, especially when one considers that at this screen size, one-handed scrolling isn’t possible for those of us with small hands. The S-Pen is more sensitive than its predecessor and is a necessary addition, being as it’s more precise than using your finger.

Fortunately the multi-window or popup Mode allows text selection from Apps or Websites. Even more interesting, is that the popup doesn’t just go away, but hovers about on the screen like a little bubble until you’re ready to use it again.

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This popup Bubble Mode even works when you check the Photo Gallery and even the Action Memo, allowing you to pin and annotate your Note 4 like a clipboard or a refrigerator surface covered in Post-It Notes. You’ve gotta be careful though; they’ll eventually clutter your screen. This makes me wonder if this new feature is really a productivity booster or just a digital version of the same habits we have with posting Post-It Notes all over your cubicle space to remind you of task that urgently need action.

What’s a smartphone without Apps? It’s loaded with Apps from the Google Play store as well as from the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store as described in Samsung Electronics Launches Samsung GALAXY Apps.

Favorites such as Samsung Apps such as S Health which are geared towards those in the active lifestyle crowd are back along with perennial Social Media Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype. Jamaicans may not use this feature much, being as S Health comes with the coach powered by healthcare provider Cigna, but at least you can check your blood-oxygen level (SpO2) as well as your heart rate!

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – 16 Megapixel selfie Camera and 50% Battery Recharge is Cool

The 16 Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera is complemented by the selfie-friendly 3.7 Megapixel front-Facing Camera.

They both come with an automatic Beauty Face Mode that makes you appear younger. As with everything on the Note 4, that’s adjustable, albeit HDR (High Dynamic Range) is automatic on both the Front and Rear Facing Cameras. Samsung seems to be taking to this Selfie (or should that be WeFie?) trend, with a three part Panoramic Mode for the 3.7 Megapixel front-Facing Camera that a bit too much hassle.

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My advice; take your selfies with the 16 Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera, using the beeps to guide you as to when the photo is ready to be taken. The pictures below are evidence of the quality of a 16 Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera with Optical Stabilization.

Like the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with Optical Stabilization, which improves your videos, especially during jerky scenes. Video is recorded with the HDR automatically running and in 1080p HD by default with a 16:9 aspect ratio with support for Slow-Motion for the less-than-amateur photographer.

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There is a Ultra HD Mode that ramps up to an impressive 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution for 4K video, making them great for showing on your U9000 Series of UHDTV Smart TV as described in my article Samsung unveils their First Curved Ultra High Definition TV, the U9000 Series at Mona Visitors Lodge.

This’ll mean larger files, that’ll quickly fill up that 64GB SD Card I’d complained about earlier, making 720p HD and VGA options for videos a little more practical. Still you do have a few features that you can adjust on the Note 4 16 Megapixel Camera:

  • Exposure values
  • Metering
  • ISO
  • White balance
  • HDR
  • Grid lines

Slow motion and fast motion return as tools for more adventurous producers.

Aside from the selfie-obsessed modus operandi of this phone that best used with a Bluetooth Headset, it does have a bit of innovation on the Battery front. It can charge the 3,220mAh from 0 to 50% in 30 minutes.

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All told, the Note 4 can basically make through an active 24 hour period with 20 hours out of the day being useful for actual conversations, streaming Milk Music as described in Don’t cry over spilt Samsung Milk as Samsung Galaxy S5 and smartwatches disappoint, surfing the Internet via 3G/Wi-Fi/4G LTE and taking a photo or two without the need to recharge until you reach home.

Just in case you run out of juice though, there’s always the option to carry a Portable Battery Charger as described in the article How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – Price will give you S Health Shock

Yes, that’s right.

At US$1089 (JA$122,000) for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it’s a tad pricey. Possibly set to launch on Digicel’s Network, being as LIME’s slated to get the Apple iPhone 6 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus come January 2015, it’ll most likely be sold on a Plan that’ll make it a lot more affordable.

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LIME might carry the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the other four (4) Samsung products, but it’s unlikely as its price makes it a slow-seller compared to the upcoming Huawei Ascend P7, which may be coming with an actual Sapphire Glass Screen. We’ll just have to wait until Friday October 24th 2014 when I might do yet another article on the Samsung official Public Launch when Digicel may be involved!

Still, if you wish to be seen a progressive and productive with your digital version of a Yellow Notepad, then the US$1089 (JA$122,000) Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may be your ticket to Corporate Work Productivity Bliss.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.