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Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Early Look at What to Expect

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was released in September, October in the United States, which means that it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. However, at some point this year, the Galaxy Note 3 will be replaced by something newer, perhaps better. That something is likely going to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, a device that Samsung has already confirmed for arrival. Twice.

In September, Samsung took the stage at IFA in Berlin, Germany, as it typically does, and announced a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, a successor to the popular Galaxy Note 2 and a device that has carried the torch for a series that was once dismissed a niche product due to its large display and its S Pen stylus. Oddly enough, there are rumors that say that Apple itself is creating an iPhone with a large display, perhaps 5.5-inches in size. Imagine that.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 improves on the Galaxy Note 2 in just about every single way. The screen is better. The processor is faster. The camera shoots better photos and video. The S Pen experience has been tweaked and improved. The design is slimmer and much easier to haul around. The Galaxy Note 3 is a powerful device and one that will live a long life but it, like all smartphones, will see its life come to an end. And when it does, there will be another Galaxy Note waiting in the wings.

It’s still very early in the year but already, we’ve seen Samsung hint at the arrival of another Galaxy Note. The first hint pointed to a Galaxy Note release during the fall, per usual. The second came in the form of a report that claims Samsung is looking into releasing a Galaxy Note 4 with a three-sided display, echoing rumors that first emerged in 2013. It’s almost as if Samsung knows that we know that a Galaxy Note 4 is coming.

A Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch is months away but we want to try and help set expectations for Galaxy Note 2 owners coming off contract and for those that may not be interested in the Galaxy Note 3 and are waiting for something better to come along.

Here, we take an early look at what to expect from the already rumored, basically confirmed, Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Rumors to Firm Up in July-August

While we’ve started to hear a little bit about the Samsung Galaxy Note, prospective buyers should expect the concrete, firm Galaxy Note 4 rumors to emerge much closer to the actual launch. We should see some sporadic Galaxy Note 4 details surface in the first half of the year but we expect the first half to be dominated by the Samsung Galaxy S5 and its pedigree rather than the Galaxy Note series.

Instead, July and August should be the months when we really start seeing the Galaxy Note 4 rumor mill get into full swing and start pumping out potential features and release dates and carriers. This is how Samsung launches typically play out and we aren’t expecting anything different this time around.

Fall Release Date

Samsung itself has already said that the Galaxy Note 4 should be coming this fall with new Samsung wearables. The Galaxy Gear 2 might launch with the Galaxy S5 in March but the company has made it clear that the Galaxy Note series will be joined on stage by a wearable of some kind, perhaps one that functions without the need for a smartphone.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3-Hands-On-Times-Square-575x383

Recent comments from another Samsung executive also put the Galaxy Note 4 release in the second half of the year so it’s clear that the company is sticking to its usual release pattern in 2014. While the fall launch might be disappointing to some, it makes sense. A Galaxy Note release in the second half of the year gives Samsung a two-pronged attack against the likes of Apple, which again, is rumored to be delivering a larger iPhone 6 this year.

So, consumers will want to temper those expectations. The Galaxy Note 4 is destined for a debut at IFA 2014 in Berlin, Germany which is set to take place September 5th to September 10th, or, the same time as last year.

New Design

Rumors suggest that the Galaxy S5 will be coming with two different designs, one of them plastic and the other metal. Metal Galaxy flagship devices have been rumored for some time now but it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S5 will finally deliver the goods. Whether or not this translates to a metal Galaxy Note 4, we can’t be sure but we will say this. Expect a new design with the Galaxy Note 4.

There are two reasons for this.

The iPhone 5s design is much nicer than the Galaxy Note 3.

The iPhone 5s design is much nicer than the Galaxy Note 3.

First, the Galaxy Note 3 design was arguably one of the biggest let downs of an otherwise powerful device. The faux leather plastic was different, sure, but it didn’t impress critics. We have a feeling that Samsung is going to change things up with the Galaxy Note 4 in an attempt to improve on one of the Galaxy Note’s weakest points.

Second, if the Samsung Galaxy S5 arrives with a metal design, we have a hard time believing that Samsung will keep its other flagship in plastic. These are both powerful devices, both flagships and we can’t see Samsung favoring one over the other, especially when the Galaxy Note will need to anchor the second half of the year.

Samsung always tweaks and improves its designs. Even if metal isn’t in the cards, and we think it will be, we should see a different design than the one found on the Galaxy Note 3. Expect it to be thin and portable but different.

New Display

Expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to have a different display than the 5.7-inch 1080p display found on the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung is already talking about a three-sided display for the Galaxy Note 4, backing up rumors that claimed something similar. The company is clearly looking to put its Samsung Youm technology into one of its big name smartphone and the Galaxy S5 probably won’t be it. It’s expected to feature a QHD display with insane resolution.

A Galaxy Note 4 concept with three-sided display for better viewing angles.

A Galaxy Note 4 concept with three-sided display for better viewing angles.

We don’t think it was a coincidence that Samsung released its curved display on a Galaxy Note-like device called the Samsung Galaxy Round. There was method to the madness and we get the feeling that that was a trial run for later on this year.

At the very least, we would expect a standard QHD AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 4, though at this point, we’re expecting Samsung to come out the gate swinging ahead of the holidays.

Upgraded Software

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will come with software that’s different than the software found on the Galaxy Note 3 and different than the software found on the Galaxy S5.

While it may share the same version of Android, the Galaxy Note 4 will more than likely feature upgraded S Pen features. Rumors already point to better gestures and S Pen features coming along with the Galaxy Note 4 and this should come as a surprise to no one. Samsung has, over the years, incrementally improved its Galaxy Note and S Pen software experience and it will continue to build later this year.

samsung-new-ui

We’ve theorized that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 could offer better S Pen functionality with a more sensitive touch component capable of sensing pen point touches with pressure as low as 2.5 pi. This would allow for more realistic handwriting and drawing on the screen.

The Galaxy Note 4 should also come with the new TouchWiz design elements that we saw leak out a few days ago and which should debut alongside the Galaxy S5 in a few weeks.

Major Carriers

Stop freaking out, wondering if the next Galaxy Note will come to AT&T, or Sprint, or T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular, or Verizon. It will. There is no doubt in our mind that it will. Samsung can’t afford an absence on any of these major carriers, especially now that the iPhone has found a home on T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.

Familiar Price

Thanks to its screen size and bundled S Pen stylus, there is no way that the Galaxy Note will ever be as cheap as the Samsung Galaxy S or other flagship smartphones. It’s always going to command a higher price. The Galaxy Note 4 will come with a price steeper than $199.99 as well, there is no doubt about that. Even Samsung itself isn’t trying to deny it.

According to Samsung’s executive vice president of mobile business Lee Young Hee, the next Galaxy Note will be “targeting consumers who want more professional use and tend to be willing to pay more for handsets.”

13 Comments

  1. Luis Gabriel Gerena

    01/18/2014 at 10:15 am

    i own a xperia z ultra not a note 3 but come on…..”iphone 5 design is much nicer than the note 3″ ? What a lame fanboy applezombie comment….

  2. yarrellray

    01/19/2014 at 9:09 am

    Plain and simple nothing beats SAMSUNG or the Galaxy Note products period.

  3. Joey

    01/19/2014 at 6:31 pm

    Im a huge fan of Samsung’s Note series but they have been stuck with the same cheap plasric cases for way too many years. And as much as I hate the stiffness and lack of flexibility of iPhones, they have a very highly evolved deaign sense and use premium materials and manufacturing techniques to produce a substantial-feeling product. The Samsung devicea have a decidedly cheaper feel that, in my opinion, is unacceptable on a top-of-the-line $800 device. Even HTC now realizes this.

    Hope they take another clue from HTC and include forward-facing speakers.

  4. Jonathan Miller

    01/24/2014 at 6:44 pm

    I don’t understand the big deal of plastic case for a device that has a lifespan of a year. I’m more concerned about the plastic parts in the drive train of my automobile that are going to leave me stranded on the side of the road some day. In this application plastic is fine. Metal just adds weight and cost.

    • Dinesh Muciliath Jayadevan

      01/30/2014 at 4:44 am

      You said it. I am also a Note I user, and the plastic case has never caused any problem to me. Some Note II users say that the cover is too glossy and slippery. But that problem is not there with Note I and Note III. As you said, metal adds weight, which is going to affect negatively to the customer.

  5. Bauer

    01/28/2014 at 12:58 am

    The Note 2 is the best phone I’ve ever owned period. And you can say what you want about the plastic but honestly once you get it into a defender ottorbox then it’s fully protected. Coulda used a front facing speaker though, and the ability to record video while on a call would be nice. But with the battery kit and extra battery, it takes me less than 45 seconds to change my dead battery to 100%. The phone itself boots up in 18 so it’s fully on and usuable before I even finish putting my case back on!

  6. pinkbellbird (@Lorie_Hall)

    02/01/2014 at 12:43 am

    i agree they should put upcoming models out with a premium stylish metal casing. But in saying that, they would have to find a way for the NFC & S-Beam to work. Im pretty that metal cases stop those features. But Samsung being Samsang, theyd come up with something, no clue what! If the NFC was built into the metal case, they if you wanted to personalise & replace it, then NFC would be an issue.
    Ive got the Note 2, signed to a 2 year contract for it. My plan was always going to be to wait for the Note 4 to come out – simply knowing that buy the 4th model, it would super polished & pretty well amazing! Cant wait till its released!

  7. Babs Oyed

    02/08/2014 at 1:50 pm

    I own the Note 3 and it’s certainly by far the very best phone I’ve ever owned or used. I wish it had onscreen buttons though.

    I also have the Note II which is also an excellent phone but let down by the horribly Exynos processor and inadequate internal storage

    Can’t wait for the Note 4.

  8. DS

    02/09/2014 at 1:56 am

    I am the big fan of Samsung series phones but they are coming with all the same features. I hope this time Samsung will come with something different.

  9. blessedlady1980

    02/20/2014 at 7:05 pm

    I own the note 3 and it is the best!!!!! IPhone sucks in my opinion!! Can’t wait for the release of the note 4!!!!!

  10. Sifu

    03/10/2014 at 9:51 am

    Do folks REALLY care whether it’s a plastic vs. metal backing? It seems highly irrelevant to the performance of the phone in that it doesn’t modify it what so ever.

  11. Divya

    03/31/2014 at 12:10 am

    Don’t you think that July-August is too early for thee release of Samsung galaxy note4.

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