What the Samsung Galaxy S5 Tells Us About the Galaxy Note 4 Adam Mills02/25/2014 The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 probably won’t arrive until much later in the year but that doesn’t mean that we don’t already have a pretty good read on what the next Galaxy Note might offer. In fact, we think the new Samsung Galaxy S5 tells us quite a bit about what we can expect from the Galaxy Note 4 later on this year. After months and months of rumor and speculation, Samsung took the stage in Barcelona, Spain and introduced the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5, a device that will join the Galaxy Note 3 on shelves in April and replace the Galaxy S4 as the company’s flagship Galaxy S model.Advertisement As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with some impressive features ranging from its brand new design to its new camera to the new software that includes the new Android 4.4 KitKat update. It’s a device that consumers will have to consider come April and it’s a device that consumers will have to consider in the days, weeks, months, and perhaps, even years ahead. Samsung flagships typically stick around for a year before they are replaced which means that the Galaxy S5 is likely going to be on shelves once the new Galaxy Note lands later this year. And that means that there will be those who currently are, or will be, curious about how the new Galaxy Note 4 will match up with the Galaxy S5. Obviously, we can’t tell you how they will match up, at least not yet. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is likely still in development and Galaxy Note 4 rumors are scarce.Advertisement What we can tell you is that we think the Samsung Galaxy S5 shed some light on some of the features that will be coming with the Galaxy Note 4 later on this year.Advertisement Galaxy Note 4 Release Date Samsung surprised a lot of people when it announced its Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress. The past two Galaxy S launches took place at separate events, the Galaxy S4 in New York and the Galaxy S3 in London, and most believed that Samsung would continue this trend. It didn’t and the Galaxy S5 launched on stage yesterday in Barcelona. One thing that didn’t change though was the Samsung Galaxy S release date. Not only is it coming just a few weeks after the announcement, it’s also coming in April, the same month that the Galaxy S4 was released last year. To us, this is a sign that Samsung is going to sticking with a familiar launch with its new Galaxy Note. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch already is all but confirmed for the fall, thanks to loose-lipped Samsung executives and thanks to history. The past three Galaxy Note models have all been introduced at IFA in Berlin, Germany. With Samsung suggesting a fall launch for the next Galaxy Note, reports putting the release into the second half of the year, and Samsung returning to MWC for the Galaxy S5, smart money is on a launch at IFA. Advertisement If the Galaxy Note 4 does launch in early September, and it should, then we can only imagine that Samsung will follow a path similar to the Galaxy S5 release. Announce the phone, give it a specific date, and release it just a few weeks after the announcement. Last year’s Galaxy Note 3 debuted on September 4th and was released later on in the same month. It landed for the U.S. in October. The Samsung Galaxy S5, despite the early launch, represents business as usual and we would expect the Galaxy Note 4 launch to mirror it later on this year. Locked-in Display Over the years, Samsung has continued to increase the display sizes of both the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy S5 features the largest display yet for the Galaxy S series with a 5.1-inch display. This is only a slight change over the 5-inch display size found on the Galaxy S4 and to us, this is a sign that Samsung is locked into its screen sizes after finding the sweet spot. The company has very little wiggle room when it comes to the Galaxy Note’s display. Drop it down in size, it’s too close to the Galaxy S’ screen size. Increase it, and the device is almost as big as the company’s Samsung Galaxy Mega. It’s also teetering on the edge of being a tablet. And while the Galaxy Note is meant to combine the features of both, it’s a device that is marketed as a smartphone not a tablet.Advertisement So, given the miniscule change to the Galaxy S5 display, we would be surprised if the Galaxy Note 4’s screen was much larger than the 5.7-inch display found on the Galaxy Note 3. Processor Upgrade Every year, Samsung announces a new Galaxy S smartphone. And every year, the company makes hardware changes to the Galaxy S. One of those changes comes in the form of a new processor, or in Samsung’s case, processors.Advertisement Every single Galaxy S smartphone has featured a better processor and the Galaxy S5 is no different. It will be coming with a Snapdragon 801 from Qualcomm and will likely feature a Exynos octo-core processor in some regions as well. Both processors are going to be clocked faster than the processors found in the Galaxy S4 so we should see some increase in performance. Samsung has done the same thing with the Galaxy Note series year-after-year and the fact that the trend continues with the Galaxy S5 is a clear cut sign that we should see a processor change with the Galaxy Note 4 as well. The company is keen on putting a 64-bit processor inside of its mainstream phones and it could be that the Galaxy Note 4 is the first to sport one. Remember, the Galaxy Note series was the first to include a quad-core processor and it’s a device that is predicated on power. Camera Upgrade Same goes for the camera. Just about every year, Samsung includes a major camera upgrade with its new flagships. We say “just about” because the Galaxy Note 2 8MP camera was about the same as the 8MP camera found in the original Galaxy Note. That was then, this is now, and there is simply too much competition. Samsung can’t afford to put the same camera on two devices and so it wasn’t surprising to see the company outfit the Galaxy S5 with a new 16MP sensor that is not only affords users higher resolution but comes with an extremely quick auto-focus. The Galaxy S5 has a 16 megapixel camera The camera does not have Optical Image Stabilization but it’s still going to be an improvement over the cameras found in the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3. We expect the same for the Galaxy Note 4. The Galaxy Note series is under attack by other big name devices and there is simply no way that it will take its foot off the gas when it comes to camera tech. It can’t because the camera is one of the most important pieces to any smartphone puzzle. Design Tweaks Something else that Samsung changes year-after-year is the design of its Galaxy Note and Galaxy S devices. No two devices have ever looked exactly the same. Sure, they all share some things in common but we have never seen Samsung use the exact same design twice. It’s always working to improve something. This isn’t a waterproof Galaxy S5, but it is able to withstand a drop into water. With the Samsung Galaxy S5, the company introduced a new modern design that includes a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says adds a “glam” look to its flagship. While the gold Galaxy S5 looks like a band-aid, the other two Galaxy S5 models look extremely nice. The plastic seems nicer than the plastic used on the Galaxy S4 as well. The Samsung Galaxy S5 also comes with another important tweak. The Galaxy S5’s design is water and dust resistant, a feature that it stole from AT&T’s Galaxy S4 Active. The Galaxy S is now rugged from the start. Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 3. With all of that in mind, we simply can’t see Samsung keeping the Galaxy Note 3’s design with the Galaxy Note 4. Not only would that be redundant, the Galaxy Note 3’s faux leather plastic design is arguably one of its worst qualities. It simply does not compare to the likes of the iPhone 5s or HTC One. We can’t speak to the exact changes that the Galaxy Note 4 design will have but we’d be shocked if Samsung left it alone. We expect Samsung to give it the same treatment that it gave the Galaxy S5. Sensible Software In the buildup to the Samsung Galaxy S5 launch event, rumors pegged it as having a brand new piece of TouchWiz software, one that would not only add new features but also a new look. That new look did not arrive with the Samsung Galaxy S5, perhaps because of what reportedly happened with Google at CES. Instead of a major overhaul and the addition of an overwhelming amount of features that could and probably would confuse consumers, Samsung took a more sensible approach with the Galaxy S5’s software. Instead of complicating things, the software is sensible and adds only a few new features, all of which appear to be useful. For instance, Samsung has added a brand new “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to the Galaxy S5 that will not only turn the display to black and white but will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life. This could be essential to a device like the Galaxy Note which thrives while on-the-go. Check your pulse on the Galaxy S5. It also has added some new features that are tied to the users health including a heart rate sensor that is embedded inside of the Galaxy S5 and takes advantage of new software. The big point is this. Instead of a crazy overhaul with wide sweeping changes, Samsung, for maybe the first time, stayed simple. Whether that’s due to Google interference or not is unclear but there is no denying that this is a far more sensible upgrade than years past. We would not be shocked if this emphasis extended to the Galaxy Note 4 as well. Rather than introducing a ton of new features, perhaps Samsung will focus on adding a few major, but useful additions. We also envision some sensible tweaks to the functionality of the S Pen. After all, the S Pen is one of the Galaxy Note’s biggest draws. Familiar Carriers The Samsung Galaxy S5 is coming to all five major carriers in the United States. It will also be coming to MetroPCS and it should land on some smaller pre-paid and regional carriers as well. This has been a trend for flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphones for years and we simply cannot see the Galaxy Note 4 straying from its roots. It should follow in the Galaxy S5’s footsteps and come to all of the major carriers in the United States as they look to boost their smartphone lineups for the holidays. Improved Security We can’t see the Samsung Galaxy S5’s fingerprint reader being a one-and-done feature. That is, unless Samsung is able to get its Iris-scanning technology ready in time for the Galaxy Note 4. Whatever the case may be, we would expect the Galaxy Note 4 to come with enhanced security features, whether it’s a fingerprint reader like the Galaxy S5’s or something else. The Galaxy S5 features a fingerprint reader. It would be extremely strange to see Samsung bring an improved security feature to the Galaxy S5 but fail to bring it to the Galaxy Note 4, a device that will more than likely end up in the hands of millions of consumers around the world.