Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 5: What Buyers Can Expect

Many iPhone 5 users coming off contract this fall will find themselves in the hunt for a new smartphone. While the iPhone 6 is an obvious choice, there is another big name smartphone that’s set to arrive in September. That phone is the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and here, we take a look at how we expect the Galaxy Note 4 to compare to the iPhone 5.

In the fall of 2012, Apple announced the iPhone 5, a device that replaced the iPhone 4s with a number of bells and whistles including 4G LTE data, a larger 4-inch Retina Display, new Lightning Dock standard, an improved camera, fast processor, and a redesign that took the iPhone from plastic and glass to glass and aluminum.


Consumers around the world scooped up the iPhone 5 and signed brand new two-year contracts to take advantage of its $199.99 starting price point. Two years and an iOS 7 update later and iPhone 5 users are still clinging to the device as its approaches its iOS 8 update this fall.

Many iPhone 5 users, myself included, are taking a look at the open market. Devices like the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nokia Lumia Icon are particularly attractive and they have a chance to coax some iPhone 5 owners into a purchase. Like many iPhone 5 users, I also have my eyes on the two big name devices that are set for arrival in September: Apple’s iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.


The iPhone 6 is an easy choice because it keeps us in the Apple ecosystem and offers an easy transition. It also helps that the iPhone 6 is expected to be a game changer like the iPhone 5 was back in 2012. Don’t let the iPhone 6 blind you though. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 looks like it will be a solid competitor as well.


Samsung is set to announce the Galaxy Note 4 in early September and on paper, the device looks like it will be a threat to the iPhone 6 and a potential replacement for the iPhone 5. We still don’t have all of the details regarding the Galaxy Note 4 but we have enough to offer iPhone 5 users, and prospective buyers, a look at what to expect from the Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 5 match up.

Galaxy Note 4 Release Date + Price

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch date is confirmed for September 3rd. On September 3rd, Samsung is hosting an Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 launch event that will almost certainly be the Galaxy Note 4 launch pad. Samsung hasn’t confirmed the date as the Galaxy Note 4 launch but it’s clear that that’s what we’ll be seeing.

Samsung is going to be holding a live stream of the event which means that you iPhone 5 users will be able to tune in and watch the events unfold live. The event will kick off around 9AM EST. It’s there that we expect to hear about the elusive Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, or, the day that you’ll be able to physically compare the iPhone 5 to the Galaxy Note 4.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date is heavily rumored for September. Over and over and over, rumors have pointed to a quick Galaxy Note 4 release and the evidence continues to pile up. Specifically, we’ve heard that Samsung might be gunning for the week of September 15th, the same week that Apple could release its iPhone 6.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 pricing hasn’t emerged just yet but it’s hard to imagine a device of this caliber, with these high-end specs on board, dipping far below the Galaxy Note’s usual home at $299.99 on-c0ntract. The iPhone 5 is no longer sold on the Apple Store but it’s available used and refurbished for much cheaper than that.

In other words, we expect current iPhone 5 users to have to shell out for the Galaxy Note 4 and we expect prospective buyers to have to pay far less for the rights to an iPhone 5, a device that’s now two years old.

Design Differences

Apple’s iPhone 5 is well known for its industrial design that’s comprised of both glass and aluminum. The design is also extremely thin, 7.6mm, which makes the device easy to hold with one hand. The iPhone 5 does not, however, come with the same Touch ID fingerprint sensor that we saw Apple introduce with the iPhone 5s last year.

If you aren’t familiar with the iPhone 5 design after more than a year on shelves, take a look at the iPhone 5s video below. It will take you through the most important pieces of the design that it shares with the iPhone 5, again, minus the fingerprint sensor.


Rumors out of Korea suggest that the Galaxy Note 4 could come with a metal frame. This is something that was recently backed up by an alleged Galaxy Note 4 photo-op that shows a device with a textured back with metal edges. While we were a tad skeptical, Samsung’s recent Galaxy Alpha launch shows that the company is indeed committed to using new materials.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha features a combination of plastic and metal and it could certainly be a foreshadow of what’s to come. As we’ve pointed out, the change makes sense. For years, consumers have complained about Samsung’s boring plastic materials. Last year’s Galaxy Note 3, for instance, used a faux plastic leather back that wasn’t as nice as the iPhone 5s’ or iPhone 5’s design.

A new Galaxy note 4 render based on the leaked design shows what the Galaxy Note 4 could look like.

A new Galaxy Note 4 concept based on the leaked design shows what the Galaxy Note 4 could look like.


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 design rumors also suggest that we’ll see a fingerprint sensor, an IP67 certification (dust and water resistance) and the same four colors that debuted on the Galaxy S5 (blue, white, black and gold). We’ve also heard that it will come in 32GB in the U.S.

We’re expecting some significant differences between these two designs with the build materials, size, and fingerprint sensor being three of the details that iPhone 5 users will want to key in on.

Big Time Display Differences

At this point, we also expect some big time display differences between the iPhone 5 vs Galaxy Note 4.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to be coming with a large 5.7-inch QHD (Quad HD) display. QHD resolution will offer higher resolution gaming, something that’s key on a device of this size, and it will also sharpen the look of movies, television shows and other content. Those unfamiliar can take a look at our buyers guide between the LG G3 and the Galaxy Note 3 below.

At this point, there’s nothing else to expect. Galaxy Note 4 QHD rumors are rampant and we recently saw Samsung deliver a new Galaxy S5 LTE-A, a device that comes equipped with a QHD display.

We also expect Samsung to keep the Galaxy Note screen in and around 5.7-inches. As we’ve noted, if Samsung goes any bigger it pushes the Note further into niche smartphone territory. If it goes any smaller, it gets too close to the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5. The 5.7-inch screen provides excellent gaming, multitasking, and more than enough real estate for the S Pen, the device’s stylus.


So what this means is that we expect the Galaxy Note 4 display to be larger, and better, than the iPhone 5’s. Of course, the size means that the Galaxy Note 4 will probably be much larger than 4-inch iPhone 5 but that’s the price you’ll have to pay for a massive 5-inch+ QHD screen.

Galaxy Note 4 Specs

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Galaxy Note 4 specs:

The Galaxy Note 4 is expected to feature a larger sensor at 16MP with Optical Image Stabilization, auto-focus and dual-LED flash. In other words, expect it to be good and perhaps better than the iPhone 5’s sensor from 2012. The iPhone 5’s camera is certainly feeling outdated.

We’re also now expecting a new UV sensor that could tie into Samsung’s S Health application and provide readings on UV levels. As we’ve pointed out, it’s a feature that could save your life. It might also come with a heart rate sensor like the Galaxy S5. These are features that Apple’s iPhone 5 simply does not have on board.

Galaxy Note 4 Features

The Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly come with an improved processor and it’s looking like that processor will be the Snapdragon 805 from Qualcomm. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 805 comes with a number of added benefits including a brand new Graphics Processing Unit (GPU):

The new Adreno 420 GPU in the Snapdragon 805 processor is the first commercial mobile GPU to introduce hardware tessellation and geometry shaders, which provide greater detail for visually stunning, realistic scenes and objects in a manner that requires less memory bandwidth and lower power consumption.

Translation: Better looking gaming and perhaps, better battery life for a series that’s already known for excellent battery life and gaming. The processor should also help to deliver great looking photos, multitasking, and fast download speeds thanks to a new modem. This should help it keep pace with the Apple’s iPhone 6 and the older iPhone models like the iPhone 5.

iOS 8 vs. Android 4.4 KitKat

Come September, the iPhone 5 will be running Apple’s new iOS 8 update. To get a feel for the new iOS 8 update, we suggest taking a look at our iOS 8 vs iOS 7 walkthrough. It will bring you up to speed on the many changes Apple’s made to its operating system.

iPhone 6 video - iOS 8 software

Samsung’s Note 4 won’t run iOS 8. In fact, it probably won’t run anything like we’ve ever seen. The Galaxy Note 4 comes bundled with an S Pen stylus that can be used to write and draw on the screen like a regular stylus. However, it can also take advantage of unique apps like S Note, a powerful notetaking app that’s only found on Samsung’s Note line of products. Those unfamiliar will want to take a look at the video below.

We’re expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to come with souped up applications for the S Pen though we’re still not sure what those will be. It’s also clear that Samsung will be upgrading the device’s camera application with a number of new features.

The Galaxy Note 4’s software experience is going to be vastly different from the iPhone 5’s so iPhone 5 users will want to make sure that they need the S Pen before buying into the Galaxy Note 4.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is rumored for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Same as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. We don’t expect to see smaller carriers hop on board the Galaxy Note 4 bandwagon.

Apple’s iPhone 5 is available on a number of carriers in the United States including the big five and an assortment of smaller pre-paid and regional carriers. We expect a huge difference here as well.