Galaxy Note 4 vs. Galaxy S4: What Buyers Can Expect

With a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release in sight, prospective smartphone buyers and upgraders are starting to compare the new Galaxy Note to other smartphones. One of those devices is likely the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung’s flagship from last year. Here, we take a look at the Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy S4 and detail how we expect the two to compare to one another.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S smartphone from 2013. The device, which arrived in April of last year, is getting older but thanks to fantastic hardware, updated software, and a price tag that’s as bargain bin as they get, it remains an option for those that aren’t interested in paying top dollar for their next smartphone.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is also in the hands of millions of people around the world, some of whom neglected to sign a two-year contract in favor of something else. Many current Galaxy S4 users are going to be looking for a new smartphone in the days ahead and we know of one device that will almost certainly find its away into their cross hairs.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to replace the Galaxy Note 3 this fall and do so with some powerful features on board. Galaxy Note 4 rumors have been flowing for months now as Samsung makes its final preparations for launch. And in the last month, we’ve seen Galaxy Note 4 specs, the Galaxy Note 4 launch date and the Galaxy Note 4 release date start to firm up.

These rumors allow us to make some early comparisons to current smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4. And here, we want to do exactly that. Here’s how we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to match up with the Galaxy S4 in key areas. Our intention is paint as vivid picture for those that are trying to weigh the Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy S4 as we head into September.

Galaxy Note 4 Release Date & Price

In August, Samsung confirmed the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch date for September 3rd. The confirmation came in the form of an invite that summons the media to upcoming Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 events in New York City, Beijing and Berlin. Samsung will live stream the event over YouTube giving millions of consumers around the world the chance to watch the events unfold live.

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It is there, on September 3rd, that we expect to learn about the Galaxy Note 4 specs and the Galaxy Note 4 release date, the two biggest pieces to the Galaxy Note 4 puzzle. Fortunately, as we’ve said already, we have some idea about what to expect when it comes to both.

The Galaxy Note 4 invite confirms the event date and is clearly for the Note 4.

The Galaxy Note 4 invite confirms the event date and is clearly for the Note 4.

Galaxy Note 4 release date rumors have continued to point to a quick arrival in an effort to take on the iPhone 6. Rumors have singled out the week of September 15th as a possible launch window for the Galaxy Note 4 though a specific date hasn’t been confirmed. We are fully expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to be released in September and would not be surprised if Samsung produced an incredible turnaround in an effort to compete with the iPhone 6.

What this means is that in just a few short weeks, we expect you to be able to physically compare the Galaxy Note 4 to the Galaxy S4 and to other big name smartphones on the market right now. It also means that you should hold off on buying the Samsung Galaxy S4 if you can manage.

When the Galaxy Note 4 arrives, it will be met by an extremely cheap Galaxy S4. The arrival of the new Galaxy S5 knocked the Galaxy S4’s price down to a new attractive level. Amazon sells it for nothing on-contract. The Galaxy Note series is always more expensive than the Galaxy S series which is why you should consider waiting for the Galaxy Note 4 before making a move. You don’t want to waste your cash.

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The Galaxy Note series has historically come with a $299.99 on-contract price, or, $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S. With all of the Galaxy Note 4′s rumored upgrades, and Samsung angling it has a device for the high-end market, we’re not expecting a discount. Look for there to be wide gap between the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 4 prices.

Design Differences

The Samsung Galaxy S4 design was an improvement over the Galaxy S3’s but it still can’t compare to the top designs on the market. Its glossy polycarbonate back isn’t as premium as the iPhone 5s design or the Galaxy Note 3’s faux leather back and it leaves something to be desired. It does, however, come with a microSD card slot, removable back plate, and a thin and fairly lightweight form factor. So it’s not all bad. We, however, expect the Galaxy Note 4 design to put it to shame.

The Galaxy S4 uses a glossy polycarbonate plastic.

The Galaxy S4 uses a glossy polycarbonate plastic.

There’s no doubt that the Galaxy Note 4 will be a bigger phone than the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy Note series always comes with a larger display that works in conjunction with the device’s S Pen stylus and rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 4 will come with both a large display and S Pen. So, expect the form factor to be larger.

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. We’re still a bit skeptical but Samsung’s recent Galaxy Alpha launch shows that the company is indeed committed to using new materials.

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.

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 and with an iPhone 6 threatening the success of the Galaxy Note 4, we expect Samsung to go big with its new Galaxy Note.

This could be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

This could be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

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. The Galaxy S4 does not have a fingerprint reader in its home button and does not have an IP67 certification though it does come in an assortment of colors.

In the United States, the Galaxy S4 comes in 16GB across the board. The 32GB Galaxy S4 model is limited to AT&T and Verizon in the United States. The other carriers opted not to carry it.

Bigger & Better Display

The Samsung Galaxy S4’s 5-inch display once found itself amongst the best smartphone displays on the market. Over the past year, the Galaxy S4’s display has slowly been overshadowed by new and improved displays including the Galaxy S5’s FHD display and the LG G3’s QHD display. We already told you that we expect the Galaxy Note 4 display to be bigger than the Galaxy S4’s and now’s the time to tell you that we think it’ll be better as well.

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Samsung’s 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 as 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.

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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.

Galaxy Note 4 Specs vs. Galaxy S4 Specs

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Samsung 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.

It appears that Samsung will equip the Galaxy Note 4 with a 16MP Sony IMX240 camera sensor with OIS technology. It will evidently be able to shoot UHD resolution at 30 frames per second and come with an array of new software features including including a new gesture that allows users easy access when the phone is turned off and four new camera modes that are intended for selfies.

Galaxy Note 4 Features

The Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to have a 3.7-megapixel camera sensor that can capture photos and video in QHD or 2560 × 1440 resolution. Both are a significant step up from the Galaxy S4’s cameras, something that isn’t unexpected given the age of the Galaxy S4 and the competition that the Galaxy Note 4 must deal with moving forward.

We’re also expecting a new UV sensor that will 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 the Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t have on board its design.

Galaxy Note 4 S Pen

The Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly come with a better 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 gaming and all day battery life. 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 trounce older models like the Galaxy S4.

Carriers

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. Yes, that means we expect the Galaxy S5 to offer greater amount of choice to consumers. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 isn’t as widespread as the iPhone but it’s found a number of smaller carriers including C Spire, MetroPCS, and Cricket.

Galaxy Note 4 Software vs. Galaxy S4 Software

The two biggest differences between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note are the screen sizes and the S Pen stylus that comes bundled with the Galaxy Note. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 teasers suggest that there will be an S Pen on board which means that we should see some big differences between the software on the Galaxy S4 and the software on the Galaxy Note 4.

The Galaxy S4 uses Android 4.4.2 KitKat as a base and there’s a good chance that the Galaxy Note 4 will come with Android 4.4 KitKat as a base as well. Both will also run Samsung’s TouchWiz UI though we expect the Galaxy Note 4’s version to be much different. To get a sense of those changes, have a look at the video below:

We’re expecting Samsung to upgrade the Galaxy Note 4’s S Pen software though we should also see it introduce some changes to the overall look and feel of TouchWiz.

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Samsung is known for delivering new features to old devices so it’s possible that we could see at least a few non-S Pen software features arrive for the Galaxy S4 inside of an Android update down the road. Both devices should get Android L in the future as well though we expect the Galaxy Note 4 to get Android L ahead of the Galaxy S4.

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