Galaxy Note 4 vs. Galaxy S5: Key Differences

With a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date now confirmed for October, we want to assist those that might be taking a long hard look at Samsung’s Next Best Thing. We’ve gone hands-on with Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Note and today, we take a look at the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

In February of this year, Samsung took to the stage at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona Spain and announced a brand new Galaxy S, the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5, the fifth-generation Galaxy S, took the place of the Galaxy S4 and joined the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on shelves in Samsung’s fight against Apple and top Android rivals.


Since April, the Galaxy S5 has ruled as one of Samsung’s top smartphone option and one of the top Android smartphones on the market. However, the Galaxy S5 now has some more competition, a new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that will be taking the place of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in just a few short weeks.

Yesterday, the company unveiled the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the fourth-generation Galaxy Note, and a device that will join the Galaxy S5 in this year’s battle with the LG G3, HTC One, and the rumored iPhone 6.


The Galaxy Note 4 release is coming in October and in these next four weeks, many of you are going to start prepping for its arrival. And one of the ways you’re going to do that is by researching top Galaxy Note 4 alternatives. One of those alternatives is the Samsung Galaxy S5. It still has solid hardware and software and as we now know, a more affordable price tag.


Here, we want to run down the key differences between the Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy S5, all in an effort to help those that are starting to prepare for the upcoming Galaxy Note 4 release date.


Even if you haven’t been following all of the Galaxy Note 4 rumors, it should come as no surprise that the Galaxy Note 4, a device that’s a part of the Galaxy Note series, comes with some major differences. The Galaxy Note series has always been very different than the Galaxy S and it’s going to be up to you to decide which one you like more. We’ll just help scoot you in the right direction.

The first key difference between the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5 are the differences between their displays. While the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch display utilizes Full HD resolution, the Galaxy Note 4’s 5.7-inch display is much larger and offers Quad HD resolution for crisper looking imagery. To get a feel for how QHD compares to a full HD display, have a look at the LG G3’s QHD display in action next to the Galaxy Note 3’s Full HD display.


If looking at photos is more your thing, take a peek at the photo below. It shows the Galaxy Note 4 display next to the Galaxy S5. The size difference is readily apparent while the quality difference is a little more subtle. The Galaxy S5 has one of the best smartphone display out but the Galaxy Note 4, at least in our first impressions, offers better looking content. It also provides more space for gaming, multitasking, and watching content.

Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 display.

Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 display.

Quad HD resolution is not a gimmick and it’s a feature that we think will be one of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s biggest selling points this fall.


Due to the larger screen, the Galaxy Note 4 is a larger phone than the Galaxy S5. It’s not a massive difference, the Galaxy S5 is also a very large phone, but it’s worth noting that the Galaxy Note series is among the largest mainstream smartphones on the market.



To give you some perspective, the Galaxy Note 4’s form factor is 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm thin and weighs 176g. That’s heavy for a smartphone. By comparison, the iPhone 5s is 112 grams. The Galaxy S5 is 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm thin and weighs just 145 grams. So, the Galaxy Note 4 is wider, longer, and heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy S. Not surprising, but a key difference nonetheless.


The size difference means that the Galaxy S5 is a little easier to use with one hand and is a little more pocketable. This is going to be key for those of you with small hands and little pockets.


The Galaxy S5’s perforated matte plastic design was a step up from the glossy polycarbonate plastic Galaxy S4 design though it still can’t match the build quality of top devices like the HTC One and iPhone. The Galaxy Note 4 has taken a step in the right direction and its build quality is a little more interesting than the Galaxy S5’s.



Instead of a full on plastic design like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4 features metal that wraps around the entire frame. This is not faux metal, it’s actually metal. The soft textured back cover is extremely nice, durable, and easy to grip with one hand. It’s not a huge step up from the design found on the Galaxy S5 (it’s also good) but it’s a key difference nonetheless.

There is one big difference between the two devices though. The Galaxy S5 comes with an IP67 certification which means that it’s both dust and water resistant. The Galaxy Note 4 does not come with those capabilities. If you’re planning to use your next smartphone in a rugged environment, the IP67 certification could prove to be extremely useful.

UV Sensor

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 comes with an array of sensors including a brand new UV sensor that ties into Samsung’s S Health 3.5 application and provides UV level readings. As we’ve pointed out, it’s a feature that could save your life.

The Galaxy Note 4’s UV Sensor will do everything from help you avoid a sunburn, premature skin aging and with action, it could help reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 matches the Galaxy Note 4 with a fingerprint sensor and heart rate sensor but it does not come with a UV sensor. This probably isn’t going to be a deal breaker but it’s still a difference that needs to be pointed out.

S Pen

The Galaxy Note series and Galaxy S series have always had two very unique differences. The first, the larger screen that we pointed out earlier. The other, the Galaxy Note’s S Pen, a bundled stylus that allows you to write and draw on the screen and take advantage of powerful applications.

The Galaxy Note 4 will be coming with a new and improved S Pen. Samsung’s made some significant changes to this year’s S Pen including increased  sensitivity on the Note 4 screen to make the note taking experience on the Galaxy Note 4 feel more like writing on paper. More sensitivity also leads to better looking text from handwriting.

Samsung’s also made some significant improvements to the S Pen’s built-in applications including, Air Command, S Note and Voice Memo, and more. The Galaxy S5 does not come with an S Pen nor is it compatible with the S Pen. This feature is one that consumers absolutely must investigate before deciding between the two.

Rear Camera

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes with a solid 16MP rear camera that can shoot Ultra HD video but the Galaxy Note 4’s 16MP camera should prove to be a little bit better, assuming the technology works as advertised.

Galaxy Note 4 Features - Design

The Galaxy Note 4 camera will come with a 16MP sensor that’s supported by Smart OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). It’s also capable of shooting video up to Ultra HD (3840 × 2160) resolution at 30 frames per second. The Galaxy S5 does not come with OIS, technology that cuts down shakiness for better looking photos and video.

Front-Facing Camera

Instead of a 2.1MP front-facing camera like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4 delivers a 3.7MP front-facing camera that supports up to a 120 degree viewing angle and the ability to shoot WQHD (2560×1440) video. That’s an ability the Galaxy S5’s front facing camera doesn’t have and it’s a key difference that buyers will need to consider.


U.S. carriers failed to announce official pricing for the Galaxy Note 4 though we can tell you that the Galaxy Note 4 will be much more expensive than the Galaxy S5. We’ve put together a rough sketch of the Galaxy Note 4 price in the United States but nothing is concrete and firm, at least not yet.

Galaxy S5 Review - 1

The Samsung Galaxy Note series usually is priced at $299.99 on-contract. Thanks to a contest at T-Mobile, we’ve determined that the Galaxy Note 4 could cost around that much when it arrives later this year. $299.99 or not, the Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly be more expensive than the Galaxy S5 thanks to Galaxy S5 deals that have sprouted up in recent months.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 can now be found for under $100 on-contract, much cheaper than its original $199.99 asking price. What this means is that you will need to decide if the benefits of the Galaxy Note 4 are worth the extra cash. That’s a personal decision and one that you’ll need to make come October.