Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 5: 5 Things Buyers Need to Know

With many iPhone 5 users looking to upgrade this fall, it’s time to compare Apple’s aging flagship against this years top to devices in an effort to help upgraders come to a decision. Today, we want to take a look at the iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and look at the most important differences between Apple’s phone and Samsung’s new Galaxy Note.

Earlier this month, Samsung took to the stage in Berlin, Germany to announce several new products for the fall. First, we saw another intro for the Samsung Gear S, an Apple Watch competitor and a device that appears to be a solid alternative to current Android smartwatches. We also saw the Gear VR virtual reality headset make its first appearance.


The star of the show though was arguably the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 successor and a device that’s poised to strike in the United States in October. As expected, the Galaxy Note 4 is a tantalizing flagship smartphone and one that should be tempting for those looking to grab a high-end, big-screen device this fall.


In particular, iPhone 5 users are looking at their options. The iPhone 5 is now two years old which means that those who bought the iPhone 5 back when it first came out are now coming off-contract and weighing an upgrade to something new. While the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are both intriguing options, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is another flagship that iPhone 5 users should be looking at in their quest to find their next great smartphone.


While we can’t tell you what to do, we can push you in the right direction. Ahead of the Galaxy Note 4 release, we take a look at the five most important things buyers need to know about the iPhone 5 vs Galaxy Note 4. Keep in mind, this is aimed at iPhone 5 upgraders though it will apply to those looking at buying either the Galaxy Note 4 or iPhone 5.


Galaxy Note 4 Release Date

Earlier this month, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 release date was confirmed for October. Now, two weeks later, we finally have concrete and specific Galaxy Note 4 release details to share with you.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 release date for October 17th, or, a little over a month from now. Expect that date to remain concrete as we move forward. AT&T and Verizon are currently taking pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 4. T-Mobile will start taking them on September 24th and Sprint will take them on September 26th. It’s not clear if U.S. Cellular will take them or not. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will all be charging $299.99 on-contract, or, far more than the iPhone 5 costs where it’s still available.

Galaxy Note 4 Features - Design

What this means is that you probably won’t be able to physically compare the two for at least a few weeks as Samsung works to deliver the Galaxy Note 4 to the United States.


Those in other parts of the world will be able to compare much sooner. The Galaxy Note 4 release is set for September 26th in Korea, October 10th in the United Kingdom and it could hit India in early October. The pricing there is going to be expensive as well and it should cost more than an iPhone 5, a device that’s no longer sold on the Apple Store and a device that’s now two years old.

Galaxy Note 4 Size vs. iPhone 5 Size

The Galaxy Note 4 is a large phone, much larger than the iPhone 5 which comes with a small 4-inch Retina Display. The size difference is extremely noticeable and the Galaxy Note 4 will likely make for a huge adjustment amongst you iPhone 5 users. The photo below will give you an idea about how the Galaxy Note 4 compares to the iPhone 5 from a size standpoint.

iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 size.

iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 size.

  • Galaxy Note 4 – 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm – 176 grams
  • iPhone 5 – 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm – 112 grams

The Galaxy Note 4 is taller, wider, thicker, and heavier than the iPhone 5. That weight difference is going to make itself known immediately. A 50 gram difference is a whole lot when it comes to smartphones.

What this means is that the Galaxy Note 4 is going to be a little harder to use with one hand and it’s also going to be less pocketable. Those of you who are accustomed to storing your phone in your skinny jeans might have some trouble fitting the Galaxy Note 4. We can’t stress this to you enough, the Galaxy Note 4 is a monstrosity compared to the iPhone 5.


Galaxy Note 4 Specs vs. iPhone 5 Specs

Not all of you will want or need to compare specs, especially given the iPhone 5’s age, but if you do, you’re going to find that the Galaxy Note 4 comes with a spec list that puts the iPhone 5’s to shame. We’ll point out some of the key differences that you should be aware of in the build up to the Galaxy Note 4 release in October.

Galaxy Note 4 Specs

  • Snapdragon 805 processor (U.S.)
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • 5.7-inch Quad HD display – 2560 x 1440  – 515 pixels per inch
  • 32GB storage with support for 128GB microSD cards
  • 3.7MP front-facing camera
  • 16MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • UV sensor
  • Heart rate sensor
  • NFC
  • 3220 mAh battery
  • S Pen

iPhone 5

  • Apple A6 processor
  • iOS 8
  • 4-inch Retina display – 1136 x 640 – 326 pixels per inch
  • 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11 a, b, g, n
  • 1440 mAh

The Galaxy Note 4 display provides far more real estate for gaming, browsing the web, and more. Again, that comes with a cost which is its overall size. Another thing to keep in mind is that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 sports a higher resolution.

DisplayMate, one of the leading voices on display technology, calls the Galaxy Note 4 display the best they’ve ever seen. Earlier this year, the publication claimed that the Galaxy S5 display, a display that has now been trumped by the Galaxy Note 4, was better than the iPhone 5s’ Retina Display. In other words, there’s a very good chance that the Galaxy Note 4 display will offer better looking content. Not surprising, the Galaxy Note 4 is the newer model.

Galaxy Note 4 Features - Sensors


The Galaxy Note 4 will feature Optical Image Stabilization with its 16MPcamera, technology that minimizes shakiness to deliver better looking photos and video. The iPhone 5’s 8MP camera does not come with OIS. And while we don’t know how well the Galaxy Note 4 camera will perform just yet, there’s a good chance that a sensor from 2014 is going to best one from 2012. After all, the iPhone 6’s camera puts the iPhone 5’s to shame.

While the iPhone 5 comes in three sizes (16, 32 and 64GB), the Galaxy Note 4 comes in one. What the Galaxy Note 4 lacks in internal storage, it makes up for with its expanded storage. Users can pop in a microSD card that’s up to 128GB. The iPhone 5 does not come with expandable storage. Nor does it come with a removable back plate.


The Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 5 both have solid batteries though the Galaxy Note 4’s is much larger. This could potentially lead to longer lasting battery life. The Galaxy Note series is well known for fantastic all-day battery life and the Galaxy Note 4 should continue this trend.

The Galaxy Note 4 has a removable back which means that users can easily replace the stock battery with an extended one. This is something that iPhone 5 users cannot do because it features a cased in unibody design.

Galaxy Note 4 Features vs. iPhone 5 Features

The Galaxy Note 4 also comes with a number of new features that are worth pointing out. Many of these features aren’t found on the iPhone 5 though it will be up to you to decide if the bells and whistles are worth the cost.

  • UV Sensor – Allows you to measure UV radiation with your phone. This is something that could help to prevent health issues and it’s something that isn’t found on the iPhone 5.
  • Heart Rate Sensor – The Galaxy Note 4 comes with a heart rate sensor tucked away near the camera. The sensor can help track your pulse and ties into the company’s new S Health 3.5 application. The iPhone 5 does not feature one.
  • S Pen – This is one of the biggest differences between the two. The Galaxy Note 4 comes with a bundled stylus called the S Pen that can take advantage of unique apps. It also allows you to write and draw on the screen. It can be seen in action in the video below. Needless to say, the iPhone 5 does not come with an S Pen made by Samsung.

  • Fast charging – The Galaxy Note 4 comes with fast charging capabilities that will allow users to charge at a much faster rate than usual. The company says a full charge will take approximately 30 minutes or so. The iPhone 5 doesn’t come with fast charging capabilities though it does come with a much smaller battery. Don’t let this feature sway you.
  • Fingerprint sensor – The iPhone 5 doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor for added security and convenience. The Galaxy Note 4 does.

iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 Software & Upgrades

The iPhone 5 recently got Apple’s iOS 8 software, seen in the video below. iOS 8 is much different than the software found on the Galaxy Note 4 and because of that, software is going to play a key role in your final decision.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 runs Google’s Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system as a base though the software has been modified with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. And not just any version of TouchWiz, a version that’s designed for the S Pen and mulitasking in mind.

Samsung’s made some significant improvements 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 applications including, Air Command, S Note and Voice Memo, and more.

More importantly, the company has improved the Galaxy Note 4’s multitasking, multitasking that the iPhone 5 simply cannot match. One of the reasons is a feature called Multi-Window View. It can be seen in action on the Galaxy Note 4 in the video below.

Multi-Window View, at its most basic level, allows users to run multiple applications on screen at the same time. With the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung has made some admirable changes including the ability to access applications in full, split or pop-up screens. Galaxy Note 4 users will now also be able to reposition apps on the screen with just one swipe.

As we’ve pointed out, iOS 8 rumors point to split-screen multitasking for the iPad but those rumors have not pointed to a release for the iPhone or iPhone 5.

Galaxy Note 4 Features - Quad HD Display

One last thing we should point out. iOS 8 serves as the iPhone 5’s second iOS update. Apple tends to offer three iOS updates before kicking a device to the curb so there’s a chance that support for the iPhone 5 will end after iOS 9. Something to keep in mind before shelling out a bunch of money for a device that’s now two years old.