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Galaxy Note 4 vs. Galaxy Note 2: What Buyers Can Expect



With Samsung Galaxy Note 2 users set to come off contract this fall, many will be in the hunt for a brand new smartphone and perhaps, a new Samsung Galaxy Note. With a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release now confirmed for 2014, we want to take a look at what Galaxy Note 2 upgraders can expect from the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Nearly two years have passed since Samsung took the stage in Berlin, Germany, ahead of IFA 2012, to announce the Galaxy Note 2. At the time, the Galaxy Note 2 was one of the more highly sought after smartphones thanks to its hardware upgrades, its improved S Pen stylus, new software, and the fact that it was available on all five major carriers in the United States. The original Galaxy Note was limited to AT&T and T-Mobile.

In the two years since the Galaxy Note 2’s arrival, we’ve seen it get bumped up to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and more recently, to Android 4.4 KitKat. And thanks to its software and solid hardware which includes a quad-core processor, the device has manged to hold up well over the course of two years. But that doesn’t mean that Galaxy Note 2 users aren’t looking to upgrade.


Those that bought the Galaxy Note 2 right off the bat are slated to come off contract this fall. And while some might opt to keep the Galaxy Note 2, especially if it gets Android L, we’ve talked to some Galaxy Note 2 users that are weighing the device against some of the top competition.

One of the more attractive option should be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, a device that is now confirmed for arrival in September, and a device that will almost certainly trump the Galaxy Note 2 specs and software. With Galaxy Note 4 rumors firming up over the past few weeks, we want to take a close look at what prospective Galaxy Note 2 upgraders can expect from the new Galaxy Note.

Note, nothing is confirmed until Samsung confirms but we’ve seen enough credible information leak out to offer some early expectations to Galaxy Note 2 users interested in the Galaxy Note 4.


The Galaxy Note 2 design is, simply put, outdated. Samsung’s boring glossy polycarbonate plastic designs have over the years been replaced with new materials and fresh looks. The Galaxy Note 3, for instance, comes with a faux leather plastic back that might not be able to match the iPhone but is better than the Galaxy Note 2 design. The Galaxy S5 took things a step further with its perforated plastic matte back that puts other Galaxy S and Galaxy Note designs to shame.


We know that the Galaxy Note 4 design is going to be different than the Galaxy Note 2’s. Samsung switches up its designs ever year to help them compete against the iPhone and other top Android devices. And while we can’t note all of the differences just yet, there are a few that should show up with the Galaxy Note 4 design.

Rumors out of Korea suggest that the Galaxy Note 4 could come with a metal frame though without evidence, those rumors are flimsy. We don’t expect Samsung to use polycarbonate plastic but we would not get overly excited about metal just yet. Metal rumors have been attached to just about every Galaxy smartphone in recent years and so far, we’ve come up fruitless.

What we do know that Samsung is worried about the impact of the iPhone 6 and with its smartphone business in decline, the company could perhaps offer a premium build to appease those that want something better than plastic. The Galaxy Note 4 has as good of a chance as any to include metal but don’t put your eggs in one basket.

Galaxy Note 4 S Pen

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). These seem likely at this point given their presence on the Galaxy S5. The Galaxy Note 2 doesn’t come with any of these features.

We still haven’t heard anything about a removable back or microSD card slot but those are hallmarks of Samsung’s Galaxy designs and it would be strange to see the company ditch them.


The Galaxy Note 2’s display is also outdated. The 5.5-inch HD (720p) display was nice at the time but in recent years we’ve seen companies shift to full HD (1080p) and QHD displays. Samsung’s current Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 3, features a massive 5.7-inch full HD display that trumps the Galaxy Note 2’s.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Video -  021

This is an area where Galaxy Note 2 users can expect a massive upgrade. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is also rumored to be coming with a large QHD (Quad HD) display. As we’ve pointed out, 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. As we noted in our review of the LG G3.

The 5.7-inch display is still a great size for the Galaxy Note 4.

The 5.7-inch display is still a great size for the Galaxy Note 4.

We’re still not sure how the larger screen will affect the design, our hope is that Samsung makes the device more compact for easier one-handed use, but buyers can expect a large Galaxy Note 4 with a higher resolution display and tons of screen real estate for the S Pen, for watching movies and TV shows, and for playing games.


While the display and design will likely be in focus on the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note release will come equipped with a number of other specifications to help bolster its spec sheet. Here, we put the latest rumors together. Keep in mind, this is a partial spec sheet but it should give you an idea about what to expect from the device when it arrives.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

  • Samsung Exynos 4 quad-core chip
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 5.5-inch HD (720p) display
  • 16GB / 32GB storage options
  • 1.9MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 3,100 mAh battery
  • 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz Wi-Fi

So, here’s what to make of all this. Expect the Galaxy Note 4 to come with a processor that offers outstanding performance. The Galaxy Note 3 was one of 2013’s most powerful smartphone and we’re expecting the same from the Galaxy Note 4.

Expect the Galaxy Note 4 to feature a better camera as well. Camera technology has come a long way since 2012 and it looks like the device will have an upgraded sensor to go along with new image technology meant to cut down on shakiness.

Galaxy Note 4 Features

We also expect the Galaxy Note 4 to deliver solid battery life thanks to a large battery and the improvements coming with its processing chip. How much better, we can’t say, but expect there to be a noticeable difference.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s software is going to come with new features, that’s for sure. We also expect it to come with a look similar to the TouchWiz software found on the Galaxy S5.

Here are a few of the rumored changes to the Galaxy Note software though these are old. We haven’t seen any recent Galaxy Note 4 software leaks though we imagine a few will leak out as we get closer to its launch event.

  • Smart Fingerprint –  It wasn’t fully detailed but it’s assumed that it has something to do with being able to customize a fingerprint reader for certain actions.
  • Multi Network for Booster –  Could be similar to the Download Booster feature on the Galaxy S5 that combines Wi-Fi and cellular data for faster download speeds.
  • Swipe to Launch Motion Launcher –  Could be similar to Motion Launch on the HTC One M8.
  • Aqua Capture – Possibly similar to the Aqua Mode found on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. Aqua Mode allowed Galaxy S4 Active users to take photos underwater.

To get a sense of the Galaxy Note’s software, take a peek at it in action next to the Galaxy S5 in the video below.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, at this point, sits in a gray area when it comes to future software updates. While the Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly get Android L down the road, the Galaxy Note 2 may not.

Samsung typically upgrades devices for 24 months before kicking them to the curb. Android L may not be out within that 24 month mark meaning it could stick on Android 4.4. That’s not confirmed but that’s something Galaxy Note 2 users should keep in mind moving forward.

Another important thing to note is that the Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 might get some Galaxy Note 4 software features down the road but it won’t get the entire feature set. Samsung needs to keep some things exclusive so that it can sell its new flagship.


Nothing on the Galaxy Note 4 price yet though with all of these upgrades and the Galaxy Note price sticking at $299.99 throughout the years, it’s hard to imagine a Galaxy Note 4 that isn’t at least close to $300 on-contract. Expect to fork out some serious dough for this device when it arrives in a few weeks.


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. Don’t expect to see smaller carriers hop on board the Galaxy Note 4 bandwagon.

Release Date

Yesterday, Samsung confirmed the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch date for September 3rd thanks to a new invite that invites the media to an upcoming Unpacked event in New York City on September 3rd. The Unpacked event, which teases a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release, will take place just six days before Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone 6.

The company will be hosting its Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 launch event in three separate cities including New York City, Berlin, and Beijing. The United States, Europe and China are all key battlegrounds for smartphone manufacturers and it appears that Samsung is going to be taking the fight to the iPhone 6 in those regions in particular.

The Galaxy Note 4 launch date will come just days before the iPhone 6 launch.

The Galaxy Note 4 launch date will come just days before the iPhone 6 launch.

Samsung says that its Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 4 will be live streamed which means that current Galaxy Note 2 users can view the announcement from the confines of their home or desk.

Galaxy Note 4 release date rumors have pointed to a quick arrival in an effort to take on the iPhone 6 though a specific release date remains out of reach for the time being. Galaxy Note 2 users should prep for a Galaxy Note 4 release in the month of September perhaps two to three weeks after Samsung’s announcement.

That’s our best guess.

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