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Galaxy Note 4 vs. Galaxy S5: What Buyers Can Expect



The Samsung Galaxy S5 is still one of the best smartphones on the market and thanks to a cheaper price tag, it’s even more attractive than it once was. With a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release now confirmed, smartphone buyers are starting to weigh their options. And many are weighing the Galaxy Note 4 vs the Galaxy S5. Here, we take a look at what we expect from the match up.

In the fall of last year, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 3, its third-generation and a device that joined the Galaxy S4 in the company’s battle against the iPhone, the HTC One and LG’s G series. The Galaxy Note 3 wasn’t paired with the Galaxy S4 for long though. In February, Samsung took the stage at Mobile World Congress 2014 and debuted a new Galaxy S called the Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the company’s current flagship and one of the best smartphones available across all platforms. In fact, we”ll argue that right now might just be the most attractive the Galaxy S5 has ever been. Its price has dropped since its release in April and it will be getting Android L at some point in the future, perhaps as soon as this year. Unsurprisingly, we’ve talked to more than a few people that are considering it as their next smartphone.

Many of those people, probably the ones that keep tabs on the smartphone industry, are curious as to how it will fair next to the device that’s expected to replace the Galaxy Note 3 later this year. Interest in the rumored Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has skyrocketed after the company confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 release with media invites last week.

Over the past few weeks, Galaxy Note 4 rumors have firmed up and we’ve made some early comparisons to several devices including the Galaxy S5. Here, we want to explore those rumors and offer up some predictions of our own. Here’s how we expect the Galaxy Note 4 to match up with the Galaxy S5 in key areas when it arrives later on this year.

Our intention is paint as vivid picture for those that are trying to weigh the Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy S5 as we lead into the fall.

Release Date + Huge Price Difference

Last week, Samsung confirmed the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch date for September 3rd. The confirmation came in the form of an invite that beckons the media to upcoming Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 events in New York City, Beijing and Berlin. 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.

It is there 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, we already have some idea about what to expect when it comes to both.

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.

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 that remains unconfirmed. 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.

So what does this mean for the Galaxy S5? Well, we expect the Galaxy S5 price to drop even further once September arrives. Part of that might be because of the Galaxy Note 4 release but we expect the iPhone 6 to have a significant impact on the Galaxy S5 price as well.

Right now, Amazon is offering it for well below its usual $199.99 on-contract price tag and we’re expecting that price to dip further as retailers and perhaps carriers position it against the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4.

Galaxy S5 Review - 1

The Galaxy Note series has typically emerged with a $299.99 on-contract price, or $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S, and 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 S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 prices.

Design Differences & Similarities

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 design has slowly begun to take shape as we get closer to the Galaxy Note 4 launch. While we’re still not entirely sold on the alleged Galaxy Note 4 photos, we’ve seen tons of fakes in the past and Samsung is well known for its tight security, we can’t help but think that these might be controlled leaks aimed at drumming up interest amongst prospective iPhone 6 buyers.

An alleged Galaxy Note 4 box leaks, with more questions than answers.

An alleged Galaxy Note 4 box leaks, with more questions than answers.

Rumors out of Korea suggest that the Galaxy Note 4 could come with a metal frame 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. The leak could certainly be legit though there isn’t a way to confirm that ahead of time. At least not yet.

What we can say is that we don’t expect Samsung to use polycarbonate plastic or faux plastic leather and we’d be shocked if the Galaxy Note 4 was made entirely out of metal. In other words, our gut says that the real Galaxy Note 4 could certainly look and feel a whole lot like the device seen in these photos, even if the device in question isn’t one hundred percent accurate.

This could be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

This could be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

What know that Samsung is worried about the impact of the iPhone 6 and with its smartphone business in decline, this is the year that the company could finally offer a premium build to appease those that want something better than full blown plastic.

If these leaks are spot on, the Galaxy Note 4 will be a little different than the Galaxy S5 design which incorporates a plastic matte back that’s much better than the backings on previous Galaxy S and Galaxy Note releases.

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 Samsung Galaxy S5. We also expect the device to carry a microSD card slot given rumors that it only comes in 32GB form.

Bigger & Better Display

The Samsung’s Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch display was the best smartphone display on the market up until the LG G3 arrived. The LG G3 comes with a 5.5-inch QHD display that is in a word, stunning. What’s more is that LG was able to pack that size, and resolution, into a smartphone that isn’t gigantic or difficult to use with one-hand. The Galaxy S5 can easily be used with one hand but the larger 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 is far more difficult.

The Galaxy Note 4 is expected to have a 5.7-inch display.

The Galaxy Note 4 is expected to have a 5.7-inch display.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is 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. Those unfamiliar can take a look at our buyers guide between the LG G3 and the Galaxy Note 3 below.

We’re expecting Samsung to deliver QHD quality in an effort to keep pace with the LG G3, one of its biggest competitors and also to give the Galaxy Note 4 an edge over the iPhone 6. Galaxy Note 4 QHD rumors are also rampant and we’ve also seen Samsung deliver a new Galaxy S5 LTE-A 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 will push 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 S5 Review - 5

The large screen size should mean that the overall footprint of the Galaxy Note 4 will be larger than the Galaxy S5. The S Pen and the larger screen have always been the main attractions of the Galaxy Note series and we’re not expecting anything less from the Galaxy Note 4.

Supercharged Galaxy Note 4 Specs

The Galaxy S5 comes with some solid specifications including a Snapdragon 801 processor from Qualcomm, 2GB of RAM, 16MP camera, 2,800 mAh battery, and a heart rate sensor tied into the S Health app. It’s a powerful smartphone that delivers a ton of horsepower. This almost goes without saying but expect the Galaxy Note 4 to come with a better spec sheet than the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly come with an improved processor. The Snapdragon 805 appears to be the prime candidate for the United States while we could see a 64-bit processor emerge in other regions. Processing power is essential to the Galaxy Note series because of its focus on multitasking, gaming, and its S Pen stylus.

A new leak details two potential Galaxy Note 4 specs.

A new leak details two potential Galaxy Note 4 specs.

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.

We’re expecting a Galaxy Note 4 camera that’s at least on par with the Galaxy S5’s though we could see the company finally deliver image stabilization technology alongside its 16MP sensor. With the iPhone 6 breathing down its neck, we’re expecting Samsung to up the ante, at least a little bit, with its new Galaxy Note.

The Galaxy Note 4 S Health app will measure UV radiation and offer education according to rumors.

The Galaxy Note 4 S Health app will measure UV radiation and offer education according to rumors.

We’re also now expecting a new UV sensor that could tie into the S Health application and provide readings on UV levels. As we’ve pointed out, it’s a feature that could save your life. The Galaxy S5 comes with a heart rate sensor, something that’s also rumored for the Galaxy Note 4, but it doesn’t come with a UV sensor.

Different 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 S5 isn’t as widespread as the iPhone 5s but it’s found on carriers like Ting, Cricket, Boost and Virgin.

Big Time Software Differences

The two biggest differences between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note are the larger screen and the S Pen stylus that comes bundled with the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note 4 should come with an S Pen on board which means that we should see some big differences between the software on the Galaxy S5 and the software on the Galaxy Note 4.

The Galaxy S5 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 and we expect the Galaxy Note 4 to get the same changes in the looks department. To get a sense of those changes, have a look at the video below:

The video will also give you some idea about the S Pen and the unique features it provides. We’re expecting the Galaxy Note 4 to come with souped up applications for the S Pen though we’re still not sure what might be coming on board. Here are a few non-S Pen Galaxy Note 4 software features that have been rumored ahead of time:

  • 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.

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 S5 inside of an Android update down the road. Both devices should get Android L in the future as well.



  1. Silviejan

    08/12/2014 at 4:30 pm

    uplvLove this jσb, since I’ve been bringing in $120/h… I sit at home, music playing while I wσrk in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it σnline. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. Check this out!..

  2. JackSkellington

    08/13/2014 at 3:16 am

    Um…Couple things.
    First…There is no “the S5 HAD the best screen until the G3 came. Just because the G3 had the higher resolution QHD does not make it better.
    The S5 is still 1080p and beats the G3 in terms of brightness, lower reflectance, lower minimum brightness, power consumption, white balance, contrast, black levels, overall natural looking, and user adaptable.
    The only screen that beat it was when the S5 prime came with a QHD Amoled leaving even that one advantage out.

    And the Note would be released around this time anyway. The Alpha is what is being released in order to rival the release of ithing 8…or “6” as they will call it.

  3. JackSkellington

    08/13/2014 at 3:21 am

    Oh yeah. And how is it that even tech bloggers are foolish enough to blur the line of user preference and quality?
    Some users prefer aluminum or glass. Neither are any less cheap recyclable material than plastic.
    And they are also more fragile, less practical, hold on to more heat and longer, generally are thicker and bulkier, more complicated and expensive to repair, and generally do not offer removable covers.

  4. Joey Smith

    08/13/2014 at 12:52 pm

    Forget about it. Let’s leave Samsung, they don’t respect their customers. When it comes to updates, they’re really very slow. I’ve had the same experience that many others explain everywhere in other forums, my T Mobile S4 is a piece of crap after it was updated to kitkat 4.4.2 last february 14, 2014, I hate the phone and I’m willing to update it to 4.4.3 or 4.4.4 in order to see if it improves. I wish I could downgrade it to the oldest android version it had when I bought it. We have to move to Motorola, Nexus, HTC or whatever other phones, but Samsung SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Michael Rodriguez

    08/13/2014 at 12:54 pm

    Be careful everybody with that webpage that Silviejan suggests, it’s SCAM, it’s fake. That person is an international thief, don’t pinch that link. You can be robbed!!!

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