With a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date confirmed for October, consumers will now have a tough choice between the new Note 4, and the popular LG G3 that launched earlier this year. After going hands-on with the company’s new Note 4 smartphone, here we’ll compare what it has to offer over the competition.
Just like last year, yesterday Samsung took the stage for its annual Unpacked event and announced a successor to last years Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, and Gear VR were all debuted live on stage.
Read: Galaxy Note 4 Hands-on
The past year has been ruled by the Galaxy Note 3 when it comes to consumers buying devices with a large screen, but now there’s two brand new options worth checking out. The readily available LG G3 has a lot to offer, as does the new Note 4, so lets take a look and compare them both below for prospective buyers.
The Galaxy Note 4 release will be coming in October, as stated above, and in these next four weeks consumers are going to have to decide which phone is worth buying. While obviously the now lower priced Note 3 is worth considering, the LG G3 has tons to offer that may surprise buyers.
Here, we want to run down the key differences between the Galaxy Note 4 and LG G3 in an effort to help those that are debating between flagship big-screen smartphones in 2014.
The screen size and quality is a huge factor many buyers take into consideration, and that will be especially true with the Note 4 or LG G3. The LG G3 is the first smartphone to arrive in the U.S. with a 2560 x 1440 Quad HD display (some call it a 2k display) and it looks gorgeous. However, Samsung’s Note 4 now offers the same, only it’s slightly bigger.
The new Note 4 employs a similar 5.7-inch Quad-HD display, but using Samsung’s impressive AMOLED technology. The 5.5-inch size on the LG G3 isn’t too bad, and slim bezels keep the device rather sleek. The Note 4 bezels are a little bigger than we were hoping for, yet still didn’t get the IP67 certification as the Galaxy S5, but it will likely help protect that big screen from drops and damage.
Offering a near bezel-free 5.5-inch display on the LG G3 allowed the company to keep the overall device size down. Meaning that while the screen is barely smaller than Samsung’s, the device is a lot smaller and easier to hold. This may be a big deciding factor for some buyers, and you’ll want to try them both out in your hand in carrier stores once the Note 4 arrives.
There’s also the new Note Edge, which is a Note 4 with a curved display. We’ll talk about that more later, but it offers all the same features of the Note 4, with a twist.
After spending some time with the Note 4 we’ll have to give this one to Samsung. The AMOLED screen is gorgeous, crisp, vibrant, and saturation is excellent. The LG G3 Quad-HD display is nice too, but viewing angles aren’t as good, and colors are a bit washed out. However, they both look stunning and will make any buyer quite happy.
Samsung had one goal when it came to the design on the Note 4, and that was to keep it looking the same while adding a few improvements. It looks nearly identical to the Note 3, but has a slightly different texture on the back and some aluminum around the edges. Yes the aluminum is a nice touch, but we were expecting a slightly different look compared to the Note 3.
This is the first Samsung Galaxy Note to have aluminum, and it makes the device feel premium, be more durable, while keeping it lightweight. It’s a welcomed edition, and users will like it once they get their hands on it.
At the same time, many buyers love the lightweight and durable plastics used years prior, and that could be something that sways potential buyers. A big 5.7-inch device with metal could be too much to handle, and this is where the all-plastic LG G3 comes in. LG offers an brushed aluminum look to the G3, but it’s made of plastic. It still looks and feels great, so it’s a tough choice, one that each user will have to weigh.
Read: LG G3 Review
Those who’ve used a Note device in the past already know what to expect. The device is nearly the same but with a new metal band around the frame, and a new textured back not unlike the Note 3. The LG G3 though, has all the buttons, camera, sensors, and everything else around back. This keeps the sides clear for that sleek bezel that keeps the physical size down. Again, to each his own, and you may want to try it in a carrier store before buying one online.
While specs and numbers aren’t everything, these are two of the most powerful smartphones of 2014, and will remain at the top until sometime next year. Both offer some of the best hardware and software around, and will perform excellent for years to come. For those that want the details, here they are.
Galaxy Note 4 Specs
- 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Display
- 2.7 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 805 Processor with 3GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage and micro-SD expansion
- Android 4.4.4 KitKat (Google’s latest release)
- 16 Megapixel OIS Camera and 3.7 front camera for wide angle selfies, panorama mode, and HD video
- Fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, UV sensor
- 3,220 mAh Battery
- Quick Charge (50% in 30 minutes)
- Improved S-Pen
- Aluminum Edges
- White, Black, Gold, and Pink colors
LG G3 Specs
- 5.5-inch Quad-HD Display
- 2.5 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM
- 32GB storage and micro-SD expansion
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat
- 13 Megapixel OIS Camera and 2.1 front shooter
- Buttons on the back
- 3,000 mAh battery with wireless charging
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G LTE, FM Radio, IR Remote
- Metallic Black, Silk White, Gold Shine, Moon Violet, and Burgundy Red colors
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 may have a few areas that tops the LG G3, mainly because it was released later in the year. Some of those being a bigger screen, newer quad-core processor, not to mention the 16MP OIS camera vs LG’s 13. Both devices are large, powerful, and built to impress. That’s for sure.
Stylus & Software
While LG recently announced a G3 Stylus model outside of the US, most users won’t ever see that option. As a result, those looking for additional content consumption and creation tools the Galaxy Note 4 S-Pen stylus has an advantage. Samsung’s tailored a lot of the experience around a stylus, and there’s a slew of additional features for it specifically.
While this isn’t a major difference, it’s something many buyers will want to consider if they’ll be taking notes on the go, drawing with the Note 4, or want a stylus for added function or features. Would the Note 4 be just as popular without a stylus? Absolutely. But it’s still something buyers see and want when making a purchase decision.
Personally I wish they’d drop the stylus and add front-facing speakers, but that’s just me.
The Galaxy Note 4 runs the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, and it’s a bit bloated. It has tons of additional features worth using though. The fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, stylus, UV sensor, and more. LG has a few tricks for software up their sleeve, like multi-window and one-handed modes too, so this one is a toss up. You’ll want to try both OS options in stores before making a choice. It’s worth noting that Samsung has a better track record for timely (and good) software updates, so consider that too.
Another key difference many will need to know about is the price. LG has undercut Samsung in the past, and are doing the same here in 2014. The all-new Galaxy Note 4 price isn’t available yet, but previous models all ran over $640 and were $299 with 2-year contracts from carriers. It’s expensive.
The LG G3 though, is $599-$649 from most carriers and can be found for $99 on-contract from many carriers including Verizon Wireless. We don’t Samsung will match that, but it could drop to $199 or have some bundles or exclusives to help buyers get over the higher price tag. Once release details are announced by carriers we’ll have more details.
This is a hard choice. The LG G3 has one of the best designs and sleekest looks of any smartphone to date, but the Note 4 has a lot to offer too. If you simply want a big and beautiful display along with a pretty great camera experience, consider the LG G3. However if you think all the added functions of the fingerprint scanner, S-Pen stylus, and everything else Samsung employs is worth the added cost, give it a try instead.
We’ve said this more than once, and that’s because everyone has different needs, wants, and preferences. Both of these phones will make prospective buyers very happy, but we’d recommend trying them both yourself first before making the switch.