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Samsung has finally unveiled the Galaxy Note 4, and it is certainly shaping up to be one of the most talked-about smartphones of 2014.

We always like to shake up new phone discussions with spec shootouts where we compare the latest and greatest with other high-end smartphones that’ve already made their debuts onto the market scene. Now, we’ll see if the Galaxy Note 4 really deserves the titles “Beast of the East” and “Best of the West.”

Are you ready to see the Note 4 take on the knock-out competition with the likes of the HTC One M8, Xperia Z3, and the Galaxy S5?

Display

The Note 4 has a 5.7-inch, Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, while its smaller brother, the Galaxy S5, has a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The HTC One M8 has a Full HD display on a 5-inch screen, and the Xperia Z3 has a 5.2-inch display with a 1920 x 1080p (Full HD) screen resolution.

The Note series designed by Samsung has always promoted some of the largest displays on the market (although its display size is bested by Samsung’s 5.8-inch and 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega superphones), and it’s no surprise here that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 wins the day. Not only does it’ve the widest display in the comparison, but it also has the best screen resolution – taking Full HD resolution one step further.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-screen

Processor

The Galaxy Note 4 is powered by either the Exynos 5433 octa-core processor or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor (depending on region), while the Galaxy S5 comes powered with a 2.5Ghz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. The HTC One M8 features the Snapdragon 801, and the Sony Xperia Z3 features a 2.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801.

The winner of the processor round goes to the Galaxy Note 4, with the newest processor on the market. Those who are in other regions where Samsung’s octa-core Exynos processor is provided are even more fortunate than Snapdragon processor recipients. From what we’ve seen of the clocked speed and performance of the Galaxy Alpha, we can say with confidence that the Note 4 will blaze through multitasking with the octa-core processor. Of course, the 2K or Quad HD screen resolution mandates the use of a processor that handles graphics. The Snapdragon 801 wasn’t much of a step up from the Snapdragon 800 (it didn’t handle graphics either), but the Snapdragon 805 has been built by Qualcomm to improve battery performance with improved graphics. The Note 4 is the perfect device on which Samsung can debut Qualcomm’s latest and greatest processor.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 features a 3.7MP front-facing camera with F/1.9 aperture as well as a 16MP rear-facing camera, while its Galaxy brother, the GS5, comes with a 2.1MP front-facing camera and a 13MP rear-facing camera. The HTC One M8 features a 5MP HD front-facing camera and a 4MP “UltraPixel” rear-facing camera, while the Sony Xperia Z3 has a 2MP front-facing camera and a 20MP rear-facing camera.

The HTC One M8 pulls ahead with its front-facing camera that’s still not bested by other manufacturers, but is woefully inadequate with its 4MP back camera. The Galaxy S5 has a 16MP camera, and the newly-announced Note 4 seems to finally catch up to the camera level of the Galaxy S5 with its 16MP camera sensor. The Galaxy Note 4 camera is a 16MP, but Sony’s 20.7MP back camera on the Xperia Z3 wins this contest here without a fight.

There are two winners of the camera round (HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z3), but which camera you desire most is a matter of preference. We’d recommend that the back camera always matter more, but, then and again, not all of us here at Inferse take selfies (or “WEfies,” pictures involving two or more people) regularly.

Memory

The Galaxy Note 4 features 32GB/64GB memory storage with a microSD card slot that provides an additional 64GB of storage (microSD card to be bought separately), while the Galaxy S5 comes with 16GB of starting memory storage. There are 32GB memory storage Galaxy S5 models, but many are hard to come by in local retail stores. The Galaxy S5 also contains Samsung’s tried-and-true microSD card slot for additional memory storage expansion up to an additional 128GB.

The HTC One M8 comes with 16GB of starting memory storage (up to 32GB) but HTC decided to shake things up this year and provide a microSD card slot that provides up to 128GB of expandable memory storage. Sony’s Xperia Z3 has a minimum of 16GB of memory storage but also provides a microSD card slot that allows for an additional 64GBs (at least) of expandable memory storage. In terms of expandable storage, the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 will both appeal to your “more for less mantra,” but both provide half of the storage of the Galaxy Note 4 out of the box.

Apart from operational memory (or ROM), these devices also have random access memory (or RAM) with differing amounts. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 features 3GB of RAM, followed by the HTC One M8 with 2GB of RAM, the Galaxy S5 with 2GB of RAM, and the Sony Xperia Z3 with 3GB RAM.

As for memory storage, we see that the Note 4 provides twice the memory storage out of box than the other high-end smartphones, but comes with less expandable memory storage than the HTC One M8 or the Galaxy S5 (64GB vs. 128GB, respectively). While the HTC One M8 and the Galaxy S5 provide more expandable storage, however, they also come with half the in-built storage of the Note 4. The question you must decide with your choice is whether or not more expandable storage matters to you. If you decide that you’d rather have the 32GB of local memory storage sans a microSD card, then you could always use Google’s unlimited photo storage at Google+ to store your photos. Keep in mind, however, that not every app you download can be moved to your microSD card.

The Note 4 ties with the Xperia Z3 when it comes to 3GB of RAM but provides more out-of-box memory storage (although the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 provide more expandable memory), so we’ll give the overall win here to the Galaxy Note 4.

Battery

As with all competitions, a good knock-out round consists of the discussion surrounding battery and battery life. The Galaxy Note 4 features a 3,220mAh battery (just 20mAh up from last year’s Galaxy Note 3), while the Galaxy S5 features a 2,800mAh battery, the HTC One M8 a 2,600mAh battery, and the Xperia Z3 a 3,100mAh battery. The Galaxy Note 4 leads the way, defeating even Sony’s Xperia Z3 in terms of battery life.

Some would look at Samsung’s latest battery – a 20mAh increase from the Galaxy Note 3 of 2013 – and think that Samsung dropped the ball. In reality, however, this is not the case: the company has reduced battery consumption by 7.5% in the new device, allowing for a slightly better experience in an already amazing battery. When you combine this with Samsung’s Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving modes in the new Galaxy Note 4 (as is the case with Samsung’s Galaxy S5), you’ll find that you don’t really need a larger battery in a device. If the Ultra Power Saving Mode can provide up to 12.5 days of battery life (at least 8 days in my own individual tests), then what need is there to fix a battery that is already stellar? Samsung wanted to keep the device light and improve battery life, so the company took a different approach. Even with a slight bump in the battery (and a tiny bump at that), the Galaxy Note 4 will still best the battery life of most (if not all) other high-end smartphones on the market. We’ve seen battery life as low as 18-20 hours and as high as 2-2.5 days with the Galaxy Note 3, and we can’t imagine why the Galaxy Note 4 wouldn’t achieve the same (if not more).

The Galaxy Note 4 is promising something along the lines of 2-day battery life, similar to Sony’s 3,100mAh Xperia Z3. The HTC One M8 has been discovered in tests to have no more than a day of battery life, but the Galaxy S5 can deliver at least 27 hours in conservative estimates (as much as 35-40 hours in others). The Note 4’s battery-saving modes will come to the rescue in this case, but the Note 4’s quick-charging feature allows you to reach 50% battery on a recharge in as little as 30 minutes – which should only add to your web-browsing pleasure.

We haven’t seen the Extreme Power Saving Mode capabilities of the HTC One M8, but from our own results, the only competition that Samsung has in the battery department would come from Sony’s Xperia Z3. Still, we’re giving the win to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 for now.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Note 4 doesn’t come with the stellar 20.7MP camera of the Sony Xperia Z3 or the 5MP front-facing camera of the HTC One M8, but it does have the highest battery and best battery life, fastest processor, the largest and most vivid display, and the highest out-of-the-box memory storage. As for its 16MP back camera and 3.7MP front-facing camera, you’ll be happy with these without worry.

The Galaxy Note 4, once again, tops the spec shootout contest. We only hope that sales are commensurate with what we think is the best phone of 2014.

Key Specifications:

Phone Galaxy Note 4 Samsung Galaxy S5 HTC One (M8) Sony Xperia Z3
Display 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440), 515 ppi 5.1-inch 1920x1080p Super AMOLED, 432ppi 5.0-inch 1920x1080p Super LCD 3, 441ppi 5.2″ Full HD (1920×1080 pixels), 424ppi
Processor 2.7 GHz Quad-Core Processor
1.9 GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) Processor
2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-core
OS Android 4.4.4 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.4
Memory 3GB RAM, 32 GB Internal memory 2GB of RAM, 16/32GB internal storage 2GB of RAM, 16/ 32GB of internal storage 3 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage
Micro SD support Yes, up to 64GB Yes, upto 128GB Yes, upto 128GB Yes, up to 128 GB
Size 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g 142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145 grams 146.36 x 70.60 x 9.35mm, 160 grams 146.5 x 72 x 7.3 mm, 152 grams
Cameras 16 MP rear with Smart OIS, 3.7 MP front facing camera with f1.9 16MP rear, 2.1MP front 4 Ultra pixel camera (dual Rear camera), 5MP front, Dual LED 20.7 MP rear camera, 2.2 MP front-facing camera
Video Recording 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, 4G, LTE 6, USB 2.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, IR Blaster, USB 3.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, USB 2.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G, USB 2.0
Sensors Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB,IR-LED
Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, UV, Heart Rate Monitoring, SpO2
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, gesture, heart rate Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass
Battery 3,220mAh 2800 mAh 2600 mAh 3100 mAh
Water and dust resistance None IP67 dust and water resistance None Waterproof and dust tight (IP65 and IP68)

10 COMMENTS

    • Which just means it’s the exact same phone with a larger screen.
      And cheap plastic as compared to what? Cheap aluminum and glass??

      • No, I was saying that the S5 and M8 are simular size wise. Compare the Note 4 to the G3, iPhone 6plus. any phone larger than the S5 and M8. I have the note 3, I use it as a tablet and carry my M8 for a phone.

        • No. I was just saying that they are in the same boat. A phablet is just a phone with a larger screen. Same hardware and all. The Note just gets better things.
          Just a little larger for one handed use.

          • That’s the only actual difference though.
            Plus TouchWiz has a mode to shrink the usable screen down.
            I do understand one handed use though.
            Plus you weren’t just saying that. You were bashing too. And ignored when I addressed it.

          • I like the split screen feature it’s cool but I dropped the phone a few times and I had to tape the battery and cover on it. That’s why I say it’s cheap plastic. My other Plastic phones didn’t do that. I’m just glad I found a parts phone to repair it. Lol

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