Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 reviewed

That whole level of multi-tasking and running apps on top of things has been shifted to a function you won’t know is there until you accidentally use it, and that is compatible applications with the tech can be swiped down from the corners from a diagonal angle and reduced in size.

The size reduction is shown on screen as you so it, and it makes a small version of the app to sit on top of everything else.

You’ll probably notice how we said “compatible”, and that’s because so few things are compatible, and as far as we can tell, this idea is an extension of Samsung’s two-apps-on-one-screen concept, as the apps that work with this seem to be the apps that work with that function.

That means messages and phone dialling and contacts and email, and a web browser or two can access it, but not everything you use, sadly, and this flawed continuity is just one of the minor quibbles we have with the Note 4, which tries to integrate itself into your life, but doesn’t let every app you’ll use partake in its properly multi-tasking skills, which is a shame.

We’d love to see more support for apps running simultaneously, really allowing people to make use of that big screen in the way that they want to, and not just the options Samsung provides.

Multi-tasking on a big screen makes sense, we just wish more apps supported it.

We also take aim at the Note 4’s lack of water resistance.

This one isn’t a deal breaker, but rather just a bit of a “why not” sort of moment for Samsung, as the Galaxy Note 4 lacks water-resistance, while the Galaxy S5 comes with it.

We’re not sure why on this one, either, as this is one of those must have features we’re seeing other companies compete on, and obviously Samsung knows the benefit of having this technology otherwise it wouldn’t have included it in the GS5.

But it is missing here, and we’re a little surprised, since that water and dust protection would have gone a long way to making it one of those phones you could take to the beach thanks to the amazing reservoir of power the screen has at its disposal.

Our biggest complaint, though, is with the battery, because for the most part, it’s a let down.

One day.

That’s not us saying “one day, we’ll see battery life like this on all phones”, but rather a statement of “one day is all you’ll get”, and that’s if you’re not a power user.

The one day maximum life was pretty consistent over several days of testing, and while you could rely on last year’s Note 3 to get you through over a day’s worth of work, you’ll want to charge the Galaxy Note 4 nightly if you’re relying on it for calls, texting, social networking, taking pictures, web surfing, the odd bit of casual gaming, taking notes using the pen, and listening to music.

If you’re a heavy user, you can even expect to plug it in before the day is over, or alternatively switch on the Ultra Low Power Saving mode, which Samsung has borrowed from the Galaxy S5 we saw earlier in the year, complete with that monochromatic mode which we’re told saves power, though from previous testing, only does it because you’re less likely to look at a greyscale screen.

You can also probably attribute the one day battery life to the high-end screen powering those extra pixels and — from what we can tell — the excess power from the adaptable display which gives Samsung’s screen an extra push to make it highly readable in pretty much any light, from the darkness to the blinding harsh sunlight we’re known to get in Australia.

In fact, it’s a similar performance to LG’s G3, which itself featured a very high-end mobile screen supporting that same very high-end 2560×1440 resolution.

We’re just a little surprised since the Note 3 set a good benchmark for mobile battery performance thanks to that massive 3200mAh battery, and with 20mAh more in the Note 4, you’ll actually find less life.

Obviously, with more pixels to power, the battery takes a bit of a beating.

At least Samsung includes a special power brick with a higher power output for a faster charge, but it’s not a real answer to a battery that should last longer. It really isn’t.


The fourth iteration of Samsung’s Galaxy Note range offers quite a lot in a phablet package, and features one of the best screens we’ve ever seen, but the battery leaves us wanting.

It seems we’re in iPhone 6 territory here, and while it’s nice to see such a huge screen supporting such a lovely resolution that’s pleasing to the eye, and with a display boost that makes it ideal for use in the Australian sun, the one-day battery can prove a touch problematic.

Outside of that, it’s a nice piece of kit, and you have to admire the gradual evolution Samsung is taking with the Note 4, especially since we’ve made our way from a fully plastic phone to one that feels elegant with a faux leather plastic back, and just the right amount of metal adorning the frame.

Indeed, it’s a nice phone to hold that you’ll find comfortable, and a top phone to use, just make sure to keep a spare battery or portable charger with you, because unfortunately, you’ll need it.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Holy pigeon, that screen is freakin’ amazing, looking clearer than the competition and boasting an extra boost when sunlight hits it; Amazeballs 4G speeds supporting Category 6 (first phone locally to do so); Solid performance; Support for high-resolution audio; The first time in a few years that Samsung’s Australian version of Android doesn’t feel handicapped or compromised in any way; A silent camera (woot!); Metal edges and textured back actually work quite well in the hands;
Not so amazing battery life; Samsung’s S Pen feels like it does less; No waterproofing like its S5 brother; Images still don’t rotate in the gallery until you press a button (sigh);