Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note 4, the latest in its lineup of popular oversized smartphones. The Note 4 leaked out more than a few times over the past several weeks but the device still managed to surprise us in a few ways. We had a chance to briefly play with the phablet, which launches this fall, so here’s some quick thoughts from our hands-on time with the new handset.
The Galaxy Note 4 offers some huge improvements over last year’s Note 3, including a 5.7-inch quad HD 2560 x 1440-pixel, a 16-megapixel rear camera, a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, a 3220mAh battery, 32GB of storage with microSD support and 3GB of RAM. The most notable change is the phone’s design, which features a ring of metal around the edge similar to the Galaxy Alpha. The use of metal definitely gives the Note 4 a nicer look, though it does add a bit of weight to the device. Meanwhile, the removable back is still made from plastic, but it’s a new type of plastic that’s a lot more subtle than the pock-marked Galaxy S5. It’s also easier to grip compared to last year’s slippery faux-leather Note 3.
On the software side of things, Samsung has made a few changes as well with an emphasis on creating a multi-tasking experience that’s on par with what you can do at a desktop computer. Not only can you use two apps at once with multi-window, but you can resize those apps to decide how much space each one gets. By swiping in from the top right corner you can also scale down the size of an app so it becomes a smaller windowed box on your screen. Samsung has also added some new camera tricks, including the ability to take a wide-angle selfie. The rear camera now comes with optical image stabilization for super-fast focusing and an impressive 8x zoom, while both cameras also offer better low-light results.
What else? The Galaxy Note 4 gets some of the same battery saving technology included with the S5, including an Ultra Power Saving Mode that should help get you through the day even if you’re down to just ten percent power. There’s also a new Rapid Charge feature that get’s you back up to 50 percent in 30 minutes. Of course, Samsung’s packed tons of new stuff into the Note 4 and it will take us a while to try everything out for ourselves.
In the meantime head back to our homepage for all the other news coming this week at IFA 2014.