We might still be a few weeks away from the Samsung Galaxy Note 4's launch (it's due to be revealed at a Samsung Unpacked event on 3 September), but sufficient juicy details about Samsung's latest phablet have leaked that we are able to begin to compare the Note 3 and Note 4. So, should you buy a SGN3 or wait for the SGN4? We reveal all in our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 4 comparison review, which we will of course update on 3 September. Also see:39 best smartphones 2014.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Price
If you buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 direct from Samsung it'll cost you £549, although you can get it cheaper if you shop around - circa £440 at Amazon at the time of writing. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to cost upward of £500 at launch (probably closer to £600), but its price will fall within a few months. Eraphonehas leaked the device at IDR 9,499,000, which is about £487.
Few people will buy either the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Note 4 outright, instead choosing a two-year tariff from one of the UK's mobile operators. If you are looking for the cheapest deal, though, check out the best SIM-only deals 2014.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Design and build
With both Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4 featuring a 5.7in screen, we shouldn't expect there will be too much difference in the size and weight of these two phablets (the Note 3 measures 151.2x79.2x8.3mm and weighs 168g). Both will come with an S Pen, too.
But there will be some differences between Note 3 and Note 4 in terms of design and build. For a start, whereas the Note 3 comes in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink, the Note 4 is rumoured to follow the same colour range as the Samsung Galaxy S5: Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold.
Like that high-end smartphone, the Note 4 will no doubt be waterproof, plus it'll do away with the Note 3's faux-leather rear and feature the S5's textured plastic back. But for the front of the Note 4 we turn to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha: yes, we're expecting a metal chassis, rather than the plastic casing of the Note 3.
Also new to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be a Retina scanner for secure passwords and a UV sensor, part of S Health, which will warn users if they're getting too much sun.
Although we haven't heard any leaks on the matter, we wouldn't be overly surprised to see the Note 4 adopt the S5's fingerprint scanner and heart-rate sensor, too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Screen
While both phablets feature a 5.7in screen, Samsung will concentrate on quality over size with its Note 4. Like the LG G3, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will feature a Quad HD (2560x1440) screen. Until you see Quad HD and full-HD side by side it's impossible to appreciate just how awesome is the difference. The Note 4's display will be significantly more impressive than the Note 3's full-HD (1920x1080) panel, with a staggering pixel density of 515ppi against the Note 3's 386ppi.
It's also been heavily rumoured that, in common with the Samsung Galaxy Round, a version of the Note 4 will be available with a curved (or flexible) screen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Processor, graphics and performance
When the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was released last September it totally blew away all other contenders in terms of performance. Its 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip, paired with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics, turned in an extraordinary 4057 points in Geekbench 2, 54fps in GFXBench Egypt, and 589ms in SunSpider. And that's still fast even today, as you can see from our comparison of all the latest smartphones we've tested in our article: What's the fastest smartphone 2014.
Things are about to get an awful lot faster with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. If the rumours can be believed, it will feature a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 805 chip with a massive 4GB of RAM and Adreno 420 graphics. Fasten your seatbelts now: we can't wait to get the Note 4 into our lab.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Storage
Not a great deal has changed on the storage front, and like the Note 3 the Note 4 comes in versions with 32- and 64GB of storage. However, Samsung is reportedly adding a 16GB model and upping the maximum supported microSD capacity from 64- to 128GB.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Connectivity
In terms of connectivity we aren't expecting any changes. Both phones will feature 4G connectivity, the latest 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DLNA, MHL, a 3.5mm headset jack and Micro-USB. Both Note 3 and Note 4 will also accept Micro SIMs.
One difference we might see is the addition of Samsung's Download Booster, first seen in the S5, which pairs 4G and Wi-Fi to offer a theoretical max download speed of 400Mb/s.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Cameras
There will be a few tweaks in the photography department. Now fitted with a 16Mp (rather than 13Mp) rear camera and a dual- (rather than single-) LED flash, the Note 4 should be capable of capturing better photos than the Note 3. Both phones will, as before, be able to capture UHD video at 30fps, full-HD at 60fps, and slow-motion HD at 120fps.
We haven't heard any rumours concerning the Note 4's front-facing camera, so Samsung may stick with the 2Mp full-HD model fitted to the Note 3.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Software
Both phones will run Samsung's latest Magazine UX over Android KitKat, although you can expect Samsung to upgrade each to Android L once the final version is released this autumn.
We expect to see a few new software features installed on the Note 4 when compared to the Note 3. For example, there will more than likely be some tweaks to S Health to incorporate the new UV scanner, and to the phone itself in terms of security with the new Retina scanner.
The Note 4 is also expected to go big on visual aids: one of the official accessories will be an ultrasonic cover that can aid the visually impaired.
We also want to see the S5's Ultra Power Saving mode and Download Booster, but haven't heard anything on the possibility.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Battery life
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is supplied with a generous 3200mAh battery, which Samsung claims offers up to 13 hours of internet usage over Wi-Fi, and about the same for video playback. In our tests battery performance was strong, lasting long enough to get us through a full day and with enough juice left over to get us into the office the next day.
We don't yet know what battery Samsung will fit to its Galaxy Note 4 but, given the more powerful hardware and power-sapping Quad HD screen, we hope it'll be an improvement over that of the Note 3.
As we mentioned in the previous category, one thing we'd like to see in the Note 4 is Samsung's Ultra Power Saving mode, which switches the screen to a greyscale interface and turns off non-essential features to squeeze an extra 24 hours of runtime from the Galaxy S5 once the battery capacity drops below 10 percent.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is set to be the biggest smartphone (or phablet) launch of the year. With significantly faster hardware and a fantastic Quad HD screen, you won't need us to help you decide whether you should buy the Note 3 or Note 4. We just can't wait to get this one into our lab.
Buying Advice The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is set to be the biggest smartphone (or phablet) launch of the year. With significantly faster hardware and a fantastic Quad HD screen, you won't need us to help you decide whether you should buy the Note 3 or Note 4. We just can't wait to get this one into our lab.