Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 comparison

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was our best smartphone in the world for almost six months until the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge usurped it. Now there’s a new kid on the block. The Galaxy Note 5 has just been announced, but we’ve already had a chance to go hands-on with the device. How does the Note 4 hold up to it? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 comparison.

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Samsung  Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Design and build quality

The Galaxy Note 4 design appeared to have been informed by the lackluster response to the Samsung Galaxy S5’s looks. Instead of the plastic chrome-effect body with dimpled rear, as seen on the S5, Samsungn gave the Note 4 metallic edges and a faux-leather back. The result was a phablet that looked sharp and felt comfortable from all angles.

Yes it’s big, at 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm, and weighty, at 176 g, but the combination of the black metal sides, the silver trim, and the soft, textured rear gave it an air of importance. Moreover, the display took up about 75 percent of the body, so it never felt too big, as phablets sometimes can.

This is partly thanks to the convenient button placement and added grip provided by the rubbery rear. Nonetheless, I’m pleased that the new phablet is slimmer and lighter (albeit by a small margin) as well even more attractive.

The Galaxy Note 5 features a sultry glass and metal body which feels premium all the way. The body dimensions are 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm and it weighs 171 g. The gently curved rear edges make it even more comfortable to hold than its predecessor, and the S Pen now ejects automatically, rather than having to be pulled out. But the excellent design does come with some caveats.

Until recently, the Galaxy Note series held something over the iPhone and Nexus competition: a removable battery and expandable storage. These were afforded by its removable back panel, but have been omitted from the Note 5.

This isn’t a huge surprise given that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge don’t have them either. That being said, an interest in phablets tends to imply a higher interest in ‘consumption’ too, as media usually looks better on the larger displays of a phablet than a smartphone.

With phablets primed for watching movies and videos, which often require high storage capacity and always require a lot of power, the notion of being limited in these spaces may put some people off.

Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Display

The Galaxy Note 4 has a 5.7-inch QHD screen. It’s super-bright, highly detailed (around 515 pixels per inch), responsive and provides excellent viewing angles.

In almost every circumstance, the Note 4’s screen exceeds its competition. Like many of Samsung’s displays, it is a fraction over-saturated and not 100 percent true-to-life, but I welcome its vibrant tones. There are few smartphones with a display as sharp and clear as the Note 4’s.

Though it hasn’t been bumped up to 4K, the Galaxy Note 5 display is another respectable QHD offering, once again at 5.7 inches with around 518 pixels-per-inch. It might be disappointing that the Note 5’s display is almost identical to its predecessor, but it was already at a comfortable phablet size, and UHD resolution might have really hammered the battery life (not to mention what it would have done to the price).

Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Software and performance

What separates the Galaxy Note 4 from most other phablets is its stylus, the S Pen. With its own set of largely useful functions, the S Pen is one of the major reasons to pick up the Note 4.

Samsung has continuously improved the Air Command menu, which works in conjunction with the S Pen in each iteration of the Note series, and has done so again with the Galaxy Note 5. We didn’t have time to test the new features in our hands-on Note 5 review, but we can confirm that Action Memo, Smart Select, Screen Write and S Note make a return, plus you can now add your own shortcuts to the menu.

The Galaxy Note 5 also comes with Samsung Pay thanks to its MST (magnetic secure transmission) integration. Unlike NFC payments, which require compatible terminals, MST works with existing credit card terminals that are already in most stores.

In terms of performance specs, the Note 4 houses a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor or Exynos 5433, depending on the region. The Note 5 comes with the own-brand Exynos octa-core (2.1GHz Quad + 1.5GHz Quad) 64-bit processor, which we expect will perform very well with its 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Camera

The Galaxy Note 4 camera is another standout feature of the handset. The 16 MP main snapper comes with OIS, autofocus, LED flash, and 2160p video-recording at 30 fps. The Galaxy Note 5’s camera megapixel count remains the same on the back, but the front camera has been upgraded to 5 MP from 3.7 MP. Other aspects of the camera have also received an upgrade, making it more comparable to the excellent Galaxy S6 camera.

Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Battery

The Note 4’s battery has a 3,220 mAh capacity which ensures its lifespan is good, especially with a QHD display gobbling it up. It has significantly stronger battery performance than the 2,550 mAh battery of the Galaxy S6, which also houses a QHD display.

Moreover, the Galaxy Note 4 offers quick-charging, providing around 50 percent battery life in a 30-minute charge, as well as wireless charging – though it requires a separate battery cover. So, has the Galaxy Note 5 introduced a big improvement?

Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4: Specs

SYSTEMAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop (with Touchwiz UI)Android 4.4 KitKat (with TouchWiz UI)
SCREENSuper AMOLED 5.66-inch
Quad-HD 1,440 x 2,560 pixels,
~ 519 pixels per inch
Gorilla Glass 4
~ 76% screen-to-body ratio
Super AMOLED: 5.67-inch
Quad-HD 1,440 x 2,560 pixels,
~ 519 pixels per inch
Gorilla Glass 4
~ 76% screen-to-body ratio
PROCESSOROcta core (2.1GHz Quad + 1.5GHz Quad), 64 bit, 14 nm processQualcomm Snapdragon 805 (SM-N910S)
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (SM-N910C)
(no microSD support)
32/64 GB
(plus microSD support)
BATTERY3,000 mAh non-removable3,220 mAh, removable
front: 5 MP
Rear: 16 MP
front: 3.7 MP
CONNECTIVITYWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, MIMO(2×2),Bluetooth v 4.2 LE, ANT+, USB 2.0, NFC,LocationHSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1
DIMENSIONS153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
WEIGHT171 g176 g
– Fingerprint Scanner
– Fast charging
– Wireless charging (native)
– S Pen Stylus
– Fingerprint Scanner
– Fast charging
– Wireless charging (with separate battery cover)

Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note 5 comparison: Conclusion

The Galaxy Note 5 display is almost the same as its predecessor, the battery is weaker (and isn’t removable) and it lacks microSD card support. At this point, I’m not sure if the Galaxy Note 5 is going to present significantly greater value than its predecessor.

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