Samsung has announced the latest iteration of its top-of-the-line phablet, the Galaxy Note 4, at simultaneous events in New York and Berlin today. In terms of design the new model is very close to its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 3, and also features the same faux-leather back. Under the hood, however, things have been upgraded significantly, specifically in the camera department.
For mobile photographers, the big news about the Galaxy Note 4 is its optical image stabilization system which makes it the first Samsung smartphone to offer this feature. This is great news in so far that in our testing we always found the Galaxy models to produce good image quality but in very low light the digital stabilization struggled to compete with the optical systems of some competitors. With the new model this should now change. Not much detail on camera specification was given, so for now we have to assume that, apart from the OIS, the Note 4's camera sensor is the same 1/2.6-inch 16MP BSI CMOS unit with F2.2 maximum aperture as on the Galaxy S5.
There is also a 3.7MP front camera with a fast F1.9 maximum aperture and a couple of features for improved selfie-shooting. You can use the heart-rate monitor on the device's back as a shutter button for better ergonomics and the front-camera allows for recording of selfie-panoramas.
It's not just picture taking that should be improved in this model, but also image viewing. The Note 4 comes with a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 QHD that offers a very high pixel density of 518 ppi. Android 4.4 is, depending on region, powered by a quad- or octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. Images can be stored on 32GB internal memory or a microSD card. The 3320 mAh battery offers a quick-charging mode that according to Samsung lets you charge from 0 to 50% within approximately 30 minutes.
We'll have to wait for a review unit to properly assess the Note 4's imaging performance but on paper the new model looks like a great option for mobile photographers who prefer larger devices. The Note 4 will be available globally in four colors starting in October. No information on pricing has been released yet.
- 16MP BSI CMOS sensor
- Optical image stabilization
- 3.7MP / F1.9 front camera
- 4K video recording
- 5.7-inch 2560×1440 QHD Super AMOLED display
- 2.7 GHz Quad-Core or 1.9 GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) Processor (depending on region)
- Android 4.4
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage and microSD support
- 3320 mAh battery with quick-charging
At the launch event Samsung also showcased the Galaxy Note Edge which will be launched at an unspecified point in time later this year. The Note Edge comes with very similar specifications to the Note 4 but features a unique 5.6-inch QHD resolution screen with an additional 160 pixels wide curved edge that provides quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and other functions. This also works when the optional cover is closed and allows you to view notifications while watching full-screen video.