Shiny things! Wait, let's get the basics out of the way first
So you went out and bought a Galaxy Note 4, and now you've got a brand new toy to play with. There's a lot going on here, and a ton to take in the moment you take it out of the box that can make you lose focus and forget a few of the basics. We've all been there, and eventually you'll get around to handling "the basics" after you check out all the headline features of the new phone.
To help get you started in the right foot, these are the first five things you absolutely need to do with your new Note 4 — at least before you get too carried away using this great phone. Read along for our full list of recommendations.
1. Unwrap the Adaptive Fast Charger in the box
If you're like us you probably have a few chargers around the house and may skip using the one that's in the box with your new phone. But in the case of the Note 4, you'll actually want to consider using the one that comes in the box. With Samsung's new Adaptive Fast Charging system, you'll need the charger that's in the box if you want your Note 4 to charge up quickly. With the included charger brick you can add almost 50 percent battery in just 30 minutes, which is pretty great considering there's a 3220mAh battery in this thing.
2. Remove ALL of the plastic
Samsung has thankfully scaled this practice back a bit, but the Note 4 still ships with a good amount of clear plastic film around various parts of the phone. Be sure to remove the plastic around the edges, home button and especially camera before you get too far into using it. Forget and you'll likely feel a bit odd when you find some stray bits of plastic on your Note 4 a week later — that's like walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe.
3. Sign into your Samsung Account
We know it's annoying to manage two different app stores (three if you want to toss Amazon in there), but it's an unfortunate reality of using a Samsung phone nowadays. Go into the settings — or open up Galaxy Apps from your app drawer — and add your Samsung account (or create one) so you don't have to deal with it later. Samsung still updates many of its core apps and services only from its own app store, and you'll need to have an account if you want to download additional content like camera modes. It's better to sign in from the start than bother signing in at a time when you just want to download something quickly and be on your way.
4. Turn on One-handed operation settings
The Note 4 is large, there's no getting around it. But Samsung is trying its best with new and improved one-handed operation modes. In the settings under "One-handed operation" you have the option to turn on "Reduce screen size," "One-handed input" and "Side key panel," all of which will shrink down elements of the screen to make them easier to use one-handed.
"Reduce screen size" is a must-have, as it shrinks the entire screen down to about half size with a simple gesture when you need it, but isn't in any way bothersome when you're not using it. 'One-handed input" is also invisible until you need it, shifting the keyboard and lockscreen to one side or the other with a swipe. "Side key panel" gives you a set of soft keys on the side of your screen to help you reach Home, Back and Recents, but is a bit less useful in day-to-day use — that one will be personal preference.
Whether you choose to turn on one or all three of these features, they'll dramatically help you handle the Note 4 with just one hand available.
5. Use HDR for pictures and UHD recording for video
There's a pretty solid 16MP camera on the back of the Note 4, but in our opinion its best settings aren't actually turned on by default. If you haven't already, be sure to turn on HDR for still pictures and UHD recording for video to get the most out of the camera sensor. With how fast the Note 4 captures pictures in HDR there's no difference in speed, but you get dramatically improved shots with better contrast and colors all around. On the video side, there's little reason not to select UHD resolution with the 32GB of internal storage available on the phone — and YouTube supports the resolution for uploads as well.