How do Samsung and LG's Quad HD beasts measure up?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is official, and with it the Korean manufacturer has its first mainstream Quad HD device. With a whopping resolution of 2560x1440, the Note 4 goes toe to toe with LG's flagship G3, which we've been using since its announcement in late May. However the G3 and the Note 4 are radically different devices — Samsung's latest stylus-equipped handset is the latest in a long line of "phablet" class devices with pen input, while LG takes what it started with the G2 and makes things simpler and more refined in the G3.
Check past the break for video and photo comparisons.
We're dealing with two large form factor smartphones here, but the size difference between the two is surprisingly small. LG's 5.5-incher is slightly easier to one-hand, though, due to its smaller display, slim bezels and curved chassis. The 5.7-inch Note 4 is the more angular of the two, and the metal trim makes it easy to grip, though you'll need to shift the phone around in your hand to reach all of the display. As for the displays themselves, it's difficult to do any detailed analysis under show lighting, but the colors of Samsung's SuperAMOLED did seem more vivid than the G3's LCD to our eyes.
Internally, the Note 4 boasts Snapdragon 805 processor in some markets, and an octa-core Exynos chip in others. On the LG G3 you're dealing with a Snapdragon 801. And as we've said in our comparisons with the Snapdragon 805-based G3 sold in Korea, the 805 seems better suited to 1440p thanks to its speedier Adreno 420 GPU. The G3 falls what short of being perfectly smooth, whereas the Note 4 provided a stutter-free experience in our admittedly limited time with it.
On the software side, both handsets are running Android 4.4 KitKat — LG with its own minimalist UI, Samsung with an updated TouchWiz that's been simplified further from what we first saw in the Galaxy S5. LG differentiates itself with a pared-back interface, split-screen multitasking and its own note-taking app, echoing moves by Samsung in recent years. And the Galaxy Note 4 takes things a step further with updated S Pen capabilities like easy drag-and-drop, and enhanced multitasking including an Android L-like task-switching layout and the ability to move to a windowed view in apps by swiping down from the top-right corner.
As smartphones become larger more flagship devices — like the G3 — are going to find themselves competing with the Galaxy Note line. Nevertheless, Samsung's latest Note is a solid refinement of its earlier efforts, and we'll be watching with interest when it arrives in October.
Let us know which device you'd pick out of the G3 and Note 4 down in the comments!