Skip to main content

10 things to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

There's a lot to take in with the Note 4, but here are the first things to start with

The Galaxy Note 4 is one of Samsung's boldest and most beautiful device yet, and it's put a ton of work behind making this device a great piece of technology. There's a brand new aluminum frame that looks and feels fantastic, as well as a new QHD screen that you can't stop staring at. And that's all backed up by a new processor, more memory and of course Samsung's software offerings that give you everything but the kitchen sink.

To help get you started on understanding it all, we've compiled a list of the top 10 things you need to know about the Galaxy Note 4. Whether you're on the fence about picking one up, already have one on the way or are just curious about the phone. Read long for the full list.

1. Yes, it really is made out of metal

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It sort of feels like the twilight zone, but yes the Galaxy Note 4 has a metal frame. It's made out of aluminum and magnesium, actually, and wraps around the entire outside of the device. It gives the Note 4 improved rigidity, but most importantly for many of us improved feel that just can't be rivaled by plastic phones of previous years. The chamfered edges are definitely more prone to scratching than the hard plastic ones of previous versions, but we honestly don't care — they look beautiful.

The back plate is still removable, and you can add an SDcard

Galaxy Note 4

Even though a big portion of the Note 4 is metal, the back plate is still plastic and can be removed just like you know and love from previous Samsung phones. That gives you access to the Micro SIM, MicroSD card and removable battery, naturally. That SD card slot will accept a card up to 128GB in size, if for some reason the 32GB internal storage isn't enough.

Optical Image Stabilization helps your shaky hands when taking photos

Galaxy Note 4

The Note 4 fixes one of the biggest pain points of the Galaxy S5's camera by including Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). This great little feature helps stabilize the camera inside the phone, reducing motion blur in low light photos and videos.

The OIS is immediately noticeable in low light photos, helping the Note 4 properly expose scenes without getting a bunch of grain and blur from your shaky hands involved. OIS isn't a one-stop fix, though, and Samsung still has some work to do on the sensor and software to improve it further.

OIS is still a very welcomed feature for video recording, helping smooth out video shots when you're panning or walking with the Note 4 handheld rather than in a tripod. And when you're shooting UHD video with no software stabilization available, having the hardware stabilization makes all the difference.

4. Software features can help you deal with the huge size

Galaxy Note 4 One-handed mode

The Note 4 is still a really big phone, despite actually being a touch narrower than the Note 3. With a 5.7-inch display there are few people in the world who have hands big enough to reach across the screen, but Samsung has included a few software features to help you out.

Under the "One-handed operation" area of the settings, you can turn on features that let you reduce the size of the entire screen for one-handed use, as well as options to slide the keyboard and lock screen over to one side or the other. You can also turn on a "Side key panel" that gives you access to the Home, Back and Recents buttons in soft keys on the side of the device.

It doesn't make the Note 4 any smaller, but it does help bridge the gap and let you use your phone a bit when you only have one hand free.

Adaptive Fast Charging gives the battery a quick boost in 30 minutes

Adaptive Fast Charging

The Note 4 supports both Samsung's own Adaptive Fast Charging and Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology so it can be powered up quickly from a compatible wall charger. Samsung claims that the Note 4 can receive up to a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes with the right charger, and we found that to be roughly the case depending on how much you use the phone while it's charging.

You'll notice an "Adaptive Quick Charging" logo on the charger in the box, and its special output at 9V / 1.67A will give you those crazy fast charging times. If you opt to go with a standard high-output charger — such as a 5V / 2A one from a tablet — you'll see improved, but a bit slower charge times.

Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging is great if you need a quick boost to fill up that 3220mAh battery before you head out for a long day (or night), and more than enough reason to keep Samsung's own charger handy

The S Pen is still powerful, if you're the type of person who needs to write

Galaxy Note 4 S Pen

Samsung may not have changed the S Pen dramatically coming from the Note 3, but we'd argue it didn't have a whole lot to improve. The S Pen is now ribbed to make it easier to grip, and has a single button still, but it's the software that has seen the biggest improvements.

Air Command is much the same, but all of the apps it launches into — including Action Memo and S Note — have received design refreshes and small usability improvements. Action Memo notes can be saved to your home screen as a widget, and S Note is cleaner and easier to navigate.

7. You can take "panorama selfies" for a wide-angle shot

At this point we're sad to say that selfies are actually a "thing" for many people. If you're the selfie type, you can rest assured the Note 4 has you covered with features that help you indulge. The 3.7MP front-facing camera actually takes really good photos, but the big new feature is a "panorama selfie" mode that lets you take a super wide-angle shot.

Switch to the front-facing camera and turn on the panorama selfie mode. You'll then press the shutter key once and sweep back and forth — the software will stitch together the pictures and give you a single, wide-angle shot to fit in extra amounts of background or a big group of people. Selfies can be awkward, but with this mode at least they'll be composed nicely.

Multi Window is a little hidden, but it's even easier to activate once you know where to look

Multi Window

Multi Window is a huge draw for those who pick up the Note 4 with its 5.7-inch display, and it's easier to launch into now. When you open up the Recents (multitasking) menu you'll now see an icon on every compatible Multi Window app's card that lets you launch right into Multi Window with that app in the top.

You can also now long press the back button to pull up a familiar sidebar and drag in two apps to run side-by-side. In either case it's a step quicker than the old method of having a little tab on the side of your screen, and now you don't have to have it getting in your way when you're not using it.

Playback times can get out of hand when recording slow motion video

Slow Motion video

With 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 speed slow motion video and OIS the Note 4 can take some great video at super low speeds, but when you shoot this way you need to be mindful of the recording times. If you take a 20 second video of flowers blowing in the wind at 1/8 speed, that's a 2.6 minute video — and nobody really wants to watch over two minutes of flowers blowing in the wind.

When shooting in slow motion, be sure to mind the recording times and keep them short, lest you bore all of your friends with your slow motion shots.

10. This is the same Heart Rate Monitor and Finger Sensor as the Galaxy S5

Galaxy Note 4 back

Samsung really hasn't made the biggest deal out of the inclusion of a finger sensor and heart rate monitor on the Note 4. They're the same parts in the same places — heart rate monitor on the back under the camera, finger sensor in the home button — backed up with the same software as the Galaxy S5, and that's probably why.

If you're looking for regular (at least daily) heart rate monitoring to keep track of your health in the S Health app that sensor will likely be somewhat useful, but as far as the finger sensor in the home button goes you probably won't find a ton of need. Considering the large size of the Note 4 it's quite difficult to swipe on the home button properly to unlock, and aside from PayPal authentication there's not much else you can do with it. Sure, they're there, but there's not much to write home about.

More: Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

135 Comments
  • And is It true there is no 64GB model unlike the iPhone6, Oneplus One and Nexus 6. What sort of flagship comes without a large memory option? A microsd-slot is not as fast or as flexible as internal memory as many apps/databases can't be stored on a card.
  • Ones that have Sd card slots that support up to 128gb micro SDXC cards. :)
  • You beat me to it Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly Posted via Android Central App
  • Seems like some people would rather pay an extra $200 for built-in memory than get double the space for under $50. Oh well...
  • Internal Storage is much faster and much more secure than External Storage.
  • Only for file transfer, but not noticeable when listening to music, watching video, playing games moved to SD, etc... "more secure" isn't an issue if you encrypt your SD card.
  • Ones that have expandable storage up to 128GB?.. l0l Posted via the Android Central App
  • One that comes with an SD card slot idiot.
  • There is no point in making a 64GB option. it has expandable memory . Even thought it is not fast or as flexible
    you could probably buy a 128GB card for the price it would be for a 64GB option if it was available
  • Storage not memory.
    Memory = RAM Posted via Android Central App
  • That always drives me crazy Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • Yeah, no expandable memory till Ara. ;) Posted via Android Central App
  • True, this is the normal way to say it, and it's less confusing this way.
    However, it is a kind of memory : it's a memory that stays even after you shut down the device.
    That's why "flash cards" are also called "Memory cards":
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_card
    The one that we usually call "Memory" is "(volatile) RAM".
    Someday, I believe both of them will get merged, and you won't need to call them in different names. You'll enjoy the huge capacity and a very good speed. nothing will be gone when turning off the device.
  • you got that wrong... RAM...ROM...both are memories...
  • You're dead wrong on that one. Apps don't install to SD and my 32gb note 2 is almost full from apps only
  • Someone who knows what they are talking about at last! I had to by my Note 3 from Germany just to get a 32GB model as a paltry 16GB was the only variant available in the UK. Unfortunately, it seems I can't find a 64GB variant of the Note 4 anywhere that would be compatible with the UK/European GS/4G/LTE frequencies. After a Note 1, Note 2 and Note 3, it seems Samsung don't want m,e as a customer any more!
  • My note3 from UK last October at carphone warehouse was the 32 GB so was my friends ? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wanted a 32GB sim free unlocked Note3 without a contract which was hard to find when it first came out Posted via the Android Central App
  • They don't but you can move them to SD at least on my gs5 Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • Root + FolderMount + 64gb SD card = WIN!
  • You can move the bulk of them to your SD card once you've installed them though. Samsung makes that easy to do through the Application manager.
  • +1
    I have 44 apps on my SD card on my Note 3 Posted via Android Central App and My Note 3
  • Some do.. some don't.
  • I just put in a 32gb sd and not all apps can be installed but most can.
  • Why the heck do you have almost 32 gb of apps installed on your phone?
  • When the biggest space eaters, i.e. music, pics, music, backups, etc, can be moved to the SD card, that opens up a lot of real estate for internal memory for apps. Such a thing is not possible on those 64GB phones with no microSD.
  • for those struggling with math........ 160 > 64
  • I will take a few milliseconds of lag for the convenience of transferring almost all my data by just swapping an SD card.
  • the Xperia Z3
  • I would rather pay the extra for faster additional on-board memory and still have the card option. The internal 32GB on my Note 3 is already pretty full even after moving as much as I can to a 128GB card. It's not worth upgrading from a 32GB Note 3 to a 32GB Note 4.... Now if a 64GB Note 4 or Edge was available, I would upgtrade. Samsung are mad not to have the option for those that want it - or perhaps other manufacturers are misguided offering 64GB and 128GB variants?
  • 32gb of just apps? Wow delete some of the ones you don't use lol...
  • I just wanted to add that it's one that comes with support for expandable storage of up to 128GB.
  • Don't all flagships ? Posted via Android Central App
  • This was a reply fail to the top post... :)
    The ones he referred to does not have an SD slot.
  • I hope the S5 gets a update that allows us to use the heart rate sensor to snap the picture Posted via the Android Central App
  • Change the picture settings to use the volume keys to take a picture. It's much easier that way.
  • By the way.. In a fairly recent (May) CNET roundup of fitness devices (including fitbit, carbon steel, withings and garmin, the S5 sensor was the ONLY one that came close to the reference EKG machine (and it was VERY close).
  • Does the Note 4 have the same waterproofing as the S5? Posted via Android Central App
  • Nope.
  • One of only two flaws in the note 4. That and another speaker that is not anything to write home about Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Am looking to upgrade from a Nexus4. Note 4 looks really good but waterproofing was high on my list.
    Great write-ups on the Note 4 Andrew! Posted via Android Central App
  • Gotta go for the Z3 really it's only flaw now is probably the camera, yet I'm sure that with the right tripod and correct settings and editing, this should not be that big deal.
  • Blame the periodic table Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • I have no scientific proof, but I'd imagine the Note is not water resistant because of the slot needed to house the s-pen? Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 about the speaker. Why did they move it back to the back of the phone!? I hated that about my Note 2 and really like that my Note 3 has it on the bottom. Bad decision Samsung. Still...I'm picking mine up today :)
  • You said that nicely. I myself can't believe how god awful the little tiny back facing speaker is. I don't get how Samsung kills it in specs in every other department and then overlooks this. My daughter's Nokia 521, a $50 phone has a louder,clearer speaker than the Note 4. Im not kidding
  • I believe the speaker is louder than the Note 3 but I do like the front speakers on the HTC and the new Nexis 6.
  • Never used the fingerprint scanner on the S5, but it's very reliable on the Note 4! Coming from a Note 3, the Note 4's implementation of the multitasking feature is taking some getting used to, but I'll definitely master it!
  • That is an amazing phone. Congrats to those who will be buying it. You'll have an awesome, quality product. However, it's not waterproof/dustproof, so I won't be buying it. I'll be grabbing the Xperia Z3v next week.
  • I find it funny that when the LG G3 came out, all the sites said the screen is nice but it drains battery bla bla bla... Now Samsung does it.. It's an amazing screen you can't stop looking at. It's the same as the G3, you won't notice it on day to day use.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That half inch larger size is noticeable. The resolution keels stuff as sharp as it is on smaller screens with 1080p Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's less than a quarter inch difference...and the same resolution. So, the g3 has slightly higher pixel density.
  • It is not the same screen IPS isn't Super Amoled Plus you can play hours upon hours of Riptide2 on the Note4 and it won't get hot. Lg ran like bitches to be first to 1440p their 15mins of fame for a failling product but forgot along the way about supreme battery life. It's one thing to copy Samsung at every turn but at least if your going copy copy 110% Lg fell far short. The Galaxy Note products are the GOLD standard of technology period that's Worldwide globally Lg is bootleg at best with no substance. The Galaxy Note products are the legitimate proven product with the Worldwide proven track record four years worth the creator of the phablet. It's more accurate to roll with the industry leader than the pretenders you won't go to far. At the end of the day it's pretty much plain and simple for me since August 2011. Nothing beats Samsung or the Galaxy Note products they are Android nothing else matters. From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App
  • If you're going to talk about the LG G3, at least know what you're talking about. The only time the G3 overheats and drains the battery is when I'm running the GPS on it.
  • The Nexus6 will have a superior battery life compared to the Note4 with all the touch wiz bloat ware constantly draining the battery. Lol the Nexus6 is clearly going to be the best Nexus so far. I will be ordering my TMobile version of the Nexus6 as soon they become available for purchase. Lol.!!! Posted via Android Central App
  • Maybe, but battery life of previous Nexi was nothing to write home about, so don't get to cocky. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Because of the size. Posted via Android Central App
  • +1
  • Don't be so sure about that... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well the Nexus 4 and 5 had horrendous battery life when anti Samsung people claimed the same statements that tw killed battery. My Note 3 has amazing battery life but my n4 and n5 were usually looking for a charger by mid afternoon. Don't jump to conclusions until you have proof.
  • Google Play Services might say otherwise but at least it's a nice size battery and they have a new power saving feature built into Lollipop to fight that battery leech.
  • So far, that is not the case with my Note 4. You've been able to disable any bloat within app manager since the Galaxy S4, TW has been steadily improving, to where I am not in a rush to jump to Nova or Apex like I have in the past. Battery life has been unbelievable in the Note4 so far. Even leaving WiFi/GPS on all day, something my S4 would have given me fits over. Very impressed with the real world use of the Note4 thus far.
  • Is August 2011 when you got hired by Sammy? BURN!
  • As much as Richard gets on my nerves he is correct here... Samsung used a different screen tech that not only looks better, but is more power efficient. Not only that, but Samsung used software tricks to adjust the color warmth of the screen depending on the content you're looking at to save battery. Engadget delved into this in their review and concluded that the results are phenomenal. Power efficient + fantastic screen. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's not the same, the screen of the G3 is lcd, the Note one is Amoled, the high resolution it's more appreciable because of the larger size. And in the Note case the high resolution it's not a problem because of the better processor.
  • December 1 I can upgrade. Almost there.
  • Reading all these comments on my note 4. Received early thanks to T-Mobile. Not one t-mobile brand on the back or front. The camera with OIS is the business!! This in itself was worth the upgrade from the Note 3 seeing how I like taking pics of my children, wife, and myself. Let alone other things when going on trips with the family. It's so smooth not one hiccup. I wonder what will the touch-wiz haters complain about now? Posted via the Android Central App
  • They couldn't legitimately complain about tw on the gs5 or note 3. Only the prior products. Posted via the Android Central App
  • lol. you are kidding right? the $179 moto g beats the gs5 and the 2013 motox kills it when doing every day tasks such as making calls, setting alarms, texts, fb, etc. there is a lot to legitimately complain about tw. tw just puts a damper on the entire phone.
  • lol No. Just no.
  • Lol! While I admit that the Moto G is
    quite the little engine that could - my girlfriend has one ... It's absolutely NO match for the Note 3. I do find it impressive for a mod range phone, but it simply cannot compete with the big boys... Your comment was funny though. Posted via Android Central App
  • Moto does open basic apps faster as well as multitasking apps. I have all 3 of them.
  • I completely disagree. TW isn't a world beater, but it has been improved dramatically over the course of the Galaxy series. The S4 and S5 are excellent devices with TW, and the Note 4 is a tremendous improvement over that. Motorola has not been a big boy player in the phone market for a long, long time.
  • Congrats! I won't get mine until Tuesday.
    Unfortunately, Touchwiz will always have a bad rep. Especially among those who only know what they read.
  • I am so, SO on the fence over getting the Note 4 or the Nexus 6. S-Pen and SD card support.... hmm.
  • I was on the fence about returning the Note 4 for the Nexus 6, but I've already used the pen too much in the few days I've had it for me to consider the nexus. Now I'm worried about the next Samsung tablet over the Nexus 9. We'll see...
  • I've been meaning to inquire about the business card Holder. Anyone? Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • Talked to a samsung rep last week. They are trying to coin the phrase with the panoramic selfie as "groupie." I think it's pretty clever.
  • Picked up my white Note 4 today at the local AT&T store a day early. Said they got a message from HQ to start selling them today. Couldn't be happier. Everything I've been reading is true. Vivid screen, fast charging, faster in every aspect than my year old LG Optimus G Pro and feels like half the weight. So many settings its almost ridiculous. Was holding out for the Note Edge but glad I changed my mind after hearing only a million will be made worldwide meaning almost inpossible to get one.
  • Gettin tired of Samsung. They're getting complacent. I am Aquaman!
  • I would like to respectfully disagree with the writer here. I am not a fan of the fingerprint scanner, at all. I feel it's an unecessary gimmick in general. but since the Note 4 t