Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Battle Of The Phablets

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is just around the corner but will it manage to improve upon the king of all phablets, the Note 3?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – like every other Galaxy Note before it – will launch just before IFA 2014 kicks off, alongside handsets like the Sony Xperia Z3 and new releases from Nokia.

Galaxy Note 4

The Note 4 is also likely to be one of Samsung’s last big launches of the year as well as its last best hope of causing Apple’s iPhone 6 some headaches in the all-important Q4 period.

Fortunately the Note 4 stands a good chance of doing so –– Samsung’s Note handsets are always insanely good.

KYM Reviews Editor Paul Briden called the Note 3 “a stunning handset with plenty of power, a great screen, decent camera and days worth of battery life. One of the best multitasking smartphones around.” All in all, he loved it. That seemed to be the general consensus and over the past 12 months no-one has managed to knock the Note 3 off its thrown as the king of all phablets.

With the announcement so near, we thought we’d compare how the rumoured handset matches up with its predecessor, the Note 3.

Note: As always with these comparisons, we can’t guarantee all the information on the Note 4 is correct. It’s all from rumours, leaks and general speculation. It’s all a bit of fun and comparing what we think the handset will look like to the already well-established Note 3.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rather large in the hand, it weighs 168g and the dimensions come in at 151.2mm long, 79.2mm wide and 8.3mm thick. But this is to be expected: it is a phablet, after all. It's also worth noting just how much bulk Samsung has managed to shave off between iteration One and Three of its genre-defining Galaxy Note series.

Galaxy Note3 Back

Galaxy Note 4

Leaked images of the Galaxy Note 4 published online earlier this week show that the overall design of the handset will remain largely the same. All of the ports and buttons remain in the same place as they were on Galaxy Note 3. The S Pen is still at the bottom of the handset on the left hand side and all the slots are in the same places.

S Pen

Another big change to the hardware comes with the addition of Samsung's Galaxy S5 heart rate monitor, which, in this instance, sits right next to the LED flash on the back of the handset, similar to where it is on the Galaxy S5.

The biggest change we can see in the leaked pictures is to do with the edging around the side of the handset, which in the context of the Note 4 will apparently be full on metal. Samsung has taken plenty of flack for its obsession with cheap plastics, so the inclusion of newer build materials this time around, while late, is a nice addition to an already hugely anticipated release.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 came with a 5.7in display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. That’s a Super AMOLED touchscreen with 386 pixels-per-inch. For its time it was an amazing display but times have changed quickly and now displays are available with much higher screen resolutions and more pixels-per-inch.

Galaxy Note 3 Left Bottom

Take the LG G3 – it uses a 5.5in QHD setup, which, if you’re counting, equates to a blistering pixel density of 534 ppi. LG was first out of the blocks with a QHD display, but Samsung has all but confirmed it will follow suit with the Galaxy Note 4 in September.

As of right now, there are two schools of thought about the Galaxy Note 4’s display size: the first suggests it will be a 5.7in QHD Super AMOLED panel. The second, more controversial theory says it too will be a QHD Super AMOLED setup, but claims the size will be shrunk down to 5.5in – the same size as the LG G3’s, ironically. Camera

On the Galaxy Note 3 there was a 13MP rear-facing camera. It also featured autofocus and an LED flash. Other features included dual shot, face and smile detection as well as image stabilization alongside many others. Video quality comes at 2160p at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps whilst there’s also a 2MP front facing camera for selfies.

At the moment it looks like the Note 4 phablet will feature a 16MP rear-facing camera. Rumours suggest it will also feature optical image stabilisation and a dual-LED flash alongside all the features the last camera had. Video can be filmed in 2160p at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps and there’s still a 2MP front facing camera.

2MP front facing camera

Software, Storage & Battery

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is now running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The Galaxy Note 4 is rumoured to come with Android 4.4.3 KitKat already on board plus the new version of TouchWiz. The redesigned TouchWiz (or Nature UX), which introduced a new, flatter design, debuted on the Galaxy S5 and will likely be augmented further for use on the Galaxy Note 4.

It’s currently unclear whether there will be any additional S-Pen features available with the Note 4; no doubt we'll hear more about this at launch. One area the S-Pen could be put to use is inside S-Health –– could we see somekind of gym, sports logger added that ties in with Samsung's line of smartwatches?

Samsung Lines

Storage wise the Note 3 is available in either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB versions. There’s also microSD support for cards up to 64GB as well. It’s thought the Note 4 will offer 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage options alongside support for microSD cards up to 128GB.

Nothing is currently known about Samsung's plans for the Galaxy Note 4's battery. Performance on the Note 3 was well above par, so any refinements – as well as the inclusion of things Ultra Power Saver Mode – could equate to some pretty HUGE uplifts in battery performance.

Conclusion – What To Expect

  • Better Display
  • Improved Imaging
  • More SD-storage
  • Bigger Battery
  • S-Pen Refinements