The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge have just been made official at IFA in Berlin. Here’s what you should know.
Samsung, not to mention a few unnamed informants have teased and taunted us with promise of the company’s next ‘super-phablet’ the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but just as its predecessor did last year, we see the new top-tier Android debut at IFA in Berlin, Germany alongside an additional Note – the intriguing Edge.
Samsung kicked things off with a live band (Band of Wisdom) calling upon the talents of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to help with the opening fanfare, but then they knuckled down and spilled the real goods.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is, as the leaks suggested, a more angular take on the tried-and-tested Galaxy Note design language. There’s a metal frame for a more precise look and improved build quality as a result, yet it weighs 176 grams. Just as with the Note 3, there’s a textured plastic back and the bodywork has retained its impressive thickness at 8.5mm.
The screen is protected by toughened ‘2.5D’ glass; which basically means it has slight pillowing for an improved feel under hand and greater resilience over its predecessor. The display technology sounds really impressive as the Note 4 offers up a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, the first smartphone ever to pair both WQHD resolution with AMOLED screen technology. S Pen fans will also find it more responsive, with up to 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, double that of the Note 3.
On the inside it’s all about power and speed. There’s the new 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM with 32GB of internal storage and microSD expandability by an additional 64GB. The Adreno 420 GPU will help keep the visuals looking sharp on that super high resolution screen and lends its talents to the Gear VR headset which was also unveiled during Samsung’s IFA event.
Mobile data speeds have also improved with support for Cat 6 LTE – making the Note 4 one of the first handsets with a global audience to boast such connectivity options. Power also receives a boost with a slightly larger 3220mAh battery featuring a fast-charging mode. Samsung says that even with superior battery life over the Note 3, should your run out, the first 50% of the battery will recharge from nothing in just 30 minutes, nearly half the time of the smaller cell in last year’s Note.
The user experience has been reworked as well, upping the ante from the Galaxy S5’s interface to include a new dynamic lock screen, which offers more context sensitive information and new S Pen functionality.
Multi-tasking can take place by simply dragging full screen apps from the corner until they naturally snap into smaller windowed versions, which can even be minimised to floating icons and moved around whilst switching between applications. Users cans even cut multiple elements out on-screen with the S Pen simultaneously and pick and choose which elements they want to share in a more fluid menu.
On the audio-visual front, there’s a 13-megapixel rear snapper with OIS (optical image stabilisation) that also uses DIS (digital image stabilisation) to get some seriously steady looking shots. The latter can also be used when using the new 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera, which can be fired but pressing and holding your finger over the rear heart rate sensor. There’s even a wide selfie mode, which lets you snap broad pictures with the front-facing camera, much like a panorama.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
In somewhat of a surprise announcement, we were treated to a second Note phablet on stage, the oddly familiar Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. For those who remember it, the Note Edge resembles the Samsung YOUM concept device which the company showcased at CES last year.
As the name suggests, this alternative Note features a unique display that curves down sharply across its right edge. Aside from looking down right futuristic, this slanted piece of screen serves as an area for media controls, camera controls or a place to display information from apps, such as messages, notifications and even breaking news headlines. Should you wish you can even assign it its own wallpaper.
The Samsung press conference sided heavily on the Note 4, leaving little time for the hardware capabilities of the Note Edge, but the official specs point to a near carbon copy of the Edge’s launch partner. The screen is the most obvious difference; a slightly smaller 5.6-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED panel (with an additional 160 pixels along its edge). There’s also a smaller 3000mAh battery and the user interface has been customised to accommodate the unusual design.
Like the Note 4, the Note Edge will launch in Charcoal Black and Frost White, but lose out on the Blossom Pink and Bronze Gold variants when they both devices launch later this year.