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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Most productive, powerful Android phone around

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New Delhi | Updated: December 11, 2014 12:56:02 PM

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 you can take multi-tasking to a new level by using multi-windows.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a price tag of Rs 58,300. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a price tag of Rs 58,300.

Since its launch in 2011, the Samsung Galaxy Note series has stood apart as the most powerful and productive of Android smartphones. With millions of units sold across the world over three versions since, Samsung must have had its job cut out trying to think of new features to add to this phablet. So can the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 offer a good upgrade for Note loyalists while trying to pull in some new users?

Specs: 5.7-inch quadHD SUper Amoled display (1440x2560p, ~515 ppi) | Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7 GHz processor | 3GB RAM | 32GB internal + up to 128GB external | 16MP rear + 3.7MP front | Li-Ion 3220 mAh battery | S-Pen | 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4

Rs 58,300

Design: Samsung has not budged from its design philosophy for the Note 4. It looks and feels like the rest of the Note series, though there is a metal band the runs around the bezels. The Note 4 is a bit bigger and slightly thicker than the Note 3 and hence adds a few more grams to the overall weight. The Note 4 is a big phone is large and needs to be gripped well and handled with care, especially when you are trying to pull out the stylus from its home under the screen.

Display: This is where the Note 4 pushes away from the competition. Yes, there are a handful of other phones with QuadHD screens, but then this one is from Samsung. Just keep the screen near any other top end phone and you will realise the difference. It is clearer and brighter than anything on FullHD. Plus, the display comes with auto brightness control and you will not need to change brightness if you are moving out from a dark room. Switch this off and you can make the screen super bright if needed.

Performance: With so much real estate, it would be a shame if you could not do more. So with the Note 4 you can take multi-tasking to a new level by using multi-windows. Yes, there are other phones with multi-window too, but I haven’t seen many that let you drag and reduce a window to a corner so that you can take notes from it. But this feature does not work with some apps and I had trouble at times dragging the window down. But overall, the Note 4 is the best multi-tasker around and it won’t take you long to realise that. And while it is doing a lot of this backbreaking work it does not so much as let out a whimper. But that is why I was surprised that the phone heats up when you are browsing or streaming video from YouTube.

Special mention: In the second swipe of the phone’s home screen are tools that need a special mention.

S-Pen/S-Note: This for me is the best feature of the phone. Pull out the stylus at the bottom and a menu pops up to let you make quick notes or longer manuscripts. The S-note app is like an unlimited repository or dairies and pages that you can use to write on using the stylus. The stylus, already the best in the industry, has now become pressure sensitive and more versatile. I can vouch that some notes written on the lined paper template will flummox anyone to believe that it was a real pen on paper venture. The good thing is that you can convert any written word into text easily. The pen also lets you select any content on a page by with just press and swipe.

Photo note: This is a new feature and good for those who like to click photographs at lectures and meetings. Click a photo using this app and the image is after a bit of processing become part of a digital note that you can edit. I would have been a great feature if Samsung could convert the text in a picture to editable text too.

Dictation tool: I am tempted to buy the phone for just this voice to text tool. The app can type for you with a great deal of accuracy and speed. I used it during a walk in the park to start this review and the first paragraph was typed by the phone with an accuracy level of 90 per cent. Yes, you need to edit this text later for full stops and words that the phone has heard wrong. But a great tool for someone like me who has to write a lot.

Camera: The Note 3 had a great camera and the Note 4 just carries this legacy forward. There are new modes like selective focus and the camera does a better job in low light. But what has really change on the camera front is the front camera which is now 3.7MP and comes with a new wide selfie mode. In this you can include more people in a selfie by swiveling the from camera. However, just ensure that everyone is still or you would end up with some weird shots. The FullHD video is still among the best the industry. The images are really large at 20MB and can ive decent prints too if needed.

Note4-5

Night shots have good detail.
Note4-3
Bright sunlight seems to hit the colours a bit. Note4-2
Selective focus lets you compose interesting shots. Note4-1

Great details and colours.

Software: There are not many software tweaks, but the Safari-like flip through effect for multi-tasking is a good feature to have. Samsung has not pre-burned unnecessary apps, but has given options to download the suggested apps easily. Even in the camera, there is an option to disable modes that are not used regularly.

Storage: The 32GB internal storage means you will have about 20GB of storage to use. You will need to buy external storage given that you will be using the camera a lot. But that decision can be put off for few months thanks to the extra large internal memory.

Battery: One good thing about using a large Note phone is that it has an extra large battery inside. If you step out of the house with 100 per cent charge you will be able to use the phone for the rest of the day without ever having to bother about a recharge. The phone also features a new fast charging feature that lets you charge the battery till 50 per cent in just 30 minutes.

Verdict: If you are looking for a large Android phone that can rise up to all your needs, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is right up there on top. This is without doubt the most productive and powerful Android phone around, but I suggest you buy this only if you want to use the Note taking abilities of this phone. That is the best feature of this phablet.

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