Samsung Note 4 – First Impressions

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4

These are my initial findings and thoughts on the Note 4. Opening the box, it does not look anything wow, but it does look considerably better than the Note 3 (which I liked a lot). Before I started setting it up, I fully charged the phone. And that is when I got a glimpse of what the screen was going to look like when the battery indicator appeared. That was a small wow moment. In rapid time, the Note 4 was charged to 100%. The charge time was quick and that is thanks to the Fast Charge technology built in to the Note 4. I will address this again later on. So turning on after charging, a few passwords entered and voila. Note 4 was ready to rock. First thoughts. The screen is fabulous and is worth the change from the Note 3 for that alone. I have briefly tested the camera, S Health, music playing via the loudspeaker and bluetooth headphones, general usage of the phone, connected the Gear S and a few bits more. I need to get a micro sim today at some point. I added my 64gb micro sd card and that is working just fine.

My first few gripes are the bluetooth stereo. It was suffering from dropouts or stuttering every now and then. The audio quality was IMO disappointing versus the iPhone 6 Plus. I had connected my Philips Fidelio M1BT which have APT-X. The Note 4 has APT-X which is a high quality music codec. The iPhone 6 Plus does not have this codec support, yet sounds much better! Loudspeaker on the Note 4 is poor.

The design of the Note 4 now incorporates a metal band around the edge of the phone, but it is not a tight fit and it allows for expansion. This in turns means dust can drop along the gap between the edge and the glass. On one of the edges I was able to insert a piece of paper. It may not amount to anything but time will tell.

There was one software update. This installed in less than 10 minutes. There were a number of app updates but overall the process was over and done with quickly.

I tried out the S Health application, used the heart rate monitor, Oxygen Level monitor and Ozone monitoring. These all seemed to work just fine. Also, by logging back in to my Samsung Account, my S Health data was restored. In fact, I think the S Health application by Samsung is really good.

Camera. I took a number of shots and compared them with those from the iPhone 6 Plus. This could be a interesting shootout. In very low light the 6 Plus definitely has the edge. As to other conditions I will let you decide as I take more and more shots to compare, weather permitting 🙂

Battery. The first day always puts a strain on a device. The Note 4 made it to midnight from 10am with 40% charge left. That was impressive. More impressive was the fast charging. I need to time it but it really is an OMG moment when you witness the speed of recharging the phone. So 5 hours on standby and its loss 12% battery. That’s worrying as I have not yet installed all my normal apps. As a comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus after 5 hours on standby loses nothing on the battery and has 200 apps installed.

I also experimented with the S Pen. This again is a marked up improvement from the Note 3 and really really works beyond what you imagine possible. Recognition of handwriting and shapes and more is awesome.

It is early days with the Note 4. It seems to be a really good phone so far, but I have found an issue with bluetooth stereo music playing. Also the loudspeaker is poor. And then there is the comfort holding the device. Its defined edges make for an uncomfortable grip, but it is grippy. So a pay off I suppose.

Speed. It flies. Not seen any lag period. The Snapdragon 805 really powers the Note 4 smoothly. That’s it for now. More next week in more depth plus whether it is worth the premium price tag.

9 thoughts on “Samsung Note 4 – First Impressions

  1. I use Tidal FLAC music service and the LG G3 has better sound reproduction. I use my Sony my SBH 52 a lot with my Note 4 and had no issues or drop outs with BT music playback. Did you try BT before or after the firmware update? I’m not too bothered by wow factor with hardware design and in my view the HTC M8 has the best wow factor. I am more interested in productivity features.

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      1. Gavin need to apologise. I do have BT issues with my Note 4. Probably did notice before as tend to use BT on public transport but listening at home I am not very impressed. I think there is a problem with bandwidth or interference with WiFi in the house.

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  2. Gavin. Found the source of the problem. I unpaired my Sony SBH 52 and repaired using NFC. And now all is fine. In fact music production is better than with wired headphones (with the SBH 52 you can use ypur own headpjones) the Note 4 must have a poor head amp.

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      1. You have quality kit so will bow to analysis. But I still feel overall I prefer the LG G3 for FLAC playback.

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  3. Gavin I am planning to buy those Philips headphones you have. Do you use a FIIO DAC as well? Does this allow a digital feed from the Note 4? Thanks

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