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Samsung introduces Galaxy Note 4 phablet with OIS

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Prospective Galaxy Note 4 owners can choose from four colors.

Samsung has announced the latest iteration of its top-of-the-line phablet, the Galaxy Note 4, at simultaneous events in New York and Berlin today. In terms of design the new model is very close to its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 3, and also features the same faux-leather back. Under the hood, however, things have been upgraded significantly, specifically in the camera department.

For mobile photographers, the big news about the Galaxy Note 4 is its optical image stabilization system which makes it the first Samsung smartphone to offer this feature. This is great news in so far that in our testing we always found the Galaxy models to produce good image quality but in very low light the digital stabilization struggled to compete with the optical systems of some competitors. With the new model this should now change. Not much detail on camera specification was given, so for now we have to assume that, apart from the OIS, the Note 4's camera sensor is the same 1/2.6-inch 16MP BSI CMOS unit with F2.2 maximum aperture as on the Galaxy S5.

There is also a 3.7MP front camera with a fast F1.9 maximum aperture and a couple of features for improved selfie-shooting. You can use the heart-rate monitor on the device's back as a shutter button for better ergonomics and the front-camera allows for recording of selfie-panoramas.

Like its predecessors the Note 4 comes with an S-PEN stylus.
The back features a 16MP camera with OIS.

It's not just picture taking that should be improved in this model, but also image viewing. The Note 4 comes with a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 QHD that offers a very high pixel density of 518 ppi. Android 4.4 is, depending on region, powered by a quad- or octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. Images can be stored on 32GB internal memory or a microSD card. The 3320 mAh battery offers a quick-charging mode that according to Samsung lets you charge from 0 to 50% within approximately 30 minutes. 

We'll have to wait for a review unit to properly assess the Note 4's imaging performance but on paper the new model looks like a great option for mobile photographers who prefer larger devices. The Note 4 will be available globally in four colors starting in October. No information on pricing has been released yet.

Key specification:

  • 16MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 3.7MP / F1.9 front camera
  • 4K video recording
  • 5.7-inch 2560×1440 QHD Super AMOLED display
  • 2.7 GHz Quad-Core or 1.9 GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad-Core) Processor (depending on region)
  • Android 4.4
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage and microSD support
  • 3320 mAh battery with quick-charging

At the launch event Samsung also showcased the Galaxy Note Edge which will be launched at an unspecified point in time later this year. The Note Edge comes with very similar specifications to the Note 4 but features a unique 5.6-inch QHD resolution screen with an additional 160 pixels wide curved edge that provides quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and other functions. This also works when the optional cover is closed and allows you to view notifications while watching full-screen video.

Like the Note 4 the Edge comes with a stylus.
It also offers a unique curved edge display.

  

Comments

Total comments: 74
jonamafun

I thought the S5 had the 16mp ISOCELL sensor, whereas the Note 4 now uses a 16mp Sony sensor? Therefore its not the same camera as the article states?

0 upvotes
Tony Annis

My Tamrac pouch is perfect and sits on my belt to carry note 3.
Poch was meant for pens, small note book etc. Perfect for Note 3.

0 upvotes
Tony Annis

Pleased I bought a note 3, with my big PC at home still necessary for a photographer writer. Not sure I should have bought the Tab, mostly used as an expensive keyboard!

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor

This is old fashion... New version edge is AMAZING.

Such clever idea.

1 upvote
Valiant Thor

As I observe people and society I am 100% convinced that the smartphone is the worst invention in the history of the world, bare NONE. It has turned a once observant and interactive society into pathetic, electronic addicted, anti-social zombies who walk around with their glazed empty eyes affixed to those crappy little LCD boxes glued to their hand, their thumb frantically pushing stupid little chicklets around the screen with the look of a meth addict on their face and mortal fear in their mind that they would accidently miss one non-essential, meaningless message from an emotionless fellow zombie that is doing the same thing. What used to be meaningful family social outings have turned into four people sitting at a table lifelessly and listlessly staring hypnotically at the endless supply of meaningless pixel propaganda which never leaves their hand. Other than that, nice phone!

18 upvotes
p51d007

And people thought the zombie invasion would never happen. These people can't put the darn thing down. When I travel past a college campus, they all have their heads down, ear buds jammed in their heads. I think it's playing a loop...breathe in....breathe out...breathe in...breathe out, least they forget while they check twitter/facebook etc. No wonder so many people crack screens, they never leave their hands!

1 upvote
Joel Halbert

Nice rant. By the way, it's "bar none" - perhaps your phone or tablet's auto-complete keyboard is to blame?

Fads always feed legitimate rants over lost traditions, talents and morality. Yes it is amusing to see a family gathered round a table with the smartphone glow on each face. I can't say that never happened in my family , but we have a non-strict understanding that mealtime is for conversation. Having said that, the phone can be used as a conversation starter or enhancer.

Every technology shift has its ups and downs. But the mobile internet also has tremendous value. The zombie-overuse syndrome is offset by its information and communication potential. Your "worst innovation" is also the single most important recent innovation for developing-world nations. In order to break the cycles of poverty, repression and low opportunity, folks have to have an observable alternative model. Even low-end smartphones hooked into a minimal communications infrastructure now provide that.

3 upvotes
Eric Hensel

Nice post, Joel.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
0 upvotes
supeyugin1

del

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jon Stern

"There is also a 3.7MP front camera with a fast F1.9 maximum aperture"

Mobile phone cameras have a fixed aperture, so F/1.9 is the maximum and minimum aperture!

0 upvotes
bigley Ling

now thats just being picky ;)

5 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen

I hope you guys are able to do a comparison between the Note 4 and the Xperia Z3 / Z3 Compact!

Especially where it matters: Handheld low light pics, with "night mode" on and also off

And also since the front camera of the note 4 now has f/1.9m hopefully test that in low light against the Z3 as well, not just in good light

Hopefully sony has fixed their horrible jpg engine, otherwise that relatively large sensor is useless.

1 upvote
SergioMO

Bad move Sony ... http://www.phonearena.com/news/First-Sony-Xperia-Z3-camera-samples-are-here_id60188

0 upvotes
///M

Love the ability to use a host cable and plug-in my USB3 card reader, and backup cards to my phone's 128gb micro SD card. I can also read raw files, make edits, and post pics, all from my phone. (That's on my note 3, I am sure this device will be even faster!)

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
SergioMO

Note 3 user here, no more USB3 in Note 4 :-(

2 upvotes
///M

yep, What were they thinking? people were upset w/ the super speed cable end, really? They gave up a major speed component over that? Come-on Sam -Sung! USB 2 blows

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd

The Note Edge has peeked my interest. I am going to wait for that one.

2 upvotes
clicstudio

The Edge Will probably last a Week in one piece.
Plastic body and unprotected side glass is a magnet for major damages.
Also what happens if you are left handed? They should have made the phone vertically symmetrical so you can turn it upside down and use the edge with your left hand.
I can't wait for next week. It's gonna be awesome! ;)

1 upvote
TrojMacReady

Hmm, plastic body: check.
Lasted longer than 3 years without a scratch or worse: check.

6 upvotes
Jogger

I see a lot of women with Notes.. mostly because they are easy to tote around in purses/handbags. For men, its far too large unless you are using a man-purse or have extra large pockets.

2 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen

"For men, its far too large unless you are using a man-purse or have extra large pockets."

Nope, my note 2 easily fits in my regular or slim jeans, slacks, khakis, board shorts, cargo shorts, etc etc.

3 upvotes
Richard Shih

The Notes aren't horribly large for pant pockets when standing or walking if you don't mind a slight outline of the phone. I take my phone out whenever I'm sitting down anyways. Note or not, phones these days are just not comfortable in the pockets when sitting unless leaning back.

1 upvote
larsbc

@Tonkotsu: I've had a Note 2 for almost two years, now. I carry it in my pants pockets when walking. Slim jeans, shorts, etc. Not a problem, really. With some of my shorts, you can tell I'm carrying a phone, but in my jeans, you can't. I've been very happy switching to a large-sized screen and wouldn't go back to anything smaller. YMMV of course.

1 upvote
Tonkotsu Ramen

@larsbc did you reply to the wrong person?

0 upvotes
shigzeo ?

I wonder at some people's 'slim jeans'. I can barely fit my iPhone 5 in my jeans. How in the hell can you fit a NOTE in your 'slim jeans'?

Either they are not slim, or for some people, 'slim' is a loose term.

1 upvote
Joel Halbert

I carry the Note 3 on my belt in a flip-cover hip pouch. Works quite well and makes the pocket issue moot. I do the same for pocketable cameras, which are even smaller and fit into a nice small belt pouch.

My wife keeps her Note 3 in her purse, of course.

Having become used to it, I wouldn't trade the Note for a smaller phone, and I don't think she would either.

0 upvotes
Shugetsu

I carry my note 3 on my pocket(with Case Logic protective casing and recently added a tempered glass - it has gotten a bit thicker) for almost a year, sometimes double with an old Samsung S Dous(got unlimited call and text) and I never had problem.

On third world countries where pickpocketers are rampant, I need to have a feel of my phone on my pocket.

0 upvotes
David Stinson

In 5 days this will be distant memory.

8 upvotes
clicstudio

I Can't wait for the 5.5" iPhad... ;)

1 upvote
arhmatic

In 5 days, I'll say "Apple, finally... but too little, too late... next time, think faster, apple..."

13 upvotes
supeyugin1

No, Apple can't deliver anymore. Was beaten by Samsung long time ago. Lost case.

8 upvotes
David Stinson

Beaten? I hardly think so.

0 upvotes
h2k

Here's hoping that OIS comes to smaller phones as well, in the range of 4.0 - 4.7 inches screens, so they would be easily pockatable and usable with one hand (for general use, not for photographic use). Best would be OIS on phones that don't have 20 sensors for blood pressure, step count, heart beat etc. and don't have 20 non-removable "social" apps inside.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Nokia and HTC both have smaller-screen phones with OIS.

0 upvotes
h2k

Lars, thanks. But on top of the OIS, i would like top photo-technical quality on an Android device.

1 upvote
Khazaad

Having a Note 3 I feel oddly satisfied that the 4 is underwhelming. Extended validation for keeping what you already have feels like a relief sometimes.

7 upvotes
brentbrent

Yeah, I have no desire to upgrade phones every year, or every two years for that matter. I do find enough in the Note 4 to upgrade from my Note 2, though, including Sprint tri-band LTE for data, better screen, better camera, and some of the other improvements. The Note 3 was not compelling for me.

0 upvotes
Khazaad

I followed the same logic. Loved my original Gnex but everyone knows it's inhumane to keep technology around passed year 3. (1 year for phones = 35 in human years) I had her put down and the Note 3 was the right choice.

Note 4 is superior to the 3 but it's not supposed to replace it. It replaces older tech behind it.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo

"Phablet"! What a disgusting neologism.

3 upvotes
Zeisschen

I'd call this one craplet

3 upvotes
clicstudio

Soon I will have an iPhad. iPhone+iPad
;)

0 upvotes
Hellstrom

Once again, woefully small storage. Less available memory than the Note 3. Going backwards here.
No USB3 for fast transfers. Heavier. No more ram. 128GB microsd cards not supported.
And it wouldn't surprise me if it had reduced battery life.

2 upvotes
Zeisschen

this model was all about being first with a senseless feature called edge-display. Why? Because it's possible

Complete fail for me. Dpreview better talk about the Sony Z3, it's much more interesting!

3 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen

@zeisschen

what about the Z3 makes it more interesting?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih

20MP camera module with supposed 12,800 equivalent ISO seems to be a first.

0 upvotes
leamik

Edge display? Didn't lg already do that?

0 upvotes
SergioMO

I´m a Note 3 user and this is the best smartphone out there for me, but I was expecting a better low light perform and IP57 ... waiting Note 5. In camera nobody beats Nokia ! http://www.phonearena.com/news/Check-out-the-first-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-and-Note-Edge-camera-samples-compared-with-the-competition_id60180

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

In low light, probably true, altough like for like, even those pre production samples from the Note 4 are pretty similar to the Nokia 1520's, once you even the output size, brightness and whitebalance. It's those auto algorithms that seem better in the Nokia cameras. Let's see if the final production version of the Note 4 can improve on those algorithms.

But in good light, even some of the existing Samsung cameras can already outresolve the Nokia 1520 outside the center where the Nokia lens (altough it could be the Sony lens that comes with the 20MP BSI sensor, since the Xperia's have the same issue) suffers a lot. If they ever fix that issue, then their cameras can perform about as good as you can get for the sensor size and FL, aslo thanks to RAW support.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
SergioMO

They key point is .. low light. In good conditions even with my S3 8mpx is ok. I have a 808 and this is the best shooter, but I prefer to take my Sony RX100 with me (pocketable) than the 808. I hope someday , one Android can fix it. I really don´t like wp.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

Yeah, waiting anxiously for Android "L" and fingers crossed they will enable RAW support. 4.4 already showed hints for future RAW support in Android.
That should really help a lot for low light pictures and take most of the manufacturer's "auto" choices and processing out of the equation.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
EwanMC

Still on the original Note albeit running a custom root 4.4.4 android software. But this looks good, although tempted to pick up a cheap Note 3.

1 upvote
Shugetsu

You should pick up a note 3. :)

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor

Finally a model to challenge 1520. A little late though;)

0 upvotes
mermaidkiller

Nothing really innovative, just more pixels.

1 upvote
Arn

What an untrue comment. There's a lot of interesting stuff. Many of the phones features were just not mentioned in this concise news item.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I think the OIS is actually quite a big deal.

9 upvotes
Beat Traveller

"Phablet" is definitely the worst name ever.

7 upvotes
Lars Rehm

sorry, not my creation

0 upvotes
Zeisschen

"Craplet", the new name exclusive for those portable Samsung TVs

1 upvote
arhmatic

but there is no need to reuse this new annoying word...

0 upvotes
benvision

Is it water resistant like the S5?

0 upvotes
yslee1

Sadly, no. The Note 4 doesn't seem to be a very big upgrade over the 3 this time.

1 upvote
SergioMO

Really no big upgrade, my Note 3 has at about 80% of the useful features of Note 4, try to get a Note 3 with a cheaper price and be happy ! Waiting next Note.

0 upvotes
justinwonnacott

today is sept 3 not the 4th and this article is about as interesting to this photographer as yesterdays pasta.

1 upvote
RedFox88

This is on the mobile phone site Connect.

0 upvotes
attomole

Had to double take I read iOS!

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm

well, now THAT would be a suprise

0 upvotes
h2k

"Had to double take I read iOS!"
---
same here

0 upvotes
photogirl7

As a note taking and document device, has there been any improvement?

1 upvote
nerd2

Pen has double the pressure sensitivity (now 2048) and now tilt and rotation sensitive, just like wacom's high end tablets.

7 upvotes
photogirl7
0 upvotes
ShadowVlican

please review the camera ASAP!!

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

we will start a review as soon as we get a reviewable unit in our hands.

1 upvote
Total comments: 74
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