Samsung today expanded the Galaxy Note series with two new members, the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge series.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Retaining the same display size as its predecessor at 5.7 inches, the Galaxy Note 4 sees a bump in resolution to Quad-HD at 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. This puts it on-par with the LG G3 and Oppo Find 7 devices. Its display is made up of 2.5D glass, which is inherited from the Galaxy S III and is rounded around the edges.
It also adopts a metal frame similar to the recently announced Galaxy Alpha, which certainly delivers a premium look and feel. However, the Galaxy Note 4 still has the soft-textured back cover that you either love or hate.
Powering the Galaxy Note 4 is a quad-core 2.7GHz processor (most likely to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset) or the 1.9GHz Octa-Core (1.9GHz Quad-core + 1.3GHz Quad-core) processor with 3GB RAM and Android 4.4 KitKat. As expected, the type of processor used will vary across markets.
The Galaxy Note 4 is probably the first Samsung's phone to sport Smart Optical Image Stabilization (Smart OIS) for its 16-megapixel rear camera. Smart OIS counter-balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in dark settings.
Samsung also makes it easier for consumers to take selfies with the Galaxy Note 4 as it comes with a 3.7-megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture. With a default 90-degree shooting angle, the user can use the front-facing camera to shoot up to 120 degrees for group shots!
On the software front, Samsung packs more features onto the Galaxy Note 4. Its Multi-Window feature can now support full, split or pop-up screens, and adjusts the size and positioning of the apps on the display with one swipe.
Air Command, originally introduced on the Galaxy Note 3, is enhanced with a new feature called Smart Select. This allows you to easily select or crop a portion from different sources (e.g. email, text message, website) and share it easily. There is also another new feature, Snap Note which allows you to take a picture of notes on a paper or white board and convert it into an S Note.
To enhance its proposition as a productivity device, Samsung equips the Galaxy Note 4 with 3 microphones and an improved speaker phone for better noise cancellation. Its built-in voice recorder is able to distinguish and tag up to 8 different voices in a group conversation, and allows you to isolate and listen to specific voices during selective playback. For example, an interview mode enabled during the voice recording will allow you to listen to the questions posed by the interviewer or the answers provided by the interviewee.
Its S Pen comes with enhanced touch sensitivity to emulate a more authentic pen experience. You can now choose between a fountain or calligraphy pen for a more natural brush effect. Other new features include a fingerprint sensor, an UV sensor (a first in a mobile device), and Fast Charging feature.
Samsung claims the Fast Charging feature is able to recharge a battery 30% faster. Having said that, the Galaxy Note 4 comes with a slightly larger battery capacity of 3,220mAh compared to 3,200mAh on its precedessor.
It is only available with 32GB storage and has a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 64GB in capacity. Despite all the new hardware features, the Galaxy Note 4 is only 0.2mm thicker than the Galaxy Note 3 at 8.5mm, and weighs 8g heavier at 176g.
The Galaxy Note 4 is available in four colors at launch: charcoal black, frost white, bronze gold and blossom pink. Samsung states that it will be available in global markets starting in October although our sources claim that it will be available from September 26.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
The Galaxy Note Edge can be considered a slightly smaller, but curvier variant of the Galaxy Note 4. It sports a 5.6-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, has the same camera module(both front and back) and software features.
Its main difference is the display, which has a unique curved edge. In case you don't know, Samsung demonstrated such displays at Consumer Electronics Show 2013. The curved Edge display not only allows you to access frequently used apps, it also enables you to view alerts and notifications with a swipe of your thumb.
Samsung claims that this is an innovative and convenient feature for users as notifications or on-screen controls will not interfere with the user experience. For example, the camera controls are located on the Edge screen (curved section of the display) instead of taking up unnecessary space on the viewfinder.
The second difference is that the Galaxy Note Edge is powered by the quad-core 2.7GHz processor, which is likely to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. The Galaxy Note Edge is available in two different storage capacity: 32GB and 64GB. There is microSD support up to 64GB too. It is slightly thinner at 8.3mm and lighter at 174g, and uses a smaller 3,000mAh battery.
Samsung states that the Galaxy Note Edge will be available in select markets through Samsung's retail channels, e-commerce and telcos later this year. It comes in two colors: charcoal black and frost white.