We already saw some pictures that Josh took during his briefing just a few days ago, but I still felt that maybe the Note 4 could use a closer look. Today I managed to talk to a representative at IFA to get some better close-up shots of the device.

The Note 4's new design is really striking. As Josh already mentioned in his hands-on, the improved feeling that Samsung managed to achieve with the new metal chassis is worlds apart from the plastic designs found in its predecessors. I was still skeptical until I got to hold it with my own hands: this is indeed a premium device.

I also had the opportunity to compare it to the Ascend Mate 7. There's definitely a size difference here that is noticeable when you hold both devices. Because the Mate 7 is a tad wider than the Note 4, it isn't as easy to handle. I'd say Samsung made a very good choice in staying at 5.7" and not going larger. One aspect that was immediately visible was the difference in screen quality. The Note 4 was a lot brighter, and due to the large size of the screens, the difference in resolution between 1080p vs 1440p was quite noticeable to me.

The two devices are basically the same thickness, and you won't notice too much in that regard other than a change from feeling the grippy soft-touch plastic of Samsung pleather back to the smoother aluminium of the Mate 7.

One thing Josh told me he omitted was taking a picture of the Note 4 without the back cover. Here we see that Samsung changed the layout a bit, and no is longer employing their stacked SIM+microSD slot holder that is common in current Samsung devices, and instead separates them again as in older devices.

Some readers in the comments section were asking about how the new S-Pen handled. I tried to play around with it for a bit and noticed no problems with it, as it performed without issue. I couldn't try out the angle-sensitivity of the pen as the stock apps did not support it, and the Samsung representative did not know how to showcase it.

Interestingly, the model I handled was a N910F with a Snapdrgon 805. This could mean that we won't see any Exynos models in western LTE markets such as Europe yet again. This would mean that Snapdragon variants would be the most widely reviewed and distributed. We're still waiting on Samsung to officially relase any information regarding the Exynos 5433 SoC. We're also waiting on Samsung to release a break-down of models and their availabiliy per region.

Yesterday I was impressed by Huawei's new design and build-quality. Today I'm actually torn between it and the Note 4 and can say that the Samsung has stepped the quality of their design as well.


Samsung also had a lot of Galaxy Alphas on display in their hall. Since this was the first time I saw the phone in person, I wanted to share my thoughts on it too. The device provides a great alternative to people who dislike 5"+ phones, as it's very light and thin. I was concerned about the 720p PenTile screen, but it seems that this display employs one of the newer generation PenTile matrices and it was not as visible as I thought it would be. I didn't bother with taking too many pictures as it was a tethered device and there were no press kits available. The Galaxy Alpha is definitely a device to look foward to if that's the form-factor you desire in a phone.

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  • jjj - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    Aren't you just lying to yourself? You can handle a tablet and tablets are just big phones. Sure pocket size is a problem and voice calls can be ridiculous but voice is more and more of a vestigial feature for many.
    5.7 inch is so widespread now that it's borderline not even a phablet anymore.When the Droid X came out with 4.3 inch few could imagine such a huge device , when the first Note launched most thought it won't sell at all. The limit is the size of the pocket not the hand.
  • lilmoe - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    That's the thing, the Note 4 isn't any larger than the Note 2. It's just a bit taller, but narrower and thinner. Samsung managed to increase the screen size while reducing the overall size of the phone.

    Note 2: 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm
    Note 4: 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
    (numbers courtesy of GsmArena)

    If anything, the Note 4 should be easier to handle since it's thinner, narrower and more grippy. It just looks larger because the design is more squared off. Unless you're talking about the Mate 7, which I also believe is too big for a "phone", but others obviously disagree.
  • Red Storm - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    That Ascend 7 sure is pretty, but I imagine it's not coming over to the states?
  • ncage - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    On the Note 4. Though the design seems kind of nice and i love the big screen its definitely a no for me. I will see what apple releases next Tuesday (if they release a 5.5 iphone then thats what i will be getting) but i will never get a Samsung android phone. Touchjunk is to heavy and bloated. My wife has the note 2 and i so much hate the interface. Also after you buy the phone samsung seems to forget about you as far as updates (yes its better since google pulled a lot of pieces into the google app store but its not good enough). I'f i'm not happy with what apple is offering then i will most likely get the just released motox (assuming its supported on verizon) though i do admit i would have to have a 5.7 phone with an S-Pen
  • ncage - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    like to have a 5.7in screen with an s-pen that is
  • lilmoe - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    "Samsung seems to forget about you as far as updates "

    Actually, Samsung is doing the best job in updates as far as Android OEMs are concerned. My wife's Note 2 got updated to the latest Android version (4.4.2) via OTA, and the phone feels significantly faster with better battery life. Are you sure you have updates enabled?
  • sweenish - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    Samsung is not the best by a long shot. Motorola is the best, and arstechnica shows it with data.

  • Friendly0Fire - Sunday, September 7, 2014 - link

    That's a bit of an unfair comparison though because the Moto X was released during Moto's stint as a Google property. Having Motorola not release timely updates for their phones during that time would've been really weird.

    We shouldn't assume that they'll stay that way now that they're under Lenovo, therefore those stats are no longer representative. This'd put HTC as the next best thing, which sounds pretty accurate.
  • lilmoe - Friday, September 5, 2014 - link

    "but it seems that this display employs one of the newer generation PenTile matrices and it was not as visible as I thought it would be"

    See buddy? It's not all about the resolution ;) There's still room for lots of improvements even on the Alpha's screen.
    I bet this phone will be the best performing <5" screen Android smartphone for a good time to come with the Exynos 5430 pushing a 720p screen, and even more so with the next update to Android L. I'm really interested about battery life and can't wait to read an in-depth review.
    That said, here's to hoping the GS6 stays on 1080p with an even more improved display along with a 64bit Exynos :)

    ps: I just realized this article was authored by Andre. Keep up the good work, and don't mind them grammar Nazis. Your work precedes you.
  • mohsin1994 - Sunday, September 7, 2014 - link

    mate 7 will be much better than the note 4.....

    samsung is getting older they r not even changing their UI..huh touchwiz :/


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