We have a lot of users asking the question is it worth the upgrade to the Galaxy Note 4 if you own the Galaxy Note 3, or should they wait for the Galaxy Note 5. I know that some websites have encouraged the upgrade, but I disagree, and I will tell you why. Plain and simple – if you have the money to buy a new device every year, then go for it – why not – it has a better build and feel to it, a jump in processing power and most striking is the new QHD display…I mean who would not want all of that?
However, if you have to watch your dollars, then I would wait for the Galaxy Note 5 to make sure that you have all of the above AND the next generation 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM. If I was to upgrade from my Note 3 to the Note 4, I would feel the need to get the Note 5 – by waiting, I buy one new smartphone in two years and I am guaranteed to be ‘future-proof” with the 64-bit processor running some version of the 64-bit Android L. I will run through some of the upgrades from the Note 3 to the Note 4 and you can make your own conclusions…I did a complete comparison the other day that you can read HERE, if you’d like.
Design wise, there is no doubt that the Galaxy Note 4 outshines the Note 3 – a real, metal, sculptured frame adds an air of sophistication, elegance and makes for a nice grip on the device. Samsung stuck with the faux leather on the back…another good move for looks and feel. Samsung was ‘obligated’ to include the fingerprint scanner in the home key and their infamous heart rate scanner on the back and they even added a UV monitor. One practical addition was the inclusion of three microphones to help with noise cancellation for a clearer calling experience. Two impractical moves were moving the speaker to the back on of the device and another was regressing from using a microUSB 3.0 to going back to version 2.0.
The other BIG improvement has to be in the display area where Samsung finally upgraded from the Note 3’s FULL HD display with 1080p, up to the Note 4’s QHD with 1440p. Because the size of 5.7-inches remained the same on both devices, we have a jump from 386 Pixels-Per-Inch (PPI) to 515 PPI on the Note 4. Now while on paper, that seems a no-brainer, you really need to look at both displays side-by-side to see if you can even tell the difference. Does that mean I do not want a QHD in my next device – heck no – but it does mean I can wait another year.
The other area we always concern ourselves with is the processor and memory. Yes, the Galaxy Note 4 does use the latest and greatest Snapdragon 805 quad-core clocked at 2.7GHz versus the Snapdragon 800 quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz. An improvement, certainly, but anybody that has ever used a Note 3 will attest to its speed – now if you are a heavy gamer, then the 805’s paired GPU will blow you away compared to what is in the Note 3. My point is that the 805 is a 32-bit processor and by 2015 it will be outdated when the Snapdragon 810 comes out and resides in the Note 5 – so do you buy a Note 4 now and a Note 5 in a year or simply hang on to your Note 3 until next year.
The camera area is always a concern as well – The camera did jump from 13MP to 16MP, but that is really of little concern compared to what they do with those Megapixels. Samsung finally saw their way to include Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) in the Note 4 and I commend them for that move. They also upped the FFC from 2MP to 3.7MP and added a wide-angle feature to capture those large groups of selfies. Are those two items a nice improve…you betcha, especially if the Note 3 took crappy pictures – it does not – so as much as I am a photography buff, I can wait one more year to upgrade my camera.
Now there are many other areas that the Note 4 made improvements, such as a better S-Pen experience, and using 2.5D Gorilla Glass to help with viewing angles, and more. In the end, you have to decide if the upgrade from the Note 3 to the Note 4 is worth it to you…for me, that would be a ‘No.’ If the Note 3 wasn’t already such a solid device, I might have a different opinion. The QHD, the processor, the camera, and the design are all better – the fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor and UV sensor do nothing to increase the Note 4’s value in my eyes. If you got the money and purchase the Note 4, you will not be disappointed – but for me, I want the QHD and other goodies, but I want it wrapped up in a 64-bit processor to ‘future-proof’ it for me…now the Note Edge, that may be another conversation!
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are upgrading from a Note 2 or Note 3 to the Note 4…as always, we would love to hear from you.