This will be another interesting comparison – the OnePlus One started coming out in Aprilish, through a strange lottery-type system and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which has been announced, but is not out until October for sale. The Galaxy Note 3 had many similar features and specifications; however, the new Note 4 has up the ante and very few specs remain the same. Let's take a quick look at what they still have in common.
Only in size – Galaxy Note 4 at 5.7-inches versus OnePlus One at 5.5-inches – are their displays similar. They both have the same 3GB of RAM and are very close to each other in physical size. The batteries are very close in size to each other with a 3220mAh in the Note 4 and a 3100mAh battery in the One – the Note 4's is removeable and the One's is non-removable. They share the same Bluetooth, NFC, DLNA, microUSB 2.0, and the latest Wi-Fi. This is not a very long list, but that only means there will be more to write about below when we take a look at each individual device.
Please take a look at the detailed specification sheet below and the at the individual write-ups that follow, and then we will pick the winner of this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be hitting the stores in early October and it is the device to beat right now. It comes with the new Super AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 with 515 pixel-per-inch (PPI). It has full metal sculptured fame with a faux leather back for a great feel in your hand. It has the most recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 32-bit processor clocked at 2.7GHz. The 3GB of RAM equals the OnePlus One, but when it comes to internal storage, the Note 4 has a microSD card slot for expansion up to 128GB.
The main camera is 16MP with Auto Focus, LED Flash, and most importantly includes OIS. The front-facing camera (FFC) comes in at 3.7MP versus the 5MP on the One, however, Samsung made it wide-angle so that you can fit more people in your video chat or those crowded selfies. When it comes to sound, Samsung took the speaker off the bottom of the device and returned it to the back, so the One has a definite advantage with dual bottom facing speakers.
When it comes to features, the Note 4 has a long list of them: IR Blaster, Quick Charge, Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM), Fingerprint Scanner, Heart Rate Sensor, UV Sensor, Oxygen Saturation Sensor and LTE Cat.6 capable. A few are great ideas, the remaining features are either gimmicky to some or useful to others.
We cannot talk about the Note 4 without mentioning the S-Pen and the creative software that comes on the device, as well as the many apps that use the S-Pen. It is what truly differentiates the Note 4 from other phablets – making the Note 4 more than just a smartphone, but a personal assist and note taker as well.
The OnePlus One is a nicely designed smartphone – small bezels, rounded sides and curved back with a texture that makes it comfortable and 'grippy' to hold in your hand – definitely feels well-made and solid. It comes with a slightly smaller screen at 5.5-inches, but where the One and Note 4 differ are the type of display and the resolution. The One uses the IPS LCD technology versus the Super AMOLED of the Note 4 and the One is still using a Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution with 401 PPI, whereas the Note 4 uses the QHD, which has a much higher resolution.
The One uses the Snapdragon 801 quad-core clocked at 2.5GHz – the same processor found in the Galaxy S5 – however, the Note 4 uses the latest Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7GHz with a much-improved GPU for gaming and videos.
The OnePlus One's main camera is a 13MP affair with Auto Focus and a Dual-LED Flash – pictures are good according to our in-depth review and it has an amazing 5MP FFC for video chatting and taking selfies. The One also has dual-speakers on the bottom, where they should be. The other big thing about the One is the OS – it is built on Android 4.4.2 with the aftermarket company CyanogenMod creating a custom version – 11S UI – for the One.
The OnePlus One works on GSM networks, so no Verizon or Sprint users need apply, but if you are on AT&T or T-Mobile…go for it. Pricing is also very impressive with the 16GB model going for $299 off-contract and $349 for the 64BG model and there is no microSD slot for adding additional storage.
…And the Winner is…
It has to be the Galaxy Note 4 in this contest – the OnePlus One is a great device, but it is slightly showing its age at this point. The Note 4 has the QHD display, faster processor and better GPU, MicroSD card, better camera (OIS), and a wide-angle FFC.
The Note 4 is packed with extra features not found on the One, and some are very useful – Fingerprint Scanner, IR Blaster, Quick Charge and Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM). Some features that are there, but you may or may not use them: Heart Rate Sensor, UV Sensor and Oxygen Saturation Sensor.
Of course, we cannot forget the one thing that makes the Note 4 so special over other phablets – the S-Pen and all of the software that makes it so helpful. If you never used the S-Pen you are in for a real treat.
The Note 4 comes with the latest Android 4.4.4 with its TouchWiz UI – some people love it and others hate it. The Note 4 will have better availability when it comes out in October – it will be on all major U.S. networks and you can buy it everywhere.
Please let us know on our Google+ Page, which one of these devices you like for the comparison winner and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.