Do we have a good one for you today – the popular Samsung Galaxy Note 4 goes up against the new LG G4 'phablet.' Does the newer LG G4 have what it takes to dethrone the king of the phablets, a category that Samsung has defined over the past four years? Both devices are formidable competitors, from the same country and manufacturers that really do not like one another…it should be interesting.
Both devices really could not be different in their execution and design, although both are gorgeous to look at and to hold. They are true flagship devices with larger displays, terrific processors and great cameras and should satisfy their users. Solidly built, a premium feel and comfortable to hold and work with, especially with two hands.
The Galaxy Note 4 and LG G4 are about the same size, with the Note 4 coming in just slightly larger with its 5.7-inch display versus 5.5-inch display on the LG G4. They both have QHD displays, but use a different technology. They each use a Qualcomm processor, but different models, although they both have 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and both offer expansion via a microSD card slot of up to 128GB. They both have a main 16MP camera with autofocus, an LED flash and OIS. Both of these devices have a single speaker on the back of the device and the usual suspects such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, are NFC capable, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer, a built-in IR Blaster, and thanks to their Qualcomm heritage, they both share Quick Charge 2.0. The Note 4 and LG G4 both have a removable battery – 3220mAh for the Note 4 and smaller 3000mAh in the LG G4.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Both of these devices have a loyal following and for the Samsung Galaxy Note followers, the Galaxy Note 4 is its best rendition yet. It improved in every department – from the display, the build, to the processor, the camera and even the S-Pen. Even its past critics approved of the overall improvements like the metal frame, trim and faux leather back panel, making it a premium looking device with a build quality that feels great in your hand.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sports, one of the best displays on the market. It is a 5.7-inch beauty with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a whopping 515 PPI, although the 538 PPI (because of the smaller display) on the G4 slightly beats it out…but no human eye can tell the difference. The Note 4 is running the excellent 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz (US market) and compares quite nicely with the 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor used in the LG G4. It packs 3GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion – the same specs in the new LG G4.
Its camera has really been improved over the Galaxy Note 3 with a larger 16MP sensor, Autofocus, LED Flash, ISOCELL technology, and added in OIS+ and Live HDR shooting – and this stacks up very nicely with the 16MP found on the LG G4. The FFC increased to a wide-angle 3.7MP sensor and lens for excellent group selfies and conference style video chats – the LG G4 really jumped up the FFC to 8MP and then added a f/1.8 aperture. The 3220mAh battery will certainly last you all day and should you need to extend that time you can use Samsung's UPSM and its Quick Charge feature. The smaller 3000mAh battery in the LG G4 should also get you through a full day.
As far as additional features that the Galaxy Note 4 possesses over the LG G4 – the improved S-Pen with twice the sensitivity, its software and all of the functionality that it brings to the Galaxy Note series. It also has the fingerprint sensor, heart rate monitor, UV sensor, oxygen saturation sensor and metal sculptured frame. It is currently running Android 5.0 Lollipop, is available on all major US networks, and will cost you about $300 on a two-year contract or about $700 – $800 off-contract, depending where you purchase the device.
The G3 was already using a QHD display, so it was no surprise the LG G4 is more an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary update. However, LG worked hard on improving their original design and added much-needed brightness and contrast to the rather dull G3 display and they designed it to use less power. The device itself is slightly larger than the G3 and LG added a slight curve to the device – not a LG G Flex 2 kind of curve – but just enough to make it more comfortable to hold. LG also improved the backing by using a ceramic coating on the metallic looking plastic back. You can now special order ($50) a leather one in several colors with real stitching up the back. While the LG G4 does appear very similar to last year's LG G3, it does look and feel even better.
The LG G4 sports a 5.5-inch QHD LCD Quantum display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 PPI…and in line with the Galaxy Note 4's 5.7-inch QHD display with 515 PPI. LG claims their improved display allows for a 25-percent brighter display with a 50-percent increase in the contrast and 56-percent improvement to the color accuracy…and you can really tell the difference over the duller display on the LG G3. The panel is much brighter than last year's and the colors really do pop out…almost like an AMOLED display…just kidding!
LG decided to pass on the Snapdragon 810 (that they used in their LG G Flex 2) for the LG G4 and instead used Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The 808 is slightly below the 810, but it is optimized for the LG G4 and should be easier on its battery and offer steadier performance. This is up against the very capable 32-bit Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor in the Note 4. The LG G4 is packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage and has room for expansion via a microSD card – the same as the Note 4.
The camera on the LG G4 is first rate with a 16MP sensor, laser autofocus, LED Flash, and a wide f/1.8 aperture for better shots in low light, along with OIS+. The LG uses a large 8MP FFC camera that also includes the wider f/1.8 aperture lens and it should take excellent selfies and provide great video chatting. The Galaxy Note 4 matches up very nicely to the LG G4 in the main camera area – 16MP camera with autofocus, LED Flash and OIS. Even though the 3.7MP FFC is smaller, it has a wide-angled lens and is very competent for selfies and video chatting. The LG G4 uses a removable 3000mAh battery, compared to the larger removable 3220mAh on the Galaxy Note 4.
The LG G4 does offer optional wireless Qi charging, its controls are easily accessible on the back of the device and includes a built-in FM stereo radio. It also incorporates some great software features in the camera area, especially the Professional Mode, which are somewhat better than what the Galaxy Note 4 offers. The LG G4 comes in a variety of colors, both in the metallic and leather backs. It will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract and about $600 off-contract.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a very tough one for me to choose, not because I use a Note 3, but because both of these devices are great smartphones. However, in comparing them as a phablet, I think the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 gives you more of an opportunity to utilize the larger display via the software and S-Pen and has a few more features so I am calling it the winner in this comparison.
They both have beautiful displays, and even though LG has made dramatic improvements in their LCD panel, the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 4 still outshines the G4's. The Note 4 uses a 32-bit quad core processor and the LG G4 uses the newer 64-bit processor with six cores, but in all honesty, you will not notice any real difference. In the camera area, a slight nod has to go to the LG G4 for its laser autofocus speed and the large size of its 8MP FFC. In the battery area, the Note 4 gets a slight nod for the larger battery size. The Galaxy Note 4 also has a fingerprint sensor for added security and identification for making purchases. It also utilizes a heart rate sensor, a UV monitor and oxygen saturation sensor.
There will be those that will argue my decision – there always are – but in reality, the LG G4 processor might have a slight edge as does the camera area, especially in the FFC, but the overall experience gives the Galaxy Note 4 the bigger edge. It is a real workhorse with its multi-screen and multitasking capabilities, note taking, drawing, sketching, painting, game playing, cut and pasting – the S-Pen and the apps for this device just makes it something more than a large display.
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