So basically I got a Note 4 for 2 weeks to review. My aim and approach for this review is to pen the best review I ever did and set the standard for future reviews on this blog. Hopefully the more I blog, the better I get. The tech space is very dynamic and I am learning everyday.
It just so happened that I would have to go to Woodbrook to collect the review unit. I always wanted to try out Hassan’s Gyros on the Avenue. So after I collected the Note 4, I took a stroll down the Avenue and bought gyros for lunch. Hassan makes the best gyros.
I love the phablet form factor. That’s why when I had the choice of a new phone in 2012 I chose the Note over the other phones at the time. Samsung started the phablet category and are still the leaders in this category.
I’ll start off by listing what comes in the box. Phone, USB cable, adapter, quick start guide, earbuds, and S-Pen nib replacements.
Things that caught my attention when I started using the Note 4 include Smart Network Switch, longer USB cable, new version of TouchWiz, better performance (compared to the S4), Smart Remote had options for Trinidad and Flow, chamfered metal border, beautiful screen and the size of the battery. Things that bother me include the wait for Android Lollipop, the white body that is easy to dirty (if I had a choice I would choose Charcoal Black), no USB 3.0 and no radio app.
The first thing I like to do with my smartphone is customise it. I remove all the widgets and leave one page of my mostly used apps on the home screen, then add a wallpaper of my liking. I don’t use cases, skins or screen protectors. I like to enjoy the full look and feel of the smartphone. Build feels and looks premium. Price is what you would expect from a premium flagship device.
Captured from front facing camera in Selfie Mode
Swipe (Samsung version of Swype) is not enabled by default, I had to enable it under settings. Selfie mode is really sharp and nicely saturated. It takes some time to get used to the fingerprint reader. A steady, firm and not too fast swipe works for me. The new version of TouchWiz on this latest hardware is faster and more fluid. I looked at some of the art created with the S-Pen and I must say that some persons are really talented. Artists would really enjoy this feature of the Note. The menu button now launches a list of opened apps. Hold it down long enough to get the menu. The volume on the loud speaker is decent and the call quality is great. I am pleased to note that the Note 4 does 4K video recording. I tested this out a few times and I am impressed. I would love to upgrade the “Tech Remix Weekly” vlog to 4K recording. The Note 4 is great for multitasking and allows for multiple apps on the same screen.
The camera is pretty good. Below are some photos I captured with the Note 4.
As a techie it is easy to get carried away with specs and features and performance and ecosystem but we must also consider what normal users might think about when chosing a smartphone. Things like style, branding, ease of use and personal preference. Some of the competitors in the phablet category would be OnePlus One, iPhone 6+, Nexus 6 and LG G3. These are the phones I would compare the Note 4 to. Samsung has invested in the Trinidad and Tobago market considerably more than any other brand in my mind. Launches, review units, smart classrooms, experience stores, and service and support. This has created a lot of goodwill in my mind.
Where can they improve? Things like better battery life (like twice as much), quicker OS updates, stock android look, feel and performance but keep the TouchWiz features, bring back the radio app, more premium build (like the rumoured all metal body of the S6), stereo speakers and lower price. It’s easy to say listen to your customers but we must remember that customers want different things. Some people like TouchWiz and some people don’t.
I wanted to get a sense of what others are saying about the Note 4 so I asked my social streams and I also went looking for comments on the internet. This helped me shape my views for this review. I chose 5 features and asked persons to vote [ link to poll ] on the most important smartphone feature. The results were not surprising to me. Most people want better battery life. I am a photog so I chose camera over battery life.
It’s not the easiest task in the world to please everyone. Samsung has tried to create categories of phones for everyone. If the Note 4 is not for you, you will probably be able to find what you are looking for in another model. “Be together, not the same” is the tagline for Android and pretty much sums up why I like Android smartphones, like the Note 4.
In conclusion I would rate the Note 4 an 8 out of 10 and I would recommend it to anyone looking for the best phablet on the market. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Go into any Experience Store and experience it for yourself. Thank you for reading and sharing and please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.