Wednesday, 10 December 2014




#Samsung #GalaxyNote4 #Phablet #TouchWiz #Android

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s so good to see you again! What’s been happening?

Are you thinking of getting a new handset for Christmas? Read on...


Honestly, the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t even in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4! But, hey! This review is not going to waste time to compare the two as there is no point. As I have said before: Apple has its market and Samsung / Android has its market too! I don’t own a Mac so the iPhone, iPad, etc is irrelevant for me.

GALAXY NOTE 4, 32GB. PRICE: £599.95

Why do I keep making the same mistake with Samsung premium handsets? What I mean is that whenever they launch a new handset such as the Alpha range through the media the overall look and feel inspires, “Another Samsung handset...” However, it’s not until you get the phone in your hands you can actually appreciate the difference! It’s the same with the Galaxy Note 4... the hands the Galaxy Note 4 is PURE CLASS!!!! It is the BEST handset in its league!!! The metal edge does make a difference!!! Okay, I still love my Galaxy Note 2 but the Note 4 is something else! It’s slimmer, solid and, er, sweet! The 5.7” QHD screen is sublime! What I am extremely happy about is that I don’t have to write loads of text for you to understand just what you are getting with this handset...

Perfection! The build and form is simply superb! The Galaxy Note 3 was pretty badass but 4... Mmmmmm... Delicious! One of my little gripes with Samsung’s premium handsets is that they feel like a bar of soap: SLIPPERY!!! I found that a protective cover adds more stability – especially when taking photos! The battery cover on the Galaxy Note 4 is just how it should be! It is rubberized and of course it comes off so that I can add up to 128GB of microSD card and swap out the battery for a fully charged one! The good news is that the battery does charge rapidly – 50% in 30 minutes! Sweet! I have always said that this is what makes the Samsung Galaxy range so special: Removable battery and now rapid charging!

The biggest misconception is that the TouchWiz interface is “confusing”. WRONG!!! You would have to be a complete moron to not understand how to interface with the TouchWiz overlay. Contrary to the ideology that pure Android is best, TouchWiz allows the handset to do a lot more i.e. multiple app windows, the S Pen, the Air functionality! Again, this is not a point scoring comparison review with the iPhone 6 Plus but the Galaxy Note series – especially 4 (and the Galaxy S4 onwards) makes the iPhone concept dated in the extreme! The Air Command features function via the S Pen! I love the way you can swipe the screen with the side of the hand (like a Karate chop) to capture whatever is on the screen!


Look, if you are thinking about jumping ship from the iPhone you will be forgiven to think that the Galaxy Note 4 is limited but it is far from it! Don’t get me wrong... ...the iPhone is a very good phone and, again, it serves those who have a Mac computer but the Galaxy Note 4 is quite frankly beyond the superlative. The Galaxy Note 4 IS A COMPUTER! You do not need to touch your PC for days – if need be! You can perform all kinds of tasks on the Galaxy Note 4 that can serve both the PC and Mac! Whereas the iPhone locks you into its ecosystem; I don’t think that is good. But because most Apple folk live in a bubble – I do speak from experience as I have had to educate many Apple folk on what Android and the Galaxy handsets in particular can do – they don’t have much of a clue on what is outside that ecosystem! Sure, they are blessed with a good range of apps but Android has more or less caught up! I can’t deny that there are a few components missing but it is certainly getting there! I don’t find myself looking over the shoulder of an iPhone user with envy. If anything I watch how they interface with the handset and for the most part it, iOS, serves a purpose. That said, the combination of TouchWiz and Android is awe inspiring!

I know all about getting a new phone and wanting to interface with it straightaway... ...Apple has marketed the iPhone in a clever way that has backfired for more demanding users and seen as positive by non-technical users. However, just because there is more to the Galaxy Note 4 doesn’t make it complicated. NO! When you want use the Galaxy Note 4 as a creative and / or business productivity machine that scope IS there! I almost fell of my chair laughing when Apple showed off the iPhone 6 Plus, “Look! It even has a landscape mode...” C’mon.... Hahahahaha!

It is down to you how you use your Galaxy Note 4! The beautiful thing about the Internet is that there is a plethora of resources whereby one can find tutorials on the more advanced functions of the Galaxy Note 4; you will be relieved to see just how easy it is!

Another misconception is that the fingerprint scanner isn’t as responsive as it is on the iPhone... WRONG!!! I will tell you why!

First of all the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone isn’t perfect and is known to have problems. However, when it does work don’t you find that it is too easy???? Check this scenario:

Scenario: Sleeping
You have fallen asleep on the couch, for arguments sake, with your iPhone in sight; anyone can access your iPhone with one “flawless” touch!

Whereas on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (and Galaxy S5) you have to use a swiping motion of the finger to unlock the phone! Now I doubt that I would remain asleep if someone tried to swipe my finger in such a motion on the Galaxy Note 4! Maybe after a few celebratory drinks (hee hee) but it is highly unlikely that I’d remain asleep if someone tried to unlock my phone with my own finger! Obviously, I prefer the Samsung security method! And, of course, I can also place a password in the event of a fingerprint scanner fail. It’s no big deal!

The 16MP camera is fantastic! If you have ever used a standalone digital camera you will find a great range of functionality as and when you need it. Yet another misconception is that the camera functionality is “difficult”. NO!! The modes are so easy to understand that a child could do it!

The picture and video quality is outstanding but you are limited to 5 minutes of 4K video recording. Some may see 5 minutes at a time 4K cumbersome but it does use up a lot of bytes to store the footage! I would imagine that this could change with a software update but it shouldn’t be an issue – well, hopefully not should you choose to go for the Galaxy Note 4!

But I do love the camera as it is more responsive than the already excellent Galaxy Note 2 camera! I am very happy with the Galaxy Note 4 16MP camera!

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is in a class of its own and I think that this is why the Galaxy S5 sales have been disappointing. I look at my Galaxy S4 and I think to myself, ‘Should I go for the S6 when it is released or should I go for the Galaxy Note Edge or even another Note 4? Maybe I go for something else (other than Samsung – oooh)?’ The Galaxy S4 - and to some degree the S5 – seems so small. The wonderful form that the Galaxy Note 4 takes makes it so much easier to handle. Now I have fairly large hands and I can operate it mostly with one hand unlike the Galaxy Note 2! I have noticed that a lot of women have a Galaxy Note 4 and to me this signifies that size is not an issue! Hahaha! It is common knowledge that bigger is better! Hahahaha! Yes, I have seen a couple of women with the iPhone 6 Plus and, at least to me, it doesn’t look like a handset for adults. The Galaxy Note 4 is near flawless! It’s big without being cumbersome and has a tremendous amount of power to be had when it is required. I would like to see a future design that features an in your face front-facing stereo speakers! C’mon, it’s not rocket science to be able to make and take a phone call on it. But when you are ready to do business, to be creative to enjoy multimedia the Galaxy Note 4 is not going to disappoint!

I found that there was no lag that is usually attributed to TouchWiz being layered over Android. I would imagine that any lag comes as a result of many windows opened at one time. It’s not something that I do per se. Like a desktop / laptop computer you may find that once in a while you have to remember to close CPU intensive apps and possibly reboot. But I have to say that the Galaxy Note 4 is a solid performer!

The Galaxy Note 4 is so versatile that you would not believe! This is the handset that I had wanted all those years ago when I used to do interviews with musicians. I think that this is the journalist’s best friend because of the directional voice recording function that uses 3 mics!

It’s also for serious musicians too! Despite the lack of a set of front-facing stereo speakers it is still loud enough to make music with!

Make no mistake the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is in a league of its own! I am very happy to be the proud owner of the Galaxy Note 4 and I am going to get great usage out of it too!

It’s all there... 5.7” quad HD screen that is the best I’ve seen; superfast 2.7GHz quad core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 805 processor; 3GB RAM and 16MP camera with optical stabilization! To me the fingerprint scanner is a welcome extra!

I am curious as to how Lollipop, Android 5 will add to what is the best handset in the world! I believe that is coming in the early New Year! I have understood it is coming in January but I have also heard rumours that it is coming later this month! It remains to be seen as the near vanilla Moto G 2014 hasn’t received its Lollipop yet!

Yes, I know that I said that I wasn’t going to make this review a direct comparison to the ridiculously expensive iPhone 6 Plus but you can’t replace the battery, we get 32GB of storage and we can increase the storage by up to 128GB! What is there not to love? Take a tissue or handkerchief out before you look at the spec in further detail below... You will have to catch your drool!

Oh, and another thing... The Galaxy Note 4 is compatible with audio hardware if you are thinking about making music with it!


153.5 X 78.6 X 8.5 mm / 176g

5.7” Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x1440)

2.7GHz Quad Core Process
1.9GHz Octa Core (1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad Core) Process
* May differ by country and carrier

Memory / Storage
3GB RAM + 32GB Internal memory
Supports microSD up to 128GB

2.5G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) : 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
42Mbps): 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
4G (LTE Cat.4 150/50Mbps) or 4G (LTE Cat.6 300/50Mbps)
* May differ by country and carrier

Front Camera 3.7MP + F1.9/ Selfie (90º), Wide selfie mode (120º)
Rear Camera 16M+ Smart OIS/ Fast AF, Live HDR (Rich Tone)

Android 4.4 (Kitkat)

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2X2 MIMO)
Download Booster, NFC, Bluetooth® v 4.1 (BLE),ANT+ ,
USB2.0, MHL 3.0
IR LED (Remote Control)

3220mAh Fast Charging

Codec: MP3, AAC/AAC
Vorbis, FLAC
Adapt Sound, Sound Alive, Wise Voice 2.0, Extra Volume 2.0
3 Mics (Directional Voice Recording)

S Pen
15g, Hovering 15mm, Pressure level 2,048

Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope,
RGB ambient light, Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor,
Finger Scanner, UV, HRM


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