Note on Note: Samsung Galaxy note 5 vs cảnh báo 4.

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The note 5 has arrived, & while Samsung seems to lớn want to lớn push the Galaxy S6 Edge+ instead as its killer game android king, the new chú ý is still a corker.

But how much better is it than the classic Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 4?

We’ve been using the two phones side by side khổng lồ see what progress Samsung has made in a year & whether it’s really worth the upgrade.

As well as observations from just using these phones, we’ll be looking a bit deeper with specific camera và battery tests too.

Note 5 vs note 4: Design

A lot has changed in a year. The Galaxy cảnh báo 4 arrived at an awkward time, as Samsung was transitioning from its nasty plastic-fantastic design to the glass và metal seen in the lưu ý 5.

The cảnh báo 4 has a leathery textured plastic back and real metal sides, where the cảnh báo 5 is made of Gorilla Glass 4 and aluminium alloy. The dodgy look & slightly cheap feel of the note 4’s textured plastic is gone.

A more expensive feel is the result.

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That’s not the most important change, though. You get used to lớn either after a few days. What matters more is that the cảnh báo 5 is also significantly narrower and a bit thinner, making it a good deal easier lớn handle. It much less of a stretch for your hand.

The cảnh báo 5 is 76.1mm wide, 7.6mm thick. The lưu ý 4 is 78.6mm wide, 8.3mm thick. It makes a difference, as does the new rear style.

Rather than having a flat back, the note 5’s rear curves around at the sides, much lượt thích the S6 Edge+ does on its front. This softens out the feel of the phone, making the difference in thickness seem even greater than it actually is.

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Both phone have fingerprint scanners, which sit under the central trang chủ button. However, the chú ý 5’s is significantly better. Where the old note 4 has a scanner that needs to be swiped, the newer version reacts to lớn a finger just resting on it. It’s much better in general use, feeling much more reliable.

Note 5 vs lưu ý 4: Screen

As the king of screens, you might expect Samsung lớn have made loads of progress since the cảnh báo 4. However the unique of these screens is roughly similar in most areas: both are awesome.

They’re both 5.7 inches across, have a QHD resolution và use Super AMOLED panels. With the right display setting you get great colour accuracy, và terrific contrast.

Colour performance is a bit better in the new phone, but what’s most obvious is that the lưu ý 5 offers much greater peak brightness. You won’t need khổng lồ get close to đứng đầu brightness in most situations, but in very tricky bright outdoors situations the newer phone is stronger.

Related: iPhone 6S Plus vs chú ý 5

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DisplayMate’s tests back-up our findings too.

“The Galaxy chú ý 5 is the Best performing điện thoại cảm ứng display that we have ever tested. It takes over from the Galaxy chú ý 4, which was the previous record holder for thiết bị di động display performance,” it says. That sums it up nicely.

Note 5 vs chú ý 4: S Pen

The S Pen is one of the most important features of the chú ý series, but the tech behind the stylus hasn’t changed too much this year. That’s no huge surprise, when the cảnh báo 4 already offers the pressure sense fidelity of a dedicated Wacom graphics tablet.

Wacom makes the digitiser tech for the chú ý series, & both phones have 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity & neither stylus needs its own nguồn source.

What’s different? The note 5 stylus has a clicker on the end. It doesn’t vị anything, but does give you a nice click as you take the pen in & out of the phone.

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The software looks a little different too, but the functions are roughly the same. You use Air Command lớn access pen-led features, và they include S note and kích hoạt Memo. These let you scribble away on the screen, và convert your scribbles lớn characters, or email them lớn yourself as an image.

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Note 5 vs cảnh báo 4: Connections

Not every part of the chú ý 5 is an upgrade over the cảnh báo 4. The older phone has an IR transmitter, the new one does not.

Few people seem khổng lồ have noticed, but an IR blaster is a neat extra. It lets a phone act like a universal remote. Your note 4 can control your TV, and so on. The cảnh báo 5 can’t.

Most of the other connections are the same, though. It’s a high-end buffet. You get Wi-Fi up to the ac standard, bluetooth (4.2 in the note 5), Wi-Fi Direct, microUSB 2.0 & NFC.

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Note 5 vs chú ý 4: Storage

Just as the lưu ý 4 has the IR blaster missing from the note 5, it has a microSD memory thẻ slot, which the chú ý 5 lacks. This is down to lớn a change in Samsung’s tactics. By making memory non-expandable, it makes the high-storage versions of its phones more attractive.

The lưu ý 5 comes in 32GB & 64GB versions, while the cảnh báo 4 has 32GB. You can get 128GB microSD cards for around £50, or 64GB ones for about £20.

Note 5 vs note 4: Software

Like all Samsung android phones, the cảnh báo 5 and chú ý 4 use the TouchWiz custom UI. And these days, both phones run android Lollipop. The chú ý 4 launched with game android KitKat, but has since been given the upgrade.

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There are some significant-isn differences between the versions of TouchWiz, but ultimately these phones look and feel somewhat similar. They have separate apps thực đơn and trang chủ screen areas, và the apps thực đơn borrows its background from the homescreen, making everything appear quite simple.

Both also have Briefing, the Flipboard-powered trang chủ screen news feed that lives just to lớn the left of your left-most trang chủ screen. You can turn it off if you don’t like it.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge + review

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The differences? The phầm mềm menu customisation is different in the chú ý 4, using an top-level Edit button rather than a more involved menu. The Air Command stylus menu also looks different, taking up the whole screen in the cảnh báo 4 where it appears lượt thích a small overlay in the note 4.

Note 5 vs chú ý 4: CPU và Performance

Some elements of the lưu ý 5 haven’t been radically altered. However, the CPU has.

The chú ý 4 has a Snapdragon 805 processor, while the chú ý 5 has left the Qualcomm bandwagon to start up with Samsung’s own Exynos CPUs.

The Snapdragon 805 is a quad-core processor where the Exynos 7420 has eight cores, but more cores doesn’t necessarily make for better performance. While the clock speed of the note 4 is a lot higher at 2.7GHz lớn the lưu ý 5’s 2.1GHz, the cores of the chú ý 5 are newer. Its performance cores are Cortex-A57 units, where the 805 uses older Krait 450 ones.

The architecture in general is newer too. The Exynos 7420 is a super-efficient 14nm chipset, where the Snapdragon 805 is a 20n chipset. This tells you the form size of the chipset’s transistors, and it’s a case of ‘the smaller, the better’.

The GPU is newer in the chú ý 5 too.

Geekbench tells us roughly the performance difference. All guns blazing the chú ý 5 scores around 5200 points in Geekbench 3, dropping down to lớn 4100-ish when you enable power saving. The cảnh báo 4 scores in the 3835 area, a significant drop from the quite amazing (for mid-late-2015) performance of the note 5.

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For the most part, though, both phones are very fast. Và the lưu ý 4 isn’t all that much slower than the Snapdragon 810 CPU competition (like the smartphone htc One M9).

Note 5 vs lưu ý 4: RAM

The note series often has more RAM than almost any phone out there. The chú ý 5 has 4GB of the stuff, and it’s snappy DDR4 too. Being that bit older, it’s no surprise the cảnh báo 4 has 3GB RAM, but it is still a lot for phone even today.

We had believed the lưu ý 4 uses DDR3 RAM, but its performance is very similar lớn that of the note 5. According to lớn the A1 SD RAM benchmark, both RAM sets are able lớn juggle data at up to around 7000MB/s. Judging by our recent comparative tests, this seems very high for phone DDR3.

Related: How much RAM does your phone really need?

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Note 5 vs chú ý 4: Camera

At a glance, the lưu ý 5 and chú ý 4 cameras seem quite similar. Both have 16-megapixel sensors, both have optical image stabilisation. However, there are some very important differences.

First, the lens of the note 5 is a lot faster, at f/1.9 to lớn the note 4’s pedestrian f/2.2.

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The newer phone is also much faster khổng lồ shoot, with quicker shot-to-shot speeds and more reliable focusing. Samsung appears lớn have really levelled-up its processing too.

Where the chú ý 4 can often smear out fine texture detail, mistaking it for noise, the lưu ý 5 tends khổng lồ retain it. Low-light noise handling is also much better in the newer phone.

While they seem similar in specs, there are some worthwhile improvements that make the cảnh báo 5 a significantly better camera.

Note 5 HDR

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Note 5 tự động HDR

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Note 4 HDR
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Note 5 non-HDR
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Note 4 non-HDR

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Comparison

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Note 5 Night
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Note 4 Night

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Comparison

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Note 5 vs lưu ý 4: Battery life

One worry of the note 5 when it arrived was that it has a 3000mAh battery where the chú ý 4 has a 3300mAh one. However, efficiency savings across the board mean the note 5 lasts just as long, and even longer in some situations.

One of these is clip playback. Where the chú ý 4 lasts for 13 hours playing a 720p MP4 video, the lưu ý 5 hangs on for more than 15 hours. It’s a very impressive performance.

In general use you’ll get around a day & a half’s use out of a charge with either, making these phones good for power users. The benefit of the chú ý 4 is that you get access lớn the battery, & can carry around a spare. The cảnh báo 5’s battery is locked in.

So why is the cảnh báo 5 more efficient? The 14nm CPU is significantly more capable và the screen is less of a drain.

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Note 5 vs chú ý 4: Speaker

These phones haven’t gone in for the front-loaded speaker hijinx of phones like the điện thoại htc One M9. The cảnh báo 4 has one on its back, the note 5 one on its bottom edge, in iPhone-like fashion.

While not class-leading, the cảnh báo 5’s speaker is a bit better than the chú ý 4’s. It has a bit more mid-range oomph, getting rid of some of the residual thin-ness of the older model.

Verdict

Is the note 5 a better phone than the chú ý 4? Yes it is. Screen và camera tech have both been tweaked, the build chất lượng is a league above and the CPU is both more powerful and more efficient.

It’s a next-gen phone & no mistake.

However, if you find a red-hot deal for the note 4, it’s by no means a bad buy. By including microSD tư vấn and an IR transmitter, you could easily argue the older phone is a more versatile media device, & one that’s a bit more nerd-friendly.

The problem with chú ý phones, though, is that they never seem lớn become all that cheap. The combo of being genuinely great & genuinely different from most other phones means they don’t depreciate in quite the same way. Have money lớn burn? We’d still opt for the chú ý 5, mostly for the accessibility of its shaved-down frame và the bonus speed of its camera shooting.