Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has landed

by Volker Weber


Today the Galaxy Note 4, which I find to be the most interesting smartphone/tablet from Samsung, became available in stores in Germany. One of them has landed at vowe's magic flying circus. I just played with it for a couple of hours so it's way too early for any serious review. But I do have a few impressions.


Like all Samsung smartphones it feels rather cheap. Just when Apple moved to curved edges, Samsung introduces chamfered edges, much like the iPhone 5 did two years ago. And this time, it's metal and not plastic. The removable back blends right into the frame, but the front does not. Where the screen meets the frame, there is a notable gap and a ridge, so the front isn't smooth at all.

But Samsung is clearly moving in the right direction. Metal is metal, not on the S-Pen, but on the device frame. The faux leather back does away with the embarrassing stitching. And the USB port on the bottom of the device goes back to version two with its smaller plug. With Google installing my apps from backup, I am immediately comfortable with the Google Now launcher and Gmail and Chrome. Only the Samsung phone icon sticks out like a sore thumb.

I would love love love to have the pure Android user experience, with Knox added. The screen is just wonderful. And a nice touch, compared to BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone: the Note shows me a German keyboard, with proper Umlauts. Without any tweaking on my part.


The Note 4 gets most of the S5 features, like the fingerprint reader and the heart rate monitor on the back. Lots of stuff to play with. The camera is also upgraded with OIS (optical image stabilization). And yes, I did not notice the protective plastic before looking at the photo. It's of course off by now. ;-)


And here is the weird part. Before you can insert a SIM which isn't from Europe, you have to place at least one 5 minute phone call with a European SIM. Excuse my French, but WTF?



Ingo Seifert, 2014-10-17

The 5 min call requirement is supposed to stop commercial grade grey imports from or to different world regions where pricing can be very, very different

Marcus Schmidt, 2014-10-17

Marcus, how could they achieve this by doing so? And what is more, as far as I know, most of these grey imports come from countries mentioned as "Europe" by Samsung...

Ingo Seifert, 2014-10-17

If I understand this correctly, Samsung has to make sure that those cheap EU devices do not show up in more expensive markets. Does not compute for me.

Volker Weber, 2014-10-17

I have no idea how much sense this makes, but for example Turkey, a huge market with ridiculous official prices for smartphones does not appear on the list on the package.
It won't stop one phone being brought home to mum but it will make shipping a whole palette much more annoying.
I would also guess that similar restrictions exist for phones from for example Hong Kong, which tend to be much cheaper then the ones in Europe.

Marcus Schmidt, 2014-10-17

What's the problem with umlauts in iOS?
A freshly installed iPhone comes with a proper German keyboard.
You only have to dive into the settings to set it to a compact (no umlaut) version.

Wilken Hustedt, 2014-10-17

My bad. Mine are always restored.

Volker Weber, 2014-10-18

Ich habe das Note2, Note3 und jetzt das Note4.
Ich finde die Haptik/Wertigkeit sehr gut!
Kein Vergleich zum Note 2/3

ulrich willer, 2014-10-20

Das finde ich auch. Das beste Samsung bisher. Aber kein Vergleich mit iPhone 6 Plus, BlackBerry Passport oder Lumia 1520.

Volker Weber, 2014-10-20

Wenn ich mir diesen weiß mattierten, leicht gewölbten, eleganten Rücken meines Lumia 1520 ansehe und dann mir dagegen die fiese Lederoptik des Note 4 betrachte dann frage ich mich manchmal, wo Nokia heute wäre, wenn Sie doch mal Android Phones gebaut hätten.

Roland Dressler, 2014-10-20

@ Roland Dressler: Das mit der Lederoptik ist Geschmacksache, mir gefällts.

@ Volker Weber: Ich finde das Note4 mindestens genauso hochwertig wie das 6Plus oder 1520. Ich habe am Samstag alle in Händen gehabt.

Ulrich Willer, 2014-10-21

I've read before about the (depending on your view point) poor quality display/finish/fit - but never seen a photo that shows the front "issues"

..... Where the screen meets the frame, there is a notable gap and a ridge, so the front isn't smooth at all.

Can you show what you mean? Is it really a big deal? Or does it show a lack of finish to the device?

Ian Bradbury, 2014-10-22

It's no big deal. You just notice when you switch from the super slick iPhone 6.

I am going to write a lot more about the Note 4. Just picked up a S View Cover EF-CN910B today, and it changes the game in a big way. Wireless Qi charging for instance. And it makes the device look really cool.

Volker Weber, 2014-10-22

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