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Galaxy Note 4: Samsung finally listens to its fans, and it pays off

Florence Ion | Oct. 17, 2014
With the Note 4, it feels like Samsung took every little comment stuffed into its cobweb-covered suggestion box and actually listened to what its users want.

The Galaxy Note 4 is quite possibly one of the best smartphones Samsung has ever concocted.

It's outfitted in a seriously stylish metal outfitting and faux-leather backing, features a Quad HD display for a high-resolution viewing experience, and comes bundled with the ever-so-useful S-Pen stylus. It's also a bonafide replacement to carrying around a small-sized phone and mid-sized tablet with you when all you want is a better screen for reading and watching movies.

But the best thing about the Galaxy Note 4 is that it feels like Samsung took every little comment stuffed into its cobweb-covered suggestion box and actually listened to what its users want.

A brand spankin' new body
If you've read my previous reviews, you know that I haven't always been too fond of large phones because they've been difficult to wield. But something snapped in me when I picked up the 6.04 inch by 3.09 inch by 0.33 inch Galaxy Note 4. I'm not sure if it's because I've been carrying both a tablet and a smartphone with me on my commute for months now, or because I've finally realized how much work I can get done on a bigger screen. Or, maybe it's simply the fact that I can type faster with two thumbs on a wider display versus a smaller, narrower one. Either way, I found that the Note 4's size, in addition to its multitasking features, made me forget all about my tablet.

Whereas the Note 3 was merely a minor improvement over its predecessor, this year's Note 4 feels like an entirely new product. The phone's faux-leather backing actually feels leathery, while the metal trim--that beautiful metal trim that I fell in love with when I first laid eyes on the Galaxy Alpha--gives the Note 4 that modern GQ-like business aesthetic that Samsung has attempted to achieve with the Note series since generation one. The metal chassis does add a little bit more heft to the device, but at least now it feels like a sturdy, premium piece of hardware. I sincerely hope this design refresh sets the precedent for all of Samsung's forthcoming devices.

The Note 4 continues on with Samsung's storied tradition of placing a physical Home button between Android's two other navigational buttons. It also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.

Android purists may find issue with the fact that the Note 4 switches the multitasking and back-buttons--and that they're stuck that way, since the buttons are embedded in the chassis. I'd rather that Samsung switch over to using stock Android's on-screen navigation controls, even if they do take up a bit of screen space. Also, double-pressing the Home button still brings up S-Voice, which seems redundant when you have Google's superior Google Now already available at your fingertips.


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