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Five reasons to hold on to your Galaxy Note 4 (and one reason to upgrade)

Derek Walter | Sept. 1, 2015
Before you make a rather expensive move to Samsung's latest stylus master, make sure you've thought through whether it's worth the jump.

Displaymate recently gave the Note 5 the “best screen” title, just edging out the previous winner, the Galaxy Note 4. With your current phone still on the podium at the number two slot, you’re probably not gaining that much in clarify for all that extra money.

You really have to stare and point out small differences to spot where the Note 5 outperforms the Note 4. It still offers the same excellent 1440 x 2560 resolution with 515 pixels per inch. The screen is still great to look at, so you’re not necessarily making that big of a compromise by sticking with the Note 4.

Samsung is much better at software updates

Samsung used to be the worst at updating its phones. But part of its new religion of glass and metal includes a newfound ability to speed up how quickly it gets out the latest Android updates.

Samsung was pretty fast about delivering Lollipop to the Galaxy S5, and it’s been on the ball when it comes to the Stagefright patch. Samsung joined Google in pledging that it would delivery monthly security updates to its flagship phones.

The only caveat here is that with the exception of the Sprint model, the Note 4 is still stuck on Android 5.0.1. It’s not so much that you’re missing out on a ton of features by not getting 5.1.1, but there were some important bug fixes and performance improvements. If that doesn’t change soon, my recommendation may move to one that says, “Get the Note 5 now.”

The camera is still really good

The Note 5 camera is great, but the Note 4’s shooter is still really good. I’ve taken it on several trips and been very happy with its performance in a lot of different circumstances.

galaxy note 4 beach picture 
The Note 4 takes impressive outdoor pictures. Credit: Derek Walter

Dissatisfaction with one’s camera can be a huge driver behind upgrading one’s phone. It’s why I ditched the Nexus 5 for the Note 4. As much as I loved stock Android, terrible pictures are a real drag. The Note has really impressed me with low-light performance, though it really shines with outdoor pictures and when there’s good lighting. Yes, you’ll get a better camera in the Note 5, but not by much.

OK, maybe you should upgrade

Give Samsung credit for making upgrades in the right places to make the Note 5 rather tempting. While we noted the new screen has the same resolution as the Galaxy Note 4 it’s quantitatively better, recently earning the title of best smartphone screen from DisplayMate.  


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