Back in 2012, Samsung reported that throughout the year they had sold 107.5 million smartphones, making the technology giant the world’s largest cellphone manufacturer.

In a market that has consistently grown over the years, research shows that by the end of 2013, 1.4 billion people had been using a smartphone; that’s one out of five people worldwide. Out of that 1.4 billion, 144.5 million reside in the United States and 30.9 million in the United Kingdom.

These devices travel with us no matter where we go. We rely on them to provide navigation, communication, access to the internet, or even to snap a sunset. Many of us won’t leave the home without it and some may even use their phone throughout the home.

Every year, new smartphones are announced and each manufacturer continues to find new improvements to add to their flagship device. With the Samsung Galaxy lineup continuing to grow and offer some of the best smartphones on the market, they're phones to consider when it comes time to upgrade your device.

Having the Galaxy S, Galaxy A, and Galaxy Note, it may be hard to follow sometimes, but each lineup offers something unique to them and the number one slot is held by the Note lineup. These phones are typically Samsung’s highest end phones that contain every feature, upgraded hardware, and functionality that is unmatched.

Running on the powerful Verizon Network, does this new Galaxy Note 4 phone meet the status of “The Perfect Smartphone” as the title suggests?

Welcome to my review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. Throughout this review I will be discussing the following topics: the design, operating system, functionality, and my final thoughts. I would like to thank Samsung for providing this phone.


Ever since the Galaxy S4 , we’ve been seeing Samsung designers take a new design approach for each smartphone. Last year the company released a water-resistant Galaxy S5 and this year brings an all glass body Galaxy S6. The same design changes have been seen in the Note lineup as well and those changes are for the better.

It begins with the beautiful 5.7” Quad HD Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (551ppi), your eyes are drawn to the colorful and bright images the Note 4 has to offer. When I reviewed the Note 3 back in 2013, I had the same thoughts of the excellent color reproduction and the Note 4 has a 1440p display that has virtually zero color shift when adjusting viewing angles. From there, the front contains a voice speaker, light and proximity sensor, a 3.7MP front facing camera which can take good selfie photos, a physical home button that supports a finger print reader, and two capacitive buttons, one for back and the other for multitasking windows. This new multitasking window button took some time to getting used to since my Galaxy S3 has the old setting button in that location.

The frame of the Note 4 uses an all-aluminum body that offers an extremely rigid and tough design. Design aspects of this frame include two metal rectangular rings with the center being a bright white. Colors of the phone come in a Gold, White, or Black color scheme, but this will depend on your carrier and I am quite happy with the spectacular white.

The edges include the satisfying power button located on the right and the volume rocker located on the left. On the top, you’ll find your 3.5mm headphone jack in its ideal location, a noise cancelation microphone, and the IR blaster so that you can control devices like TVs. Lastly, located on the bottom is your USB 2.0 port, dual microphone, and S-Pen.

Flip the device to its back and we find the Samsung classic removal back plate. Although the back plate is plastic, Samsung chose to give it this leather-like ripple feel which means there’s less chance of it slipping out of your hand. The back also includes the 16MP rear facing camera, heart rate monitor sensor, and a tiny loud speaker. Crack the back off to reveal the incredibly massive 3220mAh battery, MicroSD card slot and your SIM Tray.

Operating System

Up until the last few days, this device was running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but Verizon just recently sent the Android 5.0.1 Lollipop to my device that brought a load of new features, apps, and graphical interface changes.

It all starts with the new and improved lock screen on the Note 4. You maintain your standard date and time widgets located at the top of the lock screen, but also displayed are notifications, weather, number of steps taken today, and quick access buttons for phone or camera; the customization possibilities don’t end there as you can change icons and what is displayed. One of my favorite customization changes is the always changing lock screen wallpaper. Powered by Flickr and AccuWeather, the lock screen’s wallpaper will adjust to stunning high resolution photographs of the current weather. To unlock the screen, you can either enter your password/passpin/passdesign or use the integrated Samsung finger print sensor that allows you to unlock the device with a swipe of your finger.

This Samsung device, like the rest, runs Samsung TouchWiz as the skin, but Samsung appears to have taken a step back on their skin and allows more of the core aspects of Android to shine through. If you’ve ever used a Samsung device before you’ll feel right at home with Samsung apps for calling, contacts, messages, etc. as all show and behave the same.

Unfortunately, this phone suffers from some non-removable bloatware, which is a shame for such a premium device; luckily it’s not as bad as it was on the Galaxy S5 and some of these apps can be useful. Bloatware includes Amazon apps (Amazon, Amazon Music, Amazon Appstore, Amazon Kindle, and Audible), Flipboard, Hancom Office 2014, Scrapbook, PEN.UP, IMDb, Slacker Radio, and Instagram. With 32GB being the only storage size for this phone, some users may want to be cautious on what they download.

One of my favorite operating system tools of the Note 4 is their built in S-Health application. At first, I felt that this was going to be a meaningless application that I’d never use. However, I’ve grown fond of what it has to offer. My most favorite feature is the step counter. With the phone in my pocket all day, the phone will count your steps and inform you of calories burned, miles walked, and you can also set goals for you to reach. The only annoyance is if you sit still for more than an hour, the phone begins to notify you that you’ve been inactive. There’s more than just a Pedometer, as you can use the heartrate sensor to measure your heartrate, Sp02, Stress, or even check UV rays. I didn’t go as far as entering my daily food consumption or have it calculate my sleeping patterns, but those who focus heavily on health will find this to be a very useful tool.

Being in the Galaxy Note lineup, the Note 4 bring the latest version of the S-Pen, an electronic pen that allows you to control the phone. The moment you pull out the pen from its cradle, a small air command window appears with four quick actions that allow you to take notes on the current screen, take a cropped selection of an image, draw out a selection to be cropped, or open an action memo where you can quickly take notes and even convert your handwriting to text. The pen itself is quite intuitive and allows you to easily navigate around the phone. My favorite aspect of the pen is the hover ability that allows you to hover the pen above the screen similar to how a mouse hovers on a desktop computer until you click; it makes browsing the internet truly amazing.

The rest of the operating system is fairly basic or unchanged from other Android smartphones. TouchWiz adds some useful and helpful features so that any user can easily adjust to the lifestyle of the Note 4’s interface. I did end up changing the stock keyboard to SwiftKey, but that is more of a personal favorite and not a remark against the stock keyboard.


When I first asked for the Note 4, I was worried and intimidated by the large 5.7” display. Going from the small Galaxy S3, to this beast can be an eye opener, but to my surprise it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

The phone fits exceptionally well in my hand and I can even use it with just one hand, thanks to Samsung’s resizing tools that takes a large window and allows you to shrink it down into the bottom corner. Even with smaller and thinner hands, the phones 6.21 oz. weight was never cumbersome and my thumb never felt tired.

Traveling with the note is just as pleasing. Again, the large size had me worried that it would be difficult to store in my pocket, but, again to my surprise, I found it to be just as comfortable even when placed in the same pocket as my wallet. I could move my legs around, go for a run, or jump up into the air without the phone bothering me during the day.

In a four hour car ride, I used the Note 4’s navigation system to get me to my destination. With the four hour car drive being non-stop navigation and the screen set to constantly on with brightness set to automatic (the drive was during the night), the phone’s battery lasted the entire way up until five minutes of the destination. Samsung's choice of adding such a powerful battery was one of the best moves they could have done for this device. When it comes to idle times, the battery will last a few days before it begins to ask for power. If you’re ever away from power and need the phone to last longer than one day, you can use Samsung’s Ultra Power Saving Mode that can allow the phone to last approximately 14 days before needing a charge. Then, when the time does come for the need of power, by using Samsung’s fast charger connector, you can charge a completely drained battery within an hour.

When it comes to communication and data usage, phone call voices sounded perfectly acceptable with the user on the other end not complaining, even in a windy environment. Text messaging is quite pleasing as the large display allows for the onscreen keyboard to spread out allowing your fingers to have more room. This phone runs on the 4G LTE Verizon Network (other carriers are available) and can connect to Wi-Fi signals of a/b/g/n/ac which gives you lightning fast data connections. Moreover, the phone can utilize both 4G and Wi-Fi to boost downloads so that your download times decrease. Wi-Fi Speedtest results came in at 15 ping, 34Mbps download and 6Mbps upload; 4G LTE Speedtest results were 35 ping, 30Mbps download and 8Mbps upload (results will vary).

The rest of the phone is no different than other Galaxy phones with features like Bluetooth, NFC, Samsung web browser, Google apps, etc. Its core features that make this phone stand out are above average and for a full specification list of the Note 4, click here .

My Final Thoughts

Yes, this phone does meet the title of “The Perfect Smartphone”. Offered on nearly all major wireless carriers, the Note 4 is the unspoken flagship phone. Many focus and seek out the Galaxy S lineup, but this is a true premium phone that is filled with features and certainly worth the money. With a screen that is nearly similar to the new Galaxy S6 and hardware that will last more than your two-year wireless contract, this is the phone to get and that I’ll be making my everyday phone and finally putting my S3 to rest. The Note 5 is expected to be announced later in this year, but I see no reason to wait since this one is available now for $299.

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© 2015 Justin Vendette