If you’re looking for a smartphone these days, you have to take notice of Samsung. They’ve been making smartphones like crazy with plenty of options and with each new iteration, they try something new. With the S5, it was a dimpled back. With the Note 3, it was faux stitching. With the Galaxy Alpha, it was metal construction. So, when I got a Samsung Note 4 to review, my first question was what’s new? Honestly, not a whole lot but those little changes make a huge difference.

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Looks

The first noticeable improvement of the Note 4 over the Note 3 is the build quality. While the Note 3 wasn’t poorly made, the Note 4 is made out of better materials. The edges are now aluminum instead of a weak plastic chrome and the overall feel of the device is vastly improved just on that one design choice. Also gone is the faux stitching of the Note 3’s back, thank goodness so the texture of the back is quite pleasant as opposed to annoying.

Otherwise, the only physical difference is the size. The Note 4 is slightly taller, slightly thicker yet slightly skinnier. So even though it’s taller and has the same size screen, it’s actually easier to handle and use which is much appreciated as it is such a large phone. Thanks, Samsung.

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Performance

With that size, you would expect quite a lot of power and you would be right to think so. The Note 4 has top of the line specs to run that huge, gorgeous screen. It’s a QHD Super AMOLED display which, in my mind, is the best possible screen out there. The Super AMOLED screens don’t light up black pixels so it’s a more efficient use of power. The result is, even with an incredibly sharp yet huge display, you get fantastic battery life.

The Note 4 has also a fantastically high resolution camera. It takes crisp, clear pictures and can even record in 4K because of the camera resolution. And, while I’m not usually impressed by selfie cameras, the Note 4 has a neat trick when it comes to selfies. You can use the heart rate sensor as a camera button. Turn on selfie mode, place your finger on the heart rate sensor, and when you’re ready, take your finger off and the phone will take a picture. Pretty clever, even if I don’t take many selfies. It’s also decently powerful so you’ll be happy with any selfies.

Meet Weston Lanpher

Weston is our professional gadget reviewer. Nothing thrills him more than being able to get his hands on the latest and greatest in electronics.