The Samsung Galaxy S5 was released back in April, so technology has moved on since then. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has many of the latest innovations, but that is not to say that it will suit all users. We investigate which of these two Samsung flagship phones might be the one to go for.
The Galaxy Note 4 is much squarer and uniform than the Galaxy S5. With a screen that is 5.7-inches it is tough to go unnoticed. The Galaxy Note 4 also hides an attractive stylus within its design form too.
The Galaxy S5 went for a more oval shape with greater curves and a sleek back. The device looks more like a flying saucer than a phone and also has a liquid-looking GUI with pool effects when moving a finger across it to enhance the overall visual effect. The S5 is IP67 certified for dust proof, and water-resistant for 30 minutes to a depth of 1 meter. The Galaxy S5 wins across the board with design.
The Galaxy Note 4 sports one of only a handful of the Quad HD resolutions that stretches to 1,440 x 2,560 and a 515 ppi. The Super AMOLED display is 5.7-inches so it’s possible to see everything displayed on the smart phone in great detail and vivid colors. The display is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Galaxy S5 being a little older comes in with a similar type of Super AMOLED HD display but with just 1080 x 1920 pixels and 432 pixels per inch. The smaller 5.1-inch display cuts a break between the phablet and the smaller 4-inch phones that came before it. Even for people with smaller hands the shape of the Galaxy S5 makes it easier to hold. The display is also covered with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Galaxy Note 4 has 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm dimensions and a weight of 176 grams. It’s not too big but it’s sizeable to be sure. Sony has a larger smart phone than this, but the Note 4 has more functionality.
The Galaxy S5 is not designed to be a phablet per se. It cuts a design in between smaller and larger to make it more usable for quick access and fast lookups. The 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm dimensions are more manageable for single handed use and the phone is slimmer than the Note 4. The weight at 145 grams is also noticeably lighter in the hand too.
Processor, Memory & Battery
The Galaxy Note 4 is a powerful device. There are two options for choice of models depending on the region and cellular provider. One version includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Krait 450 processor running at 2.7 Ghz and the other version shares two processors, the Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 & 1.9GHz quad-core Cortex-A57 which alternate depending on the demands of the smart phone in that moment.
The memory inside is a full 32 GB which is more than enough. RAM is 3 GB so you’re unlikely to suffer many pauses during use. The 3,220 mAh battery ensures that you won’t need to keep finding an electrical port for the smart phone unlike has historically been the case with iPhones with just half the battery capacity.
The Galaxy S5 has a Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 chip-set and Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor. It’s a decent quad-core setup but a few months behind what’s included in the Galaxy Note 4.
The memory is 16 GB which was standard in the early part of the year for quality devices but is now a little on the light side which is a shame. The 2 GB of RAM is adequate for the Galaxy S5 but with intensive work on the device it may run into memory issues. The 2,800 mAh battery is probably comparable to the Galaxy Note 4 because of the smaller screen on the Galaxy S5.
The Galaxy Note 4 uses the Android 4.4.4 KitKat and TouchWiz. There are apps for the note taking that’s possible using the included Samsung stylus. The screen can sense the pen hovering over it and show an indicator on screen to confirm where the pen stylus is without needing to actually touch the screen.
The Galaxy S5 includes Android 4.4.2 KitKat which is almost the same version as is present with the newer Note 4. Not too many differences between these two versions. The water-like effects present with the S5 and more curved design language make the S5 highly attractive.
Internal & External Storage
The Galaxy Note doesn’t mess around. It has 3 GB of fast RAM included to run many apps concurrently in the foreground and in the background. The earlier Note smart phones were noticeably sluggish when paired with insufficient RAM, so the 4th iteration of the Note needs 3 GB of RAM to run well for users. A microSD memory card can be inserted up to 64 GB capacity.
The Galaxy S5 has 2 GB of RAM. The apps are less advanced because no stylus is expected to be used with the S5. A microSD memory card up to 128 GB can be added to the Galaxy S5. Because of this Samsung was expecting users to be more economical with how many apps they have open concurrently, but to use external storage for playable media to make best use of this lighter phone.
The Galaxy Note 4 benefits from a new 16 megapixel camera with image stabilization, HDR and panorama modes. The front camera is also top notch with a 3.7 megapixel capacity. Few front-facing cameras are above 2 megapixels.
The Galaxy S5 also has a 16 megapixel camera at the rear with a LED flash and multiple camera modes including image stabilization and facial recognition. The front-facing camera is smaller at 2 megapixels but is still quite functional.
The Galaxy Note 4 records video in the latest Ultra 4K 2160p standard that Hollywood is using digitally. The Note 4 takes video at 30 frames per second. It can also record at 1080p at 60 frames per second. The front camera can also record at 1080p at 30 frames per second.
The Galaxy S5 can also record Ultra HD 2160p video at 30 frames per second. Dual video recording is possible at different resolutions like 1080p and 720p too. The front camera can take 1080p video and may be used for video calling via apps like Skype and Viber.
The Galaxy Note 4 includes sensors like gyro, accelerometer, proximity, compass and barometer. A gesture sensor is new and makes it easier to gesture what you want from the smart phone. Health-related sensors are also included now like UV, heart rate and SpO2 sensors.
The Galaxy S5 was one of the first smart phones to go big into health sensors to compliment the Samsung Gear range of wearable health devices on the wrist over a year before the Apple Watch was revealed. Heart rate, barometer, accelerometer, proximity, gyro and compass are included. The S5 also has a fingerprint sensor which is certified with PayPal.
The Galaxy Note 4 delivers on connectivity across the board. The latest category 6 4G LTE with up to 300 Mbps downloading speeds subject to network availability. Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for faster wireless access. Bluetooth is the latest 4.1 version. DLNA can beam the screen image to a larger monitor. Wi-Fi hotspot can share your super fast internet with others and NFC lets you pay for goods with your smart phone.
The Galaxy S5 supports 4G LTE connectivity to 150 Mbps downstream via the category 4 standard. This was the maximum when the phone was released back in April. Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot and NFC are all present with the S5.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a very capable smart phone. The features were top flight back in February 2014 when it was configured and April when it was released. Since this time, communications have gotten even faster, graphics have improved and installed RAM is greater. The phone at 5.1-inches is not intended to be a phablet and so fits in between other smart phones that are either much smaller or much larger. As such, the buyer of the S5 is not necessary the same buyer who might be interested in the bigger Galaxy Note 4.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 includes the very latest specifications for a smart phone in areas like communications, display and RAM. It also has the S Pen Stylus. If the size is right for you then the Note 4 is the better smart phone.