Galaxy Note 5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 – Is It Worth Upgrading?

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With Samsung having announced the Galaxy Note 5 in the last couple of days, Android fans all over the planet will already be contemplating a purchase. The Galaxy Note 4 received an excellent critical reception when it was released last year, and this was followed up by significant commercial success as well. So it is inevitable that the Galaxy Note 5 will generate a huge amount of interest when it goes on sale on August 21.

While Samsung has rushed this release out in order to compete with the forthcoming Apple iPhone, one of the devices that the Galaxy Note 5 will actually compete with is the previous iteration of the series. When any corporation releases a major new smartphone, one of the biggest tasks it must address is to encourage existing owners of its own handsets to upgrade.

With this in mind, many Galaxy Note 4 fans will be wondering whether this new handset is really worth their while. So here ValueWalk compares the two devices.

Design and construction

Samsung had enjoyed a relatively lukewarm response to some of its mobile releases when the Galaxy Note 4 hit the stores. And this was acknowledged by the primarily metallic design that drew plaudits from the critical community.

But the Galaxy Note 5 develops this construction further still, by ditching the soft-touch rear panel of the Galaxy Note 4 in favor of sleek glass. It is notable that the Galaxy Note 5 features a particularly smooth finish, but it is still possible to secure a tight grip around the device. Samsung has chosen to locate the 16-megapixel rear-facing camera alongside the flash for the device, while the heart-rate monitor is positioned near the top of the panel.

The Galaxy Note 5 is also somewhat lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at six ounces. While this represents a virtually imperceptible 5g, it is still a small notch in favor of the new device. The Galaxy Note 5 is also .04 inches slimmer than the Galaxy Note 4, and will be available in Sapphire Black and White Pearl. There have already been murmurings on the Internet expressing the opinion that this is something of a paltry selection, but it is expected that other colors such as Gold Platinum will become available in the future.

Specs comparison

Samsung has become renowned for arming its mobile devices with some of the best specs in the industry, so it was essential for the Korean corporation to significantly upgrade the Galaxy Note 5 in order to encourage people to update their existing handset. Thus, there are significant specification upgrades present in the Galaxy Note 5, and this could incite consumers to upgrade to the new Samsung mobile.

After considerable speculation on the subject, Samsung has ultimately opted to utilize its own 2.1-GHz octa-core Exynos processor with 4GB of RAM in the Note 5. It is notable that the Galaxy Note 4 featured a quad-core Snapdragon, so the new processor should be significantly more powerful.

The extra gigabyte of accessible memory will also make a contribution to the slickness of the device, and it is clear that the Galaxy Note 5 will perform well in processing terms. The Galaxy Note 4 notably failed to impress in some benchmarking tests, and one would expect the Galaxy Note 5 to up the ante significantly.

There isn’t too much to say about the display in the two devices, as Samsung has retained the quad HD Super Amoled screen that debuted in the Galaxy Note 4.

As with the Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy Note 5 will be made available with 32GB of storage initially. While the Galaxy Note 4 could be expanded via a micro SD card up to 64GB, this is not an option with the Galaxy Note 5. So keen Samsung consumers would be advised to diligently select the appropriate memory option, as upgrading this will not be feasible. However, to address concerns about storage, Samsung has produced a 64GB version of the Galaxy Note 5. The lack of a 128 GB edition of the phablet might disappoint some Samsung users, although the lack of 4K resolution means that this won’t be too sorely missed.

The decision of Samsung to shrink the Galaxy Note 5 battery down to 3,000 mAh has already been the subject of Internet ire. The Galaxy Note 4 featured a 3,220 mAh cell, but Samsung insist that power saving functionality in the Android operating system will more than compensate.

S Pen functionality

Samsung has placed a particular emphasis on the S Pen stylus in the Galaxy Note 5, and it is a significant improvement over its predecessor. The S Pen in the Note 5 is smoother and more responsive, and also just feels like a more premium device.

An interesting feature that Samsung has included in the Galaxy Note 5 is the ability to write on the display even when the power is off. Just pressing save enables you to add any notes to the S Note software; a pretty nifty innovation.

It is also notable that the S Pen is now compatible with PDF files, which could be particularly useful for the corporate sector.

Camera quality

The Galaxy Note 5 camera is a 16-megapixel unit, which is the same rating as the Galaxy Note 4. Samsung has also chosen not to upgrade the optical image stabilization in the device. However, there are some new features included in the camera, most notably Quick Launch capability. New filters and other enhancements have also been included, with a Live Broadcast mode set to be particularly popular with the YouTube generation.

However, the front-facing camera has been upgraded from 3.7-megapixels to 5-megapixels, enabling more detailed selfies to be captured.


The Galaxy Note 5 is a step up from the Note 4, but many existing Galaxy Note owners may not consider it sufficient to necessitate an upgrade. There are impressive new design parameters, and unquestionably the powerful octa-core processor will ensure that this is an extremely nifty device. But this is certainly is not a revolution in the Galaxy Note series, and it feels more like one of Apple’s S upgrades than a brand new device.

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