This is why the Galaxy Note 4 still kicks ass in 2017

Following the recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in 2016 and the uninspired performance of the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy Note 4 has grown to become the preferred device for phablet fans. Despite the fact that the Note 4 is now well over two years old, it packs some great hardware and features that have continued its viability within the smartphone market.

A high-quality camera, a huge replicable battery, a solid processor and a stylus to boot – the Note 4 has just about every feature a smartphone owner could ask for. Rapid LTE data speeds and a 2K Super AMOLED display easily make the Note 4 equal to other top-rated handsets — even after all these years.

If you’re operating on a budget or simply don’t want to spend the best part of $1000 on a new phone, here are the many reasons why you should consider buying the Note 4 over a new mid-range handset.

Removable Battery

best smartphone features 2017 removable battery galaxy note 4
The Note 4 is the last Galaxy Note device to feature a removable battery. Photo: Phablist.

Samsung stopped offering removable batteries in their flagship phones staring with the Galaxy S6 and Note 5. With a spare battery charger on hand, you can go from 0% to 100% in about 1 minute flat. Had Samsung kept this feature, maybe the Note 7 wouldn’t have been such a disaster – we could have just returned the batteries at the very least.

Not only that, there are many good aftermarket batteries available that offer more life than the OEM juicer. Just beware you may lose NFC capabilities with the wrong type. If you are uncomfortable with using an aftermarket battery be sure you get a genuine Samsung battery, not a cheap counterfeit.

The MaxBear 3500 mAh battery for the Note 4 is really good, maybe even better than the more popular Anker battery. We also recommend checking out the replacement battery from Techorbits; it’s the same size as the stock Note 4 battery but actually includes NFC, which appears to be lacking in the MaxBear model.

Expandable Memory

best smartphone features 2017 expandable memory galaxy note 4
You can expand the Note 4 up to 256GB, which is more than you will find on the Note 5. Photo: Phablist.

The Galaxy Note 4 is still the newest Note device available with a micro SD slot. The Galaxy Note 5 didn’t have it – Samsung brought it back in note 7, which was later discontinued. You can expand the Note 4 up to 256GB, which is more than you will find on the Note 5. Samsung realized their mistake and brought back the microSD slot with the Galaxy S7 and up, so there is little reason to suspect it won’t exist on the Galaxy Note8.

IR blaster

must have smartphone features 2017 ir blaster galaxy note 4
IR blasters are most useful in public places where controls are limited.

Being able to control your TV with your phone is one of those features that you really don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone. With the right remote control app, you can control dozens of devices using only your smartphone.

This nifty feature not only works great at home, as you don’t have to manage a ton of remotes around the house, but it is most useful in public places where controls are limited, like hotels and hospital waiting rooms. Most remote control apps have a database of the most common models built in so you can control the TV no matter where you are.

5.7″ Quad HD Super AMOLED Display

note 4 still good 2017 quad hd display
The Note 4 has a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of the 2:1 ratio found on most 2017 phones. Photo: Janitors (Flickr CC)

The Galaxy Note 4 has a killer 2K display that rivals flagships from competitors like the iPhone 6 Plus (401ppi), Nokia Lumia 1520 (367ppi) and Huawei Ascend Mate 7 (368ppi). It is a great display for multimedia consumption generally, and particularly excellent for films and games or showing off your photos.

Quad HD (2560×1440 pixel) displays can display four complete HD 1280×720 images at once, and is currently the highest resolution available for smartphones, which truly illustrates how relevant the Galaxy Note 4 can be, even by today’s standards. The Note 4 also has a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio instead of the trendy 2:1 ratio found on most 2017 phones. It’s not as easy to hold with one hand, but the extra width makes writing notes with the S pen feel natural.

Wireless Charging

galaxy note 4 on wireless charging pad
There are kits available that allow the Note 4 to work with wireless charging pads.

Wireless charging has been around for a while now but you’ll be hard pressed to find very many phones with this technology built in. While the Note 4 didn’t ship with wireless charging out of the box, there are kits available that allow the Note 4 to work with wireless charging pads.

The S Charger cover is an official wireless charging accessory from Samsung and this replaces the standard back on the Note 4. The S charger cover preserves the stock look and feel of the Note 4 while adding compatibility with Qi wireless chargers.

Of course, there are also many other great third party choices that can give the Note 4 wireless charging capabilities. Youshares makes an incredibly slim Qi patch that fits inside your existing Note 4 cover that is well worth a look.

Premium Build Quality

best mid range smartphones build quality 2017 galaxy note 4
The Note 4 is a massive improvement over the plastic phones from Samsung’s past. Photo: Phablist.

The Note 4 was the first Galaxy Note to feature build material not primarily comprised of plastic. It features a nice brushed aluminum body with accents on the edges and a removable faux-leather backing to help keeping it from slipping out of your hand.

There’s no denying the Note 4’s excellent build quality. It’s a massive improvement over the plastic phones from Samsung’s past, and helps make it feel much more rigid, without dramatically affecting the weight of the phone.

Fingerprint Scanner

best smartphone features 2017 fingerprint scanner samsung galaxy note 4
The Note 4 features a physical home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Photo: Phablist.

The Note 4 was the first Galaxy Note to feature a fingerprint scanner for security. The swipe-style scanner may not be as convenient as what’s available on today’s phones, but the way its integrated into the device to work for your lock screen, Samsung Account, PayPal and other apps makes it valuable to set up. The setup process takes some time, as does getting the right feel for how to swipe for the best results, but in the end, its well worth it.

Android Pay

best smartphone features 2017 android pay galaxy note 4
Android Pay is a digital wallet that uses near field technology (NFC). Screenshot: Phablist.

Near Field Communication, or NFC, lets you share playlists, photos, videos, and much more with just one tap. Android Pay is a digital wallet that uses near field technology (NFC) to transmit payment information between your phone and the contactless card reader.

Unlike Samsung Pay, it isn’t compatible with older point-of-sale systems or terminals that only have magnetic stripe readers. This means even though Android Pay is accepted at more than a million stores nationwide, you may still need to carry a backup card, especially if you plan to use an ATM or self-serve gas station, as most of these aren’t yet equipped with contactless card readers.

Price

When you are aiming for a high-end device without spending too much money, you generally have two choices — get a brand-new mid-range phone that strikes a balance between performance and budget, or just buy an older flagship. Which choice is best for you will always be an internal debate, though, we must say — buying an old flagship often wins the argument.

The Galaxy Note8 is expected to be Samsung’s most expensive smartphone yet, costing nearly $1,000. Compare that to the fact that you can find brand new Galaxy Note 4 on eBay for around $300. It’s easy to be suckered into getting the hottest phone on the market but it’s usually best to start with taking a hard look at what you plan on doing the most with your handset and getting something modest to suit your needs. You will enjoy spending the extra money you saved on accessories for your new phone.

Bottom Line

If you’re operating on a budget, or simply do not want to spend the better part of $1000 on a new phone, you should probably check out some of the Galaxy Note 4 offers on eBay. Even by current standards, the Note 4 is still a very relevant device in terms of specs. However if you want the latest and greatest you may want to wait and see what 2017 has to offer in the next coming months.


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  • sathyanarayana karri

    I used note 4 for two years. It got mother board problem and was non repairable. Note 5 is not appealing to me and note 8 seems to pricy for me. Obsessed with S pen I am in dilemma if it’s ok going to note 4 again. My concern is as note 4 will be stuck with marshmallow and as there is no clarity to me till how long it will receive security updates, is it safe to go for note 4 now. Please guide me

    • laughingvia

      Its doubtful that the Note 4 will see another OS update and it will only get older as time goes on. If you must have the S pen the Note 4 might be your best option, especially considering the price now. You could always get a S7 Edge if you want something newer that is still reasonably priced, it’s basically a Note 7 without the S pen.

    • Axel Lim

      No doubt there are no more OS updates but I still receive monthly security updates on my international unlocked Note 4 – still amazing phone