Samsung_Galaxy_Note_4One of the first things I noticed about my introduction to the Samsung Note 4 was that the marketing director wasn’t really talking my ear off about the phablet’s software features.

That was kind of odd, considering how much time during previous Samsung product briefings was dedicated to things like S Note, S Health, and other Samsung touches.

Instead, the focus was on key things most people are immensely concerned with, such as battery life and the screen. There was also mention of the Note 4’s fast charger. It was all very straight forward, like going to a big-box retailer and not being pitched on the extended warranty.

The Note 4 is Samsung’s latest productivity phone, designed for professionals and average consumers who want a gigantic screen, a stylus and cutting-edge hardware.

Inside the Android-powered phone sits a 2.7-Ghz quad core processor and 3 GB of RAM, which provides for responsive and fluid use of the device.

Sharper screen, photos

That’s key, since the 5.7-inch display affords space for productive multi-tasking. You can compose an email in one window while watching a video in the other. Or scan Twitter in one third of the screen while browsing the web in the other chunk.

The 2,560 x 1,440 pixel Quad HD Super AMOLED screen appears sharp with such high pixel density, and the colours are deep and saturated — perhaps a little too much in some cases where photos may appear to pop a little more than you’d expect.

At a time when almost everyone from kids to CEOs snap selfies, this phone’s 16-megapixel rear camera seems almost irrelevant, although it’s quite good. The rear-facing camera also features optical image stabilization in order to snap sharp photos, even if you’re a little shaky.

If you have short arms, the next feature may be your favourite.

Samsung_Galaxy_Note_4_stylus

The most noticeable photographic improvement here is with the front-facing camera, which features a 3.7-megapixel sensor and an f1.9 lens that’s designed to capture images from a 90-degree range.

Stronger handset

While Samsung spruced up the feel of the Note 3 with a soft faux-leather back, the Note 4 feels incredibly more solid and refined. The difference is like stepping up from a Toyota to a Lexus.

This improvement is largely due to the phone’s new metal trim, which adds a feeling of elegance and sturdy confidence to the handset.

The stylus that pops out from the phone’s edge – the S Pen – has been improved for the Note 4 and seems to be more natural to use and more precise on the screen.

Battery management

Honestly, all these features are useless if your phone is dead, or about to die, after a day (or less) of heavy usage. To that extent, the Note 4 features Ultra Power Saving Mode, which can selectively turn off features yet still let you make phone calls and send/receive texts for hours once the battery is down to 10 per cent charge.

There’s also the adaptive fast charger, which can drastically juice up the battery in a shorter amount of time. Samsung says a dead battery can hit 50 per cent charge in as little as 30 minutes.

From my experience, it went from 5 to 45 per cent in 25 minutes. Not bad.

While the phone’s battery capacity isn’t drastically improved compared to the Note 3 (3,200 mAh vs. 3220 mAh), the adaptive fast charger and improved power saving features helped me easily get through a day during heavy use.

Is the phone too big? Most would say yes. But the few who appreciate a big screen, a sturdy handset and improved battery life should consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Rating: 9/10

  • Screen: 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED
  • Processor: 2.7 Ghz Qualcomm cuad core
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB (internal, microSD expandable)C
  • Camera: 16 MP rear with OIS, 3.7 MP front
  • Connectivity: LTE, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1

Available Oct. 24 for $299.95 on a two-year contract, $799.95 without.