There's a new contender for the title of "best business phone." The Galaxy Note 4 takes all the features that made the Note 3 so good for work – including a huge 5.7-inch display – and ups the ante with a premium metal build, a fingerprint scanner and tons of software improvements. And as the name implies, it retains the S Pen stylus that made previous Galaxy Note phones great for taking notes.
Other upgrades include a slightly speedier processor and a battery that charges 50 percent faster. But though the enhancements are numerous, the Android-powered Galaxy Note 4 is still essentially an incremental improvement over its predecessor. So is it worth the upgrade? These five features might convince you that it is.
The centerpiece of any Galaxy Note phone is its huge display, and the Note 4 is no exception. The phone's display retains the same 5.7-inch size as its predecessor, but it's been upgrade to quad HD with a super-high resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. That put it on par with the LG G3's screen, but the Note 4 offers better viewing angles and more vibrant colors. You'd be hard-pressed to identify a better display on any smartphone.
Size and resolution are the real story for business users, however. The large display affords you tons of space to work on, especially for screen-intensive tasks like editing a document or spreadsheet on the go. And the increased resolution lets you display more content on-screen at once, so you can get real work done.
New security features
The Note 4 is the first phone in the line to feature a built-in fingerprint scanner, giving the device a big security boost. It works just like the scanner that debuted with Samsung's Galaxy S5: just slide your fingertip over the phone's home button to easily unlock it. The feature helps you keep your work phone locked down, with no need to fuss with cumbersome password screens. And the scanner also lets you access Private Mode, where you can store your most sensitive business files.
Also like the Galaxy S5, the Note 4 supports Knox, a suite of security features developed by Samsung. It includes Knox Workspace, which lets you run secure business apps in a special profile that's separate from the rest of your phone, ensuring that rogue applications can't access your private data. It also offers advanced IT features for small businesses that deploy company-owned smartphones, letting you remotely wipe data, control which apps employees can download on company-owned phones, and more.
What makes a Note a Note is the included S Pen stylus. As in previous Galaxy Note releases, the Note 4's stylus stows easily in a slot at the bottom of the device when not in use. Sliding it out instantly transforms your phone into a note-taking machine, letting you write out notes and draw diagrams right on the device's display.
The S Pen is better than ever, with a slimmer design that's easier to grip, and improved pressure sensitivity on the tip. Compared to the Note 3, the Note 4's pen recognizes twice as many levels of pressure as you press down on the screen, allowing for smoother, more natural handwriting.
Pressing a button the side of the S Pen activates the Air Command menu, which lets you launch one of four handy note-taking apps: Action Memo, a standard notes app with built-in handwriting recognition; Screen Write, which lets you snap a screenshot and annotate it; Pen Window, which lets you draw a window and run a floating app inside it; and Smart Select, which lets you save on-screen selections by circling them.
The Galaxy Note 4 is a smartphone that business users can take seriously. Instead of the cheap faux-metal trim found on all previous Galaxy Note smartphones, the Note 4 sports a brushed aluminum frame that lends a premium look and feel to the phone, as well as a bit of extra durability -- though it does make the device slightly heavier. The Note 4 also features the same soft touch faux-leather plastic back as the previous two Note smartphones, which makes the big device easy to grip. Samsung may still have a ways to go before it can match the premium appeal of Apple's iPhone 5s, but the Galaxy Note 4 is still its best-looking smartphone to date.
New multitasking features
When it comes to mobile multitasking, Samsung smartphones are king, and the Galaxy Note 4 adds even more multitasking options to help you stay productive on the go. The standard Multi Window mode returns, letting you run two apps at once in a split-screen view; just swipe in from the left side of the screen to open the Multi Window app drawer, then drag any two apps onto the screen to view them side-by-side. You can still turn your phone to view the apps stacked horizontally or vertically, and drag the border between them to resize the windows.
The Note 4 also adds some new multitasking functionality, including better support for floating apps. At any time, you can swipe in from the top left corner to open an app in a floating window that sits on top of your main app. You can drag the window around, resize it and minimize it. Samsung also added a button in the recent apps menu that lets you open any app in Multi Window mode. However you choose to use the Note 4's multitasking features, running multiple apps at once should be more should be more comfortable thanks to the phone's high resolution.