Samsung's latest phablet is one of the best business phones money can buy. The Galaxy Note 4 packs a huge, super-sharp display, a blazing-fast processor and great security features. But the phone's predecessor, the Galaxy Note 3, is still a top-tier phablet with great performance and tons of handy software features. And with the launch of the Note 4, the older Note 3 will be the more affordable device. So do the Note 4's upgrades justify the premium price? Read on for a feature-by-feature comparison to see which one is better for work.
Note 3: The Note 3 packs a big 5.7-inch display that still manages to impress. The 1080p screen produces sharp, bright images, and is large enough for screen-intensive work like editing a document on the go. It's also big enough to make the device's split-screen multitasking features feel actually useful.
Note 4: The Note 4 packs an even more impressive screen that its predecessor. It retains the same 5.7-inch size as the Note 3, but it's been upgraded to quad HD resolution, with an eye-popping resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. And it's brighter and more vivid than the quad HD screen on the LG G3, the only other smartphone that can match the Note 4's in terms of pixel count. The Note 4's sharper screen is as functional as it is beautiful, since an increased resolution lets you display more content on-screen at once.
Galaxy Note 3: When it launched, the Note 3 didn't have much in the way of extra security features, outside of the standard Android lock screens. But now the phone supports Knox, a security suite that launched in the spring for Samsung devices. Knox include Knox Workspace, which lets you run apps in a secure profile to ensure your data can't be accessed by rogue applications. It also adds IT features for companies that deploy smartphone to employees, including the ability to control which apps are downloaded on company-owned phones, and a feature to remotely wipe work data from a registered device.
Galaxy Note 4: The Note 4 improves upon the Note 3's security credentials with one big new feature: a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button. Just swipe your fingertip over the button to easily unlock your device. In other words, the scanner helps you keep your work phone on lockdown without the need to fuss with cumbersome password screens. And Samsung's fingerprint scanner also lets you access Private Mode, a hidden folder where you can store your most sensitive work files and documents. Private Mode makes it easy to share your phone without worrying about work files being compromised.
Galaxy Note 3: What makes a Note a Note is the included S Pen Stylus, and the Note 3 is no exception. The stylus slides easily into a slot at the bottom of the device when it's not in use; just slide it out to start taking notes and drawing diagrams right on your phone's display. The Note 3 added some handy new features, including a button on the side of the pen that lets you launch one of five different note-taking apps.
Galaxy Note 4: The Note 4's S Pen is better than ever, with a slimmer design that's easier to grip, and improved pressure sensitivity. The new Note's pen recognizes twice as many levels of pressure when you press it down on the screen, allowing for smoother handwriting. And you can still tap a button on the side of the stylus to launch note-taking applications, including Action Memo, a standard notes app with built-in handwriting recognition, and Screen Write, which lets you snap a screenshot and annotate it.
Galaxy Note 3: The Note 3 is a slim, good-looking smartphone, though it lacks some of the premium touches found on other flagship phones. The device is made entirely of plastic; even the faux-metal trim is actually just plastic with a reflective coating. On the back of the phone you'll find a dimpled, soft-touch plastic that looks and feels a bit like leather; fake stitching around the edges add to the leather effect.
Galaxy Note 4: Samsung's new Note improves upon the design of its predecessor in a few key areas. The most striking difference is that the Note 4 sports a brushed aluminum frame, which replaces the faux-metal trim on the Note 3. That gives the newer device a more premium feel, but makes it slightly heavier. Meanwhile, the back of the device is made of the same soft-touch plastic, but it loses the fake stitching details for a cleaner, more streamlined look. Despite packing more powerful hardware, the Note 4 is just as thin as the Note 3, at 0.33 inches thick.
Galaxy Note 3: The Note 3 still packs some of the best multitasking features you'll find on any smartphone. That includes Multi Window mode, which lets you run two apps at the same time in a split-screen view. Launching multiple apps is easy: just swipe in from the left side of the screen to open the Multi Window drawer, then drag any two apps onto the screen. You can drag the border between the apps to resize them, or turn your phone to view them stacked vertically or horizontally.
Galaxy Note 4: The Note 4 takes the multitasking features of the Note 3 and improves upon them. In addition to Multi Window mode, which works like it does on the Note 3, the newer Note includes better support for floating apps. Just swipe in from the top left corner at any time to open an app in a small floating window on top of your main app. You can move the floating apps around on the screen, or minimize them for later. The feature is handy for using the calculator while browsing the Web or managing your email inbox, for example.
The Galaxy Note 4 doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel; it's a mostly incremental upgrade over last year's Note 3 phablet. But that doesn't mean that the improvements aren't real or worthwhile. The Note 4 trumps its predecessor in just about every way, with a sharper display, faster performance and better software features, making it worth the upgrade.