Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come. Samsung has thrown its hat in the high-end phablet ring once again, and LG is in trouble. Not that Sammy wasn’t well-represented already in the jumbo-sized smartphone supremacy battle.
Unsurprisingly, its Galaxy Note 3 aged more than gracefully, likely keeping the G3 threat at bay thanks to a well-oiled advertising machine that chugs along unperturbed by a reported dip in overall Galaxy sales.
But it’s perhaps the same dip that convinced the makers of the mostly underwhelming GS5 they needed to bring their aesthetical A game to the “Unpacking” of the Galaxy Note 4 in addition to the traditional software and hardware improvements.
Which they certainly did, albeit haters are still gonna hate, fueled by Samsung’s questionable mix of premium aluminum and chintzy plastic on Note 4’s construction and the limited use of the curved side display on the Note Edge.
Regardless, this semi-aluminum beaut has more than enough pizazz to give the LG G3 a run for its money, and hopefully, make Apple’s hotly anticipated “iPhablet” intro feel redundant and utterly useless. For now, let’s explore in great detail all the ways the Galaxy Note 4 is superior to the G3:
Design and build quality duel – a no contest
Bet you were just about ready to lose hope of ever hearing this: Samsung’s flagship is one of the best-looking, awesomest built mobile devices around. HTC’s One M8 may be the only rival capable of holding a candle to it, but the all-metal bad boy doesn’t have the screen real estate, resolution or raw power to otherwise go for Note 4’s jugular.
Meanwhile, the G3 isn’t ugly, not in the least, and the microscopic bezels, wasp waist and rear physical buttons partly keep its chances of ultimately prevailing alive. Only no matter how you spin it, metal beats plastic. Even metal frames in a combination with a faux leather (read plastic) back cover.
Galaxy Note 4 vs. LG G3 – display showdown
Gimmick or no gimmick, Quad HD display resolution is about to become the norm for upper tier Androids. And yes, we have reason to believe Sony will itself go down the same route as early as H1 2015.
Back to our spec wars, it’s tough to pick a winner here, as both heavyweights sport amazing 2,560 x 1,440 pixel counts. Since the G3 is 0.2 inches smaller, its ppi is slightly greater, at 534 (vs. 515). But Samsung uses Super AMOLED technology in lieu of LCD, and besides, a bigger panel is an upside for many.
Processing speed, RAM and storage
Blame it on release timing, but the LG G3 can’t possibly keep up with the GNote 4 in power-demanding tasks despite packing the beefiest CPU at the time of its debut. In the meantime, Snapdragon 801’s sequel, the higher clocked S805, became available, and Sammy took full advantage.
That said, it’s a smidge disappointing the Qualcomm-based 32-bit Note 4 version, which US carriers among others will be scoring, isn’t ready for the next step in mobile computing. The Exynos flavor, however, is, thanks to a brand spanking new 5433 unit built on 64-bit architecture and rocking eight cores, four at 1.9 GHz and four at 1.3. Let Android L come.
Moving on, the G3 and Note 4 are deadlocked in RAM and storage, each offering 3 gigs of random-access memory, 16 and 32 GB space options and external microSD expansion possibilities. Wait, come to think of it, LG narrowly edges this one out, as it can accommodate up to 128 gigs of external storage, double Note 4’s maximum capacity.
Software and battery life face-off
4.4 KitKat is a necessity, nay, a guarantee on high-enders and even Android mid-rangers nowadays, so naturally, there’s nothing to separate our two title contenders there. Unfortunately for LG, their skin applied on top of the stock Google-powered mobile OS is really a featherweight next to TouchWiz.
And yes, it’s a little less intrusive, but to hell with purism, as Sammy’s add-ons and optimizations so obviously improve the user experience. Fast charging, S Pen-dedicated apps, fitness and health tracking functions, camera effects, presets, detection systems and so on and so forth, they’re all part of the great Galaxy Note adventure.
Ultra Power Saving Mode above all. Speaking of, Note 4’s juicer might not be heavily larger than G3’s, at 3,220 mAh (vs. 3,000), but we fully expect it to deliver better autonomy. It’s yet another department where Samsung excels these days.
Cameras, sensors and accessories
Although still incapable of competing in the same league as Nokia’s PureView snappers, or Sony’s G Lens imaging monsters, Note 4’s rear-facing camera is a major upgrade over Note 3 or S5’s counterparts. And not just in the number of megapixels.
Don’t get me wrong, 16 MP is a lot, but what makes this cam exquisite is the optical image stabilization system (finally!), the ISO control, HDR mode and all the other modes, scenes and effects. Also, 4K video recording.
G3’s main shooter is itself adorned with OIS, however at 13 megapixels, it’s really no rival for Note 4’s 16 MP bad boy. Ditto as far as selfie-friendly front cams are concerned, with Samsung trumping LG 3.7 to 2.1 MP.
And the best is yet to come. From the GNote 4, that is, which stands out from the crowd, G3 included, not only with S Pen support, but also Gear VR compatibility, a built-in heart rate monitor and fingerprint recognition sensor.
No fancy monitors or scanners on the LG G3, and no virtual reality transforming capabilities, which once and for all seal the fate of this not-so-evenly-matched duel. The Note 4 is the best, so scr…, um, forget the rest.
Availability and pricing
This may seem weird after the 1,000 words spilled to make the G3 look like a pushover opposite today’s (and tomorrow’s) phablet champion, but I’d still recommend LG’s spearhead to a number of mobile tech consumers.
Namely, those who can’t afford or don’t want to cough up $300 with two-year contracts, or $800 outright for the Note 4. Also, those unwilling to wait a few weeks, maybe a month or two. More importantly, those who aren’t fixated on always owning the very best of the best gizmos.
Fit the description? Then know the G3 starts at $79.99 on Amazon with Verizon pacts, $99.99 on Sprint or AT&T, and goes for as little as $525, yes, $525 in a factory unlocked variant. Happy shopping to you, and happy… waiting to future owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Either way, you’re blessed.