Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4 comparison: friend or faux?

lg g4 samsung galaxy note 4 camera
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LG’s G4 is a great phone and good value for money - and would-be Samsung Galaxy Note 4 buyers should consider it. Is the G4 the better device, or should you get a big Samsung instead? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy Note vs LG G4 comparison.

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lg g4 samsung galaxy note 4 screen
They're big, but are they clever? Here's a clue: yes. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: design

We’ve had concerns about some Samsung designs in the past, but you can’t fault the Note 4: we think it strikes the perfect balance between metal and plastic, and it’s all about that screen. The Note looks and feels good, but its fake-leather back is no substitute for real cow, and that’s an area where LG has, ahem, mooooooved ahead: the G4 can be backed with real leather. There’s no other phone like it and the subtly curved glass isn’t as odd as the curve LG put into the G Flex 2. It’s stronger and more shatterproof than previous LG G series phones too.

There’s another bit of the Note 4’s design that stands out, of course, and that’s the S Pen. For many people it’s the main reason for buying a Note, and if you’re a business user it’s a major, major selling point.

lg g4 samsung galaxy note 4 camera
Only one of these phones ever went "moo". Can you tell by looking? / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: display

LG has stuck with QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440) and this time out it’s embraced the DCI (Digital Camera Initiatives) color standard, which focuses on more natural color reproduction than the sRGB standard most other smartphones use. It’s not as bright as an AMOLED but it’s much more natural-looking. The screen diagonal is 5.5 inches.

Until the Galaxy S6 came along, the Galaxy Note 4 display was the best we'd seen on any smartphone. It’s even bigger than the LG at 5.7 inches, and once again it offers QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The AMOLED screen has more of the wow factor than the LG, but the LG has the more accurate color reproduction.

lg g4 samsung galaxy note 4 icons
The displays offer identical resolution. LG's is more accurate, but Samsung's is more vivid. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: performance

The Note 4 may be older than the G4, but in benchmarks it more than keeps up with the LG: its quad-core Snapdragon is clocked at 2.7 GHz with 3 GB of RAM, and that delivers very similar performance to the LG’s six-core Snapdragon 808 at 1.8GHz. There’s an even faster version with an octa-core Exynos 5 (5433) processor. In everyday use, however, TouchWiz does introduce some noticeable lag: some apps take much, much longer to launch than they should.

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If it weren't for TouchWiz, the Note's performance would be almost identical to the LG. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: camera

The G4 has an 8 MP selfie shooter on the front and a 16 MP camera on the back with LED flash and lots of options to tinker with. If you’re interested in photography beyond simple snapping you’ll appreciate the effort LG has put into its camera.

The Note 4 has a 16 MP Sony IMX240 with optical image stabilization, and there’s a 3.7 MP sensor on the front. The main sensor is really good for accurate color reproduction and copes fairly well in low light, but it can be a little noisy when you’re shooting indoors.

lg g4 camera
The G4's camera is great, and has lots of stuff to tinker with. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: battery life

On paper the G4 has the smaller battery - it’s 3,000 mAh compared to the 3,220 mAh of the Galaxy Note 4 battery - but in the real world the difference is even more pronounced than that: we got considerably poorer battery life from the G4 than we expected, and that’s before we started comparing it with the Note’s various power saving features. LG contacted us to say we’d been given an imperfect review unit and they’ve promised to send us another one with a battery that works properly, but until we’ve reviewed it we can’t give the G4 a glowing endorsement on the battery front.

Galaxy Note 4
The Note 4's battery is massive, and the phone has good power saving features too. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: software

The Note 4 shipped with Samsung’s own TouchWiz on top of Android 4.4.4, but it’s since been updated to Lollipop. That’s an update worth having as it solves some of the TouchWiz issues that plagued earlier versions.

We’re not entirely sure about LG’s design for Android - it’s bright enough to melt your eyes - but it runs silky smooth, has a nice widget manager and includes Smart Settings, which ties in nicely with Lollipop’s My Places location settings. You also get the Dual Window feature that was so great in the LG G3.

AndroidPIT Note 4 settings quick options
On the Note 4, Lollipop gets the usual Samsung makeover. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G4: verdict

The LG G4 is a really good smartphone, but our review unit suffered from battery problems that have given us pause. The Note 4 has a bigger screen, better battery life, the S Pen, a reasonably good camera and a no-frills design: it’s a serious smartphone for serious people and while it suffers from the odd TouchWiz issue it’s still a very slick device. Prices are starting to fall now it’s been out for a while too, so that makes it even more tempting. We think that unless you really want a smartphone covered in cow, you should take a look at the Note 4 first.

What do you think? Would the G4 tempt you away from the Note 4? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Gil Williams May 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Im a late newcomer to the discussion but I see noone here mentioned size. Size matters : ).
    In this case smaller is better for me ... The G4. I wanted a great phone I could use with one hand. G4 was the biggest I could go for my hand size. Also i have a tempered glass screen protector and my phone is very responsive to touch. Cant tell the difference with or without protector. Got phone from tmobile and protector on amazon (techmatte company?)
    My son, a gamer, just bought the note 4 . Were both happy campers!

  • Matthew Brook Jul 15, 2015 Link to comment

    It's truly ridiculous how many Galaxy Fanboys there are. They are both AMAZING phones and you won't go wrong with either of them.

  • Marcelo Reis Jul 6, 2015 Link to comment

    After 5 generations of Samsung phones I have finally decided to say no to some of the perks of TouchWiz and I'm giving the G4 a try.
    First of all, let's get one thing out of the way - LCD IS NOT AS GOOD AS AMOLED no mater what anyone say! Colors are nice and all, but as soon as you turn of the lights, you wonder - Where did my blacks go? There's always a grayish hue on the blacks that gets even worse when the screen is viewed sideways. This is not an LG problem, but LCD backlit's technology.
    The OS in indeed faster then Samsung's and free from the memory leaks and lags that have always plagued me and made me install CyanogenMod (with all it's bugs) on every single Sammy I had.
    The battery is not bad, but also not impressive. About what I had on my S5. I just can't get over the fact that LG chose to banish QI charging to an accessory. Great way to save 5 cents in manufacturing LG ! :/
    The feel is OK but I am not sure yet if I like the buttons on the back. It's particularly unpractical when, on the car's dashboard i need yo mess with the volume. Tap to unlock works OK, but it's some times take more then one try.
    The G4 will not work well with glass screen protectors. Not only they hamper the touch sensitivity, they also mess with the proximity sensor and make it impossible to hangup a phone call.
    The one FANTASTIC thing about this phone is the camera! In a concert, I have been able to take pictures from the stage towards the public in low light and actually be able to identify faces far away. I have never seen a phone photo with this hight quality.
    Am I happy I chose the LG over the S6? Definitely - Samsung's decision on the battery (not only puni, but unremovable) alone is a deal breaker.
    Am I happy I chose the LG over the note 4? Not so sure... I really miss the AMOLED more then anything :(

  • Jimmy Drew Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

    The Note 4 is the best smart phone out there today. G4 is nice but the Note 4 is better than even the latest Samsung s6. Wait and see if the Note 5 can be that much better. Note 4 is definately the best of the best.

    • Moni Mihailov Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

      So true. i hate the S6. Currently own the S5 :)

  •   16
    Deactivated Account Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Nothing beats the Galaxy Note products they are the GOLD STANDARD OF PHABLETS Worldwide with a proven track record.

    LG, Apple, and Google's pathetic Nexus are nothing more than sad pretenders in the phablet space made prominent by Samsung since August 2011.

  • Ansje Hartenhof Horst Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    The bad thing for Samsung is that they out far too much stuff of their own om it. Do for me the G4 wins.

  • Usama M Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Galaxy Note 4 FTW!

  • Ethan Jun 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Note 4 still showing up newer phones. It really is one of the greats

    • Jimmy Drew Jun 26, 2015 Link to comment

      Agree 100%. Actually feel Samsung will have to go some for the Note 5 to be worth the upgrade.

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