Tech: Samsung Note 4 Phone

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    So, I’m up late with some crappy virus… And I’m saying late, mostly because I didn’t sleep much, if at all.

    I normally don’t invest much in phones. I’ve got a decent one, and I’ve had an upgrade out there for a long time, and most of that is paid for through some basic contract work I do on the side, so it’s cheap for me.

    A good friend convinced me to take that upgrade during the holidays, when Verizon is generally willing to deal, and or is just putting good offers out there.

    So I got a fucking phablet phone. That Galaxy Note 4 is a big ass phone. I sort of hate that, but I also was intrigued at all the progress Samsung has made, and they put a lot of really great tech and software into the Note series.

    The reason I decided to write this is due to one single feature: Ultra Power Saving Mode.

    Holy crap! I used the phone off and on for a light call or two, some browsing, listening to a couple hour podcast, and light e-mail. Since Sunday morning, where it was fully charged, I managed to only deplete the battery by 9 percent!

    And that’s not just sitting at the table. It did that Saturday, and a whole day of Standby only took a few percent.

    What they apparently have done is take an approach very similar to how Apple manages power in it’s devices. My 2012 Mac Book Pro will barely sip at the battery in normal use. I can go a day on a charge, if need be. Or, I can drain it dry in a mere 2 hours too.

    This phone is very similar. A two to three hour Google Earth session will leave it running warm, and with a nearly depleted battery. On the other hand, just yakking on it for most of the day might use half.

    In this mode, they run the screen monochrome, which actually should be a standard option. Reading is a joy, and the normally visually intense experience is muted. I happen to like this apart from the power option.

    But, they also simplify the phone capability. The myriad of apps and options sort of fade away, leaving the phone simple, dead easy to use, and it will play podcasts for days as far as I can tell.

    To do that, you gotta be a little smart and point Chrome at mp3 files, as the file navigator and other media player type apps aren’t available in the Ultra Power Saving mode, but that’s a quibble really. Nice gift, for those who look.

    So I end up with this phone where I can run it plain vanilla and get most of the battery and quality I had on an old Nokia phone with the week long battery. Candy bar type, remember those?

    Or… I can run it in an ordinary power saving mode that will go a busy day with no battery issues.

    And hot rod the thing, drawing goofy cartoons and making notes with the little pen, even doing Mechanical CAD! No joke. I made solid freaking models on my phone. A phone.

    This device is very highly recommended, just for the power options. I am not in love with the size, but I can adapt to that, and mostly have.

    IMHO, this device puts the Apple phones to shame in nearly every respect. Being Android, I can do all sorts of stuff with it too, and frankly when I connect up a Bluetooth keyboard / mouse combo, or just a keyboard really, it’s a spiffy little computer, capable of more than most laptops I’ve owned, and Microsoft Office is free given my Office 365 subscription status.

    So we are talking about Millenials and phones. I get it more now. If this were my one device… I could deal. E-mail, programming ( and yes I have programming software in a few languages on my phone ), Office, basic content create and edit, messaging, phone calls…

    Heck, if I were to get a simple USB or Bluetooth to serial device, I can even do embedded work on this phone! With an external screen, even. (using a similar Bluetooth technology as this phone does not provide HDMI output) Amazing.

    Typically, I’ve been slow to adopt new phone tech. Being a geek, and somewhat nerdy about these things, that’s not the norm. I very frequently early adopt with computers and other devices. And I stretch it, using Linux, and various other OSes, like BSD, when I feel like it.

    Took forever to get me onto a Crackberry, and forever to get me off the thing, once on. Say what you want about those, my Crapberry Curve never, ever, ever, failed to work, even in an airplane. That thing would text and e-mail over major cities, while snagging enough nav data for the map function to show me speed (typically 300 MPH or so, and who knows what that means in terms of ground / air speed), heading, and major roads and cities.

    When I moved to Droid, another good friend took me in to the store then too. And I got one with a keyboard, because I really like keyboards.

    This thing, being larger, works via touch keyboard. I lost some speed, and it’s annoying to some degree, but I can tell right now neither of these will be an issue given another week or so.

    Back to the Millenials again…

    So they have come up in a time where stuff like this is a given. The older ones may share some perspective, given the early state of smart phones, but mostly, they saw the path and took it. People like me, who have run everything under the sun, from the 8 bit and CP/M era onward, UNIX, whatever… see it very differently.

    But I get it. If one has a good phone, it is very similar to having a car. Doors open up, and there is money, freedom, information, etc… and all a person has to do is pick the thing up and start. Talk to people, learn, create.

    It happens on a phone. Hell, I could make a very reasonable track of music on this thing, and I found editing software for images and audio, that works with the pen, much like it does with a mouse. Imagine that.

    Non contract price on this bugger is $600! A decent laptop is more than that.

    I got it for probably half, when all the discounting adds up, and in exchange for a 2 year deal. (no worries there, I like the deal)

    The last generation of phones, which a Droid 4 with keyboard was middle of the road, didn’t seem worth that kind of money.

    This phone has a 2560×1440 pixel display. That is just over something like 400 dpi! It is a better display than my laptop has, and when I get the little device for driving external monitors, I suspect it will perform very nicely on whatever HDTV / Monitor I connect it to, just like a laptop typically does.

    Lastly, being we are into audio, I really have not been impressed by many audio outputs. My Lenovo is so-so, the old Droid was sort of crappy actually, and the Mac Book was exemplary. Typical of Apple and no surprise.

    This phone has audio out comparable to the Mac, and it’s a joy in the car, now that I have a car with decent sound capability again.

    Master of Disaster

    The Master of Disaster once had a dream where he had a phone running… DOS.


    Good night, everyone!


    I’ve got an iPhone 5S (as far as I know) and it does everything I need. I’m certainly no “Apple Apologist” but when it comes to preference, it’s user specific. When it comes to my phone, I want the smallest device possible. I don’t want a tablet to haul around.


    I’m holding out for a 60-inch phone.


    Kskd, have you looked into the new Blackberry Passport? It looks like Blackberry may be getting back on track, somewhat.

    I have a droid 4 on last legs and can’t get the Passport anyway (Verizon won’t get it), so I’m looking at my first non-physical keyboard phone.


    I don’t need smallest possible, though I do prefer “small enough” or “smallish”, but I’m mobile enough right now that having features is actually worth the size tradeoff.

    @Randy: Dude, I’m SO stealing that! 🙂

    About that Ultra Mode: I’ve still not plugged the phone in. Interesting, isn’t it?

    Took a few calls, placed a couple, checked in on various things, messages, etc…

    It’s a lot like having the old Nokia, “sucks, and looks like a big candy bar, but works for a week” phone again.

    @Skep: I won’t return to the Blackberry as I find myself in a station where I don’t always have to have a laptop, if I can do enough things on a phone.

    Re: Apple. Vitalogy, I love Apple devices. I’ve never somehow quite been willing to use an iPhone though. No worries. It’s a great phone. A family member, and a couple of co-workers swear by them.

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