My First World Problem: G3 vs. Note4

11/24/2014

Since navigation on my S3 stopped working a while ago, I got the G3 in August to tie me over, as I was going on  a hiking trip in Korea. The Note4 was released the day after I returned to the States, and I did a deferred JUMP for the “upgrade”. It is time I return the G3, and I’ve never been so sad about having to return a mobile device.

My biggest consideration in this round of phone purchase was the device’s suitability for me, stock. I’m not a power user, I’m not picky about lag and stutter. I just didn’t want to go through the trouble of rooting and then manually updating the device every time an update is released.

As I use traditional Hong Kong Chinese (as opposed to traditional Taiwan or simplified) to communicate with my family and friends daily, the availability of the right IME is always the first thing I check on a device. I prefer stock keyboard to third-party keyboards. Out of the box, the G3 offers region-specific Chinese, while the Note4 appears to have all Chinese lumped together.1 Either is good enough for me, but I would be a slower typist on the Note4.2

I’ve been using the Note4 for two weeks, I utilize it more than I did the G3.3 I did not touch QuickMemo on the G3 at all, but I use S Note with the stylus rather frequently (the slightly bigger screen doesn’t hurt); multi-window is helpful when it works.

Nevertheless, I find myself missing the simpler and more customizable UI on the G3. The notification panel on the Note4 alone is enough to drive me nuts.4 The Quick Circle on the G3 can be helpful, whereas S View is just disappointing.

I’ve also run into annoying problems on both devices that may be atypical. On the G3, Chrome would randomly stop responding. The easy solution to this was to reboot the phone, but that means rebooting the device several times on some days, which got old quickly. On the Note4, TouchWiz stops working throughout the day. I haven’t managed to narrow down the apps or widgets that might crash it,5 resetting the device didn’t remedy the problem. It is irritating.

I like the Note4, but it is not worth $150 more to me. I would return it if I could simply unJUMP and keep the G3 in my possession. However, I must send in the G3, and I don’t feel like setting up another device. So, going with the flow of the universe, I’ll be keeping the Note4, though I’m sad to bid farewell to the G3.

 

  1. Samsung has separate traditional Chinese IMEs for Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively; other region-specific IMEs are available to users everywhere Samsung smartphones are sold. Making all region-specific IMEs downloadable seems much more reasonable to me than limiting users to only those preinstalled on the devices.
  2. It turns out neither stock keyboard is good enough for me. I ended up using a third-party keyboard.
  3. It may be unfair to compare the devices. I do not consider G3 a phablet, therefore I do not believe it is made to address the same user needs as the Note4 is.
  4. I feel the Note4 should offer at least the same level of customization as the G3. Everywhere.
  5. It is possible every downloaded app I use crashes it.

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