Note 4 Roadtrip: Batteries And Big Screens

The most obvious trend in smartphones in 2014 has been big screens, and the 5.7-inch display on the Note 4 continues the theme. From a productivity standpoint, what are the benefits of that approach when tackling a challenge like the Note 4 Roadtrip?

Big Screen

Yes, it's nice for watching video and playing games, and yes, I have been trying out a little of both. But neither of those count as productivity.

The only work app I have been using regularly in landscape mode is the Video Editor, plus occasional checking of our post schedule -- the time appears on the far right and is cut off in portrait mode.

For me, the benefit of the large screen is having room for an on-screen keyboard with a decent viewing area for text above it. Indeed, that's another reason not to use landscape mode -- the screen becomes all keyboard no content. Plus big screen equals big battery.

Battery Life

On my first flight this morning from the Gold Coast to Melbourne, my seat had a USB port, so I could stay plugged in throughout the flight.

The port doesn't offer much draw, however -- it was enough to maintain my charge level while I was using the device, but not to add extra. I've evidently been a little spoiled by the adaptive fast charging I normally enjoy (though that too works better if you're not using the Note 4 at all).

Plugging in on a plane also confused the Note 4's attempts to identify itself as a media device:

Since my trip to Newcastle on Monday, I haven't come close to running down the battery. On my train journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, I did have some connection issues. I was using the free Wi-Fi on the train, which worked quite well until I hit this:

Annoyingly, this happened right in an area where my mobile signal also became patchy. Memo to self for next time: hold off on the Wi-Fi until later in the trip. But even with all that network hunting, I had plenty of battery left.

I'm a paranoid traveller, so I'm carrying a charged USB battery for emergencies. So far, it has not been needed.

After a two-plane day, I'm in Melbourne -- where meetings and a tiny motel room await. I'll fill you in on that tomorrow.

Lifehacker’s Note 4 Roadtrip series is sponsored by Samsung.


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