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Samsung Unpacks New Notes, VR Headset

Berlin — Samsung went to the IFA show to unveil its latest generation of Galaxy Note phablets and a wireless virtual-reality headset optimized for use with the Galaxy Note 4.

The Galaxy Note 4 will be available in the U.S. beginning in October, and the Galaxy Note Edge phablet will be available later this fall. Both models will be available through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. U.S. Cellular will also offer the Note 4.

The Gear VR Innovator Edition virtual-reality headset, which features Quad HD 5.7-inch 1440p AMOLED display, will be available in the U.S. through various carrier and retail channels in the fall, Samsung said.

The two LTE-equipped phablets add UltraHD playback and recording and Quad HD display compared with their predecessors. Both also feature 192kHz/24-bit FLAC high-resolution audio playback.

Both are equipped with Samsung’s S Pen, which has been improved to offer a more natural brush effect said to emulate writing with a fountain or calligraphy pen. A new Smart Select feature lets users piece together content from different sources and share it.

The Android 4.4 phablets also offer multiple note-taking methods integrated with the S Note application. Snap Note, for example, lets users take a picture of paper notes and convert them to a digital S Note.

Both models also let users view multiple apps at a time.

The Note 4 features 5.7-inch display like the Note 3, but the Super AMOLED display has been upped to Quad HD 2,560 by 1,440 resolution from FullHD. The processor also goes to octa-core processing in select countries from 2.3GHz quad-core. One Note 4 version will be available with 1.7 GHz quad-core processor, but the phablet will also be available with 1.9GHz octa-core processor (1.9GHz quad plus 1.3GHz quad).

The Note 4’s camera also gets improvements, with pixel counts jumping to 16 megapixels for the main camera from 13, and the front camera going to 3.7 megapixels from 2 megapixels. The main camera also gets a smart optical image stabilizer to counter-balance camera shake and automatically extend exposure time in dark settings. The front camera offers f/1.9 lens with up to 120-degree-wide shooting angle.

The Note 4’s fingerprint scanner is also said to be improved. The device also comes with a fast-charging feature and ultra-power-saving mode.

Like its predecessor, the Note 4 features 3GB of RAM and 192kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio playback. Embedded memory of 32GB can be supplemented by a 64GB MicroSD slot.

The Note 4’s little buddy, the Galaxy Edge, features a curved-edge screen on one side to provide quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and device functionality with a thumb swipe even when a cover is closed.

Users receive notifications on the screen while watching videos.

Screen size goes to 5.6 inches from its predecessor’s 5.5 inches, and the Super AMOLED display goes to Quad HD from 720p OLED. RAM goes to 3GB from 2GB. Embedded memory is 32GB or 64GB depending on the version.

For its Samsung Gear VR virtual-reality headset, developed with Oculus, Samsung plans sales this year through carriers and its online channel. Pricing wasn’t disclosed.

Connected to the Galaxy Note 4, the headset will deliver full 360-degree 3D video from virtual-reality-optimized content, including movies, gaming and educational content.