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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 9
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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Boy what a ride it’s been for Samsung so far for the first half of the year! In one fell swoop, they generated enviable amounts of interest in the Android arena when they introduced the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge earlier this year. And why is that? Well, they’ve completely reconstructed their reputation when it comes down to phone designs, seeing that prior to those phones, their designs have been unflattering in contrast to what the competition produced.

Riding high on that momentum, Samsung is one of the first major players out of the gate to announce and deliver its phones for the second half of the year. Last year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 managed to receive universal acclaim for its superb specs sheet, all-around performance, and most importantly, its utility for being the Swiss Army knife of smartphones with its rich features set. In the world of Android phablets, Samsung’s Note line has yet to see any sort of threat – so there’s always reason to be excited about a successor.

And that, folks, is where we find ourselves with the Samsung Galaxy Note5. Even before its official announcement, we all knew that another major redesign was coming – not surprising, considering that the S6’s premium design has been widely received by consumers. While it’s almost certain that the Note5 (are we the only ones who like 'Note 5' better?) is going to be yet another solid offering, we’ve seen a shift in the space of late that points us to the direction of these value-conscious phones that pack impressive qualities without the hefty pricing attached to them. As more and more carriers phase out contract pricing, it’s only going to be more crucial for high-end phones to justify their worth, as devices in general are being bought full-priced or financed.

Perhaps, the Note5 can muscle the competition to prove that it’s one of the undisputed pound-by-pound champions?

The package contains:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Stereo headphones
  • SIM removal tool
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty card

Design

While there are compromises to its arsenal, the Note5 is the best-designed phone in the series to date.

Straight to the point, this is the best-designed phone in the series to date! The design is undoubtedly revolutionary for Samsung, as prior phones in the series were primarily constructed out of plastic. Last year’s Note 4 was notable for its stark redesign as well, shedding the all-plastic construction with a slightly more sophisticated one that involves a metal frame surrounding the sides of the phone. With the Galaxy Note5, however, Samsung followed in form by employing the same design language they’ve raised eyebrows already with its S6 line.

We won’t deny the attractiveness of the Note5’s premium aesthetics – one that combines metal with glass once again for that ultimate fusion, though in the process, they’ve shed the utilitarian look of the Note series for one that’s more fashionably stylish. Our eyes are once again mesmerized by the dazzling show produced when light bounces off its glass surface for a shimmering effect – allowing the phone’s color to be more profound at certain angles. What's more, the metal trim bezel adds integrity to the phone’s construction. However, while we applaud its solid construction and eye-catching looks, the glass makes the phone a little fragile, prone to fingerprints, and slippery. Trust us, you’ll want to be extremely careful handling it, since minor drops can probably do a number to it.

Beyond the aesthetics, we’re astounded by how they’re able to trim out the fat even more from its body. For a phone with a ginormous 5.7-inch display, the Note5 bears a smaller footprint than its predecessor (6.03 x 3.00 x 0.30 inches versus 6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches) – while also weighing less as well (171 g versus 176 g). All of this points to obvious improvements in making the handset slimmer, lighter, and somewhat easier to handle. Sure, two-handed operation is still preferred, but the curved edges around its rear help to give it a more ergonomic feel.

Although the design isn’t necessary original per se, it’s something that meshes well in giving the phone its premium qualities. The overall package is undeniably beautiful.

The Note series has always been known to be the Swiss Army knife of smartphones. That claim is still reasonable because it’s fashioned with several amenities you don’t get with most phones. In particular, it features rapid charging via its microUSB 2.0 port, built-in wireless charging, heart rate sensor, and a finger-print sensor.

The latter is worth noting because it employs the same, hassle-free operation brought on by the S6 – one that only requires us to gently rest our finger over the sensor, as opposed to the swipe down method offered by the Note 4. Without question, it’s significantly easier to operate than before, and in our experience, it seems faster too with its recognition than the S6. In addition, it’s going to come in handy when Samsung Pay officially launches.

At the same time, there’s a drastic change to the Note5’s arsenal – one that’s generating a lot of concern for some folks who are used to seeing it on previous iterations. Gone are classic staples in the series such as a removable battery, microSD card slot for storage expansion, and an IR blaster. We’re told from the Samsung folks that the latter has been omitted because they found out that customers rarely use it. To an extent, we can agree with that argument, but the other two items are just tough to overlook. Whatever the reasoning behind it, the Note5 forgoes having them in favor of a design that’s more premium, slimmer, and lighter. That’s the obvious tradeoff!

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
S Pen


Fortunately, the S-Pen continues to be one of the Note5’s integral features, so its availability continues to make it unique in the space. With this year’s offering, Sammy changes things up a bit in the way the S Pen is accessed. It’s still tucked away in the lower right corner of the phone, but it employs an auto-eject mechanism – one that’s spring assisted to give it a clicky pen-like feel. For us, this new way of accessing the S Pen feels unnatural, and the process adds just an extra step over last year’s implementation. And why’s that? It’s because we have to eject it with our finger, then proceed to pull it out – whereas before, it was a single step process.

We also feel that its placement would’ve been better suited in the upper right corner, since the ejection process would feel a bit more natural there. Whatever the case, it just means that we’ll need to adjust to this new particular method, which should feel a bit more natural over time. Technically speaking, this S Pen is slightly longer when its spring-assisted end is extended and it’s skinnier, but gone are the groove marks that gave the previous S Pen a grippy feel. It’s smooth all throughout the pen, which thankfully enough, doesn’t hinder its operation.

Just like before, too, the tip is sensitive to recognize varying degrees of applied pressure. Therefore, it’s able to distinguish light presses from firm ones – it’s a useful thing that truly gives this particular stylus an accurate feel. While it can be used for jotting things down quickly and drawing something, it also acts as a useful navigational tool by hovering it over the display. No one does the stylus like Samsung, that’s just the undeniable reality! We’ll talk more about its new features later on.


Samsung Galaxy Note 5
6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

LG G4
5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

LG G4


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review


Display

Everything points to the obvious that it’s a display not too dissimilar to that of the Note 4, but that’s not a bad thing because of its great qualities.

Samsung didn’t change the specs of the display with the Note5, it’s still a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display, and it still delivers a number crunching 518 ppi pixel density count. Not surprisingly, it continues to be exceptionally sharp and highly detailed! Yeah, it’s tough to notice any noteworthy differences at normal viewing distances against 1080p screens, but its superiority is recognized the moment it’s viewed up close and personal.

Looking into the other aspects of the display, it becomes increasingly evident that we’re dealing with nearly the same panel used by its predecessor. For starters, the Note5’s Super AMOLED display produces just a smidgen better 470 nit luminance, thanks in part to its high-contrast mode kicking in when it’s in direct sunlight. Secondly, its color temperature remains similar as well at ~6700k, making it close to that perfect reference value of 6500k. In this regard, the display exhibits a mostly neutral tone when it’s in ‘basic’ screen mode – so it’s not overly warm or cold in tone.

And finally, we have to point out how it’s perfectly calibrated to hit all the target values in the sRGB color spectrum chart. Comparing the charts of the Note 4 and Note5 side-by-side, they’re pretty much the same to one another, which makes us conclude that we’re dealing with the same display here. Therefore, it means colors are realistic and true to life! All of these qualities point to the undeniable truth that Samsung has fashioned on the same display. That’s not a bad thing per se, as the Note 4 proved to the critics that AMOLED technology has seen considerable improvements to make it just as superior to LCD technology in several areas.

All told, it’s a beautiful display that’s useful in several scenarios and we can’t forget about how exquisitely sharp it is. There might not be any notable improvements over what we’ve seen with the Note 4’s display, but it just reaffirms Samsung’s expertise in producing displays with near perfect qualities.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 470
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6722
(Excellent)
2.09
1.32
(Excellent)
1.94
(Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
1.56
(Excellent)
3.1
(Good)
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
3.05
(Good)
3.82
(Good)
LG G4 454
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:1930
(Excellent)
8031
(Poor)
2.24
4.36
(Average)
7.28
(Average)
View all


194 Comments
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posted on 18 Aug 2015, 08:33 30

1. Freedom (Posts: 10; Member since: 24 Nov 2014)


One of the best (if not the best) phones of 2015.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 08:44 38

8. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


Actually, the base s6 edge is better. It's much cheaper, offers the same performance, looks cooler, has similar battery life, same camera, and sports an IR blaster. For the price of the note, you'll probably get a 128GB version of the edge. Let's face it, note 5 is galaxy s6 with a stylus. Note 4 was miles ahead of the s5.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 09:08 25

18. saffant (Posts: 274; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)


5.1" vs 5.7". I'll take 5.7" any day. It's worth more to most than a relatively unimportant IR blaster.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 09:11 2

23. xdza1979 (Posts: 294; Member since: 08 Aug 2015)


Note 4 was miles ahead of Note 5 ?! Dude

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 09:13 6

24. Jason2k13 (Posts: 1230; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)


think he means the edge+

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 09:13 10

25. Cyberthing (Posts: 127; Member since: 18 Nov 2014)


He said S5.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 10:04 4

40. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


Thank you very much, but I'll take better support of the s6. S6 will sell in a much higher volume thus it'll be first to get the update. Look at the note 4 slow update processes. It was the worst supported note thus far. You think the situation will improve with note 5? Since it's not available globally, we can assume the sales will be lower. Samsung have shifted the focus from the note to the s6.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 10:08 4

42. Neros (Posts: 1016; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)


Nope, s6 edge without plus. I'm not going to pay 140eur more for 0.6" screen and. For the price of the 32GB s6 ege + I can get a 128GB s6 edge. It's a no-brainer to me.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 10:47 13

51. SamsungPhanboy (banned) (Posts: 765; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


Let's see

1. Slippery phone (huge issue)
2. Underperforming headphone output performance
3. Smaller battery
4. Basically a big s6

How is this the best phone on the market? Top 5? Yes

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 10:55 2

53. SupermanayrB (Posts: 697; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Reading is fundamental.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 10:58 8

55. SupermanayrB (Posts: 697; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Have you felt it in hand? I have & it's not slippery at all. Have you tested the headphone jack & battery for yourself yet or are you one of those people who base their opinion on someone else?

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 11:06 8

57. Ninetysix (Posts: 2504; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Glass front and back is a no no. Didn't samsung learn anything from the Iphone 4 / N4?

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 12:19 2

65. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 734; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


Going from an LG G2 5.1" screen to a Note 4 seemed like going to a mini tablet. Everything is easier to see, operate, and enjoy.

I'm glad the Note 5 brought new features, like wireless charging (I used this exclusively for charging my G2), louder headphone output (Note 4 was way too quiet), manual mode and RAW support, and a new, better S Pen. Better battery life, though? That's like an EPA MPG rating, every user will experience this differently. This is certainly an upgrade to the Note 4, especially in performance. Note 4 was nuked by the Lollipop update, so hopefully the Note 5 won't be killed by Marshmallow.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 12:57 7

70. SamsungPhanboy (banned) (Posts: 765; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


I have actually held one. It is slippery. I have not tested the headphone quality but multiple sources say the same.

Also, you do realize 90% of these comments are based on what they have read, right? Regardless if they are praising or criticizing the device.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 13:33 2

73. SupermanayrB (Posts: 697; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


I guess we have different hand textures. I thought the edge+ would've felt better in hand but the Note 5 felt more secure to me. I'm still waiting to see what the Droid Turbo 2 will be like.

You're right about 90% of these comments based on what they've read.I used to work in wireless so I base my comments on personal experience.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 13:34 4

74. j2001m (Posts: 2993; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Why does phome arena keep making out they just removing the sd card reader just because they think it not needed, they a tech site

Crap stop saying this crap

Samsung as removed the sd card reader because they do no work with UFS and that all there is to it, nothing more and nothing less

I.e. If they added sd card support the phone will have been slower than the s6 100% and will have lagged bad after 2 months as they will have had to used emmc

They also removed the removable battery to get the size of the phone down big time and to make it smaller than the iPhone 6 plus and easy to hold

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 13:36

75. j2001m (Posts: 2993; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


The slow update was linked to the normal spen software adds due to the new ver of Google OS and also ver problems, nothing more and nothing less, they will support the + and the normal edge both way more than the note 5

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 13:38

76. j2001m (Posts: 2993; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Nope it used emmc that crap slow but offer sd card support, this at the same time lagged out the phone due to the way all sd card readers are linked to the phone, even without the sd card, just to be clear the sd card as nothing to with the speed problems, apart from even fast card go at the same speed in any phone

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 16:34 1

91. Trex95 (Posts: 987; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Agree with you caus it's true.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 19:02 1

96. ColinW (Posts: 174; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)


Not really, many users want a larger screen. Battery life is better on the Note 4 and 5 than an S6, not similar. It is good that Samsung have released two sizes of phones that are of similar build and quality to meet customer preferences.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 20:52 1

102. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 512; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)


I have to disagree. The Note is a different device for a reason. The stylus has additional functionality by software, rather than just being like a mouse to a PC. If you're purely basing off of specs, then you're buying the Note for the wrong reasons.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 21:44 3

107. nodes (Posts: 756; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


to me the problem is not slippery, but the fingerprint-and-smudge magnet and to top it of it is shiny.
i'm just still not sold with Samsung in term of design, to me it's not unique enough, LG, HTC, SONY have their own unique design language.

to say it's the best phone on the market is kinda hard,
i agree with you, yes, it's in Top 5.

posted on 18 Aug 2015, 22:24 3

110. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3513; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Yes they did, they learned not to use cheapo glass like on the iPhone. That's why the glassy S6 Edge is more durable than the tin-can aluminium iBend 6 (bit.ly/1KVu465)...

posted on 19 Aug 2015, 05:27

113. alex3run (Posts: 713; Member since: 18 May 2014)


Still plastic back is better in every aspect.

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 07:59 2

125. KRONeage (Posts: 144; Member since: 17 Apr 2011)


You are missing out on S-Pen and the fact this is the genuine King of Phablets. The fact is that Samsung's exclusive deal with Wacom and it Professional Quality Dual Touch and Stylus Digitizer are what have always set Note Series apart from the competition. While S6 might be right for you...... it's simply not even close to being equal to a Note Series phone in any way.... shape or form for these reasons!

Take away the many S-Pen features and it's latest software and hardware features, you would lose all the Creative and Artistic Production qualities it brought to smartphones first. It's still the King of Phablets because of these features. Features YOU may not need or want. Then that's fine for YOU...... sticking to cheaper, but just as high quality Galaxy S6. But..... for us who are die hard Note users, no phone or phablet on the market today even comes close!

I'm looking forward to trading in my Note 3 for a Note 5. The new features look to be outstanding additions. Using S-Pen with screen screen off for Notes, PDF Direct Write, Capturing full pages for inserting are just a few of the many new S-Pen features I'll be using most every day.

It's all in the utility and even more precise S-Pen input, that makes Note so irreplaceable for us Professionals and Artists, as well those into even greater Productivity with the absolute best Digital Stylus and Multitasking features available on any device available today! It's our Dreams coming to LIFE..... and even S6 can't beat it at that!!!

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 08:25

126. KRONeage (Posts: 144; Member since: 17 Apr 2011)


A Tech site........ maybe, but really knowledgeable Tech Writers are simply hard to come by. So many writers just follow the FUD and Misinformation Shills lead online, without any real knowledge of the technology behind so many features.

But part of the blame is also Samsung's for not explaining the fact you mention. Because yes indeed, SD cards can be read by eMMC memory controllers only, as UFS Memory can only be read by UFS 2.0 Memory Controllers. Which is like putting a Sata Hard Drive inside a smartphone, with dual channel, super fast simultaneous read and write features.

It's like putting a bicycle in a race against a Bugatti Veyron and the average writer and reader online just don't get that!!! ;-P

However..... Samsung is coming out with a cheaper Dual Sim version in some markets, without the Fast UFS 2.0 Memory and an MicroSD card Slot, for those who just want a fancy looking new Note without speed, still capable of using antiquated SD cards. That get lost easy, are hard to keep track of, easily corrupted, take 20 minutes to transfer a 4K video to and are still using M$'s 30yr old FAT/exFAT file system. Like PCI going to PCIe Note 5 is the first to bring us the FUTURE.... NOW!!!

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 08:54

128. bumblebeetuna (Posts: 20; Member since: 20 Aug 2015)


you just go around reposting this bs everywhere. it's not true. there's no sd because samsung didn't want to include it. it's not impossible to add and you would not have seen any degradation of speed if you opt to not use a card...you can just pay $10 a month for storage for the rest of your life..... 120 a year.... for what you could set up yourself with an old hard drive and the net or an sd card. good job, killer.

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 08:54

129. BKlip (Posts: 5; Member since: 19 Aug 2015)


That's one enthusiastic reply! Note 4 user here but I rarely use the S-Pen. So S6 Edge+ has been pre-ordered. More expensive, but much sexier (IMO).

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 08:56

130. bumblebeetuna (Posts: 20; Member since: 20 Aug 2015)


tinyurl(dot)com(slash)pqo8pcp

posted on 20 Aug 2015, 22:09

135. TSMan2 (banned) (Posts: 363; Member since: 20 Aug 2015)


"I rarely use the S-Pen"???
S-Pen has indispensable features. Even if you don't use S-Pen often
Just like the airbags of the cars

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Display5.7 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (518 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 7 Octa , Octa-core, 2100 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
4 GB RAM
Size6.03 x 3.00 x 0.30 inches
(153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm)
6.03 oz  (171 g)

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