Introduction


Samsung has seemingly taken to heart the ever-rumbling complaints about their plasticky flagships, and has quietly been working towards a total overhaul of its phone line towards thin, premium and classy-looking handsets.

The newest Note5 phablet is no exception to this rule that got established with the Galaxy S6 before it, and it sports almost identical specs, too. Thus, we are pitting the 5.1” S6 and the 5.7” Note5 against each other to help you find out whether the phablet only has the big screen as an advantage on its side, or if there something else.

Design

The Note5 carries Samsung's new premium design tradition established with the S6.

While many were complaining about Samsung's all-plastic design paradigm until earlier this year, then continued complaining about its move to more premium, sealed bodies, Samsung had been quietly moving towards a silent revolution in the design of its phones, and of handsets in general. Besides introducing a metal-and-glass S6 that could be the envy of even more established premium chassis makers, it doubled down on the concept with the new Note5, improving on the high-end casing where it counts most on big-panel phones, the screen-to-body ratio. Carrying a 75%+ screen-to-phone-size ratio, the Note5 is one of the most compact 5.7" phone, despite the fact that, just like the Galaxy S6, it sports Samsung's now-obligatory fingerprint-reading home button.

This is not to say that the Note5 is still not a large handset – it is, and is, naturally, much harder to handle and operate with one hand than the 5.1” Galaxy S6, which sports a 70% screen-to-body ratio. The Galaxy S6 has edges that feel slightly sharper when held, while the Note5 feels more ergonomic and natural in the hand, if we discount the much larger size. The new S Pen stylus is tucked in the lower right corner, as usual, but this year's edition gives it an auto-eject overhaul – you simply push it in, and the sprint mechanism releases the stylus for easy take-out, so you don't have to fumble with your nails to push it out anymore.


Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches

143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

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



Display

The two remarkable displays are equals in most everything but screen diagonal.

The Note5 and S6 are equipped with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays of 5.7” and 5.1” sizes, respectively, making the record 577ppi pixel density count go down to 518ppi, though at these values there's hardly anyone able to tell the perceived difference in screen definition. Both displays are exhibiting the typical for AMOLED screens oversaturated, cold colors in the default Adaptive Display mode, but when you turn the screen to the Basic regime, color-calibration becomes much better, with credible presentation, and color temperature very near the reference white point. The lowest and maximum brightness levels are also excellent, which, coupled with the low screen reflectivity, contributes to the phones' good outdoor visibility. The viewing angles are very good, too, though tilting the phones even slightly shifts the colors way towards the colder side of the spectrum, as if you've switched to a different screen mode. You can operate the two panels with gloves on, as they have a high sensitivity switch tucked neatly in the display settings.


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