x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5


For the third time in a row now, Samsung is putting out a shiny jewel of a flagship smartphone — a glass-and-metal sandwich with curvy sides, vibrant colors, and very reflective finishes. We are talking about the Galaxy S8 and its bigger variant — the Galaxy S8+ — of course. The latter is a phablet that sounds massive on paper — it has a 6.22-inch display, after all — but if you've been following the S8 announcements, you know that the phone's body size is impressively compact for the screen size.

But the Plus phones are not the only top-tier phablets Samsung has on the production line. There's also the Note family, which may have a tiny black spot on its reputation left by the Note 7, but there's still the perfectly good Note 5 out there — both on store shelves and in users' hands. So, with no other immediate relative, we have to ask — how does the 18-month-old Note 5 fare against the brand-new, futuristic-looking Galaxy S8+?


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

As we previously touched upon, the glass-on-metal build has been a mainstay in Samsung's design booklet for the past 2 years. So, even with the Galaxy Note 5, you get that shiny, premium look, and cool touch of metal as you press the phone's frame against your palm.

Obviously, the Galaxy S8+ has the most contemporary — or even futuristic — looks. With a dual-curved glass and an outstanding screen-to-body ratio, it's a jewel that looks fresh and desirable. But traditionalists may frown at the fact that Sammy's new flagships don't come in a flat screen variant. Sure, it looks lovely, but there are many out there who prefer a no-curve option. The Note 5 delivers just that — a nice, flat display. And, despite the fact that it's an 18-month-old design, its bezels are still pretty thin, even by today's standards.

Both devices' backs are curved to increase comfort in the palm, though, the Galaxy S8+ does feel thinner, more elegant, and more comfortable to hold. The new phablet also has a completely flush camera module, while the Note 5 still sports the camera hump, in case this bothers you.

The fingerprint scanner's position is also a noteworthy point here. With the S8, it was moved to the back, while on the Note 5, it's embedded in the physical home button on the front. Its positioning will definitely change the way you handle your phone in certain situations, so it's something to keep in mind.

The Galaxy S8+ has the more futuristic looks and a richer choice of colors, but the Note 5 isn't exactly obsolete. In fact, some might prefer its more conventional looks and handling.

Samsung Galaxy S8+
6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

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

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


Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung's Super AMOLED displays have been on top of the curve for a couple of years now. The Galaxy S8+ certainly has one of the best-looking screens ever put on a smartphone, but the Note 5 doesn't lag behind by much.

The stylus-equipped Note has a 5.7-inch display with a 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution. Needless to say, this makes for an incredibly crisp display with a pixel-per-inch density of 518. The freshly released S8+ rocks an Edge display, curved at both sides, with a diagonal of 6.2 inches. Its resolution is higher, with a total of 1440 x 2960 pixels glowing underneath its glass panel, making up for a 529 ppi density.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ - Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Samsung Galaxy S8+ vs Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

It's worth noting that there's a difference in display ratios — the Galaxy Note 5 sports the orthodox 16:9 ratio. It's basically the standard for most media you'd watch on your smartphone, and all games and apps are optimized for it since the majority of smartphones out there employ it. The Galaxy S8+ has an elongated screen, making the phone appear "tall" and giving it a ratio of 18.5:9.

Does this mean that the S8+ will distort your media and apps? Somewhat. Most apps adopt the new ratio just fine, but a lot of the games out there force the display in 16:9 mode, which puts two black bars on both sides of the screen, effectively wasting the real estate. When viewing video content, you have a button, which lets you choose between three scaling modes — original, stretch to fit, and crop to fit. So, you won't have your videos cropped unless you choose to, but you will have to get used to the black bars until the 2:1 ratio gets more widely adopted (if it does for video).

We do expect games and apps that don't shake hands with the widescreen ratio to be quickly fixed, since both Samsung and LG have pushed for its adoption with their highest class of devices. Developers will be hard-pressed not to update their apps accordingly.

The S8+'s tall screen excels when using the device in split screen mode, as there is more room for content from both visible apps. It's also great when browsing the web or reading any form of text. It feels much more spacious and creates the illusion that you are just holding a screen in your hand.

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 S8+ 565
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 470
View all

  • Options

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:24 1

1. Jimrod (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

I had a go with a Galaxy S8 last night for the first time last night after a friend bought one, as an iPhone SE user I was prepared to be impressed as I always hear such good things about them (I've used alternate year iPhones since the 3G and never felt a need to change - the closest was the HTC One M7 which I liked but still felt was too large).

I didn't have long with it but my first impressions were that the rear fingerprint scanner was doubly awkward - 1. Because it was on the back, quite high up, and 2. Something I've not heard mentioned, it's on the wrong side for a left-hander (like me). Surely lower and central made better sense? It's ergonomically poor.

Secondly I know people always rave about the camera - it seemed poor in low light, overblowing things so they didn't look natural, it brightened the scene too much. Colours were also far too strong - the blue reflection from a Sky Digital box power light that was reflecting on the wood floor dominated the picture yet was insignificant in reality. This would be with out-of-the-box settings so perhaps better if the OLED was turned to more natural colours. Also the image looked far better when taken - why is the preview image you see worse? Didn't make sense to me.

So first impressions not amazing, I'll have another go when she's got it all set up...

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:33 1

2. Jimrod (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

*I should add that despite my reservations about the fingerprint scanner, the iris scanner seemed to work fine and quickly with her. Not ideal for those who have a phone flat on a desk 90% of their day such as myself but not terrible.

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:42

4. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

"Also the image looked far better when taken - why is the preview image you see worse? Didn't make sense to me."

I'm not sure, but my guess is due to the screen mode? AFAIK Adaptive mode sets the screen color profile based on the app you're using, so I'm guessing that it sets a different color profile for the camera app and the gallery app, which is dumb if that's the case.
Not 100% sure though.
Have you tried setting the screen mode to "Basic"? That mode has VERY natural and accurate colors.

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:50

5. Jimrod (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

Could be right on that - she hadn't had her number ported over yet so hadn't set it up aside from moving her apps over. I'll definitely suggest basic mode as I've heard the same about it. The adaptive screen brightness seemed very heavy handed - it was fairly low light in the room (TV and a lamp), she turned it to minimum to take the piss out of how I have my phone (not quite that low but I'm not keen on a really bright screen!) and as soon as it faced towards the lamp the screen went very bright indeed. I'm not sure if you can calibrate that, she hadn't installed the new update yet either.

posted on 09 May 2017, 04:12 1

7. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Yes basic mode is very good, and definitely on par with the best LCDs out there in terms of accuracy (at least in the Galaxy Note 4, which was my last Samsung phone, pretty sure the newer ones are better)

Curious about your thoughts when you try it in that mode.

posted on 09 May 2017, 05:09 4

11. Zomer (Posts: 307; Member since: 31 May 2013)

iPhone (SE) user that isn't impressed with the Galaxy S8, damn you must be one of the biggest fanboys alive. Get a life.

posted on 09 May 2017, 05:17

12. Jimrod (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

If I were that much of a fanboy I wouldn't look at other options, I said they were my initial impressions. You're the one who seems to be hurt by them, maybe you're the fanboy? Do you prefer the awkward placement of a rear touch sensor off to one side or an easy to use one on the front? What was incorrect about my OPINION?

posted on 09 May 2017, 05:33 1

14. Tariq123 (Posts: 171; Member since: 15 May 2016)

Your reasoning seems fair, but would u consider G6? (And I like how u explained your reasons and didn't go "I used an Android once and ew, it was like complicated and apple is so simple, there were apps everywhere, no self control" lol)

posted on 09 May 2017, 05:44

15. Jimrod (Posts: 1447; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

I quite like the G6 (based on what I've seen, not had one to use), the only thing I'm not keen on with all these new phones is the size - I prefer to use the phone one-handed so even the iPhone 7/Galaxy 7 (non-edge) are about the limit of what I'd like to use really. I wish the manufacturer's would still make smaller flagships rather than going ever-larger! I remember the days when phones getting smaller was cool :D I'm thinking I'll see what the new iPhones are like later this year then make a decision on what to try then - especially if they're as expensive as predicted! I can afford them but principle would stop me spending $1000 (or £ equivalent) on a phone.

One thing I would say is do all Android phones seem to get a lot of ads while browsing the web? I saw my friend using her S6 Edge and it just seemed to be endless ads she was trying to close! She hasn't had much luck with that phone and terrible battery life + a permanent red line down the screen would have put me off getting another!

posted on 09 May 2017, 08:28 1

16. Macready (Posts: 1493; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)

No, there's no difference in ads. But Samsung does provide an optional ad blocker for its browser which is pretty cool.

posted on 10 May 2017, 04:56

23. Zomer (Posts: 307; Member since: 31 May 2013)

I switched from the iPhone 7 to the Galaxy S8 and when I take my dog out for a walk I can still use it with one hand: typing, browsing, etc. it's all fine.

posted on 11 May 2017, 12:53

25. paynekiller (Posts: 152; Member since: 24 May 2010)

size/ one handed use is the main reason I upgraded to the Galaxy S8, coming from a LG G5. Coming from a LG G4 prior to that and it was my worst experience as a one handed user, and I have relatively large hands. Developed this awkward (and over time stressful) way of gripping and balancing these phones by using my pinky underneath to support it... I disliked the size of the phone so much that I rushed to buy the G5, and it was not such a wise decision. I still don't find it very comfortable to use with one hand and I have to use it in a case since the material on it can strip.

Anyway, you can use the phone size comparison tool on this site to see how they match up, the S8 may be the narrowest phone in some time, and it feels great in the hand. The G6 is narrower than the G5, it should feel a little better, but for me it was not a major upgrade on my G5 software-wise, playing around with it in store for about 20 minutes it felt exactly like my current phone. The S8 offers me a lot more.
Hopefully when the Note 8 and iPhone 8 are detailed this doesn't feel like a rushed buy tho.. it shouldn't cause all I feel I'm really giving up is the dual camera, which I will surely miss.

posted on 09 May 2017, 08:35

18. Macready (Posts: 1493; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)

In my hand I prefer the sensor on the back as it's exactly placed where my index finger balances the phone. Your mileage obviously differs. On a flat surface a front placed scanner is obviously better.

I also have the facial scanner active for unlocking, which is much faster and less prone to failure than the iris unlock. So when the finger doesn't do it, it's already unlocked by my face. And smart lock prevents the phone from locking in my house (where I trust people around me) or when connected to my Gear Fit.

posted on 09 May 2017, 08:57

20. medtxa (Posts: 1341; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)

I always thought that fingerprint sensor is on the wrong side for right-hand user. first it's closer for left-hand handlling second less likely smudging camera.

posted on 09 May 2017, 10:30

21. Macready (Posts: 1493; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)

" Also the image looked far better when taken - why is the preview image you see worse?"

In low light this makes a lot of sense since it can use longer shutter speeds and/or combine several pictures for a better quality output, than it can for a live feed that you see as a preview. It's the same for any dedicated high end camera with a live feed off the main sensor.

In medium to good light, the preview does look like the picture taken on my S8.

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:41 2

3. Plasticsh1t (Posts: 2176; Member since: 01 Sep 2014)

I miss John V. Such a great guy.

posted on 09 May 2017, 03:51

6. phonehome (Posts: 811; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)

Miss the physical home button. Would gladly sacrifice the fraction of display real estate.

Also when visiting Verizon's webpage, the first phone shown is the S7. Can't be a coincidence.

posted on 09 May 2017, 04:29 2

8. sip1995 (Posts: 1687; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)

Give me a real reason to compare a 2015 phone with 2017 phone....WHY ?

posted on 09 May 2017, 04:47

9. phonehome (Posts: 811; Member since: 19 Dec 2014)

The more recent big-screen Samsung flagship is too hot to compare.

posted on 09 May 2017, 04:56 1

10. trojan_horse (Posts: 4927; Member since: 06 May 2016)

Maybe it's because the Galaxy Note 5 is still the latest phone from the Note series which can be bought worldwide.

posted on 09 May 2017, 05:20

13. NewroticSlob (Posts: 135; Member since: 09 May 2013)

Wonder if they'll do a comparison on the Note 7R vs Note 5? Or the 7R vs S8 series?

posted on 09 May 2017, 08:29

17. Amir123a (Posts: 84; Member since: 27 Aug 2016)

I love my note 5 even more now. Regardless, i'll upgrade my note 5 for note 10 or its rival. It should satisfy my needs until around note 10.

posted on 09 May 2017, 08:55

19. Eclectech (Posts: 253; Member since: 01 May 2013)

This whole article was written to embarrass the Galaxy Note 5 and shame current owners into upgrading.

posted on 09 May 2017, 14:41

22. jonsnow17 (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 May 2017)

lol phonearena ... how can you do a phone comparison when you don't even have both of them in your hand.

posted on 10 May 2017, 09:28

24. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14501; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Curious as to why the S8 is being compared to a 2 year old Note? Seems very dumb.

posted on 18 May 2017, 17:45

26. Tkvdogg (Posts: 12; Member since: 20 Oct 2014)

Ill Wait To See Note 8/9

posted on 25 May 2017, 08:46

27. detailphone (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 May 2017)

I prefer samsung galaxy note

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories