Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has the third best smartphone camera according to DxOMark

by: John DyeDecember 31, 2015

samsung galaxy note 5 review aa (9 of 32)

While it’s no secret that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a pretty stellar camera, its quality has now been made official. DxOMark has declared that everyone’s ‘phavorite phablet’ has the third best smartphone camera currently on the market.

DxOMark is something of a touchstone resource for image quality comparisons.  Their analysis of camera quality of devices across the board is widely regarded as both thorough and unbiased. They’ve given the Galaxy Note 5’s camera a score of 86, ranking just below the tied-for-first camera cappos: the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the Sony Xperia Z5. The pair eked out the win by a hair’s breadth with an 87 each.


What makes the Galaxy Note 5’s camera so outstanding? DxOMark points to the 16 MP rear shooter’s ability to maintain balanced contrast and exposure regardless of whether or not lighting conditions are ideal. The Note 5 has a built-in feature that detects when high-light situations would result in overexposure and activates its HDR mode to ensure that details are retained in both shadows and highlights. They do note that some whites come out a little bit “yellow/pink” in low lighting conditions, however.

Galaxy Note 5 Camera Detail

In terms of detail retention in general, the Note 5 scores very high marks, delivering some of the finest clarity that DxOMark has seen in smartphones to-date. The only area in which the camera flags a bit is in large, single-color areas – like the sky. Shots with broad areas without color variation do come out with a bit of noise in them. However, in lower lighting conditions, detail isn’t compromised at all.

Galaxy Note 5 Camera Detail Low Light

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 looks like it’s got some staying power to continue to be competitive through 2016 and beyond. Although it doesn’t often feel like a spec’ed out power device, it has proven to have not only provide smooth and reliable performance on a gorgeous 5.7-inch AMOLED display, but it also boasts the kind of software and design elements that make interacting with it a very natural experience. And if you’re looking for a smartphone to make a run at replacing your digital camera, look no further.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Are you a Galaxy Note 5 owner? What has your experience been with its camera quality so far? Is your reaction in-line with DxOMark’s analysis, or did the quality leave something to be desired? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next: Best unlocked Android phones (December 2015)



  • rock1m1

    Samsung improved on their software A LOT. I am very interested to see what they have in store for next year, especially if the rumors of Google helping them tighten things up holds true.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Google IS NOT helping them . Google just agreed at last to make the Android core changes that Samsung suggested.

      So, Samsung is helping Android. Again.
      The US propaganda turned it upside down, though. That’s understandable. LOL

      • Phillip

        Good points like it are not samsung is the big dog in the android world . It’s to goggle best interest to work with samsung cause what’s good for Sammy is good for android in a long run

        • The-Sailor-Man

          Samsung is big dog in the tech world. Android is just a part of the Samsung world. And the main part of the Android world. Get it right.

          • dude

            pretty sure android is a part of the google world. “And the main part of the Android world” thats exactly what he said “samsung is the big dog in the android world”
            you are riding too hard

      • Patrick Smithopolis

        They’re helping each other out. They need to throw cold water on Apple.

        • The-Sailor-Man

          They already had thrown cold water on Apple, but the US propaganda still try bashing Samsung because Samsung not US company and even in this case they try to make it like Google is ‘helping’ Samsung.
          It’s so pathetic.

          • Scr-U-gle

            Very funny, you lap up the propaganda, all $14.5bn a year of it.

  • Max Fireman

    How is the edge s6 plus ranked better when they are exactly the same camera?

    • Dilshan

      My question exactly

    • They ship with different sensors. This was even the case with the Note 4. One has an ISOCELL and the other is a Sony sensor. That could be the reason why.

      • RiTCHiE

        guess thats why the z5 and s6 edge win with a sony sensor :)

    • Rahula Sky

      actually it only with the autofocus in video that it lacks one point whereas its a tie between sony z5 premium

    • Rahula Sky

      With a DxOMark Mobile score of 87-points, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus ties for best score on our database alongside the Sony XPeria Z5. Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone just edges out its sister model, Galaxy S6 Edge, which now sit in 2nd place with a DxOMark Mobile score of 86-points. These Samsung and Sony top of the range devices are setting a new standard for mobile image quality.They’ve given the Galaxy Note 5’s camera a score of 8

    • Scr-U-gle

      Dxo accept payment for rankings, that’s why a terrible camera from Nikon managed to be rated one of the best while an excellent Hasselblad medium format is ranked lower for tonal range and image quality.

      Dxo means nothing except an indication of marketing budgets.

  • Mark Simrow

    To bad they didn’t test the Lg V10, i would have liked to see how well it did.

    • tyger11

      I’m under the impression the V10 has the same camera module as the G4, so it should be identical in that regard. V10’s brilliance over the G4 is in the software for image quality, but hardware-wise, its audio ability is what is leaps and bounds over anything else, especially with the multi-microphone setup and high quality amps, etc.

  • 404

    All the Galaxy S6’s and the Note 5 should be grouped together

    • Phillip

      Why would they be grouped together thereally different phones in a lot of was and samsung used to different sensors . You’ll have to except the fact that samsung knows a thing are two about cameras . That even might apple has to admit

  • Gary Hicks

    Should have tested the Huawei Nexus 6P!

    • wrkerr

      They have, and its rated very well, though slightly inferior to the Note 5.

      Personally, I still think the software experience on the Nexus, not to mention the price, make it the overall winner.

    • Halo

      Meh, 6P turned out to mediocre in real life evaluations. The scores might appear to indicate the 6P to be a step behind the Note 5, but in real life it’s actually quite noticeably inferior. It’s not terrible, but you can do a lot better.

      • Diefanbluehard

        “It’s very very good, but you could do a little bit better” ftfy

  • Username123

    Love it, I had the note 2, the note 3, and just jumped to the note 5. I sincerely thought eh there cant be that much more improvement on anything else, I really wanted the ultra low power consumption mode and Samsung pay. I have to agree whole heartedly with this article. I am in no way an expert however there is a pro mode on the Samsung camera app and in there you can really leave the shutter open for quite a while with exposure adjustment. In the past exposure value seemed kind of just gimmicky but with this note 5 camera you can really open it up in low light, if you have a note 5 go try it out its pretty cool. Again I’m not a pro or a photographer just regular guy but you’ll be happy with this device/camera combo.

  • Phillip

    One more reason I chose the gs6 edge plus this camera is amazing. I’ve had two apple iPhone buddies change over because of the camera

  • Karly Johnston

    In daylight no camera outperforms the Note 5. When the sun goes down there are several that do better.

  • Yo daddy

    Tied for third with the nexus 6p that’s hard for me to believe. Nexus 6p camera is a improvement over last year but using the camera it was just ok . Note 5 camera blew me away not even on the same level .

    • Bryan

      That left me scratching my head too. The Nexus 6p’s camera, while not the worst, is somewhat mediocre.
      Nexuses are usually not worthy of the flagship moniker.

      • Diefanbluehard

        But their cameras are just as good. You can’t just say Nexus don’t have good cameras anymore. They’ve been tested and are right up there.

        • William Ross

          It kinda cracks me up how butt hurt Sammy owners get when their phones can’t be the absolute best. Truth be told I’d never buy one after being exposed to the smoothness of nexus devices. And I’ll never wait 3 to 6 months again to get updates. IMO, having the latest software is one of the most important things these devices have.

      • William Ross

        The nexus 6p camera is every bit as good as the Samsungs. It can’t keep up with their video quality, but the HDR mode on the 6P is top flight. To call it mediocre sounds like someone who hasn’t seen the camera in action!

        • LiterofCola

          it is mediocre, deal with it

          • William Ross

            I’m dealing with it just fine! Lol! Another butt hurt Sammy guy, why are Sammy egos so fragile? I suppose the constant battle that you think you’re in with Apple makes y’all manic! Lookie here! Apple don’t givafuk about Sammy! They’re killing Sammy in all aspects especially when it comes to total units sold. You’re forever donned little brother! Get over it! When is the last time you’ve seen Apple feature a Sammy in a commercial? Never! You Damn right! You know why? Because, Apple is the one to beat, not Sammy!

            I sit here in a love affair with my Nexus 6P while being completely content that having the best smart phone isn’t necessary. It’s the best for me and I’m good with that! However Sammy guys can’t be content because they constantly feel the need to defend themselves…It can’t feel good to always be butt hurt! If you don’t like the feeling, just go get the Damn iPhone and be satisfied that you’ll then be the guy to beat!

            Sammy guys rarely take the side of Android, they despise anything other than Sammy, when, in fact, we’re all Android. And, many of us are loving it.

          • Theodore Bagwell

            You seem to be the butt hurt one, otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to bring down Samsung owners.
            Enjoy your device and move on with your life.

    • Vernell

      Same here the note 5 pictures come out so crisp its hard to really compare any other phone besides the g4

  • Qasim57

    But the S6 Edge plus and Note 5 have the same camera.

    The tiny difference on their scores might be due to other factors, slightly different images, angles etc.

  • The-Sailor-Man


    Again bashing Samsung article here in AA. Why wonder though? LOL
    For those that think I’m over reacting see this:

    1. The headline – It’s not about that Samsung offer THE BEST smartphone camera in the world(S6 Edge Plus), but mention ONLY that is the third. WOW so pathetic. Right?
    2 The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the Sony Xperia Z5 have same score, and Note 5 got one small point down in this particular test(?). Right? In all competitions in the world such result will call Note 5 camera THE SECOND. And that’s how it is in this case. But not for AA. They would call iPhone THE SECOND , though if iPhone score like Note 5 . Right?
    3. Every unbiased media would write headline- ‘Samsung high-end smartphone camera hase proved to be the best in the world’ , but not AA
    4. Galaxy S6 also has 86 points
    5. Where are the others? Where is Samsung?
    I was ROFL at this:
    “Are you a Galaxy Note 5 owner? What has your experience been with its camera quality so far? Is your reaction in-line with DxOMark’s analysis, or did the quality leave something to be desired? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!” Try harder:)
    HAPPY NEW YEAR AA! And to you John. You are the man!

    • Daggett Beaver

      “or did the quality leave something to be desired?”

      Yeah, that’s known as subtly “poisoning the well” (although, IMO, it’s not subtle at all).

      I love to read surveys designed like this. I imagine many webzine surveys would read like this these days:

      Q. Are you upgrading to the Nexus 6P? If not, why not? WTF is wrong with you?

      • Opposum

        totally agree about the 6P.
        So much hype and praising articles about a typical nexus phone, and an ugly one at that.
        Stock android should not be treated as the Holy Grail anymore.
        Bunch of OEMs use light skins, offer two year update cycle, sometimes even more.
        Other than the famous stock android i just cant see the 6P outperforming the Z5 or the S6 in any way.

    • Opposum

      if unbiased media would write the headline “Samsung smartphone has proved best in the world” they would be even more biased than AA is. Samsung simply does not have the best camera , it is tied with the Z5/P. Simple as that.
      There are 2(two) better camears than the one on the Note5 out there – S6+ and Z5 so it is indeed the third best.
      So the proper headline should be ” Sony and Samsung have the best smartphone cameras in the world”
      And quite frankly , AA staff is full of Samsung fanboys and Sony haters, i don´t know whats the big fuss anyway.
      If any fans of a certain brand should be whining about biased crap headlines and tests it´s Xperia fans. I mean just look at AA´s review of the Z5 done by the new girl. absolute disgrace of an article, obvious bias and nitpicking. Than the camera shootouts, where they deliberately handicapped the Z5 etc etc.

      • Opposum

        correction *” samsung smartphone camera has proved the best in the world” *

  • Ibrahim Mansoor

    I used note 3 and jumped to note 5. Experience in note 5 is premium. I love every bit of it. Camera is smooth and picture comes out with hight quality.
    I do not want to compare with other models as I have not tested them.
    I still have a old buddy Sony z. I still love the camera of z for its color and picture quality. I have tested z1 to Z3 still I can’t rate them over z though it has high hardware components. I have not experienced z5 till date so no comments.

    • BarKohba

      If you just said that the z1 and z3 cannot be rated better than the original z you must be either crazy or blind. I had them all. The original z actually had a pretty crappy camera. The z1 was ok-ish, and its since the z2 that the cameras really started to shine and be in the same leaguea as the best. Seriously, I dunno what you re talking about. The Xperia z had a mediocre camera for its time. Now, its proper shit.

      • Ibrahim Mansoor

        Don’t show your stupid attitude. I said what I experience. I know what you have inherited. I am sorry for that. Don’t insult your parents.

  • Mitchell O’Briant

    I love the images I can capture with my note 5 and often have people asking me to email the raw image to them.

  • s2weden2000

    that’s right!

  • Kin

    I thought that G4 got one of the best camera

  • BarKohba

    Which raises the question: why would you ever buy a samsung over a Sony (besides lacking us availability, which is a dumb move by Sony), as far as the devices are concerned? I own a Sony z5. I tried out all samsungs, as a lot of my friends have them. The menus and the color schemes they use give me a headache, the ui sometimes lags, the whites appear too yellow, that hind camera bump plus “heartrate sensor” break the design (which is heavily Sony influenced if you compare both companies smartphone design evolution). It has too many phisical buttons as compared to the flush face of the Zs, and yet no dedicated discreet 2 step cammera shutter. Not waterproof and no SD slot (vs z5). What is it that makes people not buy a z5 and buy an s6 or any flagship Samsung besides superficial aggresive marketing for the masses? I know at the end of the day its mostly a subjective choice, but technically and visually I can see no reason why when analyzing these models one would buy a samsung.

    • Diefanbluehard

      Workers at all of the carriers push Samsung on people.. And iPhone of course. I agree, Ony should be in Samsung’s place in phones as well as TVs.

    • LiterofCola

      Yup! Had the Z3, loved it. Now I have the Nexus 6p and while it is a good phone, I’m going back to Sony when the Z6 rolls out

    • John R

      I wanted to buy the Sony Z5 since they announced it back in September, it’s now January and it still hasn’t been released in the US. Samsung on the other hand released the Note 5 a week after the announcement I believe, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why people buy Samsung over Sony. I know I could buy the Z5 from an online retailer, but I don’t want to risk not having warranty.

    • JP

      Because S6 has a superior screen (AMOLED vs IPS) , because it has a faster processor , because Sony’s design feels so old and dated (essentially same since the first Z handset) and because Samsung for a lot of people makes the best android flagship phones and is the only manufacturer that can rival Apple in terms of brand name.

    • FYLegend21

      I own a Z5 and I feel like my HTC was much faster to take pictures. There’s always a split-second between taking a picture and it actually being captured on the Z5. Also, Z5’s post-processing can be too aggressive at times and I wish there was RAW support and burst shooting. It’s still very good image quality though.

      @John R yes a warranty is very important for the Z5. So many Z5 units (also Compact and Premium) have lens blur on the left side. I bought mine in Taiwan and had to get it repaired as I couldn’t exchange it. Fortunately Sony Taiwan’s service is pretty quick but you need to show them samples of the problem or else they will take days unable to troubleshoot the issue (but the actual repair only took 2-3 hours).

  • Rob

    I love the camera on my Note 5 although it doesn’t do so well with those energy efficient lights. Reds get completely blown out and the whole image gains a tannish tint. Proper lighting though, the pictures are spectacular and the shutter speed is mind blowing. I have a Canon PowerShot G16 and it takes a lot of manual tweaking to pull the picture quality of my Note 5 on auto.

  • Diego

    Remember, The best camera is the one you have.

  • Kevin Chenard

    My note 5 camera sucks….always grainy and when I hit the button to take the pic, it goes out of focus.

    • Daggett Beaver

      Ah, you got the Note 5B, the model designed for Samsung haters. Everyone else got the regular Note 5.

      • Kevin Chenard


      • Love it lol

      • Kevin Chenard

        I don’t hate I congratulate

  • San Sha

    I had my Note 5 for 3 months and the camera is fantastic. I use the camera to do fireworks on habour bridge in sydney and the photos are awosome.

  • Love the note 5 camera a lot. Like my nexus 6p better though. Not by much tho.