Samsung Galaxy Note 5 officially announced: what you need to know

by: Andrew GrushAugust 13, 2015
samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (27 of 41)

Earlier this year, Samsung shocked the world with the introduction of a revamped design language for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. While the new language retained the iconic home button and some of Samsung’s other signature elements, it swapped out the plastic-y body in favor of a unibody glass design that took aesthetics to a whole new level. Shortly after the Galaxy S6’s debut, the world wondered if the Note 5 would follow the S6’ design changes or if Samsung had something else planned for the big-screened device.

We originally believed the answer to that question wouldn’t come until later this year at IFA, but further breaking tradition, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus have now been formally announced at a special Unpacked event in New York City. We were able to get some time with the Galaxy Note 5 ahead of today’s launch event and will be bringing you hands-on impressions and plenty of device comparisons as well. In the meantime, let’s take a quick overview of what’s new with the Note 5.

Design and Specs

Display5.7-inch Super AMOLED
2560 x 1440 resolution
ProcessorExynos 7420
Storage32/64 GB
Camera16 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS + GLONASS
NetworksLTE cat 6 300/50
Battery3,000 mAh
Fast charging
WPC and PMA-compatible wireless charging
SoftwareAndroid 5.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz
Dimensions153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm, 171g
Colorsblack sapphire, white pearl, gold platinum

In many ways, the Galaxy Note 5 feels like a blown-up version of the Galaxy S6, sporting the same glass-clad looks, while making the same sacrifices. That means for those that were hoping that the Note 5 would offer microSD and a removable back, we have some bad news.

In terms of specs, the Note 5 is powered by an Exynos 7420 processor with 4GB RAM. On paper you’ll find the same 5.7-inch QHD display as the Note 4, though we imagine there are at least some minor differences. On the camera front you get a 16MP rear shooter with OIS, a 5MP front cam, and your choice of either 32 or 64GB storage. Oddly enough, Samsung has opted not to include an 128GB model, despite its presence on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. This seems like at least a little of a misstep for a phone without a microSD card slot, but only time will tell how big of a deal this proves to be for consumers.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (38 of 41)

On the battery front we get a 3000 mAh non-removable battery, which is a small step backward from the 3220 mAh battery found in its predecessor. At this point, it is impossible to say how much of a real life difference, if any, this will make on actual day-to-day battery life.

Just as we saw with the Galaxy S6, Samsung intends to make up for the smaller battery by adding wireless charging that is compatible with both WPC and PMA standards, as well as support for quick charging technology.


samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (13 of 41)

Just as we saw with the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Note 5 offers a slimmed down TouchWiz experience that feels lighter and snappier than the software on the Note 4. Gone is much of the bloat and pre-loaded apps found on past Note and Galaxy devices, though the general aesthetics of TouchWiz remain largely the same as ever.

Of course, the software experience isn’t without its additions. Samsung has actually brought a number of changes to the S-Pen software experience. Most specifically, the Air Command menu has been redesigned to give it a much more refined look. As for the shortcuts, you’ll find Action Memo, Smart select, Screen Write, S Note, settings, and Instagram. The S Pen apps themselves have also been modified a bit. For example, screen write now is called scroll capture, which lets you take snapshots of a webpage to make a long one.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (22 of 41)

There’s also a new handy quick note mode, that lets you take out the S Pen when the phone is locked. The screen will then let up just enough to give a black slate to scribble down a quick note. We’re sure there are at least a few other key differences in the software, though you’ll have to wait for our hands-on to get an even better picture of what to expect on this front.

Expected Availability

The Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus will go on pre-order from today in the US (all major carriers) and will begin shipping from August 20. As for the price, it’s hard to say for sure at this time, though we’ll be sure to update you as soon as we learn more.

For those in other markets, we’d expect to see the Note 5 around the same timeframe, unless you’re in the UK. While details are scarce, Samsung reps have confirmed the Note 5 will apparently not be coming to the UK in 2015. The reasons for this decision are currently unknown but we’ll try to reach out for more clarification.

More Coverage

Be sure to check out our other great Samsung Note 5 coverage for an even better look at what to expect:

What do you think of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5? Everything you were hoping for? Any disappointments?

  • Nátrium-tioszulfát

    Is it inherited the legendary Samsung-like memory usage problems like the S4, S5, S6, Note 3, Note 4?

    • KUSH

      Nobody seems to be talking about this and this is the only thing I care about. Forget all the specs and 4gb RAM if its useless and the OS is shit. Somebody please tell me how the memory management is on this thing!

  • Miguel SGTC Monteiro

    honestly the Note 4 looked much better than this in my opinion that plus the lack of expandable storage really put me off this phone. I’ll wait for the Note 5 ahah

  • tony

    yeah i’ve completely lost interest…except maybe the keyboard.

  • TheGreatDroid

    So, on top of even ignoring SD storage, no 128 gig version either..Sammy fanboys be like “Yeah, this S6 ripoff is still a ‘productivity’ device because it has a fancy stylus on!!”.

  • Freddy Born

    3000mah? thats a typo, right?

  • Klattu

    No MicroSD equals no sale for me. Hopefully the note 6 will have one.

  • Amigo_URSO

    really? no 128g avaiable? What are you doing samsung…

  • Lars Lundby

    No removable battery, no SD slot, no money for Samsung :-( waiting for note 6

  • mostcallmerob

    No 128GB option in addition to no SD expansion, a SMALLER battery with no removable battery, what the hell are you doing Samsung?! Stop trying to be Apple.

    • jendrush

      They listen… and they do something opposite.

  • It’s like saying indirectly, ‘go! get the Note4’. Thank you Sammy for supporting my decision with my 10days old Note4.

    • Asif Hasan

      Still a great purchase. Note 4 is really the way to go if you value micro SD and removable battery.

  • Azrael

    Severely disappointed. I don’t understand how they’re going backwards with features. No SD Card slot, no removable battery, a smaller battery and to add insult you can’t even get a 128 gig version but the S6 has it. It’s not even a flagship anymore. Talk about dropping the ball. Looks like it’s the Motorola Style, new Nexus, or even hell the next iteration of the iPhone for me.

    • jendrush

      This doesn’t look like Note anymore…

  • Romeo Bucur

    Funny thing how just a few years ago Iphone users wew named “wall huggers” because of the short battery life of their Iphones.. and now Samsung is creating it’s own wall hugging comunity.. with the S6 and Note 5.. I am.. and will remain.. a Note 4 user.. yes.. improve the design and the build quality.. but not at the expense of a removable battery or sd card slot..

    • shivansh

      Still I phones gives better battery life than these Samsung phones coz of better optimization.

      • sonybru

        That’s not true. My friend has the ihone 6 and she’s always charging it and she’s mainly a texter. Samsungs have better battery life. no one is arguing that.

        • TheBagging Man

          You should be comparing the battery life of the note and the iPhone 6 plus.

        • Btort

          I had a iphone 6 for a few weeks, she must have not optimized everything and turned off auto syncing (fetching) on the iphone 6. an optimized iphone 6 ALMOST lasted as long as my Note 4 (4 hours screen on time or longer with 1 day of battery) with a custom rom and great standby time. or your friend is just an idiot who doesn’t know how to tweak her phone

          • sonybru

            I have a Note 4 right now. Her phone doesn’t last longer than mine. No way. I’m calling bs.

          • Btort

            I never said it lasted longer than my Note 4, I’m saying it’s ridiculous it even get’s close to 80-85% of the battery life I get on my note 4 with 3-4 hours of screen on time CONSIDERING the iphone 6’s small battery (1800mah?) compared to our note 4’s humongous battery (which is even bigger than the NOTE 5 smh)

          • sonybru

            The iPhone 6 isn’t even 1080p and the Note 4 is 2k. And it doesn’t have as many features and sensors so that’s not amazing. It’s not software wizardry, it’s simple hardware.

          • Btort

            yeah my note 4 has a bunch of features nobody really uses. Is 2k needed on a phone? you can barely tell on such a small screen. They could have had better battery life if they kept the note at 1080p. I wasn’t talking about other features, just the battery life. Obviously android has many and better features than iphones, that’s why it’s my main OS

        • mobilemann

          actually, nothing beats iOS standby, and iOS 9 is incredible. I think it’s going to be like snow leopard for macs, just faster, uses much less power, and crashes less.

      • Asif Hasan

        That’s BS, dude. Don’t believe that. I have seen that “optimisation” excuse is really overused.

        • An Droid

          Judging by your comment you probably don’t own a S6. My Edge gives me similar battery life than my S5 did, being 12 to 13 hours during a work day with phone calls, sms, a bit of browsing and even some music. 10 minutes on the fast charger, and it lasts until bedtime. CPU and screen are optimised for power efficiency, and it’s noticeable.

          • Romeo Bucur

            Do you know how much time takes me to charge from 0 to 100 % my Note 4 ? Well.. just about 1 minute.. cause i have a desk charger with a spare battery… no matter how fast your S6 – Note 5 will charge, wired or wireles.. you can’t beat that.. EVER !

            If you wanna pay the price for the design that way, it’s your phone, your life, your business.. i simply will not.

          • Btort

            Note 4 is MUCH better than the note 5, other than the new touchwiz…..that’s the only thing the note 5 has over the 4 that’s better. I actually like the note 4 design better

        • Btort

          iOS DOES have great battery life considering their low specs….it also has better standby time. My note 4 regularly had 1 days worth of battery life and 4 hours screen on time or 3 hours screen on time if I was on it ALL DAY) sometimes the iphone 6 4.7 lasted ALMOST as long. with how low spec’d the iphone 6 was, it shouldn’t even get CLOSE to those numbers. (when I had an iphone 6 for a week)

  • Manny Paras

    I hope Samsung reads Android Authority and see all the comments here. THE CONSUMERS ARE VERY DISAPPOINTED! First with S6, now with Note 5.

  • Joseph Brown

    Samsung’s aiming to grab IPhone customers and will likely add a 128gb version later. It’s a shame. The Note 4 is already a winner so all they had to do was improve on it. I wanted to give my wife the Note 4 but it looks like I’ll be keeping it a little longer, until I find a worthy replacement.

  • Tets

    Bye Samsung, if you wanted out of the android phone competition you are doing a great job. S1, S2, Note 2 and Note 4 owner here. I won’t even jump on board with the Note 6 if you make amends. I will ride my awesome Note 4 for another year and find greener pastures. My Note 4 has well over 100gb of storage and 2 3220 mah batteries and 2 8000 mah batteries that I can swap at any time. Lets see the inevitable headlines in a few months how the Note 5 did not sell as well as expected… I have no idea why?! *sarcasm*

  • I call for the formation of a junta – investigate and try the Samsung designers. This is economic sabotage.

    • TheGreatDroid

      No you misunderstood. Samsung was most probably scared of the EU suing it over market dominance like google so it purposely released two of the shittiest devices it could to give the competition a chance. Good guy samsung, everyone just seems to misunderstand it.

  • shivansh

    Poor, sorry Samsung i am not at all impress.

  • Christian

    This reminds me of when I had the s4 and the s5 came out!! Upgrade is Too similar ! I don’t understand Samsung why are u making phones that look like iPhone and loose important the appeal of micro SD well I will be sticking to my note 4!!! Seems like a downgrade. Why is glass so important? when most people will put the phone in a protective case anyways

  • Karsus

    My first reaction: Looks ugly… Not a fan of iPhones either, but this is somehow shittier looking in a different way.

    And sacrificing their own strengths to copy Apple… They seem to be suffering from their usual lack of intelligence. Its a wonder Samsung makes any successful products at all.

  • Sulley Alsaeed

    I think the note 5 is great. if you want a removable back and SD card expansion then get the note 4, its still the best phone in that category. For those that want design, wireless charging, samsung pay, and better optimization (exynos) the note 5 and s6edge+. Its 2015 join the cloud era already.

  • Giovonni Fareed

    NO IR BLASTER!!! whoever is making these decisions needs to be fired!

  • An Droid
  • Joe Knaggs

    This is no Note, This is an S6+

  • Bobby Phoenix

    No IR? I use my Note 3 as my TV remote.

  • AndroidBrian

    Fuck!!!!!!!!!!! Smaller battery. No SD card & no removable battery. FU Samsung.

  • Isaac

    I don’t give a sh!t about the SD card and removable battery, BUT why they used 3000 battery?? Also why they used the same processor for S6?!

  • Nerdologist Jon

    i can’t imagine using the note line without a micro sd card. i have slowly moved everything over to the cloud but with all my little projects having the micro sd card comes in handy, especially when recording video, making edits and also other various little projects. just that comfort of knowing i have actual physical storage readily available to me is always great.

  • jd

    Sad. From nothing, to a big competitor, now it looks like Samsung is losing their way again. Now the smaller upstarts are offering devices with bleeding edge specs for less. Oh well. I’ll enjoy my LG G4 with smoother response, removable battery and storage. Bye Samsung

  • Алек

    I’ve been such a Samsunger for years that my family and friends now all use Samsung smartphones, myself on Note4, but with Note5 I guess Samsung chapter is closed for me.