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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
RAM4GB (LPDDR4)
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.

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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.

Software

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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.

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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?

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
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