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Alleged photo "confirming" Galaxy Note 5 Dual's microSD support is likely the Galaxy A8
Samsung has been under intense scrutiny this year. Not from courts, not from Apple, not even from most tech journalists. Indeed it is consumers who seem to be the most angry with the Korean OEM, and for good reason: 2015 marks the first time that the company’s flagship halo products, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series, have eschewed support for longtime staples: a user-replaceable battery and support for microSD. The Note series in particular, has long been the go-to source for all things storage related; because of its large screen size, the phablet is ideal for watching movies, consuming media, and playing games, all things that will eventually max-out what is on-board.
In the past few hours, a story has been circulating around the web that is claiming “proof” the Galaxy Note 5 will include support for microSD. The evidence is the following picture:
This picture comes from a report by Chinese-language site and indeed the assertion coupled with the image above definitely imply that there is a big secret unearthed. Unfortunately, it looks like a typical case of “too good to be true”.
Despite the source’s “confirmation” and several other news channels are reporting as such, Samsung itself has yet to clarify the microSD assertion. On the other hand, the picture above looks exactly like the Galaxy A8, especially given the curve and shape of the frame; the Note 5 has a more abrupt slide on the side. Take a look:
While the Galaxy Note 5 arguably has a similar frame to the S6 Edge (just on the rear side), the A8 has a much different one. The picture in the center, the “leak”, looks an awful lot like the A8, especially considering the SIM card trays fall into place perfectly. This is further suggested by the placement of the SIM tray on the single-SIM Note 5:
While we don’t yet know where Samsung intends to place the SIM 2 tray, it’s possible that an elongated, single tray could be used that has room for both rather than a second, wholly independent tray.
What most likely happened is that the source of the story took existing rumors stating the Galaxy Note 5 Dual will include microSD, then found the “proof” picture and immediately made the correlation, perhaps unaware of the Galaxy A8.
Why would the Dual SIM variant have it?
Despite the rather sizable evidence that suggests this “confirmation” is little more than a hoax, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard talk suggesting the Note 5 Dual will support microSD. Granted that Samsung supporters in Europe are no doubt still reeling over learning the Note 5 won’t release in their territory this year. This new notion, however, would have the potential to substantially agitate a much, much larger segment of the global tech population, at least those that know about it. Assuming it were true, let’s consider just why Samsung might do such a thing:
Asia is home to two of the world’s most populated countries, China and India. Both of them, along with numerous others in the region, have economic and income issues that make purchasing products like the Galaxy Note 5 a very difficult payment proposition. We already know that the Note 5 will come in a 32GB and 64GB storage option, with the latter obviously commanding a higher price than the former. It would reasonably follow that for many would-be customers, the extra cost required to purchase the 64GB variant would make it even less feasible.
By including microSD support, Samsung could thus allow for users who purchase the 32GB model to still have more than enough space for all their media.
The sheer number of smartphone manufacturers in Asia is impressive, especially given how prominent many of them are becoming. China in particular, has Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, ZTE, Lenovo, and numerous others. India too, has its own local OEMs such as Micomax or YU. Many of these companies have long since been releasing products made with premium parts (glass or aluminum), support microSD, and cost significantly less than the flagships Samsung produces.
Simply put, Samsung would ideally need to include microSD in the Galaxy Note 5 Dual for the sole point of being competitive with rival products. This is all the more relevant given the higher price point: as nifty as the Note 5 might be, how many budget-conscious consumers are truly willing to part with potentially double or even triple the cash outlay just to get Samsung’s offering? All the more so if it offers less than the others.
Out of orbit (back down to Earth):
While the prospect of a Dual SIM Galaxy Note 5 would certainly make a lot of people very happy, it would also likely make so many more angry given the unavailability of the product in their country. While it’s still possible the product will be announced and include the missing functionality, given Samsung’s clear-and-divisive product strategy this year, the possibility seems quite small indeed.
Stranger things have been known to happen, but until they do -or at least until concrete proof is provided- it’s best to just accept reality for what it currently is: the Galaxy Note 5 does not, and most likely will never, support microSD.
The Galaxy Note 5 was announced earlier this week and includes a 5.7-inch QHD sAMOLED panel, an Exynos 7420 processor with 4GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage, a 16MP rear shooter with OIS, a 5MP front cam, a 3000mAh battery, and Android 5.1. Gone are staples like an IR blaster, microSD support, and a removable battery. For more details, please see our full coverage here.