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Samsung Galaxy Note 5: what it packs and what it lacks

In this post we will focus on the things that make the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 special, as well as the lacking elements that could have made it an outstanding phone.

Published onAugust 14, 2015

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is going to be one of the most sought after handsets of 2015. It reached the market with high anticipation and made every fanboy go nuts. We spent some good time playing with it and even compared it to its main competitors. The dust has now settled, so it’s time to take a look back at the phone and see if it’s really what you want.

In this post we will focus on the things that make the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 special, as well as the lacking elements that could have made it an outstanding phone. Let’s start with what the phone is missing, shall we?


What the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 lacks

An identity

This may sound a bit harsh, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is just a larger copy of the Galaxy S6… with curves on the back. Samsung’s Note series has always differentiated itself from the Galaxy S line-up in many ways, but this is not the case this time around.

For starters, Galaxy Note handsets are always much more specced out than their smaller counterparts. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 5 both have a Samsung Exynos 7420 processor, they sport the same camera, pack very similar software and all other specs are very closely related.

Furthermore, the designs are pretty much identical, save for the larger size, back curves and S-Pen slot on the Galaxy Note 5. This was done on purpose, as Samsung is trying to move to a more premium build and better looks. The issue here is the are way too closely related, in every way. All other Notes looked significantly different from their Galaxy brethren, even if they were based on the smaller handsets.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (14 of 41)

A microSD card slot

Samsung devices have always been characterized by their storage flexibility, allowing you to use microSD cards while most other manufacturers took those rights away. Samsung did away with expandable storage when they released the Galaxy S6. And since the Note 5 is based on the S6, the same applies to the new phablet. No more microSD card slot for you!

A 128 GB storage option

Let’s touch base on this while we are on the topic of storage. What’s up with Samsung only giving us 32 GB and 64 GB memory options? Yes, 64 GB is plenty of room for most people, but not for everyone. If they won’t give us expandable storage, we should have at least gotten more choices. Samsung’s main competitor is Apple, and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 128 GB option (just let that sink in). Not only that, but the Galaxy S6 devices also have 128 GB options!

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (15 of 41)

A removable battery

Here’s another feature Samsung used to be famous for and they killed with their latest flagships. Removable batteries are important to many of us. The ability to carry multiple batteries and swap them on-the-go changes your whole experience! Battery life becomes much less of an issue. Not to mention, once that battery gets old you don’t have to jump through hurdles just to install a new one.

Even worse, the 3000 mAh battery here is actually a bit smaller than found in the Galaxy Note 4, though it is bigger than the Galaxy S6.

An IR blaster

This one may seem like a gimmick to some, but once you can replace your remote control with your smartphone, you really can’t go back. Some phones out there sport IR blasters, allowing them to control TVs, sound systems, cable boxes, stereos and more. I love using the LG G4 to control my entertainment system. Smart devices are great, and they will discard the need for infrared technology at some point, but we haven’t reached that milestone just yet. Please, give us them IR blasters!


What the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 packs

That S-Pen stylus!

Without a doubt, the famous S-Pen stylus is one of the most proclaimed features in the Galaxy Note series. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 also has it, and it has been improved. The pen now uses a spring release mechanism that can be used as an anxiety soothing tool (you can click it when you are bored). Yeah, yeah – some say it’s there to help you remove the pen from the device.

Samsung has refined the Air Command menu, making it much sleeker and aesthetically pleasing. Of course, you can still use Action Memo, Smart Select, Screen Write, S-Note and more. It’s still one of the best smartphone stylus pens we have seen hit the market.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (39 of 41)

The best smartphone camera in the industry

This is one area in which the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 won’t disappoint. It sports the same camera as the Samsung Galaxy S6, which in turn means it has the best smartphone camera in the industry. This 16 MP sensor with OIS (optical image stabilization) can produce some of the best images around, hands down. Here are some sample images from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (27 of 41)

A large, gorgeous screen

The screen is such an important part of the phone, and when it comes to offering a pleasant viewing experience Samsung has every single chess piece in the right place. Not only is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 sporting a sizable 5.7-inch display, but it happens to be one gorgeous screen!

As it goes with new flagships, the Note 5 screen touts a QHD 2560x1440p resolution. In addition, this happens to be a Super AMOLED display, a technology which is known for its vivid colors and deep blacks. It may not offer the most accurate colors, but they sure are the funnest and most striking.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (10 of 41)

Most sensors and technologies you can think of

Even though the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 doesn’t sport an IR blaster, that doesn’t mean the phone is not well connected. Samsung is known for its experimental habits and they tend to be very thorough in supporting all the awesome technologies out there. This thing is as loaded as phones get!

Aside from the usual things (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.), the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 also supports NFC, fast charging, wireless charging (WPC and PMA) and LTE Cat 6. In addition, users can take advantage of a fingerprint reader and a hear rate monitor.

samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (7 of 41)

A beautiful design

Sure, the Note 5 may lack an identity to some degree but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a sexy beast. The Galaxy S6 is easily one of the most attractive phones of 2015, and the Note 5 (and Edge+) join its ranks with a unibody glass design that truly is a looker.

Wrapping up

So there you have it, guys. Those are all the pros and cons of having a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Is the phone worth it? Well, that will depend on your priorities and preferences. Now that we have gone through these points, why don’t you hit the comments and tell us what you think of the Galaxy Note 5? Which of these points are important for you? Do you care much about the mentioned factors?