samsung galaxy note 4 first impressions (8 of 20)

In the past, the Samsung Galaxy Note series has often been referred to as the Korean giant’s “real flagship”, largely due to the fact that the Note series generally had the best specs, arguably the best aesthetics, and is one of the phones the sets the tone for what to expect from Samsung, and the competition, in the following year.

The Note 4’s big contribution in pushing Samsung forward into 2015 was being the first major flagship from the company with a metal frame. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge took this concept even further, upping its game by melding glass and metal to form a design that stands out from the crowd.

Of course, the departure in design hasn’t been without sacrifices, with microSD and the removable battery both getting the ax.  Will Samsung make the same sacrifices and improvements with the Note 5, or will the Note series continue shaking up Samsung’s direction in late 2015 and into 2016? Obviously it is too early to know the answer to that, but let’s speculate on a few areas that Samsung could switch things up both from past Note devices and from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

For those curious about some of the early rumors surrounding the Galaxy Note 5, be sure to check out The Most Anticipated Phones of later 2015 for a rundown on alleged specs and more.

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Material Choice

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In recent years, Samsung hasn’t been afraid to experiment with differing materials with the Note series, instead of just following Samsung’s Galaxy S line. For example, when the Note 3 debuted with a faux leather plastic back, many expected to see something similar with the Galaxy S5. Instead, Samsung gave us a dimpled plastic back that is considered by many to have been a step backwards not forward.

Now in 2015, we have heard from many folks that assume that the Note 5 will get the glass/metal makeover that the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge featured. It certainly makes sense that Samsung would want to go this route, after all, the design has been well received and there’s something to be said for having product design consistency across all ranges. Still, it’s not impossible to think that Samsung would want to keep the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6/Edge as distinct from one another as possible to avoid canabilization (though the bigger screen and S-Pen are certainly a bit part of that strategy).

With that in mind, let’s run down some of the possible material choices that the Note 5 could go with:

Glass and metal: They have a hit, why mess with the formula?

Real leather: It seems less likely that Samsung would go down this path, especially since LG is already doing this with the LG G4. Still, there are many who like Samsung’s current faux leather look, but with plastic being a bit taboo for phones these days, going with real leather would allow Samsung to keep a similar direction but push the ‘premium’ factor a bit further.

Unibody metal: Samsung has already experimented with unibody metal, so why not apply this to their phablet flagship? If Samsung is really feeling bold, they could even go with a metal design that has a removable back. HTC has done it in the past, so Samsung could certainly pull it off if it wanted.

Kevlar: A kevlar back would be a first for Samsung, as far as we are aware. Kevlar isn’t nearly as popular as some of the other mentioned choices, but you never know.

Plastic: Samsung seems to want to leave behind its “plastic is fantastic” ideaology, so we’d be awfully surprised if plastic was the order of the day for the Note 5. Even if they did do this, we imagine they’d at least keep the metallic frame.

Display resolution and size

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When the original Note arrived on scene it packed a then-massive 5.3-inch display with a resolution of just 800 x 1280, and it was followed by another size upgrade to 5.5-inches with the Note 2, and finally to 5.7-inches with the Note 3. The Note 4 kept the Note 3 display size, but it did make the move to QHD. For the Note 5, Samsung could go several different routes.

The rumor mill currently suggests that the Korean giant is currently testing both 2K and 4K resolutions for the upcoming Note, and has yet to settle for one over the other. The advantages of a QHD display are already questioned by some, and so it makes sense that Samsung might want to keep the resolution where it’s at, instead focusing on improving viewing angles and other aspects of the display experience. On the other hand, jumping to 4K would likely make Samsung one of the first major OEMs to offer a 4K smartphone, if not the only OEM.

As for display size? 5.7 seems to be the sweet spot for phablet lovers, with even the next Nexus rumored to be adopting this screen size. Still, 6+ phones are less of an oddity these days, and so it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Samsung move the screen size somewhere between 5.8 and 6.0-inches.

Curves for everyone

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At least one rumor says that the Note 5 will debut alongside a new Note Edge, this time with dual curves and possibly different spec’s and screen size when compared to the Note 5. It’s hard to say if that claim has any legitimacy to it, but one thing is certain: the GS6 Edge’s dual curve design has been really well received, better than even the standard Galaxy S6.

What if Samsung decided to offer the Note 5 with dual curves, and no ‘standard display’ option?  Considering the production isseus already seen just from the S6 Edge variant, this seems pretty unlikely. Not to mention such a move would risk alienating Note fans that don’t enjoy curved displays.

MicroSD, removable back, and removable battery

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Okay, this wouldn’t be something new for the Galaxy Note series, but it would be a different approach than we saw with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Casual consumers, in particular, seem to be perfectly fine with the removal of these features, but the Note series is generally favored by more power user types. Perhaps Samsung will keep the removable back, battery, and microSD in order to appeal to these types of users?

That’s just four ‘out of the box’ approaches that Samsung could go with in order to set the Note 5 apart from the competition, as well as the Galaxy S6 family. Some of the suggestions above are pretty unpractical, but remember this post was just for fun. Any other unique ideas you’d like to see the Note 5 embrace? Let us know about them in the comments!

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