Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Full Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Full Review

Not since 2012, Has a Note so closely resembled its mainstream cousin. The Galaxy Note 5 takes its design cues directly from the Galaxy S6 family. With a Gorilla Glass back cover, curling into a mid plate, molded from 7000 series aluminum and featuring charging, Audio and speaker ports on the bottom.

Display

The display is QuadHD Super AMOLED featuring very high pixel density and a Wacom digitizer to interpret pen inputs. That’s nothing new but it’s an absolutely stunning screen, If you’re coming from almost any other smartphone. And it’s super narrow bezels make the Note 5 much easier to hold than any other 5.7 inch device. It all adds up to the best-feeling best-looking Galaxy Note in memory.

Design

The clicking buttons and the new spring-loaded S-Pen or a tactility treat. While the mass and materials combined to give it the sense of a very expensive product, which of course it is. Realistically speaking, now you’ll probably need to invest in a case or at least skin, to keep it looking that way. The glasses are absolutely impossible to keep free of fingerprints and though this particular phone has survived a waist height dropped onto a hardwood floor, I’m not sure it would be as lucky in a fall onto asphalt.

Pop off the back cover and, Oh!. For the first time in Note history, You can’t pop in to the back cover to replace the on-board battery nor will you find any microSD expansion slot. Instead, you’re stuck with the 32 or 64 gigs of storage included out of the box. There is not even an IR port here. If you never used, care or even knew about these features from previous Notes, None of this is likely to bother you. If you’ve grown to rely on them, you may want to stick with last year’s model.
If you do that, you’ll be missing out on some slick software, accessed via the new and improved fingerprint scanner on the home button.

Software

You may already know the software story here is Samsung’s custom interface is speedier than ever, at top of Android 5.1.1. Driven by the company’s own Exynos processor and 4GB of high speed RAM. That combination makes for a much smoother multitasking experience than we initially saw on the S6. And the big screen on the Note 5 makes running two apps side-by-side easier as well.

If you’re like me, you really don’t like the out of the box interface design, there’s more good new. Samsung’s theme store is full of skins, Both paid and free. That let you customize to your heart’s content and by default, the screen is set to a higher DPI level than usual, making it possible to achieve more information density and making it an even better tablet replacement than previous.

Those usability improvements aren’t accompanied by many new features, the list of apps that support Samsung’s multi-window feature is effectively identical to last year’s. Which itself wasn’t much improved over the year before that. Given how awkward the multi-screen experience can sometimes be, the sluggish development pace here is frustrating.

S Pen

There’s a little more excitement. When it comes to the S Pen, popped out with a quick click and the note is instantly ready to take down a memo. With no button pressing required. Just slip the S Pen back into its silo, when you’re done to automatically save the note and return it back to standby. This is the best kind of new feature, It’s super useful and it’s simple as anything and the same goes for the new built-in PDF reader.

Lets you sign contracts and other legal forms without having to download additional software. You can still use the S Pen for all kinds of doodles sketches and notes to self, but to me that’s never been the primary appeal of the stylus.

I think the S Pen is at its best when it’s used to manipulate existing content as a highlighter for scripts or study guides. As a kind of surrogate finger when the device is in an awkward uncomfortable position. As a markup tool for screenshots and so on.

The new scroll capture mode lets you preserve very long web pages, as screenshots. For later reference, convenient for sharing long discussion threads, Chat logs or a long lists of driving directions.

Camera

By all indications the Galaxy Note 5 camera is the same one found in the S6. That means a 16 megapixel sensor with an F 1.9 aperture, built in optical image stabilization system and triggered by a double click on the home key. It also means the best photo quality you can find on Android almost without exception.

It’s not without its flaws. The Note 5 suffers from focus instability in very low light, but there’s a full suite of manual controls including manual focus to compensate for that. HDR mode tends to wash out colors, just like on any smartphone.

But it can be a lifesaver in back-lit scenarios, when you are trying to capture details in the shadows. For completeness sake, we’ve got to mention Samsung’s new software features.

  • Live broadcast lets you stream video on the fly via your own YouTube channel.
  • Video collage is a clever way of squeezing 4 brief clips into a single frame.
  • Raw mode, lets you save uncompressed images for more precise editing later on.

Thankfully you don’t need to use any of those parlor tricks to get the most out of this camera. Just double-click and shoot and odds are, you gonna get a great result whether it’s a video, a still and whether you’re using the primary Sensor or the Selfie shooter.

Network

We Tested the Galaxy Note 5 on both T-mobile and AT&T for seven days in the Boston and Indianapolis markets. The Phone delivered solid reception and call quality and thanks to its slimmer, more rounded build, it’s definitely the most comfortable and least awkward Note ever. When it comes to voice calls.

Also the one-two punch of the Powerful processor and heavy RAM serve it well. As with every Note before it. This one can handle the most demanding of titles with a plumb. Just don’t be surprised if apps crash from time to time, that’s life on any Smartphone.

S-health

Fitness fans will be happy to know that Samsung’s S health app just keeps getting better. You scroll through the simple interface, take a pulse reading with the heart rate sensor. Tells us how much coffee and water you’ve had. You can see that info, alongside how many steps you’ve taken, to get a snapshot of how active you been.

We used to give Samsung a guff for including this kind of stuff, But if I bought a note 5 today, I could see myself using this app every day. To try to evaluate my fitness trends and maybe save myself from an early death by sedentary blogger lifestyle.

Battery

Speaking of early death, while I didn’t miss the MicroSD card slot during my week with the Note 5. I sure wish Samsung had found a way to either keep the battery replaceable or make it bigger. 3,000 Mah isn’t all that much on a phone is full of power. The Note 5 gave us an average of 4 to 4 and a half hours of screen on time per charge, on tmobile. Slightly more than that on AT&T that’s not bad at all. It gets you through a day of light to moderate mixed use. And that’s more if you carry the included fast charger.

You can top it up very quickly from dead to 25% in just 15 minutes. Or keep it on a wireless charging pad all day if you’re in office. But there’s no getting around it. The note used to be known for outstanding endurance and this one is just average.

Conclusions

Fortunately for the Note 5, Nothing else about it can be called average. It’s a premium built smartphone with a jaw-dropping display. Best-in-class camera and a feature set you can’t get on any other device. Now a lot of folks are disappointed that it lacks the power user features. That have always to find the line and that’s understandable.

Those who say the Note 5 is just a big Galaxy S6 with an S Pen, well to a degree they have a point. The thing is it turns out that a big Galaxy S6 with an S Pen is actually a pretty fantastic smartphone.

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