Bigger is better! Galaxy Notes have proved that time and again, with each Note being more successful than the previous one. Samsung also upped the ante with constant improvements to their S Pen, a versatile tool for penning ideas, goals and dreams.
The latest in line, the Galaxy Note5, is undoubtedly the most powerful and beautiful Note to date.
It’s still as big however is slimmer and is framed by sleek metal and glass. More premium, more utility. Using S Pen is more precise and the phone’s smoother curves on the back enable the phone to fit snuggly in your hand.
The S Pen is what makes the Galaxy Note5 click with its increased functionality. It’s even more like an actual pen, one that writes just as well that is. When you start using S Pen extensively, battery life should be the last thing on your mind. Samsung offers longer battery life, fast charging and additional ways to charge which include wireless charging and proprietary battery packs.
The next best thing to live music is to have it handy on your Galaxy Note5, and with memory variants from 32GB to 128GB space is not a constraint. It also allows the user to shoot professional-grade videos and then broadcast them live straight from their device, thanks to a tie-up with Youtube! Whether you are with friends, at home, or on a holiday, you shouldn’t worry about the lack of light or miss a moment and snap away happily with the enhanced HDR mode in the Galaxy Note5 camera.
When you are going places and doing things, you need to stay covered, charged and fully entertained… Which means you need covers, chargers, headphones or speakers. Samsung has you covered with a brilliant range of accessories and add-ons.
Two years ago Samsung revealed a new concept – flexible display technology… now they have built on it with the S6 range. The new Note5 has not similar specs albeit the curved screen. At 5.7″, the Quad HD Super AMOLED (518 ppi) display is not only bigger but it also comes in a breathtakingly slimmer and lighter body.
The display is more than beautiful, it lends depth to your movies, breathes life into your games and you can check news updates while taking notes with S Pen, all on the same handsome screen. The OLED Galaxy Smartphones screen offer Color Management, a functionality that provides user selectable Screen Modes, each with different color gamuts and color saturation with the display calibration driven by the user or application preferences. The Adaptive Display screen mode provides real-time adaptive processing to dynamically adjust images and videos.
When Samsung decided to completely redesign the exterior of their Galaxy smartphones, it was bound to be a challenging endeavor… considering the fact that they (Samsung) threw out almost the entire book of design they’d be referring to so far. Gone is the tacky flexible plastic, the flimsy buttons, the chromed-plastic bevel et al. which now stands replaced by the evergreen glass-and-metal trimmed design. The Galaxy Note5 is intuitively designed for the trendy users and has a premium feel to it.
The sleek and sturdy metal frame protecting the powerful interior is actually 7000 series aluminum – 1.7 times stronger, 1.3 times more scratch-resistant than standard aluminum and has been used in planes, mountain bikes, windsurfing poles and other rugged outdoor gear. Corning’s strongest glass for smartphones, Gorilla Glass 4, which makes this one a tough cookie to crack.
The design upgrade does come with a few drawbacks: No microSD card slot and a non-removable battery. The microSD card slot is something that Samsung could have and probably should have included in the Galaxy Note5 package. The removable battery was, however, something that had to be sacrificed with Samsung going for a sleek unibody design. Samsung is now talking the Apple language, with the battery and memory losing user access. Their entry level variant is, however, a 32 GB Note5 vs Apple’s 16 GB entry model.
The power key and volume rocker sit on either side of the phone to avoid accidental key presses. The speakers are placed at the bottom of the device, which is standard, and not too many manufacturers experiment with the above-and-below-the-screen layout for speakers.
Since Samsung used glass on the back display for the first time, they worked with the characteristics of the glass itself, paying close attention to how it looked different from all directions. They then created a reflective structure to capture light and give off colors, giving a jewel-like effect. Although beautiful to feel and behold, the glass back tends make the device a little slippery at times, just like the earlier iPhone models.
It’s hard to find the kind of specs the Note5 offers in one package. The QHD screen and the highly improved design are a pure treat. Along with this comes the 64-bit oct-core Samsung processor, an improved 4GB of RAM and three inbuilt storage options, starting from 32 GB. When you have 4GB RAM, you have the power to chat as you watch videos. It’s natural to have two apps open simultaneously on the same screen. The Note5 is perceptibly faster and more responsive than the Note4. The streamlined look and feel of TouchWiz is a major factor to the Note5’s smooth interface.
Samsung’s move to the Exynos 7420 processor instead of retaining the Snapdragon 810 processor was a very wise move since the former features a smaller chipset (14nm vs 20nm) which makes it, even more, energy efficient, allowing the Note5 to be 20% faster and 35% more battery efficient than its predecessor, the Note4.
Considering the fact that most flagships these days are trying to minimize on size, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Note 5 features a Nano-SIM, however to our angst, it also does not feature a microSD card slot. Yes, you heard that right! However, you get as many as three internal memory options; 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. And that for most users proves to be satisfactory.
The Note 5 is Bluetooth v4.1 enabled with NFC capabilities and it’s technical superiority of the phone is visible in how it handles extremely graphic-intensive games such as Real Racing 3 or Asphalt 8.
Despite the constant criticism TouchWiz has been facing over the past couple of years, Samsung has chosen to retain its Android overlay. Nothing of note has been changed from a design point of view, however, the overlay has been cleaned up a lot. The menus, for instance, have been toned down drastically and with Google’s Material design being incorporated into TouchWiz, the icons now have a flattened look to them.
A big (and positive) change in the latest iteration of TouchWiz is the loss of Samsung’s underachieving personal assistant, S Voice and its pride of perch at the home button. If you keep the home button pressed, you’ll now be taken straight to the Camera app. The TouchWiz UI is somewhat more intuitive and responsive than previous versions of Samsung’s Android overlay. The dialer, for one, has been improved drastically. The Contacts tab has been polished and the unnecessary options and tabs have been removed, giving you a clutter-free experience. The Quick settings page is also designed in a way that makes full use of the screen space available, unlike before.
Because S Pen is such an incredibly useful tool, quick and easy access is important. A satisfying click is all you need to have your favorite writing instrument in hand. The improved Air Command is activated immediately when S Pen is out and is there on the screen waiting for you to initiate action.
While S Pen helps you get much done, it’s pretty good at the basics as well. True-to-life pressure sensitivity and a very accurate pen tip puts you in control of your writing and drawing. When ideas come flowing, you want to put pen to paper right away and you can do this simply as S Pen lets you do just that even when the screen is off.
With S Pen, long pages that require scrolling can be captured as one image, and the most awkward shapes can be selected and captured in one swift move. Writing notes on the captured images to share with friends is super easy as well.
All in all, Samsung have worked hard on redesigning TouchWiz to make it simplistic and easy to look at and it’s a welcome change!
The Note5 sports a 16 MP rear camera with a 1.9 mm aperture. The camera app is extremely responsive and takes under a second to launch. Low light photography has been worked upon and the camera does a good job of capturing a wide variety of subjects in all lighting conditions. For photos and videos, auto real-time HDR captures every detail you want to remember the moment by using different exposure levels for different areas in the image. Capture videos in 4K / UHD (Ultra High Definition), for footage that’s so sharp and vivid, you’ll virtually be reliving your memories. The Galaxy Note5 can capture videos up to 2160p at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. Video Digital Image Stabilisation (VDIS) together with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) makes it much easier to take on-the-go photographs and videos, without any blur or stutter. Samsung has thrown in fast and slow video modes in its camera app. So you can now make cool time-lapse videos as slow as 240fps. If this wasn’t enough, Samsung now lets you choose the speed with which this slowdown happens! This means you can go really really slow if you want to.
The wide angled 5 MP VDIS front camera (120 degrees field of view) does the job for selfies. There are pre-set modes available such as Wide Selfie and Beauty shot for photo enthusiasts. The photo quality is superb for a 5MP camera, thanks to the Advanced Selfie technology now used by Samsung.
Celebrations are meant to be shared and now you can stream videos straight from the camera with the new Live Broadcast feature, thanks to an exclusive tie-up with YouTube. Another new camera feature is its ability to shoot four video clips and combine them into one great video collage.
When it comes to graphic capabilities, this phone outshines all others, with Samsung now using their own Exynos processor, which uses the super fast and efficient 14nm nanotechnology. Graphic intensive games like Real Racing 3 and Subway Surfer run without any lag whatsoever, as expected from a flagship. Even heavier games like the latest in the Asphalt series: Asphalt 8 Airborne, run without any stuttering thanks to the class leading 64-bit octa-core processor on the phone. The stunning Quad HD Super AMOLED display provides for a realistic gaming experience and the 4GB RAM makes it seamless.
Listening to music and playing movies on this device is a seamless experience as the video player accommodates most file formats, so chances are that you won’t need third-party apps like the VLC Player. The screen makes for excellent media consumption and has been strongly touted to be one of the best displays in the market.
Transferring your existing media, like photos and movies to this device is a dream. Just connect the device to your computer using its mini-USB cable and you can move stuff from your computer onto it, easy peasy. Transferring your photos to your PC with SideSync is equally effortless. With SideSync, you can continue to answer texts and even calls from your computer, without missing a beat. The Phone excels in its media streaming capability, both over 4G and WiFi networks.
With three storage options 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB, the amount of media you can keep on the Galaxy Note5 is significant. Add cloud storage solution apps like Onedrive (100 GB free) to the mix and you are singing! That’s 20 times the free cloud storage Apple gives you with iCloud.
Personal and business emails are easy to set up and usually just need the username and password. A manual option of setting up of POP 3 and IMAP accounts is also there . The phone supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync accounts, so there is not much more to ask for when it comes to being connected to your business or work.
With Samsung Knox, you can create two distinct personas on your phone, one for business and one for personal use with Knox providing military-grade protection against malware for enterprises. IT managers can now integrate and manage the Galaxy Note5 by simply switching it on, thanks to the Smart Manager app on the smartphone.
Samsung Pay, a secure way of paying has been introduced. Samsung Pay is easily one of the most hassle-free and safest ways to pay with fingerprint authentication with extra layers of security built in and be used with any payment terminal that accepts Master Card and VISA debit or credit cards. Currently, Samsung Pay is available in select countries, and does not work in India! Maybe sometime in the near future, hopefully…