Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review
- Insanely awesome battery life
- Beautiful Super AMOLED display
- Octacore CPU + 4GB RAM = Yummy!
- Lack of the SD Card
- Non-removable battery
Samsung made the first big bang in the Android world when it came out with their first 1GHz Snapdragon based Samsung Galaxy S to rival with the HTC Google Nexus One. I had the privilege to explore both options and that was when I realized how I will never fit into Samsung devices – ever! The build was ugly and cheap looking and the performance was incredibly horrifying against it’s rival. And ever since then, I have been an anything-but-Samsung guy. I’ve been seduced many times, out of which I even fell into Samsung’s seduction traps when I bought the Samsung Note Edge, only to be let down again by it’s performance. Quite an introduction, right?
You see, we are tech writers and we always have this love-hate relationships with gadgets. One day a manufacturer makes a good hardware and the next day it’s a let down. But we can’t give up, right? So I didn’t. I went into the tiger’s den once again to get a grasp on the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. What I saw here, was honestly unbelievable!
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The packaging is very well thought out. The device gracefully sits at the top of the throne upon opening the box. Local Malaysian sets had an iFlix coupon code included too, but we’re not here for that at the moment. Under the device, you will see the SIM-caddy pin and manual that are separated by the rest of the goodies. Goodies include charger, it’s USB cable, SPen extra tips and earphones nicely packed in it’s own little plastic box. Oh, the charger is definitely a fast charger to get your device up to speed in a fraction of time. Now, I wasn’t lucky enough to get the free goodies that included the wireless charger and power bank, but special thanks to Maxis One Club Elite, they gave me a free original Samsung power bank, so I’m a happy camper here.
The Samsung Note 5 has to be one of the best built devices Samsung has ever made – hands down. The metal bezel around the device gives it a really premium feel which is not really typical Samsung back in it’s earlier years. The super shiny metal back is very fingerprint prone and is no longer removable like it’s earlier predecessor – which means, there is no SD Card or removable battery option here for you. At the top of the back, we are spotting a 16MPx camera with OIS that is capable of delivering crisp images. Next to it is it’s LED flash and barometer, heart rate, SpO2 combo sensor that you can use with Samsung’s SHealth app.
At the top, we are spotting the dual-SIM slot nicely embedded into the body of the phone. On the right side, we have the power button separated from the volume buttons which are located on the left side of the device. At the bottom, we can spot a 3.5mm audio jack, it’s USB charging port, mono-speaker, microphone and the SPen mounted inside. The front facade is spotting a 5MPx camera, earpiece, and photosensitive sensors. Under the display you will see the typical Samsung design that includes the multi-task and back softkeys along with the fingerprint sensor activated toggle button.
Pretty good specs we have here, eh? So how is the phone afterall?
|CPU:||Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57|
|Display:||5.7″ Super AMOLED (1440 x 2560) @ 518ppi|
|Storage:||32GB Internal Storage|
Rear: 16MPx with OIS
|OS:||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop|
|Battery:||3000mAh Li-Po non-removable|
These are specs that are very easy to digest. From the table above, you can already conclude what the rest of the review is going to be like. Well, read on if you are still here.
We have a chart topper! At 69K score, this is by far the most powerful smartphone in the market so far. But this is expected given the fact that the device really performs well above any device that we have tested before. Let’s dig into it one by one.
The 64-bit octacore and 4GB RAMs are really a blessing to this device. We know it very well, this phone can eat up any games or applications that we may throw at it, so let’s not go further into that. The multi-tasking is simply smooth, transitioning between applications with snap! The one device that comes into my mind with such an experience is the Asus Zenfone 2 with 4GB of RAMs. The transition is smooth and fluid, makes the device pleasant to be used as your daily phone. You will hardly notice any lags switching between apps or even running downloaded apps as part of the system app replacement like SwiftKey keyboard. In fact, you can continue using the device and pile up the running apps in the background without the worry that the device will forsake the performance.
One of the two things that I had a hard time deciding which to share first and eventually got the upper hand is the battery. With all the power under the hood of this monster, and knowing that it’s a Samsung, I was very shocked to find out that the 3000mAh battery delivers an unbelievable juice to this device. Especially when the device is on standby, it literally sips on it giving you a very long endurance on single charge! In fact, when you leave the device overnight without charging, at the very most, you are going to lose about 5% of the battery with all connectivity and applications running in the background. This is insane and one feature that I am very glad that Samsung has put their hard work into. As in my usage, I am able to push this device up to 2 days on single charge for everything else but gaming usage.
The second of the two things that I wanted to discuss is the super crisp vivid display. Samsung has been pretty known to deliver beautiful displays albeit rendering an ugly UI making it pointless. This time around, the 5.7″ Super AMOLED 518ppi display is an experience of it’s own. It makes you want to switch on the device over and over again, time after time just to cherish the beauty that it renders. The blacks are really black, the grays are very well proportioned, and watching anything 4K on this display is an experience you don’t want to miss!
Let’s move on to the next feature for which most people would actually buy the Note 5 over the S6 Edge+ (or any other device for the sake) – the SPen. I was using the Samsung Note Edge before this and one generation later, the SPen experience has already made pretty impressive progress. The pressure sensitivity is greatly improved and very noticeable when you use it to sketch. When you withdraw the SPen from it’s slot, a set of customizable shortcuts appears – some of which are pretty standard in most Samsung Note devices. The feature I loved the most was the screen write with a combo of scroll capture. Now, you can take long screenshots without manually scrolling and generate one image. Here’s an example of our web screenshot taken using the scroll capture.
So you might be thinking, after all that fluff, like always, Samsung would destroy the experience with it’s ugly TouchWiz, right? Well, not really. This time around, Samsung has really improved the TouchWiz! The experience, the UI, the flat icons, all totally looks new. What I didn’t like though, was the application drawer button has been moved to the right and you can’t change it’s location. I like things in a symmetry and I didn’t quite like this really.
The speakers are loud enough. I think it’s time for us to move forward with stereo speakers on premium gadgets at least like how HTC has been doing it. But the mono speaker on this device is no little boy. It’s loud enough for you to hear your ringtone even when the phone is in the pocket in a pretty noisy area. But I still wish it had stereo speakers.
The 16MPx camera takes beautiful pictures… VERY beautiful pictures… I’ve had a lot of fun taking pictures with it really. Be it indoor, outdoor, heavy lighting, low lighting, macros, this device didn’t fail to please. The built-in filters are a fun of their own to play, but just leave everything to automatic and let the phone do it’s wonders for you. People would usually share their best photos but in our case here, I’m sharing the ugliest photo that I have taken so far with the device. And look at how good it still looks! The depth-of-field is magnificent! The colors are beautiful, and look at the black! Oh, by the way, did I hear you say 4K images? We’re talking 5K here! The images captured at it’s highest size (16M) are at 5312 x 2988 resolution. 4K is the second settings at 12M. Need I say more?
Let’s move on to the wireless charging. Although I didn’t get the free wireless charger, I picked up a Nilkin wireless charger from the market just to try the feature and boy, it’s one experience of it’s own. Imagine getting back to your desk and just putting the device on a plate to get it charged. I’ve been doing this since I got the device, so much that it feels awkward to plug in the cable now. The device charges VERY quickly. And this is not even the fast wireless charger yet (as it has yet to enter Malaysian markets at the time of writing).
Another worthy mention about the Note 5 is the accessories. Samsung has added a plethora of accessories in the market to spoil their users.
Samsung has really upped the ante with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5! It’s a game changer, one that I hope will force the other manufacturers to improve their devices and compete with it. A beautiful package, with powerful features, great battery life, lots of accessories, and mind blowing experience. You really couldn’t ask for more!