“Gear up for an inter-galactic clash as Samsung’s Galaxy Note5 takes on its predecessor”
When Samsung first launched the Galaxy Note, it inadvertently gave birth to a new category of large-screened smartphones. Labelled phablets, these devices soon took over the world, with distinction between a phone and a tablet getting further blurred. The Galaxy Note went on to become a hit and thus Samsung spearheaded the trend of bigger phones, to which the industry (including Apple recently) bowed down to. Since then, it become an annual ritual as Samsung began spawning a new model of the Note every year, making the devices more and more robust with each new iteration. The Note models have been traditionally launched at IFA in September each year, but this time Samsung has surprised everyone by releasing unveiling the latest model in August itself, possibly succumbing to the peer pressure. Whatever, the reason maybe, it’s a treat for consumers who would be able to grab the new Note sooner than they expected. However, how does the newly-launched Galaxy Note5 fare against its predecessor the Note 4 (review)? How big is this new upgrade? Let’s find out.
Display and Design
The screen is the highlight when it comes to the Note series. The grand canvas and the amount of work which can be done on it is what makes Note a device to reckon with. Samsung has always upgraded the screen with each successive generation. The first Note came with a 5.3-inch screen, while the second one was a 5.5-incher, the third was stretched further to 5.7-inch with a full HD display and in the fourth one they finally stopped the customary 0.2-inch increase yet they bumped the resolution up to Quad HD. However, this time with Galaxy Note5, Samsung has not updated any aspect of the display. But we cannot complain… the Note’s QHD screen is still hailed as an industry standard for displays.
Designing has never been Samsung’s forte. Though a beast in terms of specs, the Note has never been a beauty in aesthetics. But the Galaxy S6 ended this, as it turned out to be a better looking Samsung device. And just like its cousin, the new Note5 comes with a unibody metal casing that shouts luxe loud and clear. This is huge visible upgrade over the Note 4, which had only one chink in its monstrous armour… the armour was made out of plastic! By finally including metal, the Galaxy Note now finally looks much more like a premium flagship.
The Galaxy Note series is known for devices that can put the competition to shame when it comes to performance. The Galaxy Note 4 was a worthy addition to the series as it could easily ram any competition at launch time. Hence, the new Note5 would have to work hard to top this up. And oh boy, it does. Galaxy Note5 sports the new Exynos 7420 processor which is a way superior to Note 4’s Exynos 5433 chip and was previously used in Galaxy S6 (which currently is the most powerful processor according to AnTuTu benchmarks). Last year’s Note also had a Snapdragon 805 (2.7GHz quad-core) variant that made its way to the Indian market, which Samsung has decided to ditch this year. The Exynos 7420 is an octa-core processor (quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57) based on 64-bit architecture.
The RAM has been upped too as the new Note5 comes with 4GB of RAM, which gives you an extra gigabyte over Note 4 (3GB) to run and manage your processes.
Camera, Storage and Battery
Camera performance can nowadays make or break the deal for some users. But the Note 4 already packed one of the best cameras out there – a 16-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilisation, 4K recording and a myriad of other Samsung’s tweaks and features. This year’s Galaxy Note too respects this fact and doesn’t increase the optical hardware of the new device. However, it now comes with improved video stabilisation. However, the front camera has now been upgraded to 5-megapixel from Note 4’s 3.7MP shooter.
Storage has been compromised a bit with the new Note5. While Galaxy Note 4 came with 32GB of internal storage, it also supported storage expansion via microSD (up to 128GB) cards. However, the Note5 does away with the microSD card slot, thereby disabling storage expansion for the first time in the Note series.
Another strong point of a Galaxy Note is its long-lasting battery life. While the Note 4 packed a 3,220mAh battery the Note5, in order to maintain its slim figure uses a 3,000mAh battery. This is not surprising considering even the Galaxy S6 has a relatively smaller battery than its predecessor Galaxy S5 (review), maybe Samsung is confident about the power-management capabilities of the 7420 chipset.
Software and Additional Features
Apart from the great hardware, Galaxy Note is also known for its powerful software and the additional features it comes packed with. The way Samsung has reintroduced the stylus in form of S-Pen and the amount of utility attached to it is unprecedented. The Galaxy Note 4 had its own share of novel features like Air View, Air Command, Smart Select, ultra-power saving mode and others. The Note5 too does have a few new tricks up its sleeve. The phone now supports wireless charging. The phone also features a redesigned S-Pen which comes with two new features. One, you can capture a long webpage (like a Twitter feed or navigation directions) in form of multiple screenshots without snapping them separately. The second new feature is when you have to scribble something quick, you can simply start jotting it down without even unlocking the device. Another important feature introduced is Live Broadcast, where in one can stream live to YouTube whatever one is capturing. Lastly, there’s the new Keyboard Cover, a useful add-on which can be snapped on the front to add a physical QWERTY keyboard , which makes typing on the phone less cumbersome.
At the end, the Note5 surely is a power-packed device and comes with all the latest features you would expect from a premium flagship. However, the Note 4 was and still is such a robust device that many might feel the new Note5 needed to be more special (which practically seems impossible). The Note5 is the best-looking Note ever, but the lack of microSD card slot and non-removable battery may not appeal to everyone. Despite these minor omissions, the Galaxy Note5 seems worthy to carry forward the legacy of the Note series and heritage of Samsung. Wait for our full review of the new Note5 once it hits Indian shores. Till then, stay tuned to 91mobiles for the latest news, reviews and updates.