A perfect amalgamation of Design and Performance
Samsung Galaxy Note 5, the latest presentation in its bloodline series of Galaxy is all about Style, Power and Performance. And it the most powerful offering from the smartphone giant Samsung yet. Recently we published an article on the five most awaited features of the smartphone, now since it has been a week with the Note 5 we are ready with the detailed review of the device.
To start with, this week, with the device has been the most awaited week for me. The time spent with the device was extra ordinary and none of the day I missed my iPhone 6 Plus. This statement from a hardcore Apple fan alone is the testimony to the fact that how amazing the device is. Before we go on and analyse the performance of the device on each parameter lets get hold of the pros and cons of the device observed over a week of its usage.
Pros and Cons
|Extra ordinary design and user friendly ergonomics||A Little lower launch price would have been a great deal for Samsung|
|Quad HD Super AMOLED Display (518 PPI) is the best in the segment||Hangs once in a while|
|Latest Snapdragon 810 Processor||The camera protrudes out and tends to get scratched|
|Toughest 7000 Series Aluminium and Gorilla Glass 4||Curved design was unnecessary|
|Manual Option in the inbuilt camera app offers the photographer what they need||Smudges clearly visible because of the use of glass at the back|
|S Pen is much more refined from previous versions||The S Pen tends to get stuck at times|
|No heating issues|
|The heart rate sensor is much more accurate|
|Display||5.7-inch Super AMOLED
2560 x 1440 resolution
|Camera||16 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS + GLONASS
|Networks||LTE cat 6 300/50|
WPC and PMA-compatible wireless charging
|Software||Android 5.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz|
|Dimensions||153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm, 171g|
|Colors||black sapphire, white pearl, gold platinum|
Samsung says that bigger is better and the size does matter.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is still that big but not that thick and that is what makes the device elegant and ergonomics so user friendly. I really like the way how the design engineers at Samsung have smartly used the curves at the back of the Samsung Galaxy note 5, which feels just like the curved edges in the Galaxy Edge, making the grip more firm. The thickness at the back increases from the edges to the centre. The rear camera accompanied by the LED flash and heart rate sensor sits just above the Samsung logo. The read camera and the dual LED flash at the back both have aluminium boundaries which gives a much more premium look. The 700 Series aluminium at chamfered edges blends smoothly with the edges at the back which gives a unibody feel. The back and the front of the device gets scratches when used roughly is one thing I do not like about the design of the device, because anytime during the use you would not like your beautiful looking back of the device to get scratched.
The volume rockers are placed perfectly on the left hand side which comes directly under the thumb or the index finger depending on the hand you hold with. Similarly the power button has been placed on the right hand side of the device which fits under your index finger or thumb if you hold the device with your left hand or right. The volume rockers and the power button have been given a good width complimenting the edges of the device. At the front, on the top is the speaker for attending the calls accompanied by the light sensors on the left and front camera on the right. When you observe the device closely you will find the aluminium edges at the front slightly raised from the screen which gives your screen an added protection, although not enough to protect the glass from breaking when it falls. The home button and the other two buttons (touch enabled) gets a conventional position. The home button like the camera protrudes out a little bit more than required which makes them prone to scratches. This is the second device after Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge which took my heart away with its design and I am sure it will do the same to you once you get hold of the device.
By the way at the back bottom of the device, it says Made in India. 🙂
The display of the device is one of the best in the segment and when I say this I mean actually the best. Like I mentioned above I have been using iPhone 6 Plus just before it and shifting to the new device was noticeable literally. I have always been complaining about the exaggerated colours of the Samsung devices but this time around I could not, because the colours seem just perfect. The devices comes with Super AMOLED screen powered by Quad HD display which comes to 518 PPI, a little less than 534 PPI in LG G4. Every picture you take with the device is justified by the screen. Although the Note 4 and Note 5 share the same Quad HD display but somehow the display in Note 5 seems to be crispier and sharp with better viewing angles.
I did not face any issue with the screen of the device when I was out in the direct sunlight where my iPhone 6 Plus disappointed me. The new generation S Pen this time comes with an added feature makes the device more user friendly, this feature allows you to use the device for jotting down things even when the screen is off by just snapping out the S Pen.
The major role of the display comes into play while playing games and the experience with the device was more than satisfactory. I could not raise a single point in the display that let me down.
Hardware Specifications And Performance
The latest addition to the Note family comes with an increased 4GB RAM which comes in two memory variants of 32GB and 64GB. I like the way how Samsung has been following a practice of providing the basic storage option of 32GB and not 16GB. The Note 5 has added a lot of sensors (including the heart rate sensor which performs with more accuracy now), has category 9 LTE which is faster and efficient.
To try out the multi-tasking efficiency of the device I opened a lot apps and tried switching between them quickly, even the graphic intensive games performed as per the expected speed and glitch free. There were no lags which could be observed. The device seems to be a perfect amalgamation of the software and hardware. Well with this package of latest processors and sensors you would expect such a performance but what you don’t expect is this to wear off soon.
The Note 5 comes with a 16MP rear camera which is same as the Note 4 comes with Optical Image Stabilisation and would never disappoint. There are no major changes in the hardware from the previous generation Note but some of the little tweaks in the software has resulted in better imaging quality and colours. The addition of the Pro Mode (or the manual mode) enables you to capture images by adjusting the shutter speed, the ISO and EV. This feature are enough to make any photography enthusiasts more than happy. The camera has been updated with the Stabilisation in the video mode as well although the feature is available in 1080p but 4K, but this is surely an improvement to the previous generation.
The camera comes with a live Youtube broadcasting mode that enables you to sign into your Google account and broadcast the video live to the YouTube with a delay of 30 seconds (a major improvement from the Periscope app). Once you start streaming the video live, the device also allows you to send an SMS to people in order to make them aware of the same or you can also make the broadcast publicly available.
The front facing camera which is packed with 5 Mega Pixels captures amazing selfies even under low light conditions. The default camera app is packed with some cool features like the Skin Tone, Large Eyes and Slim face, which enhances your selfies. It also offers 9 different effects like Rose, Dawn and Riddle modes that offer different colour settings. In an all none of your selfies captured with this front camera would disappoint you.
The overall performance of the camera is glitch free and I am kinda in love with the camera and never would like it to wear off.
Capturing the performance of the camera from the humungous device, we came up with the following pictures over the week. It is a collection of the pictures taken in different light conditions. We have also explored the manual feature in the inbuilt camera app which gives us the freedom to manually set the ISO and the shutter speed.
Ps: The pictures have been compressed a little to avoid any lag while loading.
There are not any remarkable changes in the Touchwiz interface of the Note 5 when compared to the last generation Note but a subtle changes when compared to Galaxy S6. You can immediately see the changes in the icons, they have introduced more rounded icons with more colours and flat looks accompanied by some differences in the launcher. Most of the inbuilt apps that comes with Samsung like the Smart Manager, S Health, S Planner find a lot of use in the daily usage. Along with that a bundle of Google apps comes with the device as expected, except that the Google Plus app which came out of the bundle and can be uninstalled whereas the others can only be disabled. There is another bundle for Microsoft apps and one for the Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
There has been a better utilisation of the bigger screen size in the Note 5 than its predecessor Note 4. I believe that giving a large screen to make the screen more useful is one part and to provide the software to compliment is another and Samsung has done a pretty good job with both. A handful of widgets with for the home screens justify the size of the device. Samsung just like the reachability feature in iOS offers two modes that might help you in making the screen more approachable while using one handedly, in one case pressing the home button three times quickly, it makes the screen reduce to half the size. In the other option the screen options are adjusted to either left side or the right side of the device. Although the system here is more complex but it finds better application when compared to the reachability in iOS.
I had got the 32GB variant of the device and almost 25Gb of the space available right out of the box. Samsung has introduced an offer with the Note 5 which gives you free storage of 100GB.
This one feature particularly has impressed me a lot which allows us to view the phone in a window on the computer or television and control it through the device. Samsung has introduced two new additions to this feature which are one time pairing and Mac compatibility. The one time pairing feature allows you to sync the device only once and next time when you open the SideSync viewer it is ready to use. I tried this app a couple of times and once in a while the application crashed on My Macbook Pro.
One thing is sure that with Non-Removable battery in the Note 5 Samsung has confirmed the death of the removable batteries in the next generation smartphones. The Note 5 comes with a 3000 mAh non removable battery which has been reduced from last year’s Note 4 which carried a 3220 mAh battery, hence it introduced some controversies even before the launch of the phone.
Note 5 has almost 400 mAh increased battery than the Galaxy S6, while the screen size is a bit bigger than the S6 the quality of the display is almost same, this results in a better battery life as one would expect. While using the device I never felt a need to use a portable charger, it could manage to last 14 hours approximately. I usually use the device for browsing internet, using social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, for reading books and playing games for an hour or so, with this amount of usage a fully charged Note 5 in the morning drains off by 10PM.
Let us know in the comment section below if you would like to have detailed information about any of the feature which you feel has not been covered enough in the this review.