If you want a big smartphone, but also want extra functionality instead of just a scaled-up user interface, then the Galaxy Note 5 is still the device to get. Samsung improved the design and cameras on this model, but now you lose expandable storage and a removable battery. The microphone count is also down (which negatively affects the Note 4’s functionality in group discussions) and so is the battery size.
That last bit is the fatal flaw that will see Samsung lose ground in the phablet wars. Reducing the Note from a power user’s dream device to something that screams for a charge by 6 PM was a misstep. If I’m being honest, then the overthinking of the S Pen is another flaw that could’ve been avoided. On the plus side, the Note 5 does inherit a few fan favourites from the Galaxy S6, such as the home key double tap to launch the camera and the one-touch fingerprint sensor, but it still doesn’t have the same impact as a halo device that its predecessors carried. And that’s a shame for what is really one of the best Android devices on the market today.
Just the Galaxy Note 5 facts:
Screen: 5,7 inch, 1 440p, super AMOLED
Processor: Exynos 7420 octa core
Memory: 32 GB (as tested), 4 GB RAM
Camera: 16 MP rear camera with optical image stabilisation, 5 MP front camera
R11 000, samsung.com
The Note 5 camera is one of the best in the business and the design was leaned on heavily as inspiration for the Galaxy S7 range. Enhanced S Pen features are quite handy, but the functionality has been successfully ported to the Note 4.
This article was originally published in the April 2016 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine..