Samsung Note 5 Review; died too quickly

The Samsung Note 5 is being called the most innovative design yet in the Samsung Galaxy Note tradition of smartphones.

This versatile, contemporary phablet offers stunning screen display.

With use of the brightness slider, users can attain degrees of screen brightness equal to the quality of a good LCD.

The auto-brightening feature can elevate the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen’s brightness while adjusting both color saturation and contrast.

The Samsung Note 5 is extremely easy to handle with its 5.7-inch screen and weight of just 171 grams.

Most users can accomplish a variety of tasks on this device using just one hand.

Some of the convenient features include a fingerprint scanner best used for quickly unlocking the screen, a heart rate monitor (same as the Note 4), and a newly designed click-and-use S-Pen.

The metal chassis is attractive and sturdy, and the corning glass screen is scratch and damage-resistant. (Full tech specs available here)

The Screen

The Note 5 actually has better Super AMOLED display screen than the Samsung S6 Edge+.

When using the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, you can have easily visible display just by lowering the brightness slider whenever you encounter glaring sunlight or harsh interior lighting conditions.

With the Samsung Note 5’s varied screen mode settings, you can select color temperature, saturation and contrast to suit your own needs and visual preferences.

Even with Basic settings, you can enjoy heights of accuracy in color , which are superior quality for any smartphone.

The 4 flavors of the Samsung Note 5

The 4 flavors of the Samsung Note 5

Powerful specs

Samsung Note 5 comes with impressive specs including the most power-packed chipset of any mobile phone currently manufactured (64-bit Exynos 7420 chip with 14nm architecture, octa-core CPU).

It also offers 32 / 64GB of UFS 2.0 flash memory; the fastest memory now available (delivering SSD-like read / write speeds).

The 5.7-inch screen with 2560 x 1440 pixels ensures display (Super AMOLED) of 518 ppi.

The Camera

The updated 16 MP f/1.9 camera with OIS offers automatic HDR and also 4K capture for video.

Extra benefits are RAW shooting and a detecting sensor for IR white balance.

Front-facing camera is 5 MP f/1.9. The auto focus feature is slow and not that smart, mainly at night with far objects.

I tried taking a photo for the moon, see what happened:

Samsung Note 5 failed to auto focus on the moon, even on the Pro Mode

Samsung Note 5 failed to auto focus on the moon, even on the Pro Mode

Having said that, shooting in broad daylight yielded amazing photos, but then again, all other decent phones do that nowadays.

Inside the light box, the Samsung Note 5 did not disappoint me, see here.

My Little Pony inside the light box, with Samsung Note 5

My Little Pony inside the light box, with Samsung Note 5

Finally, the zoom feature is amazing, with enough light, you can capture pro-grade shots. Here I shot the . The lens is a contender nevertheless.

The Shopkins with zero zoom

The Shopkins with zero zoom

The Shopkins at 1/4 zoom

The Shopkins at 1/4 zoom

The Shopkins at 1/2 zoom

The Shopkins at 1/2 zoom

The Shopkins at full zoom

The Shopkins at full zoom

The Battery

Note 5 relies on a non-removable battery (3,000 mAh) and offers quick-charging capacity for both wired and wireless usage.

I’ve found that 1 minute of quick-charging results in 1.5% battery charge, and so a full recharge from a 0 battery should require 100 minutes (actually it needs a bit more as charging the phone slows down once it hits late 90s).

After 2 months of daily usage, the Samsung Note 5 still survives for 2 days before the need to recharge, with average Wifi, internet browsing, WhatsApp, video, etc usage.

Quick charge requirements

You need to use the original Samsung charger and Samsung USB cable.

Doing so will pump 9 Volts and 2A of current through the cable.

Using a special USB power meter, using any other USB cable, or charger, will not set quick-charge in action and the phone will require over 2 hours for a full charge.

Unfortunately, I did could not test the wireless recharge feature.

Network Connection Options: – LTE network and WiFi connection (2.4/5 GHz) are fully supported along with Bluetooth 4.2. GPS and MST mobile payment are also available. With Cat. 9 LTE connectivity, users should gain download speeds of as much as 450 MB/s but I couldn’t test this suggested speed!

App Launcher: – Multi Window is a feature of the app switching function. While using TouchWiz with its 3D apps displayed in rolodex style, by touching the button beside the X button, users can open the app for half-screen viewing. Visible over the remainder of the screen is another rolodex display of Galaxy apps supporting Multi Window.

An alternate methods lets you launch the Multi Window app by a long-touch to the app switching key. If you are using an app supportive of Multi Window, it will minimize to half-screen size so the Multi Window app icon display can be viewed.

The S-Pen: – The new S-Pen design of the Note 5 offers a major improvement for users. There is an advanced release feature which prevents the pen from detaching from the phone accidentally.

Just by clicking the pen top, however, the user can quickly and easily remove the pen whenever needed. One great advantage of the new S-Pen is that, as soon as you remove it from your phone, you can begin to write on the screen even before you turn the phone on.

The S-Pen in all of its glory

The S-Pen in all of its glory

Private Mode: – The Galaxy Note 5 lock screen offers the convenient option of using your Galaxy apps fingerprint reader for a lock, rather than relying only on a PIN or basic pattern. If you like, you can set your device to auto-disable Private Mode whenever you lock your phone.

As an added privacy benefit, you can also hide or disable lock screen alerts content to prevent other people from accessing your received emails and text messages.

Pros and Cons of the Samsung Note 5

The Samsung Note 5 has some minor disadvantages. For example, it has no micro SD card slot, and it relies on the slow microUSB 2.0 port and not the fast USB 3.0. Also, there is no IR port and users cannot replace the battery themselves.

On the other hands, users have been praising the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for its sleek style and for its updated features and convenience of usability. Many report that the 4GB RAM is a strong improvement. Others delight in the fact that the Note 5 battery offers 24 hours or more of uninterrupted use.

Although some users comment that the Note 5 is simply the Note 3 in disguise, or reissued, others give high scores to both the excellent display and reliable battery backup provided by the Note 5 phone.

In the early models of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, if the user accidentally inserted the end of the S-Pen upside down in the S-Pen hole, the phone could be irreparably damaged and the warranty voided.

This major technical problem that was overlooked by the Korean engineers has now been completely corrected in the new Galaxy Note 5.

Some users also reported dropping their phones due to the slippery surface when phones were out of their cases.

While most users appreciate the heart rate recorder feature, some are disappointed that this phone does not include a GPS fitness trainer device that registers walking distance.

Others would like a smart cover to be included in the Galaxy Note 5 packing box.

Update on 9th Dec 2016: Samsung Note 5 purple spots

After exactly a year of usage, the Note 5 LCD touch screen died on me.

One of a sudden, round purple spots started showing on the screen, eventually covering the whole screen.

The touch feature stopped working in some spots of the screen.

The cost of a replacement screen is around $250 or more 🙁

This happened right after I finished the 1 year warranty.

After posting this unfortunate update, I received similar complains from the Samsung S7 as well.

Samsung has to tighten its quality control if they want us as customers for life.