Samsung Galaxy Note5 review: The 5blet

The 5blet

GSMArena team, 21 August, 2015.

Unboxing

Samsung Galaxy Note5 unsurprisingly features a retail box with the same design as that of Samsung Galaxy S6. Its contents include the handset, wall charger, microUSB cable, stereo headset, and replacement tips for the S Pen.

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The retail package

As far as basic accessory needs go, the Note5 has you covered right out of the box. Samsung is offering a range of optional accessories for the flagship phablet.

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Flip covers and fancy backs • Fast wireless charging pad

The hardware keyboard case is arguably the coolest accessory available for the Note5. It covers the bottom quarter of the display, but the UI adjusts accordingly, so you don't need to remove it to access the dialer, for example.

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QWERTY keyboard case on the Galaxy Note5

You also get hardware Task switcher/Home/Back buttons, since the ones underneath are inaccessible. When you don't need the keyboard, you can simply snap it on the back of the case and continue in full screen mode.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy Note5 is undoubtedly a big device. It measures 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm and weighs 171 grams making it shorter, narrower, thinner and lighter than its predecessor Galaxy Note 4 all the while retaining the 5.7" display.

Design and build quality

Samsung Galaxy Note5 features the design language that debuted alongside the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, dominated by a decidedly premium fusion of metal and glass. The most distinctive design feature in the phablet is its back, which is curved towards the edges - a unique touch in a Samsung device for the time being.

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Samsung Galaxy Note5 in the flesh

There is no denying that Samsung Galaxy Note5 is the best looking member of the product family to date. The handset finally looks as premium as its price tag and industry reputation require, yet it cannot be mistaken for anything other than a Samsung Galaxy Note.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 will be available in four colors - Black Sapphire, White Pearl, Gold Platinum and the newly introduced Silver Titanium. It is worth noting that color availability will vary by markets.

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Samsung Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ in Gold Platinum

Build quality of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 is exceptional. The handset is crafted entirely from metal and Corning Gorilla Glass 4, so it will stand up even to the demands of the heaviest power user.

The only downside of having a smartphone made of glass is that the material might be prone to cracking in an accidental drop. A protective case is therefore highly recommended.

With physical measures of 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm, Samsung Galaxy Note5 is considerably more compact than Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm). The 2.5mm difference in width between the two devices is particularly impressive - it makes the new Note feel considerably more compact than its predecessor despite packing a screen with the same size.

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Samsung Galaxy Note5 alongside its predecessor

At 171 grams, the new Note is also lighter than last year's model despite utilizing more premium materials. All in all, the handset is a massive improvement over the outgoing model in terms of physical measures.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 is quite possibly the easiest device with a 5.7" display to handle thanks to its fairly compact measures, which allow many common tasks to be performed with one hand. Users with small hands however, might find the device a tad slippery without a case.

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Handling Samsung Galaxy Note5

The tactility of the smartphone is superb thanks to the premium materials used in its making. However, the same materials make the Note5 prone to smudges.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Note5 comes with a 5.7" Super AMOLED display with QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution, which results in a pixel density of 518ppi. The diagonal sweet spot was already established with the Note 3 and for third generation in a row it has remained unchanged.

Samsung Galaxy Note5

The Galaxy Note family has always boasted some of the best displays in the business and the tradition continues with the latest iteration. Alongside the usual infinite contrast, the screen boasts accurate colors (you can still make them saturated in the settings), as well as top notch brightness and viewing angles.

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Samsung Galaxy Note5 packs a stunning display

Viewing angles are great though you might see a minor blue/green tint at steeper angles (it's not uncommon with OLEDs).

Samsung Galaxy Note5

If you boost the brightness slider you can reach the brightness levels of a good LCD. Keep in mind that in very bright conditions the auto brightness mode can push the screen brightness up to 620nits along with the screen contrast and color saturation. This alone makes it the brightest SuperAMOLED display by Samsung that we've tested – brighter than even the S6 edge+.

These sorts of brightness levels can be easily beaten by the competing smartphones with LCD screens, but the amazingly low reflectivity of Samsung's SuperAMOLED displays means you can keep the brightness slider down even in bright sunlight conditions and still enjoy legible screen contents.

The Screen mode setting allows you to choose a color temperature, contrast and saturation preset that best matches your preferences. We found the Basic setting to provide the most accurate colors (average DeltaE of 1.1 is perhaps the best we've seen in a smartphone), though with this mode you might find the screen image to lack some punch in terms of contrast.

If the screen looks too bland to your taste at Basic mode, we suggest you go for the AMOLED Photo mode, which is still acceptably color accurate (average DeltaE 2000 of 4.8) but it boosts the contrast along with the saturation of some individual colors such as the greens or the magentas. The AMOLED Video mode pushes colors even further and so does the Adaptive display mode, so it would be up to your personal preference which one you would use.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Note5 0.000 183 - 439
Samsung Galaxy Note5 max auto - - - - 620 -
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 0.000 172 - 410
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ max auto - - - - 540 -
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 0.17 208 1197 0.52 705 1361
Motorola Nexus 6 0 149 0 372
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 0 291 0 399
Samsung Galaxy S6 0 208 0 363
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 0.000 208 0.000 313


Sunlight legibility is excellent too. Samsung has once again tuned the display to go above the brightness level that's available to the user when in bright environment. The feature allows you to read your email even under direct sunlight.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy E7
    4.485
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.090
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • vivo X5Max
    3.472
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Sony Xperia Z3+
    2.824
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • vivo Xshot
    2.465
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • LG G4
    2.317
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo R1x
    2.281
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
    2.149
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Microsoft Lumia 532
    1.615
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Microsoft Lumia 435
    1.598
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Overall, Samsung Galaxy Note5 deserves high marks for its design and build quality, as well as for its handling. The 5.7" QHD on the other hand, will once again be a measuring stick in its segment.

Reader comments

  • Jamie

Sound quality (24 bit) on this 5 year old phone is STILL better than iphone 12. LOL!

  • jarral

i want to replace it s LCD its broken how i get its original one

  • Anonymous

Could'nt all video and you tube too .what's the issue? Help