Samsung Galaxy Note5 review: The 5blet

GSMArena team, 21 August, 2015.

Controls

Above the display is where the earpiece resides, accompanied by an ambient light and a proximity sensor. The 5MP front-facing unit completes the setup.

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The view above the display

Samsung's signature home button sits below the screen of the Note5 - it packs a fingerprint sensor and is surrounded by a metal ring. A duo of capacitive keys flank the button as always.

Samsung Galaxy Note5
The usual trio of buttons below the screen

The volume control buttons of the phablet sit on its left side. Its power/lock key is placed on the right.

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The sides of Samsung Galaxy Note5

The top of the Note5 is home to the nano-SIM card slot and a secondary microphone for active noise canceling. There is no IR port this time around.

Samsung Galaxy Note5
No IR port on top of the device

The bottom of the smartphone features similar layout as Samsung Galaxy S6, save for the S Pen slot. The device's loudspeaker, its 3.5mm audio jack, and its microUSB port are all located there.

Samsung Galaxy Note5
The bottom of the handset

Samsung Galaxy Note5's back is where the slightly protruding 16MP camera sensor can be found. The handset's heart rate sensor and LED flash sit on the right side of the camera.

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A look at the back of the phablet

S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note5 features a brand new S Pen that's once again an improvement over last year's solution. The stylus utilizes a new release mechanism which requires a user to click its top before taking it out, thus eliminating the possibility of accidentally removing it.

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A new and improved S Pen

The signature side button is once again present on the S Pen. Curiously, Samsung has opted for the smooth texture on the stylus, thus making it more slippery than its predecessors.

We really wish that the clickable top of the S Pen offered additional functionality. For the time being it can only act as a release mechanism and an occasional clicky stress reliever.

Battery life

This is arguably the part of the review that we were most curious about. As you probably know by now, Samsung equipped the Galaxy Note5 with a non-removable 3,000mAh Li-Po battery that's smaller than the swappable 3,220mAh Li-Ion battery found in last year's Galaxy Note 4.

As it turns out, despite its smaller battery, the Samsung Galaxy Note5 pulled off almost the same result as its predecessor in our battery test. The newcomer achieved an endurance rating of 85 hours, which means it will easily make it through three full days if you use it for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily.

Samsung’s quick charger can top up the battery in less than 90 minutes from empty, so it is incredibly convenient to use. Wireless charging, on the other hand is so fast and so liberating, that there'll be no turning back. You're fully charged in just 120 minutes.

As always, there are two battery saving modes available to the user - Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving. The latter turns off all, but the most crucial phone features and allows the phablet to last for hours with single percentage digits of battery left.

Combined with the plethora of options to rapidly charge the phablet, we reckon that the battery endurance of Samsung Galaxy Note5 should be good enough for even a seasoned power user. Yes, a removable battery would have been a great thing to have, but we find the sleek metal/glass body of the Note5 to be a fair tradeoff.

You can also always get an external powerbank as these accessories are at their cheapest now.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Note5 packs a kitchen sink full of connectivity options, headed by Cat. 9 LTE connectivity with support for download speeds of up to 450 MB/s. If you have access to an HSPA network only, you'll get a maximum download speed of 42Mbps.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 supports Wi-Fi ac networks for fast local networking. Wi-Fi a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks are also supported, of course.

Then there's Bluetooth 4.2 LE with apt-X codec support (for high-quality audio streaming). Wired connectivity takes place over microUSB 2.0 port.

The USB has MHL 3.0 functionality, which allows it to output 2160p video at 30fps, coincidentally the top mode for the camera. The port also supports USB HID devices, like a keyboard and a mouse.

There is also NFC, which is used for Samsung Pay, which lets the Note5 replace the credit cards in your wallet. It's also used for pairing with other devices and reading NFC tags as well.

Oddly, Samsung opted to leave the IR blaster off the Galaxy Note5, so remote controlling your home appliances is a no-go this time around.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

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

  • AnonD-752613

is there users tried and able to upgrade the inbuild memory to 128gd and change the battery inside ,. the non removable memory can be a plus to security but can be limitation for heavy users like me .what are the problems in note 5

  • faran

My note 5 is switched off due to low battery but when I switch it on it displays this message on the top of the screen "Custom binary blocked by FAP lock" Plz guide me what to do Waiting for yur reply