Samsung Galaxy Note5 review: The 5blet
Phonebook and telephony
Samsung Galaxy Note5 has excellent reception and in-call audio. If you run the Adapt sound feature, you can also tune the call sound when you use a headset.
The dialer has a Material Design-inspired appearance. Smart dialing (searching through contacts by using the keypad) and speed dialing (assigning a contact to a number on the keypad) are on board. Video calling is also natively supported.
Additional tabs in the app show the call log, favorite contacts and a list of all contacts. You can use the separate Phonebook app for that.
The Phonebook is a list of contacts with a search field and an alphabet index. The contact info card has been cleaned up and shows the contact image (you can swipe down to view it fully), below that are the phones and emails with quick buttons to call/send message.
Here you'll also find the latest messages and calls with that contact. The View more toggle displays all the additional info. You can swipe left to call a contact straight from the list, or right to send them a message.
A built-in call rejection feature lets you block calls from certain numbers or all numbers not in your phonebook. Do not disturb mode can be scheduled on select days and during certain periods of the day. You can set it to make an exception for certain notifications, including allowing only calls from your favorite contacts.
Samsung is sticking to a single loudspeaker with the 2015 generation of the Galaxy flagships, but it has audibly improved in quality. It's not very loud though, but we can forgive it for the excellent sound quality. Obviously Note5 and S6 edge+ share the same model of loudspeaker and both score Average on our test.
The great speaker quality and wider sound range somewhat makes the Galaxy Note5 speaker sounds louder than it actually is, especially when compared to some low-quality (but louder) squeaky speakers.
Even though the Galaxy Note5 score is Average, you'll hardly miss notifications even in noisier environments.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
Samsung's messaging app has a clean UI, but you can customize font size, backgrounds and conversation bubbles. The app shows a row of priority contacts, below that is the list of all conversation threads. You can use pinch zoom to change the font size in a conversation thread.
The Album option collects all photos and videos shared in the given conversation thread. The Attach button shows the most recent photos and videos so you can pick them easily, but below that are additional options for other multimedia.
A built-in spam filter weeds out messages from select numbers or containing certain phrases. You can also schedule messages to be automatically sent later (so you don't forget).
The proprietary Email app by Samsung looks almost identical. The top row is a shortcut to show emails only from priority contacts, though you can view a combined inbox if you have multiple accounts added.
The Gmail app also handles multiple accounts - even non-Google one - and adheres more strictly to the Material design principles. It is an excellent alternative to the Samsung's solution.
The Samsung keyboard features a dedicated numbers row. It can update its database with popular words weekly and learn from your messages and contacts. Swiping can be set to move the text cursor or as an input method.
You can tweak the size of the keyboard slightly, making it taller or shorter and, if you are okay with a tiny keyboard, you can use a small floating one. You can add text shortcuts (so 'brb' gets replaced with 'be right back') and predictive text.
Of course, you can also input text with the stylus. The setup is quite convenient on the large screen of the Note5.