Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Product Review

I guess it was going to happen. The Galaxy S3 that my wife has happily used for 3 years has been retired. Battery issues and advancing Samsung technology led to an important decision – Upgrade Time! The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 arrived over two weeks ago and she loves it. So it is time for a product review. We will talk about all the usual stuff, such as software, camera, battery life, etc. But this review will be realistic in its discussion of what features the Note 5 should have had that I would be missing if it were my smartphone.

What We Like About ItSamsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review

Upgraded S Pen feature

Write on the black screen

Amazing Camera

 

What We Don’t Like About It

No SD card slot

No removable battery

 

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Rating: 9/10

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Key Features

What are some key features that make the Galaxy Note 5 the premium Android phone of 2016? The stand-outs are the amazing 5.7” Super Amoled display that is so much better than any of its competitors and the 16 megapixel rear camera with 5 MP front lenses. Many of the photos in this blog have been taken by my wife with her new Note 5, which I will compare with my Note 3.

So let us explore these features in detail.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Under the Hood

The Note 5 is powered by a 1.5Ghz octa-core Exynos 7420 processor with 4GB of RAM. The Exynos 7420 64 bit processor is built by Samsung Electronics and used in the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge+, S6 Edge and Note 5. The Note 4 had the previous Exynos octa-core processor. Obviously, with this grunt under the hood, coupled with 32 GB of storage, we are looking at a phone with serious get up and go. It runs Android 5.1.1 with a non-removable battery. (more about that later).

It uses a Nano-SIM, which was a little inconvenient for us, since we had bought the Note 5 online and the simple SIM transfer from the S3 to the Note 5 was not possible. A drive up to the phone shop got the SIMs changed over with all the contacts on the S3 Micro SIM being transferred over to the Nano-SIM for the Note 5.

 

Battery Life

Even though a number of users, the writer included, lament the lack of a removable battery, the battery life on the Note 5 is pretty amazing. We are using it every day for camera work, social media, emails, SMS, etc. At the end of the day, there is still 40-50% of the battery life available. It is fast charging, even though it is still using the micro-USB cable. I was surprised that the larger dual USB cable on the Note 3 wasn’t included, but it does mean that charging cables for the Note 8 tablet is interchangeable with all the Samsung devices we own.

 

Camera

Now this is the most amazing feature of the Note 5. It is one of the reasons my wife wanted this smartphone over another model, since the camera was highly rated. Yes the rear camera has a 16MP rear camera and there is a 5 MP on the front. After all, you don’t need the selfies to look better than the landscapes shots you take on the next vacation you take. So I am going to just let you decide what the camera is like. Here are some contrast shots. The ones on the left are what I have taken on my Note 3, while the shots on the right are what my wife took on the Note 5. Same location, same time of day, different hardware.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review
Note 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review
Note 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review
Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review
Note 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20151226_110629 20160105_110526

Plus a few extra photos to highlight the camera’s superior capability.

 

 

 

 

 

S Pen

This is really cool. The S Pen is found on a number of Samsung tablets, as well as the Note 3, 4 and 5 smartphones. I love this stylus technology as it allows you to make note taking so much easier and much more creative. But watch the video below and note how my wife has set up the weekly shopping list on her phone. No more printing out the list and leaving it behind. No, it is all on the S Note and easily adjusted with the S Pen.

 

Click here to watch the video

 

S Pen Update:
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 - Product Review
Photo Credit: www.arstechnica.com

There has been some brouhaha over the Note 5 S Pen. Samsung have had to make some modifications to the new models since it seems that users were inserting the pen backwards and it was getting stuck in there. This then caused some problems since the gate lever in the S Pen slot breaks when trying to ease the pen out, leaving the Note 5 unable to recognise if the S Pen is in its slot or not. Also, the Air Command feature no longer works, since there is no means of knowing what the status of the Pen is.

Last Sunday, January 24, I was telling my wife about this problem, affectionately known as S Pen-gate. She said, “That takes a special sort of stupidity to do that,” as she tried to do the very same thing and got her S Pen stuck in there upside down. Hmm!

Google searching helped us find a video on YouTube that gave us a step-by-step action plan to release it. It worked but now the ability to write on the blank screen is no more and the Air Command is dead. The S Pen still works and my wife can still do the shopping list as per the above video, so not all is lost. (She hated the Air Command feature anyway, so no big deal.)

Samsung have to this point refused to fix any Note 5 phones that have had the backwards inserted S Pen drama. “Customers should read instruction manuals before using the Note 5 and follow them accordingly,” is the essence of their response. So buyer beware! I love the S Pen but on the Note 5, especially on one a few months old, be careful how you insert it.

Thankfully, this problem doesn’t exist with my Note 3, as the S Pen will only go in point first.

 

Conclusion

What is there more to say but that Samsung have really hit the high note with this product release. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has really lived up to expectations and that is why so many tech reviewers rate it as one of the top releases of 2015.  Despite the issues people have with the battery not being removable or the lack of an SD card storage slot, this smartphone really is an amazing product. Sure, at times I get a little envious that my wife is having so much fun with it, but my Galaxy Note 3 is only a year old and it has all the features that I need in a smartphone.

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Of course, if you have an opinion about what you read in this review, feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

22 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – Product Review

  1. My husband has a Samsung phone and he likes it. He says the battery could last longer, but other than that it is a great phone. His phone is as powerful as our laptop!

    The camera is great and the phone is easy to use.

    My 12 year old daughter has a Samsung tablet and it works really well for her.

    1. Hi Andrea,

      A Samsung household like mine. We love how the tablets and smartphones integrate together so well. What is crazy is that the house we rent in Thailand has a Samsung fridge/freezer and a Samsung TV. We are really a Samsung household.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Duncan

  2. It’s not a really bad phone after all. If you are buying a new phone, it can be a good choice. However, if you do own the Note 4, I suggest you stay with it because the bad point of Note 5 is that there is no micro SD slot and the battery cannot be remove which means that there is no ability to access to the battery at all. That’s still a great review nevertheless on the Note 5.

    Cheers,
    Steve

    1. HI Steve,

      Glad you enjoyed the review. It is a good point about staying with the Note 4 for the reasons you mention. I will stay with my Note 3 for a little while longer since what I use the phone for is different to my wife and the Note 5 is just right for her.

      Chat soon,

      Duncan

  3. I love Samsung as well! Ill take samsung phone anytime. I currently have an Edge plus and you are right, this new phones doesnt have removable batteries. I dont like that feature either! But that is not enough for me to let go of their phones. I think using the cloud as a storage is a way to defeat that loss of expandable memory.

    1. Hi Von,

      We put all our photos into Google Drive and it works very well. No, I am not going to walk away from Samsung either just because of the battery thing. The quality of the new models are amazing and I am happy that you love the Edge+. A great phone also.

      Thanks for visiting

      Duncan

  4. Funkydunc,

    The Note 5 is a really quality product from Samsung. I always love the user interface with their products. I am using an iPhone but I do consider giving Samsung a try sometime in the future. I like how vibrant and clear the camera seems to take photos. The S-pen seems like a very cool feature that I would love to have.

    Do you think that the Samsung Note 5 is a much superior product when you compare it to the iPhone 6 plus? You definitely know a whole lot about your samsung products.

    I did enjoy your review on the note 5. Its a good thing that your wife upgraded from the Galaxy S3.
    Looking forward to your reply soon.

    Jason

    1. Hi Jason,
      There are many reviewers that put the Note 5 on par with the iPhone 6plus while others rate the Samsung as the better device. That S Pen is just amazing. My wife has it out all the time. What I didn’t put on the review is the ability to pull out the S Pen and then write a note on the black screen. The note is then saved to the S Note app. It is way cool. Do you think you will check it out soon?

      Regards,

      Duncan

  5. I have the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active and am enjoying it . There are features on the phone that I haven’t really used so don’t know what it is capable of. My last phone the Samsung Galaxy S4 active had battery problems and then stopped working. The problem came when I needed to retrieve the information on it to transfer to my new Phone. Because I did not want my information on the internet I did not use some of the options that were available. And there was no sim card to take out and put in the new phone to transfer the data from. I lost everything that was on my phone. Some of the information I have been able to recover but not everything. So I would caution people to take steps to protect their data storage in case you need to transfer it to a new phone.

    1. Great comments, Robin. Protecting your personal data is crucial in today’s society. There are a number of ways to transfer data to a new phone. One of them is Samsung Kies, software that is compatible with the later smartphones, including the S4, where you can upload all your contacts, messages, photos, etc to your computer via the phones USB cable and then transfer these to the new phone.
      If you have a model with a SIM card, saving all your contacts to the SIM is ideal since you haven’t lost the information if the phone dies on you. My wife was able to have all her details transfer from her micro SIM from her S3 to the nano SIM of her new Note 5. She went to the phone shop when getting the nano SIM and the consultant had it done in minutes. So be careful, but remember that their are ways to move this info between phones.
      Thanks for calling by the website.
      Duncan

  6. A rating 9/10 is a product which is deemed almost perfect, having little drawbacks or little cons. Or the drawbacks are not big deal and are insignificant.

    I am not familiar about the technological features. On Super Amoled display, is it basically a touch screen? I red the definition and still kinda lost.

    About the processor, I think Samsung has developed as a standout competitor apart from Apple, enhancing their inventions from time to time.

    1. All smartphones these days are touch screens so that is not the standout. The clear HD quality of the screen enhances viewing quality, especially when watching video or movies. The new TVs and tablets use an LED technology to improve the experience.

      What device/s do you use?

      Duncan

  7. I just bought a Samsung Galaxy phone and it is wonderful. The talk to text system makes it so easy to write paragraph after paragraph in minutes. It is so much better than typing with your fingers on a laptop. I can get my blog pages done so much quicker now. These new phones are a absolute must because there are a wide variety of cool features that come with them.

    Nice page!

    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      Congratulations on getting a Galaxy phone. That is very interesting to hear about the talk-to-text feature and how you use it. You have just given me a great idea for a blog post and product review.

      Thank you for the positive feedback.

      Duncan

  8. WOW! What a fantastic site. looks clean, professional and up there with the best!

    I cant wait until I am at the level where I have all the links to Facebook, twitter etc. I could spend a lot of time in your site.

    It is helpful and informative, provides practical advice and help on the products.

    I like the reviews and the amazon links are great. The site has provided a lot of ideas for my site.

    My only criticism is the pop ups but thats a personal thing.

    1. Thank you, David, very much for the feedback. The pop ups are designed to build an email subscriber list. Having followers allows the site to develop maturity and potential customers in the future.

      Duncan

  9. Hi Duncan
    Love the site and good review on the Galaxy note 5.
    It’s good to know the negatives you have experienced with the phone. it helps to know if those negatives are ok to live with, seeing all the positives that it has. Are you planning to do brand comparisons? I think that would be so helpful in making choices on what type of smartphone to buy. Keep up the great work!
    Cheers

    1. Hi Paul,

      Brand comparisons make be a direction I take in the future but no immediate plans on that one. I currently am keeping people informed on what features Samsung products have and what details may or may not convince them to buy that technology. Glad you like the site.

      Duncan

  10. Ha. That is one product design flaw with the S-pen port. They should have made a one-way entrance point.

    I was considering to buy this phone as my Sony M2Dual is already 3 years old.
    What is your most favorite app for Note 5 that you regularly use?
    I would love to have the ability to write on the go and design some websites. Do you think Note 5 can handle it?

    1. Yes that is a design flaw that Samsung are now fixing. It you buy one in the next couple of months, you will have the S Pen issue fixed. I think the favorite app on the phone is the S Note. As you saw on the video in this review, customising shopping lists, taking meeting notes, etc. are things the S Pen takes in its stride. I am sure that if you are on the go, then there will be no problem writing while out and about. Go on, go get one – you will love it.

      Regards,

      Duncan

  11. Same story with me. I think I should change my phone too. My phone is already 3 years old. I’m planning to get a new phone soon. And I’m choosing between S7, note 5 and htc 10. I like the s7 because it is like a perfect phone but touchwiz is kinda laggy. Sa me with note 5 I think it is a good phablet but the touchwiz is bad. How does note 5 compare to s7? Should I wait for the note 6?

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