Samsung galaxy note 5 review

Stylish look and quality buildCool new S-Pen featuresComfortable to lớn holdGreat cameraQuick charging is super fast

Now that almost every điện thoại thông minh comes in a jumbo-sized package, Samsung’s lưu ý isn’t the outlandish quái dị phone it once was. But it’s still one of the only phablets to lớn truly make the most of all that screen real estate. The S Pen is what sets the cảnh báo apart from every other phablet (at least in the U.S.), and each year, Samsung perfects its stylus a little bit more.

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With its slick, Galaxy S6-like body and brand-new S Pen, the Galaxy chú ý 5 is Samsung’s best note yet. It introduced the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus at the same time as the cảnh báo 5, & seemed lớn back it with more resources. The Edge Plus offers all the same specs in a nearly identical package, minus the S Pen.

Regardless of what Samsung thinks about the S Pen, we know where we stand: The chú ý 5 is the best phablet you can buy with a stylus, hands down.

Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this nhận xét after many months of using the Galaxy note 5. Be sure to also check out our list of the best plus-sized, phablet phones.

Curved glass body and metal edges feel slick

Samsung’s cảnh báo has finally grown up – It’s done playing with pleather, imitating Band-Aids, and shining cheaply in plastic. The note 5 is a stunner – just like the Galaxy S6. Its metal frame gleams subtly, and the glass back glows lượt thích a pearl. There’s a slight curve to the glass backs edges that makes the massive 5.7-inch phablet more comfortable khổng lồ hold than every other lưu ý before it.

Only the edges curve in, though, so it’s not a fully curved back like the moto X or LG G4. The curved edges also give the otherwise slippery phone some grip, so you don’t feel as though it’s going to slip through your fingers and shatter on the floor. Its buttons are sturdy and well placed along the metal frame as well. From the side, it is easy khổng lồ mistake it for an iPhone or the Galaxy S6, and that’s a good thing.





The glass back is not without downsides. It’s slippery, so you’ll probably want a case for protection. I was nervous carrying it around for the first few days, afraid I’d drop it & shatter the back. No matter how strong the glass, it could easily crack if you’re a butterfingers. Speaking of fingers, glass also happens to be a huge fingerprint magnet. If you want your phone khổng lồ be fingerprint-free, you’ll have to wipe it off every time you use it.

We tested the shimmering gold variant, which regretfully, isn’t coming to lớn the U.S. The champagne gold looks gorgeous, & the reflective glass really shows off the metallic sheen. However, the fingerprint situation was out of control. Whenever you get a new phone, all your friends và family inevitably want khổng lồ hold it, and I felt mildly embarrassed by the proliferation of fingerprints all over the device. After a few days, I stopped compulsively wiping it clean, but it made me wish I had a case.

New S-Pen features

The S-Pen stylus nestles into a cutout in the metal frame along the bottom of the note 5. The S Pen itself has a nifty little eject button on the end, so popping it out is easy. The stylus is as sleek as the phone with a nice shiny cap (for lack of a better term) & its very own clicky button. Clicking the button doesn’t seem to lớn actually do anything, but if you’re a notorious pen clicker, the S Pen’s new clickity clacking will give you so much pleasure.

The S Pen is a truly versatile tool that makes the chú ý stand out in the overcrowded sea of phablets.

As soon as you pop the stylus out, you can use it – even if the screen is off. It’s the best brand-new feature Samsung came up with for the S Pen this year. It eliminates several steps that used to impede the natural writing experience with the stylus. You no longer have khổng lồ turn your screen on, unlock your phone, pull out the S Pen, wait for the tiện ích to pop up, và then start writing. You simply whip the stylus out và get writing or drawing right away on the fresh, đen screen.

Personally, I love this option. Sometimes, I get an idea for a drawing or I suddenly remember something important, & it’s nice to be able khổng lồ jot things down quickly without too much effort. Also, at work, I often jot things down on a notepad or take notes during interviews with pen và paper. When I’ve got the note in my hands, there’s no need lớn waste paper. The S Pen writes so smoothly that you can’t even tell you’re not writing on paper.

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That màn chơi of fluidity và control is even more important when I’m drawing. Using ArtFlow & the S Pen, I made several quick sketches, và a few more detailed drawings right on my phone. As an artist, I can say that the chú ý 5’s new S Pen is fantastic. It’s on the same màn chơi as styli from Adonit & Wacom, but it’s made for a smaller screen.

Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

Another superb new feature is the Scroll Capture option, though it’s harder lớn activate. When you’re reading an article online or checking directions that you want khổng lồ save for offline viewing later on, you can save it as a scroll capture. You simply use the screenshot option in the Air Command menu, and take a screen capture. The option for a scroll capture will pop up afterward, & then you can select the capture more option until everything you want has been saved. The software stitches your screen grabs together into a single continuous scrolling screenshot. I used it khổng lồ read articles offline while I was on the train to work.

Other new features include the ability khổng lồ mark up PDFs, write on the screen, and a new scrapbook with topical folders that should make it easier to find the clipping you’re looking for.

Samsung also improved the Air Command menu, so now it blurs out the screen lớn better show you your tiện ích options, which are customizable. Once you’ve made your selection, everything goes back to lớn normal. A little bubble with a pen in it will float along the home screen while the S Pen is out, too, and a simple tap on it brings up the Air Command menu again. You can move the bubble around or remove it if you hate it. It’s very useful for those who like to use the S Pen as much as I do.

If you haven’t guessed, the S Pen is one of my favorite things about Samsung’s note series. It’s a genius addition khổng lồ the phablet, and it turns the note into something more than a phone. The note can be a sketchbook, a scrapbook, a canvas, and yes, a notepad. It’s a versatile tool that makes the note stand out in the overcrowded sea of phablets.

Meanwhile, the curved edge on the S6, the S6 Edge Plus is much less useful. If Samsung has lớn hedge its bets in the phablet category, we’d rather it stuck with the note and left the curved edges lớn the flagship S series.

Powerful specs, questionable battery life

The chú ý 5 is chock full of impressive numbers, from its 5.7-inch Quad HD screen (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), khổng lồ its octa-core Exynos processor và 4GB of RAM. Samsung offers both 32GB and 64GB versions of the cảnh báo 5, so you won’t have to lớn worry too much about storage – unless you’re a real hog. A lot of people are upset about the lack of expandable storage via a MicroSD card, and it’s a fair criticism, since most chú ý users are nguồn users. After almost a year of use, our 32GB, of which only around 24GB is available for use, has almost completely filled up.


The 3,000mAh battery charges wirelessly on both of the popular standards & quickly – Samsung says it can charge just as fast wirelessly as the Galaxy S6, even though it’s a much bigger phone. We’ve tested the Qi wireless charging extensively and it works well. The cảnh báo 5 does heat up slightly, but it charges quickly, even with a thin case on. If you have a couple of hours to spare, nothing beats the convenience of wireless charging. Thankfully, for when you’re in a hurry, the Micro USB cable is incredibly fast. It’s nice khổng lồ plug the phone in and see it zip up to 100 percent in no time at all.

The battery life isn’t terrible, but it sure isn’t as good as it should be. Samsung actually put a smaller battery in the note 5 than the chú ý 4, which just doesn’t make sense. The chú ý 5 easily handled a full day of use, but it couldn’t make it through a day and a half, let alone two. It’s a shame, because that was one of the things that made older Notes different. The battery is not removable either, which will annoy many old-school users. This becomes more of an issue over time, because battery performance deteriorates. As our cảnh báo 5 approaches its first birthday, the battery already seems to be running out of juice earlier than it used to. This may be partly down khổng lồ teething troubles with the update to apk 6.0.1 Marshmallow, but we have concerns about how it will perform after two years.

By the numbers

Screen size – 5.7-inchesResolution – 2,560 x 1,400Thickness – 7.6mmOS – apk 5.1 LollipopRAM – 4GBFront camera – 5MPRear camera – 16MPBattery – 3,000mAh

That said, those who are used to charging their phones every night won’t be upset. The lưu ý 5’s battery lasted me through a very busy day, which included a briefing during which the phone’s screen was on the whole time, because I was taking notes with the S Pen. I was down to lớn 40 percent by 4 p.m. That day, but most days I lingered around 60 percent by 4 p.m., which is on the same level as the iPhone 6 Plus.

Samsung popped a fingerprint sensor on the home button for added security and mobile payments (more on that later). With a single press, you’re in the phone, which is much nicer than the swiping you used lớn have to vì to unlock Samsung phones with fingerprint sensors before the Galaxy S6 launched. It works quickly and well, though not as well as Apple’s cảm ứng ID. It’s a very close second, though.

Fantastic cameras

The 16-megapixel camera on the back of the chú ý 5 takes great photos, as it’s the same sensor that’s found on the Galaxy S6. It focuses quickly and performs well in most lighting conditions. You can more or less snap away with the cảnh báo 5 và get some great pictures in return.