Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs. iPhone 5s: What We Know So Far

As we inch deeper into May, we continue to see Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumors tease consumers in the United States and around the world. With those Galaxy Note 5 rumors in mind, we want to take an early look at how the device is stacking up against the aging iPhone 5s, a device that turns two later this year. This is our way too early Galaxy Note 5 vs. iPhone 5s comparison.

In the fall of 2013, Apple took to the stage to announce a brand new iPhone, a follow-up to the iPhone 5 that it launched the year before. As expected, we didn’t get an iPhone 6. Instead, we were treated to an iPhone 5s that delivered a host of new features including Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have since replaced the iPhone 5s as the company’s flagship models though the iPhone 5s remains relevant. It’s a cheaper alternative to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and it’s also still in the hands of consumers around the world, many of whom will be coming off contract this fall.

Later this year, some of you might be looking to replace the iPhone 5s. Others might look into buying the iPhone 5s. Whatever the case may be, you’ll probably weigh the device against a number of iPhone 5s competitors, one of which will almost certainly be the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 isn’t official but Galaxy Note 5 rumors continue to heat up. As the year’s progressed, we’ve started to hear whispers about the Galaxy Note 5 specs, Galaxy Note 5 release date and Galaxy Note 5 carriers. There are still plenty of details that remain shrouded in mystery but we have enough to make an early comparison to Apple’s former iPhone flagship.

This early Galaxy Note 5 vs. iPhone 5s comparison will run down the latest Galaxy Note 5 rumors and show you how they currently compare to the iPhone 5s. Here’s what iPhone 5s users and prospective iPhone 5s buyers need to know as we push into May.

Galaxy Note 5 Release Date

If you’re a current iPhone 5s user or a prospective iPhone 5s buyer and you’re thinking about making the new Galaxy Note your next device, know that you’re probably going to wait awhile before you can pick up the Galaxy Note 5.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 launch date is rumored for IFA 2015. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that Samsung’s launched all five of its Galaxy Note branded devices at or around the start of the trade show in Berlin, Germany.

IFA 2015 kicks off on September 4th which means that a Galaxy Note 5 launch date could land that day. That’s not confirmed but it’s certainly the smartest bet at this point.

Galaxy Note 5 concept.

Galaxy Note 5 concept.

As for the Galaxy Note 5 release date, it has been rumored for August though that seems like a pipe dream at this point. If Samsung announces at IFA then a Galaxy Note 5 release date will probably come in September or October, right around the time Apple is expected to release its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

None of these dates are set in stone, the Galaxy Note 5 is still early in its development, but note that there’s a very good chance that we won’t be seeing the Galaxy Note 5 in June, July, or August. For those of you thinking about buying now, that probably complicates things. For those of you not coming off contract until September, the timing couldn’t be better.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note series has always been limited to a few major carriers in the United States. The iPhone, not so much.

Apple’s iPhone 5s is available on all five major US carriers including AT&T and Verizon and it’s also available on a number of smaller carriers including C Spire, Bluegrass Cellular and others. This gives prospective buyers a number of solid options outside of the top five service providers.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumors have, thus far, failed to establish a full list of Galaxy Note 5 carriers though we have seen flashes of what to expect.

Verizon Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop Update Review - 1

A recent report from SamMobile outlines some potential Galaxy Note 5 release details. The site says that Samsung will use model number SM-N920F for the international version of the Galaxy Note 5. The international Galaxy Note 4 model number is SM-N910x so the change is logical. The leak also outlines several other model numbers including those for the AT&T Galaxy Note 5 and Verizon Galaxy Note 5.

  • Galaxy Note 5 – SM-N920F EUR XX (Europe)
  • Galaxy Note 5 – SM-N920S KOR SKC (Korea)
  • Galaxy Note 5 – SM-N920K KOR KTC (Korea)
  • Galaxy Note 5 – SM-N920A NA ATT (AT&T)
  • Galaxy Note 5 – SM-N920V NA VZW (Verizon)

This all but confirms a Galaxy Note 5 release for the top two carriers in the United States and it also suggests that the Galaxy Note 5 will be coming to at least two other key markets, Europe and Korea.


The iPhone 5s features a small, 4-inch Retina Display that offers 640 x 1136 pixel resolution at 326 pixels-per-inch. While it’s a lot smaller than most smartphones from 2015, the quality hasn’t suffered. It’s still a top notch display capable of delivering beautiful content.


Samsung’s AMOLED technology has come a long way from the 480 × 800 pixel panel that it featured on the original Galaxy S back in 2010. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6 come with Quad HD resolution and we could see the Galaxy Note 5 make another jump later this year.

Galaxy Note 5 rumors suggest that Samsung is currently testing a few different displays on the Galaxy Note 5. One is a Quad HD display (1440 x 2560 pixel resolution), the other is a Ultra HD display. UHD resolution would bring 2160 x 3840 resolution at 700+ pixels-per-inch to the Galaxy Note series. While the technology is in development, it’s not clear if it will win out over Quad HD. Samsung may not decide until much later this year.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note series has always been about the big screen and the S Pen stylus and rumors point to a screen that’s around 5.7-inches in size. If true, the size of the display and the device itself will be much larger than Apple’s iPhone 5s. For people that are used to 4-inches, this will be a big jump.

Galaxy S6 Avengers Age of Ultron - 4

The latest Galaxy Note 5 rumors suggest that it will feature a flat display, like the iPhone 5s. The company is reportedly developing a new curved Galaxy Note Edge 2 that won’t feature the same specs as the Galaxy Note 5. The device is expected to come with mid-range specs though rumors point to the use of a dual-edge screen, similar to the one found on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

In summary, here’s how the display specs could stack up:

  • Galaxy Note 5: 5.7-inch to 5.9-inch UHD/QHD display.
  • iPhone 5s: 4-inch Retina Display with 640 x 1136 pixel resolution at 326PPI.

To get familiar with Quad HD resolution, take a look at our Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4 reviews. To get familiar with the size and resolution of the iPhone 5s display, take a look at our review.


Apple’s iPhone 5s comes with an impressive design that features a combination of metal and glass. It’s also, as you might imagine, thin. The iPhone 5s design is 7.6mm thin which is thinner than the Galaxy Note 4’s 8.5mm thin frame.


Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge don’t use plastic designs and are instead on par with the iPhone. Both utilize the company’s new design language which incorporates (surprise, surprise) glass and metal. The designs are absolutely beautiful, arguably the best that Samsung’s ever released, though they do come with some tradeoffs that iPhone users are accustomed to (lack of MicroSD card slot, non-removable battery).

A new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 concept is making the rounds. While it’s gorgeous to look at, the design doesn’t come from Samsung itself. Samsung is well known for keeping its designs under lock and key and thus far, Galaxy Note 5 design leaks have been virtually non-existent. We do have some clues though.

The Galaxy S6 Edge sports a premium design that delivers a great tactile feel.

The Galaxy S6 Edge sports a premium design that delivers a great tactile feel.

In recent comments made to Pocket-lint, Samsung UK’s vice president for mobile and IT Conor Pierce offered up some interesting quotes that hint at what we could see from Samsung down the road:

The company realised that it needed to do something different. We asked questions of people, what do they want? They want premium design, tick that box. They want the best camera, there you go. They want to solve battery issues. And they want choice. So I’m very confident that [the S6 and edge] materialised from what people want.

We’ve learned that bringing beautiful, premium innovations in design is what people want. I think the market needs this as well because the market has been very saturated.

I think it’s about us breaking new ground. It was a bold move to try to do something different, but if you go back to last year, we had the Note edge and you could see how well that was received. So we understand that this is what people want. They are looking for some inspiration, so yes you will see that across our portfolio.

Pierce goes on to say that future products, like the Galaxy Note 5 perhaps, could take a similar route as Samsung tries to compete with the iPhone:

What we have noticed is that typically the upgrade cycle is every 24 months because of the contracts, and people are generally offered an upgrade around six months before that.

That’s when they start to look at the phones on the market. So it’s very important that we don’t just do our best work in this current quarter. People don’t just turn up in this quarter, or July, August or September, looking for a new phone, it’s all year round.

I think the fact that we managed to deliver a new form factor with the Note, create a new category, shows the ambition to keep changing and keep innovating. Samsung puts $40 million a day into research and development, which is a massive injection of money into R&D.

In other words, it looks like the Galaxy Note 5 design could be on par with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge and in turn, on par with the iPhone 5s design as well.


The iPhone 5s camera was once one of the top smartphone cameras on the market. It’s still good but camera technology has come a long way since 2013.

The exact specifications of the Galaxy Note 5 camera haven’t leaked out but we do know that Samsung is prepping some changes for later in the year.

Samsung delivers an impressive Galaxy S6 Edge camera experience.

Samsung delivers an impressive Galaxy S6 Edge camera experience.

Samsung is reportedly working on new camera features in its upcoming Android 5.1.1 update. The features are unclear though rumors suggest they might have something to do with Google’s camera API.

If Google adds the full API, we could see some changes to the camera including RAW and better control over the shutter speed. These features will evidently be on board the Galaxy Note 5.


The iPhone 5s debuted with an A7 processor, Apple’s first 64-bit chip. It’s a solid CPU. And while we can’t benchmark the A7 next to the Galaxy Note 5 processor just yet, we can tell you that it looks like the Galaxy Note 5 is poised to feature a next-generation processor with a ton of firepower.

A new report claims that Samsung will be using a Exynos 7422 processor inside the Galaxy Note 5. This new processor will supposedly “be the company’s first ever all-in-one solution (ePoP) as it will combine the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and modem on a single chip.”

Samsung’s also said to be testing another chip, a new Exynos 7430 chipset, but the CPU is still only an engineering sample and it likely won’t be ready in time for the Galaxy Note 5’s release. Samsung reportedly hasn’t decided on a final chipset but all signs point to the Exynos 7422 and not the Exynos 7430.

Either way, look for it to compare to, or beat, the performance of the A7.