Samsung’s impressive Galaxy Note 5 phone or “phablet” is one of the best Android smartphones released in 2015. With so many excellent options this year buyers have a tough choice, and below are five reasons we think the Galaxy Note 5 is worth buying.
In August, Samsung surprised many by not only announcing, but also releasing the new Galaxy Note 5. This was a full two months earlier than expected considering the Galaxy Note 4 was released at the end of October. Its gorgeous 5.7-inch Quad-HD display, great camera, fast charging and other features all make it a great smartphone.
The Note 5 made our list above detailing the best Android smartphones of 2015, and for a few reasons. What’s even better is it still could be one of the best Android phones for most of 2016 as well. With that in mind, below are a few reasons we think the Note 5 should be your next Android smartphone.
Early in 2016 Samsung could release a trio of new Galaxy S7 devices, one that’s even bigger than the Galaxy Note 5, but that could be too big for some. Meaning until a Galaxy Note 6 in the fall, the Note 5 should still be the perfect device for millions of users.
As we said above, in August Samsung shocked many by releasing the Galaxy Note 5. It was actually released just two weeks after being announced in New York City across all carriers in the US, and around the globe. Then it went up for sale at Amazon, Best Buy, and many other retailers. And while it wasn’t as popular as the Note 4, considering it has a smaller battery and no micro-SD card, there are countless other features that make up for those few missing pieces.
Read: Galaxy Note 5 Review
Our review above goes over every little detail about the excellent Galaxy Note 5, and it even received an Editors’ Choice Award for the display and other things. Below are some of the reasons we love it, and think buyers will too.
This year a lot of smartphones were released with big screens, but none of them can compare to the Galaxy Note 5. Simply put, it’s the best display in any smartphone, period. Samsung’s AMOLED display has some of the best colors, contrast, dark blacks, sharp and crisp text and comes in at an insanely high 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD resolution. Meaning four times more than a 720p HDTV. Yes, it looks good no matter what angle, or what you’re watching.
Yes 1080p is enough for most, especially on a screen this small, but the Quad-HD AMOLED panel in the Note 5 won award after award. It isn’t an average LCD display like most other smartphones. It’s the best screen money can buy, and you’ll instantly notice this while using it at a carrier store, or at Best Buy.
The color saturation is amazing, it doesn’t have any weird color tints to ruin the experience. It’s just gorgeous all around. To make things even better, the bezel around the entire display is smaller too. What that means is the Note 5 has the same 5.7-inch screen as last years Galaxy Note 4, but the device is physically smaller. Making it easier to use, hold and enjoy, without feeling like you’re holding a huge weapon in your hand.
At first I wasn’t sold on the entire wireless payment idea after trying Google Wallet or even seeing the frustration of millions of iPhone users trying to purchase stuff with Apple Pay, but Samsung really nailed it with Samsung Pay. It’s the easiest and best method around, and here’s why.
You see, the benefit of Samsung Pay over the others like Apple or Android Pay, is that it’s backwards compatible with old swipe-based payment terminals, which is essentially 95% of all places in the United States. So instead of a few hundred thousand retail stores or vending machines with a new NFC payment terminal, the Galaxy Note 5 can be used to pay for things almost everywhere in the United States.
Samsung Pay works on the Note 5 and all of Samsung’s flagship devices in 2015, like the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, and accepts almost all major credit cards, carriers, banks, and now even supports gift cards and other things.
Simply swipe up (even while the phone is turned off) tap the fingerprint scanner, and put your phone near a terminal and it works, even at Walmart where they’ll tell you, “that doesn’t work here” then be amazed when it does. I never thought I’d use it so much, but I’ve even left the house without my wallet knowing I’ll be good with Samsung Pay, it’s that effective. This alone is one of my favorite features above all.
Being able to take decent photos with a smartphone is a nice convenience. Being able to instantly fire up the camera by double tapping the home button (even while the phone is off and locked) and taking stunning 16 megapixel photos or 4k video in less than a second, with great results, is even better. That’s the benefit of buying the Galaxy Note 5.
Its 16 megapixel camera has optical image stabilization, a very fast autofocus, an auto-HDR mode that means I rarely use the flash to ruin color accuracy, and even photos in low light turn out pretty good. Like the display, the Galaxy Note 5 camera won a few awards too, and was the #1 smartphone camera for most of the year, beating the iPhone 6. Yes, it’s that good. Oh, and there’s a pro mode for those who’d like to mess with ISO, color temp, shutter speed and other things for truly amazing photos.
If I had one complaint it’s with our next topic, which is the design. There is no micro-SD card, so 32GB is barely enough to last most a year before they upgrade to a new phone, but we’re hearing the Galaxy S7 could return the micro-SD card for expandable storage.
Excellent Aluminum Design
After years of making some of the best and most popular smartphones, Samsung really needed to do something after the textured pimple plastic design of the Galaxy S5. It was ugly, even if it was a durable and great phone.
In 2015 Samsung completely revamped the Galaxy S6 and Note 5. They added an all aluminum design with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back for durability, and a beautiful metal casing with curved and chamfered edges.
Samsung ditched cheap plastic materials, fake leather backs and big bezels, and delivered a sleek, thin, premium smartphone all while packing it with more technology than ever before.
A big part of the design was making everything universal and “just work”. Wireless payments isn’t limited by one option, they designed the phone to do both. It doesn’t just have fast charging, it has fast wireless charging. They added it all, while making the phone thinner, faster, and better than ever.
Fast Charging & Wireless Charging
Like we said above, Samsung did everything right by leaving nothing out. They could have just added a micro-USB port and called it a day. Instead they added Adaptive Fast Charging, which means the phone recharges from 0-50% in less than 25 minutes, and 0-100% fully charged in only 75-80 minutes. Older phones took nearly 2-3 hours to fully recharge.
That isn’t all though, Samsung also added wireless charging. Allowing users to drop it on a mat and charge without plugging in wires. However just like Samsung Pay, they didn’t stop there. The Note 5 is the first phone to support “Fast Wireless Charging” making it almost as quick as charging with the included wire. Wireless charging has been a niche feature because it was slow, but that’s not the case here. While still slower, the Note 5 can fully recharge with a fast wireless charging in a little over 110 minutes. Still faster than older devices using a micro-USB wall plug.
Yes the battery is smaller than the Note 4, but Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (and soon Marshmallow) is more efficient. Add in the fast and wireless charging features, and battery life has never been a concern with the Note 5. Something I can’t say about the Galaxy S6, LG G4 or others.
That’s Not All
That isn’t all either. Samsung added neat features to the S-Pen, like writing on the screen and saving notes while the phone is turned off. Sound output is better. The front 8 megapixel camera takes amazing wide-angle selfies, and the software isn’t terrible either.
The Note 5 is still loaded with bloatware, but Samsung removed a lot of those gimmicky features and changes in TouchWiz that covered stock Android. It’s more simple, clean, and has themes. I’m running a stock Android “material” theme from the Theme Store, with the Google Now launcher for a stock Android-like experience.
Add in support for Samsung Gear VR, tons of official cases and more, and it’s easy to see why so many people love the Galaxy Note 5. The phone is available from all major carriers, comes in a few different colors, and is still one of the best phones available today. Grab one now at a carrier store, or Best Buy.