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What the Galaxy S6 Tells Us About the Galaxy Note 5



Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumors are almost non-existent and the Galaxy Note 5 release is likely still many months away. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have some idea of what to expect though. In fact, thanks to the new Samsung Galaxy S6 release, we now have a better idea about what Samsung could do with its next Galaxy Note.

After months and months of rumor and speculation, Samsung finally took the stage in Barcelona, Spain to introduce the brand new Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The two devices serve as a replacement for last year’s Galaxy S5 and they represent Samsung’s answer to devices like the iPhone 6, HTC One M9, and LG G series.

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge both come with some upgrades which include a design made of glass and metal, new Quad HD displays, an improved Exynos 7 Octa processor, a 16MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, some huge tweaks to TouchWiz over Android 5.0 Lollipop, a new fingerprint reader, and more. The two devices immediately become two of the year’s hottest smartphones and buyers will certainly have their eye on them as we get closer to their April 10th release date.

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Others, like us, have their eye on the future. With each passing day, we get closer to the possible arrival of a new Galaxy Note smartphone, a device that could be called Samsung Galaxy Note 5. We’ve seen a few Galaxy Note 5 rumors emerge in recent months though we haven’t see the rumor mill pick up. That’s not surprising given how early it is.

While the Galaxy Note 5 is still shrouded in mystery, we think yesterday’s announcements shed some light on Samsung’s next Galaxy Note. More specifically, we think the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge shed some light on potential Galaxy Note 5 specs. Here, we take a look at what we think the Galaxy S6 tells us about the Galaxy Note 5, a device that could join it on shelves in the future.

Familiar Release Path

Samsung, like Apple and its other rivals, operates on a very predictable cycle when it comes to its flagship phones. The Galaxy S is always announced in the beginning of the year, followed by a release in the second quarter ahead of the summer. This timing allows owners of older Galaxy S smartphones, like the Galaxy S4, to more easily upgrade to the latest device. The pattern also helps set consumer expectations, something that’s important to those looking to upgrade.

The Samsung Galaxy Note series, as we mentioned, is always announced at IFA ahead of a fall release in time for the holidays. The past four Galaxy Note models have been slotted in and around the same launch window followed by similar release windows. So what does this all mean for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 release?

Samsung Galaxy S6 Release Best Buy -2

Well, Samsung’s using a very familiar release path with the Samsung Galaxy S6. It announced the device around the time that it always announces the Galaxy S and it’s releasing the Galaxy S6 around the same time that it always releases the Galaxy S. Last year, Samsung released the Galaxy S5 on April 11th so we’re seeing it a day earlier this year.

With Samsung sticking to its usual pattern, we can’t help but think that the company is going to stick to a familiar release path for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Months of rumors followed by an announcement in and around early September followed by a release ahead of the holidays to compete with Apple’s likely iPhone 6 successor.

The arrival of the Galaxy S6 and the staying power of the Galaxy Note 4 mean that Samsung can take its time and spread its releases out into key periods of the year. We doubt that we see much deviation this year.

Premium Design

While we don’t anticipate major changes to the timing of the Galaxy Note 5 release, we should see Samsung offer the usual array of upgrades on its yearly Galaxy Note release. One of those big changes will almost certainly be a shift to a more premium design, something that was foreshadowed by the inclusion of metal on the Galaxy Note 4.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, for those that don’t know, comes with a textured plastic back that also features a metal, not faux metal, but an actual metal band that runs around the side of the device. It gives the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a premium new look.

There are small size differences between the Galaxy S6 and GalaxY S6 Edge.

There are small size differences between the Galaxy S6 and GalaxY S6 Edge.

The Galaxy S6 takes things a step further. Instead of using a plastic backdrop, the Galaxy S6 comes with a form factor built from metal and glass. This is a huge change in design language and it’s a sign that Samsung’s finally committed to using new build materials for its flagships. Does it mean that the Galaxy Note 4 will use the exact same design? No. The Galaxy S and Galaxy Note borrow from one another but they’ve never been identical.

What it does mean, at least to us, is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will, in some way, feature premium materials on board. There’s no going back to full-on plastic designs after this massive shift. We would expect the Galaxy Note 5 to, at the very least, feature a design that’s on par with the Galaxy Note 4. Slim and beautiful.

Improved Fingerprint Sensor & Samsung Pay

The Samsung Galaxy S6 delivers a new and improved fingerprint sensor that is built-in to the device’s home button. The change lets users place a finger on top of the home button to log in or make a mobile payment. The Galaxy S5 and Note 4 require a swipe at the right speed and angle that makes one-hand use almost impossible. The Samsung Galaxy S6’s improved sensor will make it easier to unlock the phone, make mobile payments and use apps that tie into the fingerprint sensor.

We’d expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to get the same kind of treatment at the very least. Qualcomm recently announced new 3D fingerprint technology that would allow companies like Samsung to eschew a physical home button and still include a fingerprint sensor on board for added security and mobile payments.

Given Samsung’s tense relationship with Qualcomm, there’s no guarantee that this technology will make it to the Galaxy Note 5 (or any Galaxy smartphones) but with a release still many months away, anything is possible. At the very least, we’d expect Samsung to offer a fingerprint sensor that’s similar to the one found on the Galaxy S6.

We’d also expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to come with support for Samsung’s new Samsung Pay feature which provides broader support than your standard NFC chip.

Samsung Pay will arrive sometime this summer and we should see upcoming smartphones support Samsung’s brand new service. There’s very little chance of the Galaxy Note 5 missing out.

High Resolution Display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was the first Galaxy flagship to offer 2K Quad HD resolution. The Galaxy Note 4 is now joined by the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge both of which come with similar, but smaller, high-resolution displays. There’s no turning back from here, not with UHD displays rumored to be in the pipeline.

The big difference is the dual-curved edge display on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

The big difference is the dual-curved edge display on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Samsung’s commitment to the best possible AMOLED displays means that the Galaxy Note 5 should come with a Quad HD display at the very least. Galaxy Note 5 rumors have hinted at the arrival of a UHD display and that’s probably going to be the ceiling for this year’s model. It should be large and it should be extremely impressive.

Galaxy Note 5 Edge

The arrival of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge shows that the company is all-on with its curved display technology. Reports indicate that the company is preparing to launch a massive marketing push for the curved model in particular. While it’s still a bit niche, especially when you consider the price, we don’t see Samsung discontinuing the use of this technology. Instead, we should see it continue to refine the technology through several iterations of Galaxy smartphones.


We’d expect there to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Edge of some kind. Maybe it’s the main Galaxy Note 5 model, maybe it’s another high-end premium version of the phone. We don’t know. What we do know is that Samsung, and even Google’s Android head Sundar Pichai, are touting the technology. We can’t see this initiative ending anytime soon. Especially not with the Galaxy Note series which incorporates huge beautiful displays that are perfect for the curves.

Tons of Storage

The arrival of a premium Galaxy S6 design comes with some big trade-offs including the lack of a microSD card slot for expanded storage and a non-removable battery. It has some potential buyers heated and it’s not yet clear what kind of impact these missing features will have on sales, if any.

If the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 uses a premium design, there’s a very good chance that Samsung will ditch these features. If it does, we expect it to do what it did with the Galaxy S6. Offer a ton of internal storage, similar to what Apple does with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The Galaxy S6 comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB form. If the Galaxy Note 5 features the same trade-offs, we’d expect a similar outcome later this year. Smartphones from 2015 need access to tons of storage space for photos, videos, and other content and Samsung isn’t going to skimp, even if it decides to implement a new design language.

If it decides to leave out a removable battery, then we’d expect it to offer a finely tuned battery with an impressive processor and battery tweaks like the ones found on the Galaxy S6. Fast charging, built-in wireless charging, feature like that to offset the non-removable battery. This is Samsung’s attempt to keep both sides happy.

Latest Android Software w/ Improvements

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Android from Google. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that Samsung always outfits its new flagships with the latest Android software.

Samsung slims down the Galaxy S6 software.

Samsung slims down the Galaxy S6 software.

It also comes with some new improvements to TouchWiz. Samsung’s new software takes a minimalistic approach in that it strips the device of much of Samsung’s bloatware. This means less clutter in apps and less scrolling in the camera app to get to the important features. Its bloat will still be available but it won’t force it upon Galaxy S6 users.

What this tells us is that Samsung will focus on tidying up the Galaxy Note 5’s software while also delivering the latest version of Android. Maybe that’s Android 5.1, maybe that’s something else. We’ll see. The S Pen and the big screen are two unique aspects of the Galaxy Note series and we should see Samsung continue to focus on those, honing features that take advantage of them.

Camera/Processor Changes

Samsung always offers some hardware changes on its new flagships and the Galaxy S6 models are no different. They feature a new 16MP camera with an f/1.9 aperture that allows for more light to get in while shooting photos. They also come with an improved 5MP front-facing camera.

They also come with Samsung’s powerful new Exynos 7 Octa chip that should offer excellent performance in key areas like battery life, multitasking and more. Camera and processor changes are two of the most common swaps that smartphone companies perform year-to-year and we doubt that Samsung will stop with the Galaxy S6.


The Galaxy Note series typically employs a high-end processor and Samsung can’t afford to let its camera technology lag behind the rest of the pact. We see the company making similar changes to the Galaxy Note 5.


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