Galaxy Note 5, the Phablet that could

Why the Note family? I was always fascinated with the idea of holding a pen against the screen and drawing with it; even if that doesn’t go beyond doodling in most occasions; something about expressing the beast within I could say. Hence I became a fan of the Samsung Galaxy Note family. My first was Note 3, I later had a Note 4 Edge almost a year ago? and last week – on the Black Friday craze – I got my new toy: a Platinum-gold Galaxy Note 5 (SM 920I)! For a decent price of £420  delivered to my doorstep in London. (Please don’t break my heart by telling me you were able to get it for less).

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While waiting impatiently for the phone to be delivered I read and watched many reviews; all of them were assuring me that I wont regret hasting my way on that Black-Friday offer.

Now for a quick feedback …

THE GOOD

1. The S-Pen: (aka stylus) I would say, for the first time ever, I have a genuine pen-like experience. No lag no matter how fast my hand travels in the meaningless lines and curves I draw; no cut-offs, no approximations of curves into polygons. A nice addition was the ability to scratch a note by just pulling the S-Pen off and start writing to the locked black screen which is a very handing and enjoyable feature.

2. Performance: Well, as Apple always say when they market their newer iPhones “It’s the best iPhone ever”; this is the best Samsung Note ever! 🙂 Cutting with your hot knife through the butter of the most demanding Android apps was never as pleasant. It seems that this performance jump comes from the combination of Samsung’s 8 64-bits cores (4 active at a time), 4 GB RAM and the less-bloated Touch Wiz software. The experience was leaps and bounds better in comparison to Note 4.

3. Camera: Note 4 had a great camera that didn’t leave much room for me to complain; Note 5 pushes the bar even further with a simplified Camera app, Video OIS and a Pro-mode that allows to control the tiniest aspects of shooting; including setting the shatter-speed  to 10 seconds; which allows taking decent photos in the darkest settings.

4. Fast Charging: I keep hearing about breakthroughs of instant or 1-minute chagrining technologies; but that is not happening anytime soon. Note 5 would fast charge to 100% in around one hour using Samsung’s fast charger. Fast wireless charging is available; but its 2 times slower, so it would it take two hours to fully charge.

5. Accessories: I bought a good matte protector to reduce the glare and the Samsung Fast wireless charger. I also got the Samsung physical keyboard cover which is a nice addition in concept, but mediocre in practice due to the limited key-set. I still couldn’t understand how it works without batteries or even how it detects the keyboard when i put it on.

6. Fingerprint reader: Well, this is a must-use feature. Its easy, fast and accurate even when you change the angle.

THE BAD

1. No SD Memory option! this was the biggest bummer for me; even more than the 2. fixed 3000mAh battery or the 3. lack of Infra-red remote control.

4. Finger marks and dirt magnet: The design decision of using glass all over the body of the phone (except the frame) has that downside. This didn’t affect me much as my Matte screen protector is anti-fingerprints/dirt so that helped the front; and the keyboard cover already comes with back case.

CONCLUSION

With this recent release and bearing the downsides, Note 5 is an amazing phone; I can’t make any bold claims on comparing it to other phones; but this must be one of the best Android mobiles ever made. Does this mean you should go a head and buy one? That would be a question for you to answer; for me and my own taste I made my call and I’m very happy with it.

3 thoughts on “Galaxy Note 5, the Phablet that could

  1. Khaled Gharaibeh

    thanks for the detailed review on S5 note features..
    yet, preferring one pone/phablet/tablet is becoming an ache these days due to the flood of – sorry to say it- consumables in the market. In other words, too many samsungs, too many iOS, Sony, too many HTCs, as well as others… Nokia, Lenovo..etc.
    this fierce competition between OEMs is only in the benefit of “recycling and throwing devices”.
    Hence, one can conclude that all handsets are the same, it is true that some handsets have fascinating modules on the board (Quad and Octa core CPUs i mean- the snapdragons of qualcomm), but generally speaking they all have nearly same pros and cons.

    I remember in the early nineties Nokia did a global survey asking people “what would be the most important feature to have in a phone if you could carry it and put it in your pocket”… most answers came as: “it should look nice”

    Reply
    1. Kefah Post author

      I couldn’t agree more 🙂 we are flooded with too many options of every thing. Being content with the basics is a good strategy that we can’t afford but follow on many fronts.

      Reply
  2. Mohammed Fota

    This review is one of the best reviews i came across, earlier i had to do my own research to find the perfect next smartphone i need, comparing with Nexus6P, LG V10, and others, the first one is the build quality specially the crazy Bend Test https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndfwwBwii1g which was mind blowing comparing with the biggest flagships, the second is the amount of memory which is a good thing if i’m loading any chrooted linux distributions to run on it, or running any heavy software. the 2nd best smartphone i found is the Sony Xperia z5, unfortunately if it only got the 4GB memory i would get it instead of the note5…

    Reply

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