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Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review: A Galaxy S6 Edge+ variant with a stylus

Christopher Minasians Katharine Byrne
18 Jan 2017
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
440
inc VAT

A beautiful screen and excellent performance, but the Note 5 is trickier to hold than its curved edge sibling

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.1GHz & quad-core 1.5GHz Samsung Exynos 7420, Screen Size: 5.7in, Screen resolution: 2,560x1,440, Rear camera: 16 megapixels, Storage (free): 32GB (25GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 153x76x7.6mm, Weight: 171g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review: Camera

The 16-megapixel camera used by the S6 family has been consistently one of the best, if not the best, sensors of 2015, and thankfully the Note 5 has one as well. While it's a bit of a shame Samsung didn't choose to put its new 1um pixel sensor in the Note 5, picture quality is still superb. Colours were lovely and bright in my outdoor shots, and detail levels were excellent, as the image appeared crisp and sharp right to the very edges of the frame. There was also plenty of contrast available, and no signs of noise or processing artefacts whatsoever.

Indoors painted a similar picture, as our still life was beautifully illuminated, even in poor lighting conditions and detail levels were high across the board. Samsung's automatic smoothing can occasionally airbrush over finer textures, such as the wood grain on our posable figure, but it's still one of the best smartphone cameras I've seen in the last year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 camera test

^ The Note 5 takes excellent photos, capturing plenty of detail while keeping colours crisp and natural throughout the frame

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 camera test indoors

^ Even in poor lighting conditions, the Note 5 delivers rich, punchy colours and shadows show only minimal amounts of noise

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review: Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is fully supported on the Note 5, which means that you’ll be able to use it to pay for goods in-store without having to pull your wallet out. It works in a very similar way to Apple Pay, utilising the now widespread Contactless standard. Until the service launches in the UK we won’t know the transaction limits or how many banks support it. See everything we know about Samsung Pay.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review: Verdict

While the stylus was a nice touch, in our experience you see a lot of people with Note handsets and rarely are they wielding it. The big draw of the Note-series then was its big screen and not it's name-giving pen. That said, it's a pity that Samsung didn't bring this model to the UK, as not everyone was keen on the curved edge display of the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

The Note 5 has so much in common with the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which I think is much more comfortable and easy to hold, the Note 5 doesn’t immediately make me feel like I'm missing out on much. The S-Pen obviously makes it quite different from other smartphones on the market, but unless you're one of its rare devotees, then the S6 Edge+ is the much better option.

Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 2.1GHz & quad-core 1.5GHz Samsung Exynos 7420
RAM4GB
Screen size5.7in
Screen resolution2,560x1,440
Screen typeSuper AMOLED
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera16 megapixels
FlashLED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage (free)32GB (25GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)None
Wi-Fi802.11ac
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
NFCYes
Wireless data3G, 4G
Size153x76x7.6mm
Weight171g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Battery size3,000mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)N/A
Price on contract (inc VAT)N/A
Prepay price (inc VAT)N/A
SIM-free supplierN/A
Contract/prepay supplierN/A
Detailswww.samsung.com
Part codeSM-N290I

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