Samsung Galaxy Note5 is the best looking iteration of the phablet to date. In line with the Samsung Galaxy Note tradition, the latest generation is also the most powerful phablet available today by quite a margin.
The S Pen once again defines the Samsung Galaxy Note5 as a product. As expected, the newcomer's stylus is better than ever with new tricks to go with its clickable release mechanism.
Hardware-wise, like we briefly suggested above, Samsung Galaxy Note5 delivered the goods as expected. By now, it should hardly catch anyone by surprise that the Korean giant has opted for the same Exynos 7420 chipset found in Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The component is a year ahead of its competitors in terms of performance, heat management, and power efficiency.
The 5.7" QHD display and the 16MP camera, in line with Samsung's own tradition, are both excellent. The same goes for the S Pen, whose functionality is yet to be matched by any Galaxy Note 5 competitor.
Contrary to the Internet's fears, the 3,000mAh non-removable battery found in Samsung Galaxy Note5 delivered impressive performance in our battery test. The handset's endurance should be sufficient for even the most seasoned power users, while the quick charging options allow easy top ups.
Samsung has offset the lack of removable battery by making the Note5 sleek, beautiful, and compact. We reckon that these qualities are a fair trade off for the omission of the feature.
The connectivity options offered in the Galaxy Note5 are many and convenient, though we really wish that Samsung kept the IR blaster around. Samsung Pay on the other could well become the best mobile payment solution when it goes live in the weeks ahead.
Lack of expandable memory is the biggest gripe we have with Samsung Galaxy Note5. The absence of cheap expansion makes the entry-level variant of the device difficult to recommend, as it comes with roughly 25GB of memory available to the user. It seems to us that Samsung is betting big that most users of the device will rely heavily on cloud storage for their daily needs.
The above conundrum leaves the 64GB version of Samsung Galaxy Note5 as the model that just about everyone should go for. It would have been great if the manufacturer had released a variant of the phablet with 128GB of that sweet UFS 2.0 memory, but a final decision is yet to be taken on this instance.
Samsung Galaxy Note5 is priced between $700 and $800 in the United States, depending on the amount of built-in memory one chooses. As always, below are some of the handset's notable rivals.
Fancy an S Pen, a removable battery, and microSD card slot? Last year's Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge might be just for you. The screen is the same, but the fingerprint reader is no good and the design is arguably miles behind what the Note5 offers.
The duo of Samsung's 2014 flagship phablets are neither as powerful, nor as good looking as the Note5. They do however, come with lower price tag and the above mentioned power user-centric features.
Love the Note5, but don't care about an S Pen? Enter Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ with the same hardware as the Note5, save for the lack of stylus.
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ is gorgeous, but it's more expensive than the Note5. It will also be the only choice for users looking for a 2015 flagship phablet by Samsung in Europe for the time being.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus and, more specifically, its upcoming successor will be the biggest rivals to the Galaxy Note5 in the smartphone realm. The successor of Apple's first phablet is expected to hit the shelves in the second half of next month.
As we know all too well by now, the Cupertino giant's offering will count its rich app ecosystem and overall user experience to attract users. Spec for spec, it will almost certainly not match what Samsung Galaxy Note5 has to offer.
LG G4 is the only "old school" flagship to come out this year, packing both a replaceable battery and expandable memory. The leather-clad G4 is also cheaper, but nowhere near as powerful as the Note5. It also lacks goodies such as wireless charging, fingerprint sensor, and of course an S Pen.
Moto X Style is cheaper, customizable, and with microSD card and stereo speakers on board. However, the now Lenovo offering lags behind the Note5 in terms of hardware oomph. Fingerprint and heart rate sensors are a no-go in the Moto X, as is an available stylus.
The S Pen and the superior hardware are more than enough to keep the device head and shoulders above its closest competitor. The fact that the latter is a Samsung device speak volumes about the body of work the company has done since founding the segment back in 2011.
Even though it lacks a microSD card slot and a removable battery, Samsung Galaxy Note5 is still the measuring stick for what a flagship phone with large screen should do and a darn great piece of hardware. Therefore, we find the device easy to recommend to anyone with the budget to pick one up.