The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 was unveiled a few days ago, and was once again touted as being the best Android phone out there. But does the Note 5 really do enough to qualify as an upgrade, especially for someone who is using the Note 4? The Note 5 is currently available on pre-order, but most people will start receiving their phones on August 21st. This is why it’s so important to know now if it’s worth making the change.
Appearance and Feel
After using the Note 3 and 4 and then playing around with the latest model at the keynote event, I can definitely say that the Note 5 feels a bit more premium. The metal and glass design, with a slightly curved back, makes it easy to hold, but when you put it next to the Note 4, it’s hard to tell them apart. Most people feel that the design should have gone beyond simply following in the footsteps of the S6 and S6 Edge. In terms of look and feel, the Note 5 does not break any new ground and I don’t recommend that you replace your Note 4 just because of the design.
The Galaxy Note 5 will come with an extra GB of RAM, and the Exynos 7420 versus the Snapdragon 805 that was used in the Note 4, although the Note 4 910C did use the Exynos 5433 architecture. All processors used are Quad-core, but the Note 5’s processor is rumored to be more power-efficient. In terms of performance, the Note 5 showed no visible improvements. Some graphics-intensive games may perform better on the Note 5 but that may be because of the extra RAM. To most business users,an extra GB or a 10% more power-efficient processor will make no difference. Again, no real innovation here.
It has the same QHD display as the Note 4, the only differencesbeing slightly punchier colors and a few units of additional brightness. A side-by-side comparison with my Note 4 showed no appreciable differences; the color, brightness and detail looked exactly the same to the casual eye.
SD Card Slot
One of the best features of the Note series has been the SD card slot. Almost every Note user I know stores data on their SD card; 32GB or even 64GB of internal storage is simply not enough when you have a smartphone that records in 4Kand the average size of a video is around 2 GB. Though Samsung has taken a bold step when it comes to removing the SD card slot, it’s something that they will later regret. The same goes for replacing the removable battery with a lower-capacity integralone, which we all know is a nightmare to deal with. These are two of the biggest reasons for the vast majority of Note users not to upgrade.
The front camera on the Note 5 is a generous upgrade to 5 megapixels versus the 3.5 on the earlier model. The wider lens will allow more people to get into a shot and the performance is much better than on the Note 4. The rear camera, however, is the same 16 megapixels and although the optics are supposed to be improved, the pictures were not noticeably better than on my Note 4.
The Note 5 is going to set you back a lot, i.e. $696 for the 32GB model and $792 for the 64GB model.This is substantially higher than the Note 4, for no significant benefits. It looks like Samsung wants to follow Apple’s pricing model, but with a product that targets a totally different sector of the market.
In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m not upgrading to the Note 5 anytime soon. I might have considered it, if it had a higher resolution display, built-in support for an SD card, larger battery capacity and at least 2 more GBs of RAM, but as it stands, the only people who may want to upgrade are those who still have a Note 2. Apart from the improved camera, there is no real reason to spend the money. And I hope Samsung soon realizes that forcing people to use a cloud service is neither welcome nor practical, considering how much data packages cost these days.