Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 is the smoothest, sleekest stylus-prepared enormous screen smartphone that the company has ever made. What's more, it could have been stunningly better.
On the in addition to side, it's burning with thin, gleaming, expansive screened shine, an in number camera, a retooled stylus and executioner battery life. Yet, the Note 5 just incrementally enhances a year ago's Note 4, while likewise fixing in the battery and getting rid of the expandable storage slot(there is, however, free cloud storage). These last two oversights could hurt Samsung by opening the way to less costly opponents, from any semblance of LG, HTC and Motorola, , which continue to equip devices with removable batteries and/or a storage slot for saving movies, games and apps.
The Note 5, while eye-getting, is additionally the slightest particular of the Note line. It's still Samsung's smartphone for 2015 with a stylus (and a decent one at that), however initially it appears to be identical as the Galaxy S6 Edge+ - which includes a double bended edge screen, yet generally close indistinguishable specs. In the interim, both the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are essentially supersized variants of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models that Samsung appeared back in March.
Generally, the stylus (Samsung calls it the "S Pen") is just about the main thing that makes this device genuinely diverse. Conversely, 2014's Note 4 jump frogged the Galaxy S5's equipment abilities, notwithstanding when you took away its S Pen.
This log jam in the smartphone company's arrival of evermore effective equipment specs doesn't influence Samsung alone, however it apply additional weight on an organization that is relentlessly losing ground to its greatest challengers: on the top of the line, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus, and on the low end, much less expensive, somewhat ventured down "lead" smartphone creators like Motorola (Moto X Pure), Xiaomi (Mi Note Pro) and (OnePlus 2).
Still, regardless of the possibility that the Note 5 doesn't clear us out with originality, its blemishes are few and its stylus makes it a more element stuffed smartphone than some other vast screen device. Simply be arranged to pay.
Premium smartphone, premium cost
The Galaxy Note 5 is accessible in gold, silver, white and sapphire dark (which looks blue in the light), however not every locale conveys each shading. Costs change by retailer and nation; make certain to check current advancements before you purchase.
There's no denying that the Note 5 costs a considerable measure, however it differs relying upon where you live and where you purchase it. That prominent, as of October 2015, the 64GB form costs generally $800 and the 32GB model expenses about $700, making the Note 5 more costly than the $649 64GB iPhone 6 Plus and the $749 64GB 6S Plus. The Note 5 is less expensive than the S6 Edge+, on the other hand; you'll pay much more for that bended presentation.
Contrasted with other substantial screen models, similar to the 5.5-inch LG G4 or 5.7-inch Moto X Pure, the Note 5 is straight up pricey.
Behold, a Note evolution! (Top, from left to right: Note, Note 2, Note 3; bottom, from left to right: Note 4, Note Edge, Note 5).
In the US, the Note 5 comes in black and white (but not gold or silver) for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon.
AT&T: Full retail: $740 (32GB) or $840 (64GB). Next 24 (30 monthly payments): $0 down plus $24.67 (32GB) or $28 (64GB). Next 18 (24 monthly payments): $0 plus $30.84 (32GB) or $35 (64GB). Next 12 (20 monthly payments): $37 (32GB) or $42 (64GB).
Sprint: Full retail: $720 (32GB) or $816 (64GB). Two-year service agreement: $250 (32GB) or $350 (64GB). Lease program (24 months): $0 down and $25 (32GB) or $30 (64GB) per month. Easy Pay (24 months): $0 down and $30 (32GB) or $34 (64GB) per month.
T-Mobile: Full retail: $700 (32GB) or $780 (64GB). 24 monthly payments: $0 down and $29.17 (32GB) or $99 down and $28.33 (64GB).
Verizon: Full retail: $696 (32GB) or $792 (64GB). 24 monthly payments: $29 (32GB) or $33 (64GB).
US Cellular: Full retail: $670 (32GB) or $770 (64GB). Two-year contract: $200 (32GB) or $300 (64GB). 20 monthly payments: $0 down and $33.45 (32GB) or $38.46 (64GB).
Design and build
5.7-inch display; 2,560x1,440 pixels (518 pixels per inch)
Metal and glass construction
6 by 3 by 0.3 inches (153 by 76 by 7.6mm)
6 ounces (171 grams)
Like the Galaxy S6, the Note 5 has straight sides and a flat face but also the Edge+'s frontal curves along the back. From what I can tell holding them side-by-side, the curves are the same. Checking out its profile, these comfortable rear arcs cause the Note 5's top and bottom edges to flare out thicker than its middle. It'll still fill your hand -- this is a large device -- but the overall sensation is still of slimness, especially compared to the relatively bulky Note 4.
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Samsung adds some new stylus functionality, like being able to jot a memo with the screen turned off.
In spite of the fact that that AMOLED show still measures 5.7 inches, Samsung has shaved down the Note 5's measurements, making the handset feel general sleeker and slimmer than a year ago's Note 4. That is uplifting news for one-gave smartphone racers, who get the same screen land in a more streamlined bundle. The 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution (515 pixels for per inch) holds consistent from a year ago, giving a considerable measure of fresh detail to the screen, potentially much more than we entirely require.
Underneath the presentation, the standard two delicate keys (recent apps and back) sandwich the physical home catch, which additionally serves as the smartphone's unique mark peruser and Google Now ring (press and hold for Google Now, the inquiry goliath's voice-order answer to Apple's Siri). You'll discover the force/lock catch on the privilege and volume rocker on the left. Along the base are the standard small scale USB charger (too bad, not USB-C as we had trusted), headset jacks and S Pen holster, with the SIM card plate up top.
What makes a Note 5? Metal, glass and this stylus tucked in down under
On the flipside, you'll see the 16-megapixel camera lens, blaze and heart-rate peruser. A unibody gadget, there's no removable backplate or battery and you won't locate an expandable stockpiling opening anyplace. Plan for your smudgy fingerprints to blossom everywhere on that reflected surface, and keep a smaller scale fiber material close-by.
One final, goading thing I've seen in every one of these years of testing: that power/lock catch on the right likes to turn itself on in my handbag's inside smartphone pocket, spilling battery haphazard. I continue trusting Samsung will work this out, however so far no bones.
Dimensions: 4.4 by 0.2 by 0.1 inches (111 by 5.3 by 3.6mm)
The Note S Pen stylus, which is made of polycarbonate plastic, changes a tiny bit each year. This time around, the stylus discernably fits properly inside the Note 5's chute like the crown of a retractable pen. It's sort of fun, yet the fit is so cozy, you need to truly tease it out. The plastic pen has long, level planes to keep it from moving ceaselessly on a tabletop. Its single catch marginally breaks from the surface to tone down the mispresses, which I've discovered regular in past S Pen outlines.
Critical tip: That S Pen must be embedded in the holder pointy end first. It is not intended to holster on the non-business end. On the off chance that you attempt it, awful things will happen, as a few clients report when their S Pens got stayed with the square end wedged, perhaps hopelessly, profound inside the the phone
Check out all these styluses, from the original Note (far left) to the Note 5.
The S Pen keeps on going about as a written work execute, pointer and navigational associate. You can utilize it to draw up a menu dialog box, or photograph or video sneak peak when you float over it with the pen. It likewise meets expectations with those touch-delicate menu catches and the physical home catch. Moving content, and catching the screen are two different traps.
Samsung claims that its pen composes a great deal better this time around, all the more smoothly, and with diminished dormancy times. I didn't see that, notwithstanding composition with the same pen and ink "weight" on the Note 5 and Note 4 next to each other. I did notice that the 5's S Pen feels a touch lighter, which made for somewhat more clean, simpler written work, contrasted with the Note 4's marginally heavier pen. My penmanship is still scarcely neat on both.
A look at the updated S Note application and drawing with the S Pen.
The S Note application itself is significantly improved, with additional components tucked into the More menu. You can likewise download a ton more devices, similar to an outline partner and an expansion pack that incorporates propelled traps like a heartier toolbar and shape acknowledgment, penmanship "change" and the capacity to record draws.
In the application itself, you can modify everything from the way you select shading to the way you spare most loved blends of pen tips and ink thickness. Likewise with past forms, the pen stays touchy along the page's edges, and on-screen controls will quickly vanish so you can keep on composing and draw "underneath" them.
Compared to 2014's Galaxy Note 4, the new Note 5 has some additional tricks up its sleeve:
Redesigned shortcuts wheel: Called Air Command, this floating icon hangs out on any screen and opens up to reveal a circular menu of most frequently used apps -- say, the S Note app, the browser or your photo gallery. It's always on by default, but you can turn that off in Settings. You can also customize this by adding up to three apps of your choice.
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The redesigned Air Command wheel looks a whole lot cleaner this time around.
Air Command responds faster these days, which means that if you accidentally click the S Pen button, you can quickly click again to dismiss it without too much interruption. The floating icon doesn't get much in the way, because it only interacts if you tap or click with the S Pen, not your finger.
Instant memo: Called "screen off memo" in the settings, this feature lets you create an "action memo" (more like a sticky note) even when the screen is turned off. One caveat: it works only just after pulling out the S Pen, not if the pen has been out for a while. I like this feature -- it adds to the S Pen's ability to really quickly jot a note. You'll reed to dip into the settings to toggle it on.
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Click! A new mechanism secures the S Pen in place.
PDF writing: Yep, you can now annotate PDFs by handwriting all over them, just as you can do with a screenshot.
Scrolling capture: Instead of taking several screenshots of a long piece of text, the Note 5 will prompt you to capture more of the whole screen. You'll be able to annotate right on the screenshot too, of course.
Android and apps
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Easy mode, Private mode
Two power-saving modes
Latest S Health app
The Galaxy Note 5 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, bolstered by Samsung's own TouchWiz layer. That means the phone will be able to tie into Google's wide array of services, such as Google Now, turn-by-turn navigation and access to Google Drive files. But it can also tap into Samsung's own software, all of which customizes the display's look and feel -- like those quick-access toggles in the notifications shade and anything that has to do with the S Pen. Microsoft's One Drive cloud storage app is also onboard (more on this below).
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Samsung launches with Android 5.1, but expect an upgrade to Android Marshmallow 6.0 down the line.
Alas, while Android 6.0 Marshmallow is just around the corner, its due date to these new Samsung phones is anyone's guess. With the exception of promised monthly security updates, more substantive software updates are on a notoriously slow boat.
What's more, Samsung's applications incorporate Note pillars like S Note and S Health, however the organization has truly pulled back on its preloaded applications. You'll discover a cornucopia of discraetionary additional items concealed in different spots all through the smartphone, similar to Galaxy Gifts and Galaxy Essentials.
A speedy skip through the settings menu turns up an entire bushel of additional modes and alternatives, similar to a rearranged home screen (Easy mode) and a vault for photographs and records you don't need any other individual to see (Private mode). There are additionally two levels of battery-saver, a few motions and subjects to spruce up the look and feel. You'll even discover a client manual.
In like manner, draw down the warnings shade for fast get to settings, including an electric lamp. You can alter to reorder these. From the landing page, swipe right to uncover Flipboard, which you can use to peruse feature news about your pet subjects.
The camera situation
5-megapixel front-facing camera
Up to 4K video resolution
Double-press home button to launch
Live YouTube streaming
If you look at the megapixel count alone, not much has changed with the Note 5's camera. Samsung has adopted a wider aperture lens (f1.9 instead of the Note 4's f2.2), the same one that's used in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Why is this "good"? A bigger aperture lets in more light, and more light leads to better photos, specifically low-light pictures. The image processing capabilities make a huge difference too, of course, but the bottom line is that the overall photo quality should incrementally improve from the Note 4, and is on par with the S6 and S6 Edge.
The phone also gets a few more editing and shooting modes and guides -- little things, mostly, but these are always fun to discover.
As with the Galaxy S6 and many other phones, the Note 5 here has optical image stabilization (OIS), which will help keep shaking hands from blurring shots, and an array of modes and tools. There's auto-HDR right on the screen (this helps keep photos looking true to life) and panorama and selective focus as separate modes within.
The native camera menu includes the new YouTube Live Broadcast option.
Fresh out of the box new is a live TV include that gives you a chance to record to YouTube. There's deliberately a 30-second postpone between when you begin recording and when the footage hits YouTube. This is basically Samsung and YouTube's thoughts on Twitter's Periscope device. (The live show highlight is seeming first on the Note 5 and S6 Edge+, and is as of now selective to those smartphones - however to what extent that will last is impossible to say.)
What else is new? Tap to center and a presentation control creates the impression that gives you a chance to slide to light up or obscure the scene. Take a photograph in Pro mode, and you'll have the choice to spare it as a crude document, one that the smartphone hasn't consequently prepared, say into a JPEG group, first. This alternative gives picture takers a great deal more post-handling control. You can record a collection of four 6-second recordings, to which you can include ambient sounds and share, share away (the document spares as a 720p MP4). In case you're eager for more modes (like the back cam selfie shot), it's anything but difficult to download more from the camera application.
New in the components stuffed editorial manager is an approach to make an energized GIF, which can be a fun approach to make utilization of a progression of shots, similar to a creating look of amazement or an activity arrangement. The Note 5 additionally gives you a chance to explain photographs by composing on them (impossible on the Edge+).
So, how does the camera do? What I wanted were clearer, brighter, low-light photos and night shots in addition to all those juicy, saturated daytime images. That's mostly what I got, though the Note 5 still struggled with an automated night mode that robbed the downtown New York skyline of its high-contrast drama and turned it into low-contrast mush compared with real life. A few other indoor scenes also came out a little soft, while well-lit scenes stayed crisp.
And now for photos! Most were taken in automatic mode (which sometimes kicked on HDR or night mode), with the noted exception of a manually focused macro shot using Pro Mode (I miss the automatically focusing macros).
It was a windy day, so I needed every bit of image stabilization I could get. The colors reproduced faithfully.
Macro mode is a manual setting, so you'd better make sure you can trust your eye to focus.
The phone handled this artificially lit indoor shot well.
Lovely sunset shot looking across New York's Hudson River.
Low-light shots like this are acceptable, but Samsung (and others) still have work to do in this tricky area.
This skyline photo looks nice, but overly brightens the dark sky. There wasn't a ready way to turn off Samsung's automatic night mode.
This darker skyline photo, taken with the iPhone 6, was truer to life.
Taken indoors with flash, exhibits nice color balance and crispness, with a clean focus.
Good news for selfie-lovers is the Note 5's front-facing camera levels up from a 3.9-megapixel jobbie to a 5-megapixel sensor (same as in the S6 and S6 Edge). The default beauty mode you see with the front-facing camera gets a little more aggressive about airbrushing your face by surfacing a heap of tools on the screen. Go into the skin tone sub-setting to turn it up or turn it off. There's also a wide-angle selfie mode that you and your friends can all squeeze into, and something called interval shot.
Video capture goes as high as 4K Ultra HD, which is 3,840x2,160-pixel resolution, though that's complete overkill for anyone but a resolution fanatic with a 4K monitor (and a tolerance for ginormous file sizes). That's why Samsung set the default to full HD, a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels -- the same resolution as your 1080p HDTV. You can change this in the settings. Video recording was excellent, with good audio pickup of multiple subjects several feet away. Your own voice will be loudest in any exchange, but your subjects voices' shouldn't disappear.
Hardware specs and performance
Samsung Exynos 7 octa-core processor
32GB/64GB storage options; 4GB RAM
3,000mAh battery (non-removable)
No microSD expansion slot
Microsoft OneDrive with 100GB cloud storage
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
The Note 5's inner power changes a little this year, some of it for the worse.
We should begin with the octa-center processor. Samsung stays with its Exynos 7 chipset from the S6, a 2.1GHz quad-center chip, in addition to a second 1.5GHz quad-center chip for lower-controlled errands. What makes this a takeoff from a year ago's smartphone is that Samsung is utilizing the same processor on every single worldwide gadget, versus having one processor for the US and another for non-US shows, something that is happened previously. A longstanding association with Qualcomm put a Snapdragon processor inside the Note 4,but no more. The 4GB of RAM (versus the Note 4's 3GB) helps keep things running easily.
Lamentably, the capacity circumstance is a bummer, particularly since the Note 5 is situated as an efficiency gadget. With no physical expandable alternative, you'll need to get either the 32GB or 64GB forms and trust you have enough distributed storage in the event that you push against you're roof. Peculiarly, Samsung teased a 128GB adaptation of the Note 5, and after that said it was a misstep.
Embedding the battery helps keep the smartphone's profile thin.
What Samsung isn't promoting is that a past organization with Microsoft puts 100GB of OneDrive distributed storage inside of your achieve; it's free for a long time. After that, you'll need to pay to keep your substance on the web. Distributed storage through Microsoft or whatever other administration positively helps, yet regardless it doesn't give Note 5 proprietors much adaptability over how they keep their information.
Additionally recall that the Note 4 began at 32GB and presented to 128GB in additional stockpiling through the microSD card opening, so you're truly stopping yourself in the event that you pick the 32GB model over the 64GB rendition.
Certainly, expandable capacity has never been a choice on iPhones. In any case, its shortage in this more costly "master" model in Samsung's lineup stings more than its nonattendance in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models that appeared not long ago. The same goes for the absence of a swappable battery (see beneath), which was likewise accessible in all past Note models.
Anecdotally, performance was strong, with zippy navigation and detail-rich graphics. Using the phone felt snappy, not laggy. Hopefully that pep will hold up over time. Another piece of good news: the phone launches in about 25 seconds from the off position, which is pretty quick. Likewise, the camera launches quickly, in under a second, whether you double-tap the home button or tap the app.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 5 PERFORMANCE COMPARISON
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 17,565
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1619
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 2881
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 18,611
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1046
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 2981
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 20,778
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1371
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 4608
Samsung Galaxy S6
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 20,778
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1371
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 4608
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 22,645
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1142
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 4461
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 24,589
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1488
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 4939
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited):- 24,737
Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core):- 1466
Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core):- 4705
Although the Note 5 and Edge+ share the same chipset as the S6 and S6 Edge, these new phones perform better in our diagnostic benchmarking tests. In real world experience, these devices are among the world's fastest.
This is one of those times when numbers don't mean as much as you think. You lose a bit of battery capacity -- the Note 4's 3,200mAh removable ticker drops down to a 3,000mAh embedded battery -- but battery life blew us away in three looping video tests: 15 hours compared to the Note 4's 12.9 average in the same test.
The Note 4, left, may have a larger battery, but the Note 5's runs longer.
A ton of things may have happened to clarify the change. Samsung may have taken care of its product to make the smartphone more proficient when drawing force. The processor and more prominent RAM (4GB over the Note's 3GB) may have some impact also. Simply recollect that battery life changes relying upon how you utilize a gadget (gushing music and turn-by-turn route suck down your battery quicker), and that it has a tendency to debase after some time. Still, this is an extremely encouraging result.
Notwithstanding long life, the Note 5 fuses two remote charging norms (PMA and WPC, which the Qi standard falls into), and has two phases of force sparing modes that you can discover in the settings, including the grim ultra-force sparing mode, which basically transforms your smartphone into an imbecilic smartphone with a specific end goal to keep it live for crises.
Call quality and data speeds
LTE Cat.6, 9 (varies by country)
First things first, there's no great way to test audio quality all over the world, but I can test it where I live, I held several lengthy conversations, I thought that call quality was a little soft.
On my side, I heard a whispery echo on both the Note 5 and S6 Edge+; on his, it sounded tinny with muffly scratchiness. Both flaws persisted throughout the call, in the background. On other calls, Brian said the static faded and noted that when we switched to speakerphone, the distance seemed to improve the situation.
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The Note 5 supports very fast LTE, though data speeds depend on your home network.
An issue with each Samsung smartphone I've tried in the most recent couple of years: volume was frail. I needed to wrench it up to full volume to serenely hear Brian - and that was in a peaceful area. Samsung knows this which is the reason it incorporates an on-screen control for additional volume. An expression of caution: that upgrades each stable, misshaped or no.
On the information side, velocities were really predictable with what I've seen on different smartphones, so that makes me feel like the Note 5 is going to perform well for your transporter in your general vicinity.
Concerning information speeds, the demonstrative application Speedtest.net recorded results that are reliable for T-Mobile in my general vicinity. In true tests, applications and sites opened decently fast, however moderate pockets did exist.
In Sydney, Australia we tried on the Telstra 4GX LTE system. As the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5 are both Category 9 LTE proficient gadgets, and the Telstra can bolster Cat 9, we were envisioning some amazing results and we weren't baffled.
While the average download speed was 72Mbps, it was a few outliers that skewed the spread. For the most part we saw a comfortable 45-55Mbps. However, we also managed a top speed of 208.49 (on the Edge+) and a few other 140+ results. In terms of uploads, we got a dependable 20-30Mbps.
These matched our general use experience. The Edge+ loaded pages quickly and getting image files up on social media was a snap. So while the vagaries of LTE mean might not regularly get 150Mbps and above, you can definitely feel the difference a Category 9 phone makes.
Like the S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+, the Note 5 supports Samsung Pay, the company's new mobile payment system. It will only be available in the US and South Korea for now, and we've demoed the beta service in both countries. Check out our experience in South Korea here, and see it on the Note 5 in this video below.
On the syncing and management side, Samsung promises it has spruced up SideSync (version 4.0) to make sharing content with your PC, tablet or TV a little smoother. It wasn't live at the time of this review, but Samsung says it's coming soon.
One benefit is auto-connection (after the initial setup); another, the ability to respond to text and calls from the computer screen, similar to Apple's Handoff feature. You can also drag and drop software between your desktop and phone. The software you'll need works with Windows PCs, tablets and Macs -- that latter is a welcome first.
Samsung has readied a stable of add-ons for the Note 5, including several cases, a faster wireless charging puck, and a power brick that charges your phone wirelessly and your other devices through a cable. The most distinctive case, the Keyboard Cover, snaps a QWERTY keyboard on the front of the screen for a BlackBerry-like experience.
Buy it or skip it?
The Note 5 is a terrific device with strengths in its stylus capabilities and flashy design. By embedding the battery and whittling down storage options, however, Samsung has opened the door to competitors that can offer an expansive screen with expandable storage and/or a removable battery for a lower price.
The Note 5 seems just a little bit better across the board than the Note 4, but for those upgrading from a Note 3, or joining the Note family for the first time, the 5 here has a lot to offer.
The big question in my mind is if Samsung just shot itself in the foot by releasing too many concurrent phones that do too many of the same things. The 5.1-inch S6 is the Everyman phone; the S6 Edge is the specialized S6 with rounded sides; and the 5.7-inch Galaxy S6 Edge+ is the same rounded thing again, but even bigger -- and pricier. Where does that leave the Note 5? It's mostly all about the stylus.
Luckily for this phone, its lower price than the S6 Edge+ makes it the more affordable of Samsung's two extra-large handsets, and the one that more people will choose if they aren't specifically seeking out the Edge+'s exotic form.
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The Note 5 has come a long way.
Me, I like the Note 5 a lot. I enjoy using a pen to take pressure off constantly pounding my fingers on a keyboard on-screen. I enjoy the Air Command feature, and hand-writing notes when I want. I also think it's a really good phone.
Those who don't think they'll use the stylus and want to pay less, there are probably better options out there for you -- particularly if you don't live in a region with Samsung Pay (you could use Google Wallet).
Versus Samsung Galaxy Note Edge+
Sharing the same core hardware and software, the Note 5 is the same as the Edge+, but minus the dual-curved display (and Edge shortcuts), and plus the stylus with all its writing capabilities. Since the Edge+ is a pricier phone, people who aren't excited about the rare look of a curved screen should stick to the Note 5, even if they don't plan to do much writing
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The Note 5 costs less than the round-sided S6 Edge+.
Versus Samsung Galaxy S6
You pay for the Note 5's larger display and S Pen. Internally, the two are almost identical (there are differences with battery capacity and RAM, for instance). Consider the pricier Note 5 if you're interested in a larger screen and/or the stylus.
Versus Samsung Galaxy Note 4
If you've got this device already, skip this Note 5 upgrade, especially if you value your removable battery and extra hardware storage. The cameras are a little bit better, and the stylus gains are nice touches, but minimal -- the Note 4 still adeptly handles most tasks. Samsung Pay benefits you in the US and South Korea only.
Versus every other extra-large Android phone
As far as I'm concerned, this is still the premium big boy to beat, though midrange and entry-level large phones are better for the budget-conscious. For a lower-cost model, the LG G4 Stylus (aka LG G Stylo) comes with a stylus for handwriting and navigation. Other good, large options (without the pen) are the 5.5-inch LG G4 and Google Nexus 6 (though I'd also sit tight for the inevitable 2015 follow-up, which will launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow).
As I mentioned before, the forthcoming high-end 5.7-inch Motorola Moto X Pure also looks promising and costs significantly less. Ditto the OnePlus 2, which also has a 5.5-inch screen, 4GB RAM (on the 64GB model), an octa-core processor and 13-megapixel camera for $390 (roughly £250 or AU$530).
Versus iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus
You can't handwrite on the iPhone 6 or 6S Plus, each of which are more easily compared with the S6 Edge+. That noted, the iPhone 6, which remains the gold standard for smartphones and is less expensive than the Note 5, is the better value on a dollar-for-dollar basis unless you simply cannot live withou a stylus.