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Samsung Galaxy Note5: A strong first impression

Tony Ibrahim | Aug. 20, 2015
Pre-sales for Samsung's Galaxy Note5 starts today, ahead of an in-store launch scheduled for 4 September.

samsung note5

Samsung pioneered the large-screen smartphone with the original Galaxy Note. The idea of phone and tablet hybrid — known as a phablet — was far better executed than the device itself. Today the company launched the Note5, and it feels every bit a phablet five years in the making.

A steel chassis was introduced to the Note range last year. Samsung hadn’t made many smartphones using premium materials, and its use of aluminum on the Note 4 was a successful test run in the lead up to the Galaxy S6.

The chassis of the Note5 is another step forward. The styling is borrowed from the S6 Edge, only it’s the back that wears curving glass. The resulting 5.7-inch smartphone sits in the palm comfortably. If the move looks familiar, it’s because Xiaomi pulled off a similar trick with its MiNote.

Premium materials account for the construction of the Note5. Earlier generations wore faux leather backs. They aged tastelessly over time.

Coating the back of the 2015 model is Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. The same nanocoating has been applied to it as the one found on the Galaxy S6. Its colour shimmies between shades of bright blues and dark blacks based on the way the light falls.

The fifth generation Note packs hardware that is more powerful in a body that is smaller. Bordering the 5.7-inch, 1440p display are incredibly narrow bezels. It is less wide and slimmer than its predecessor, and when you’re wielding around such a large smartphone, cutting down the fat matters.

Two parts work together to create the Note experience. The first has to do with its large, high resolution screen. The second pertains to its S-Pen stylus, which makes it possible to use the screen in different ways.

A small change has been made to this generation’s S-Pen. Fingernails no longer need to pry the stylus out. It now pops out with a soft press — only partially — to make sure an accidental press doesn’t result in a lost stylus.

Samsung drastically changed its rendition of Android over the last year. TouchWiz continues to mask an Android 5.1 operating system, only everything superfluous has been gutted. More Samsung apps are preinstalled on the Note5 because it works with the S-Pen stylus.

Another noticeable change concerns the finger scanner. The old version necessitated a finger swipe and that the finger swipe happen vertically. It was a clunky solution. The rendition inherited by the Note5 is far more refined. It’ll work with a press and it’ll work at any angle.

 

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