Samsung Galaxy Note 5: First Impressions and Hands On video

By Prasid Banerjee | Published on 07 Sep 2015
Samsung Galaxy Note 5: First Impressions and Hands On video

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 takes Samsung's new found premium design and puts it on its flagship Note series.

The evolution of the smartphone market into what it is today has a lot to do with Samsung. The South Korean smartphone maker was the first to really take the competition to Apple, and though Samsung’s sales have dropped in the past, there’s no denying the things it has already accomplished.

None of Samsung’s achievements though are really comparable to the Galaxy Note series. The company can be credited for single handedly starting the phablet category, and despite its falling sales, the Galaxy Note is still something everyone looks forward to. It was more important this year though. The Galaxy Note 5, like Samsung’s flagship S6, has a lot riding on its shoulders. Despite the efforts made by Samsung to revamp its design and deliver performance, Apple’s iPhones have reportedly had better luck in the market. Nevertheless, Samsung’s current generation flagships still rule the Android market.

First Impressions Video

Like the S6, Samsung has given the Note 5 a cosmetic change, with curved glass on the back. Yes, the phone bears striking resemblance to Xiaomi’s Mi Note Pro, but that doesn’t take the fact away that it looks pretty nice. In fact, the Note 5’s design is a statement. While Samsung is ‘listening to consumers’ to make its design language more premium, it is also sticking to its own philosophy. The use of glass on the back, and metal on the sides makes the Note 5 feel much more premium than the Galaxy Note 4, but at the same time, the phone looks distinctly like a Galaxy Note when viewed up front. It maintains the Galaxy Note brand, while also giving it a much needed cosmetic change.

Inside is an Exynos 7 Octa SoC, along with 4GB of DDR4 RAM. While it would be too soon to comment on the performance, from what we’ve seen on the Galaxy S6, you could expect good performance from the Note 5. The extra 1GB of RAM also makes more sense considering that phablets are primarily meant to increase productivity (aren’t they?)

The same can also be said about the 16MP camera on the back. If the Galaxy S6 is any indicator, expect good things from this one as well.

The S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 5 is as good as it ever was, and this time, you can actually write on the screen when it’s turned off. There’s a button on top of the S-Pen, similar to that of a ballpoint pen, that you click in order to pull it out of the phone. There are some cosmetic changes to the way air commands work, and you can even customise the launcher to add apps to the S-Pen related menu. Overall though, it’s not a huge change.

If you have liked the Galaxy Note series, then you would definitely like the Note 5. Samsung’s new design language for the S6 has been carried over here, and it works well. The problem though is that there’s no real reason to spend a whopping Rs. 53,900 for it if you already have a Galaxy Note 4. While the Galaxy Note 5 is good, it’s basically a cosmetic overhaul of the Galaxy Note 4. You would be getting a better processor, yes, but even that doesn’t make for a big enough change to warrant spending this much money.

Not taking credit away from Samsung, but this is the only area where the company is still lacking. If this were an iPhone, you could be sure it would sell. Why? Because Apple fans are much more loyal. Samsung’s been trying hard to create the same kind of loyalty, but despite its efforts and all the things it has done for Android, there are just too many sellers, and the high price point makes a bigger difference, especially in India. Arguments like ‘the OnePlus 2 is cheaper and offers similar stuff’ are inevitable. In fact, while many would note the fact that the Note 5 has neither a card slot, nor a removable battery, they really aren’t the reasons why this phone may suffer in India.

Having seen the Galaxy Note 5, I can honestly say that I like it. It’s very distinctly Samsung, and though I’ve never been a fan of how the company’s phones look, there’s no denying that they have worked. In fact, the Samsung look actually works on the Galaxy Note 5. The curved glass is nice and the phone feels as premium as any iPhone out there. If this was a phone running on Samsung’s Tizen OS (a better version of it than what we've seen), with its own ecosystem and community, me and all my compatriots would be singing praises of it. In fact, we all still are. We like this phone, despite its price, but we can’t deny the price sensitivity of the Indian market.

It's as CEO Aseem Warsi said, "The world's best technology needed to come at the world's highest price, that's how we look at it." Premium phones are expensive, but the consumer is fast moving towards the so called 'mid-ranged flagships', changing the competition in the Android market. Samsung may want to keep battling Apple, and the Galaxy Note 5 is capable of doing so, but we can only wait for the results to be sure whether it failed or succeeded.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 13 Jul 2015
Variant: 32GB
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    5.7" (1440 x 2560)
  • Camera Camera
    16 | 3.7 MP
  • Memory Memory
    32 GB/3 GB
  • Battery Battery
    3220 mAh
Prasid Banerjee

Trying to explain technology to my parents. Failing miserably.

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