Samsung’s best phone yet: the Galaxy Note 5 reviewed
4.7Overall Score

Price (RRP): $1099; Available on plans from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone;
Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung announced two big phones in August, with a phablet for every purpose: style and substance. We’ve done style, so let’s find out what Samsung’s answer to substance is really like, the Galaxy Note 5.

Features

The latest iteration of Samsung’s other major smartphone series (the other being the regular “Galaxy” phones) is here with a faster belly, more solid skeleton, and a brighter view on the world.

First off, there’s what inside that counts, and here on the Note 5, you’ll find an eight-core Samsung processor made up of one quad-core section clocked at 1.5GHz and another quad-core section sitting at 2.1GHz, bringing the total speed to 3.6GHz.

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Samsung is pairing this processor with 4GB RAM, and in Australia providing a total of 32GB of storage on the unit, with no microSD slot in case you wanted to upgrade it.

Google’s Android 5.1 “Lollipop” runs on the Galaxy Note 5 out of the box, complete with the latest incarnation of Samsung’s TouchWiz Android overlay.

Connections are next, and for that you’ll find quite an array of support for a flagship phone, complete with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 with support for A2DP, Near-Field Communication (NFC), GPS, and 4G modem support running on the new high-speed Category 9 technology, one of only two phones released in Australia (at the time of publishing) to support this new high-speed connectivity.

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Cameras are also here, too, with Samsung equipping the Galaxy Note 5 with a 16 megapixel rear shooter with flash, while the front-facing camera gets a 5 megapixel camera module.

The rear camera can also capture video at 4K Ultra HD if need be.

A fair amount of sensors can also be found here, too, with a barometer and heart-rate monitor complimenting the typical assortment of an accelerometer and proximity sensor, and Samsung has even seen fit to throw in a fingerprint sensor underneath the home button.

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Also a little different in this smartphone from other smartphones is the inclusion of a stylus.

This is the S-Pen, Samsung’s magnetic external input device that works in tandem with the special screen the Note series of devices relies on, allowing you to scrawl and scribble notes on the device and save them. The tip of the S-Pen is much finer than that of capacitive stylus pens, helping the S-Pen to feel more like that of a regular pen for writing.

And this works in conjunction with the screen, which is also a little different from what other companies may offer.