Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review

Last updated:  

The Note 5 improved the Note family's battery life and offered the integrated S-Pen, making it a productivity tool for buyers in 2015.

5.7 inches

Display size

1440 x 2560px

32GB

Internal storage

16 MP

Rear camera

3,000 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Good vs similar phones

Details

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 5.7 inches
Resolution 1440 x 2560
Pixels per inch (PPI) 518
Rear camera megapixels 16MP
Rear camera aperture size N/A
Video recording 1080p
Front camera megapixels 5MP
Front camera aperture size N/A
Dimensions 153.2mm x 76.1mm x 7.6mm
Weight 171g
NFC Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed Category 9
Processor Exynos 7420
RAM 4GB
Operating system iOS 8
Internal storage

32GB

External storage support Up to N/A
Battery capacity 3,000mAh
Headphone jack Yes
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging No
Launch price (RRP)$1,099
Launch date2015-09
Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The good

  • Decent processor performance
  • Top-notch display
  • Enhanced S-pen
  • Exceptional battery life

The bad

  • No removable battery
  • It's a big device
  • No expandable storage

Samsung's big-screen Note devices have allowed it to effectively have two Android launches each year, with the Galaxy S series typically launching in the first part of the year while the Note "phablets" appear in the latter half. The Note 5 is the 2015 model, and maintains many of the expected Note features from previous generations, alongside some welcome improvements.

Upsides: Why you'd want the Samsung Note 5

  • Decent processor performance: The Note 5 doesn't have the strongest benchmark figures amongst 2015 releases, but it's plenty powerful enough and you're unlikely to experience any sense of lag for day-to-day tasks. Here's how the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 compares to a range of popular premium handsets on our standard benchmarks:
    HandsetGeekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better)Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+14924893
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge13244626
    Google Nexus 6P12514597
    Samsung Galaxy Note 511113686
    Samsung Galaxy S613474569
    Apple iPhone 6S25404410
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus24914391
    Google Nexus 5X11883198
  • Top-notch display: While it's the same size as its predecessor the Note 4, the display on the Note 5 is notably clearer and brighter, and easily viewed in a wide range of lighting conditions. That's especially welcome when you're dealing with a larger screen. The Note 5 is also slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor, making it more pleasant to hold.
  • Enhanced S-pen: The other key selling point for the Note is the integrated S-pen stylus. Enhancements for the Note 5 include the ability to customise the options for the Air Command menu which appears when you hover over the screen with the S-pen, and the option to scrawl memos using the stylus even when the phone is locked.
  • Exceptional battery life: The larger size for the Note range has always meant that it offers solid day-long battery performance, and that continues with the Note 5, which beats out most of the class of 2015 thanks to its 3000maH battery. It can also charge extremely quickly with the supplied fast charger. Here's how it rated using Geekbench's inbuilt battery test with the screen dimmed:
    HandsetGeekbench 3 Battery Test DurationGeekbench 3 Battery Score
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+8:24:105041
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus7:48:104681
    Samsung Galaxy Note 59:18:005580
    Samsung Galaxy S66:51:304115
    Google Nexus 5X7:14:204062
    Google Nexus 6P6:39:203754
    Apple iPhone 6s3:52:102321

Downsides: Why you might not want the Samsung Note 5

  • No removable battery: As with Samsung's Galaxy S6, there's no longer an option to swap out the battery (or simply remove it to force a reboot). The impressive battery performance means this won't be a huge issue for many users, but if you're a serious power hog it's worth bearing in mind.
  • It's a big device: Not everyone is keen on phablet-sized phones, but in the Galaxy universe, if you want the S-Pen, you'll have to settle for the bigger screen.
  • No expandable storage: There's no expandable storage option for the Galaxy Note 5, a frustration which is enhanced by the fact that only the 32GB variant has officially gone on sale in Australia.

Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?

If you want a large screen Samsung device, your main choices are the Note 5 or the Galaxy S6 Edge+. The Note 5 has slightly better battery life and offers the integrated S-Pen; the Edge+ offers the unusual side-of-screen interface. Both are solid choices, but if you're looking for a phone for productivity purposes, the Note 5 is a better fit.

Other larger-screened handsets you might consider include the Google Nexus 6P and the LG G4. In the iPhone world, you're looking at the iPhone 6s Plus.

Where can I get it?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is no longer available either outright or on contract from local carriers. You can still purchase import stock from various online retailers, however, such as eBay sellers and Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 specs

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 5.7 inches
Resolution 1440 x 2560
Pixels per inch (PPI) 518
Rear camera megapixels 16MP
Rear camera aperture size N/A
Video recording 1080p
Front camera megapixels 5MP
Front camera aperture size N/A
Dimensions 153.2mm x 76.1mm x 7.6mm
Weight 171g
NFC Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed Category 9
Processor Exynos 7420
RAM 4GB
Operating system iOS 8
Internal storage

32GB

External storage support Up to N/A
Battery capacity 3,000mAh
Headphone jack Yes
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging No

Compare SIM-only plans for a Note 5


Latest mobile headlines

Ask an expert

To ask a question simply log in via your email or Facebook or create an account.

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site