The Samsung Note 5: Beautiful and brilliant

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE - Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2015 - 10:00am

I have had the Samsung Note 5 all week since its launch. I was lent a demo unit to review. I have two other phones, a Note 4 and the Note Edge. I like all of them, and yes, I am very interested in getting the Note 5.

I love my Note 4 and I delight in how powerful its specs are and how easy it is to use it. It is a sturdy and elegant phone. In fact, before I went to the launch, I asked myself what else can they do to the Note 5 to top its predecessor. It was the same question I asked when the Note 4 was launched early this year since I was already very happy with the Note 3 then.

As it turns out, just like the Note 4 vis-a-vis the Note 3, Samsung was able to put in a an array of new goodies to get everyone excited on this latest Note. The Note 5 is as expected, the best in the series, and probably the best phone you can own right now. It runs on Android’s 5.2 Lolipop OS.

Here are more reasons why you should get one.

Its sleek metal body is great to hold, beautiful to look at in gold, white, gray and black, and is as sturdy as hell with its Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen. It is slightly bigger than the Note 4 at 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm. You will hardly even notice it the extra length. And yes, it is thinner and the metal back is curved on both sides like the Samsung Edge. In terms of its physical attributes, it IS beautiful.

The screen is crisp, sharp 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED 2560 x 1440 (518 ppi). It is the best Samsung phone screen today.

The Note series introduced the pen on smart phones. Samsung has continuously improved the stylus and so Note 5 the best stylus yet so far. Unlike the earlier Note series, you don’t pull the pen out anymore. It pops out from under when you press it, and that activates the S Pen. It is smooth and writes naturally. The pressure is just right. It makes you feel like you are using a very expensive pen on paper. The best feature is you can write with the pen on the phone even when the screen is off. You can also encircle long articles, photos, anything on your screen with ease and save it.

The Note 5 has a 16 megapixel back camera where you can record in 4K/UHD and a 5 megapixel front camera with wide angle capability which is great for selfies. The camera menu comes with a range of delightful modes. You have an OIS stabilizer so you don’t blur your photos while shaking. This is a big deal to me. It also has autofocus, LED flash, Dual shot, simultaneous video and image recording, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, etc.

But the biggest story is its live broadcast capability where you can share live events to any or all your friends through youtube. Your broadcast has a 30 second delay before people can watch it. It is Samsung’s answer to twitter’s Periscope live broadcast app.

I have seen collage photos done on many phones. But I have never seen collage videos put together so easily on a Note 5. You can have 4 videos running at the same time on the same screen and upload them on instagram. It is truly impressive.

The Note 5 has the most efficient, long lasting battery yet which can keep your phone going for 15 hours under heavy use. On regular use, it should last a day. Its battery is smaller than the Note 4 size-wise, but it will outperform every phone on the market today.

Like the other previous Notes, you can multi task easily by splitting screens. You can be watching youtube while scrolling notes, and having your calculator on standby for use all at the same time. Seamlessly.

But even a phone this great can have certain drawbacks. I am not too happy that it does not allow expandable memory. No more SD cards. The slot has been taken away. In place, you get free 100GB One Drive cloud storage free for two years. Note 5 upped the RAM from 3G to 4G and its storage comes in 32 and 64GB.

And you can’t open the back anymore to replace batteries, which I disliked on the iphone. When I asked the Samsung people why they closed the casing permanently, they said that the electronics had become too sophisticated so they sealed it for better protection.

Overall, it is a great techno experience. I feel magic happen when I use it. Every operation seems seamless, intuitively easy to do. There is so much more to explore and discover on the Note 5. Once you try it, it is hard to let it go.


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