In what might be construed as a side-effect of our fascination with large-screen smartphones, Samsung’s Note series phablets have transformed from being niche devices to truly desirable flagships. In fact, the Galaxy Note 4 (review) had us so hooked to its SUV-style performance and dazzling 2K display that we bestowed upon it the title of ‘Phone of the Year’ in our 91mobiles awards 2014. The rumours surrounding its successor have been swarming the web for a few weeks now, and today, at Samsung’s Unpacked event in New York, the company has taken the cover off the next-generation Note, the Galaxy Note5.
The Galaxy Note5 features the same metal frame as its predecessor, but gets a major design upgrade with a Galaxy S6-like curved glass back panel. It also features an improved S Pen slot, which sits flush with the bottom of the phone, and can be ‘clicked’ open like you would a ball point pen. The S Pen itself has received some modifications, letting you write when the screen is off, and add app shortcuts to Air Command, among others. The fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button has been updated to support Samsung Pay, a new service that lets you make secure payments over NFC, similar to Apple Pay.
Coming to the core specs, the Galaxy Note5 features the same 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display as its predecessor, resulting in a pixel density of 515ppi. Powering the device is a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 processor, consisting of two quad-core clusters clocked at 2.1GHz and 1.5GHz respectively. The chipset is assisted by a generous 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The Note5 comes in 32GB and 64GB storage options, but there’s no 128GB option this time. It also misses out on an important feature – a microSD card slot. Handling photography is a 16MP OIS primary camera with a large aperture of f/1.9, phase detection autofocus and 4K video recording. The front camera has been bumped up from 3.7MP to 5MP, and gets the same wide f/1.9 aperture as the rear shooter. The Note5 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, overlaid with TouchWiz.
Fuelling the device is a 3,000mAh battery, a small downgrade from its predecessor’s 3,220mAh unit. The device supports both Qi and Powermat wireless charging, and also features a new fast charging technology. In terms of connectivity, the Note5 offers LTE Cat.6, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS and Glonass.
Samsung showcased an innovative new Keyboard Cover at the event, which lets you snap on a physical QWERTY keyboard on the display. When not in use, the keyboard can be flipped to the rear, giving you back the entire screen real estate. The Note5 will be available in Black Sapphire, White Pearl and Gold Platinum Colours. In the US, the Note5 is priced at $739.99 (around Rs 48,400) for the 32GB version, and $839.99 (approximately Rs 54,800) for the 64GB model, The device will go on sale in the US on August 21st, and pre-orders open today.