The Galaxy Note 5 is What the Note 4 Should Have Been

Galaxy Note 5


The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is what the Note 4 should have been. The better S-Pen lends a faster feel when performing common tasks.

There aren’t a ton of changes to Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphone line, but the newest, the Galaxy Note 5, quietly delivers some worthwhile improvements and a few hidden gems.

Key Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Features

Unlike previous versions of the Galaxy Note, the S-Pen in the Galaxy Note 5 is spring-loaded. Air Command features are still accessed through clicking the S-Pen’s button, such as Action Memo and Smart Select. They now work much better, unlike Air Command in the Galaxy Note 4, which failed on me regularly.

The Galaxy Note 5 has an integrated special feature known as “YouTube Live Broadcast.” It is a way to do live streaming without Periscope or Meerkat. You can live stream privately, but you’ll need to pre-program SMS text numbers of each recipient into the phone first. This is also true if you use the feature for public live broadcasts.

If the steps sound clunky and strange, it’s because they are. Still, the feature could come in handy. You will need a YouTube account, too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Pros

If you hate fumbling around your screens just to use S Note or Action Memo, you can now create fast memos by removing the S-Pen while the screen is off and then waiting for the prompt. These memos will save into your S Note app.

In the Galaxy Note 4, Collect was the only choice after Smart Select. I found the feature extremely useless and obstructive. It was what I disliked most about the Galaxy Note 4. Now, the Galaxy Note 5 gives you the choice to Collect or Download … very useful.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Cons

The gigabytes of storage you buy are what you’re stuck with on this phone. There’s no micro SD card slot to expand. The battery on the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t removable. These are two surprising downsides to the Note 5 when compared to older Notes.

The headphone jack has been moved to be bottom. This is a minor frustration if you like attaching phones to an external speaker while keeping the display in portrait orientation.

You need to be careful to not insert the S-Pen backwards, meaning the blunt end should never go in first. This will actually ruin the software sensors and break the phone physically.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Is Best For …

If jotting down notes is something you do often, you’ll appreciate the Note 5. Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 4 owners who love the S-Pen should take advantage of any upgrade your carrier allows. Fans will notice that the S-Pen is finally living up to its potential.

At a price range between $696 and $739, I would still recommend that smartphone “newbies” practice on a cheaper phone first.

In a market that’s already evolved, there’s only so much Samsung can do to really stand out. If their improvement efforts were mainly focused on the S-Pen, it paid off. The Galaxy Note 5’s S-Pen didn’t give me the frustrations the Note 4 did.

The Note line’s S-Pen is what makes fans of it come back for more. But be aware of the significant hardware changes made by Samsung (such as the battery that can’t be replaced and the memory that can’t be expanded).

Image: Samsung

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Alex Yong Alex Yong is a staff writer and host of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world. Alex was named a must-follow PR resource in Cision North America’s list of the top 50 Twitter influencers utilizing rich media tweets, alongside Guy Kawasaki and Lee Odden.

34 Reactions
  1. You have got to be kidding! The Note 5 is missing the two primary features I have loved the Note–until now. It’s just glittery garbage now. It’s the electronic version of New Coke.

    • You are correct! Bring back SD cards and removable batteries!

    • Well said! I’ll be skipping the Note 5 and hoping Samsung comes to it’s senses with the Note 6.

    • An external card reader + a OTG cable can solve the lack of microSD.

      • Agree.
        I love that phones have external storage. The external battery is not a big deal coming from a owner of the very first international note. I bought the extra batteries, but never used them. Stage way if you do miss the lack of storage I would recommend the moto X pure. Also getting that phone soon.

      • Sure! An an external battery pack! No way. I’ve got the Note 2, Note 3, and just bought the Note 4. Never will I buy a Note 5 or any similar downgrade. I waited hoping Samsung would not do an Apple on us. They so foolishly did.I had intended to pass on the Note 4.

    • What a great analogy!

  2. BS! No removable battery and no SD card slot makes this phone a SIGNIFICANT downgrade from the Note 4 regardless of the other small upgrades in the specs…

    • Heavy S-Pen users are the ones who’ll be really happy with the Note 5, but yes, buyers need to know what they’re getting and not getting.

      • Newer devices are always quicker. No big whoop. But when you take the3 major things away from it just for the sake of making it prettier? Sorry man. Note 4 is what note 5 should have been. You got it all wrong!

  3. They have removed IR blaster as well from Note 5….

    • Yup. Very strange article. No duh the s pen is quicker…. It’s a new device. But to say it’s what the 4 should have been?

      • I love software which doesn’t fail on me, and as I wrote, the Note 4’s Smart Select failed on me more than 50% of the time. If Note 4 users can tolerate that, great. I couldn’t… I noticed the Note 5 had much greater reliability for that one feature so I shared my observations with you all. If you guys want to be heard, tweet your feelings with the #GalaxyNote5 hashtag. Their social team will respond, or at least keep track of fans’ feelings.

  4. I could upgrade my note 4 to note 5 if battery removable with more powerful then 4, memory card options are there …

  5. This article is kinda stretch and [edited by editor]. I love my note 4 and note 5 isn’t the upgrade that I need…for now.

    • What’s the point of making it pretty, if they just remove a bunch of key features to do it. The sad thing is they didn’t have to. Just like the S-Pen has it’s own compartment, so too could the SD-Card and Battery. I have the Note 4, Gear S, Qi Wireless charging back, Wireless charger, Extra batteries, separate Battery charger, and a 200 Gb SD card. Tell me how the Note 5 beats this? For me it doesn’t and they missed out on an upgrade from me.

      • 3TB in the cloud , Dropbox ,+Google drive+ Microsoft one drive…..backed up by a 5GB personal external hard drive with cloud capabilities all synced to Note 5. If you can afford 3 or 4 phones,I’m sure you can get 2 years of cloud service right off the rip.

  6. I have been a Note owner since Note 1. But this Note 5 is junk. Slippery as hell & no SD card or IR Blaster is a deal breaker for me.

    What were you smoking Samsung. If we wanted an iPhone, we would buy one!

  7. I’ve got the note 4 ams what a fantastic phone. Now Samsung have gone and messed things up with this backward version of the note 5. I guarantee you they will lose sales. Seems like they have more money than sense.

  8. Just bought a new Note 4 that will arrive today. Definitely hoping for the Note 5 ROM to be ported to the Note 4 for the software features (560 DPI compatible apps, new S-Pen features, etc.). Beyond that, all of the other changes are nominal (like the smaller bezels, headphone jack on bottom) or even offputting to me (glass back, no expandable storage, and sealed battery).

  9. I have had the Note 5 for a couple of weeks and love it. The screen is big, bright and beautiful. The smaller bezels make it workable for 1-hand use. I was really disappointed as well about the loss of SD card and the non-removeable battery (and smaller battery size) but in practice the battery life for me has been great. I generally have 30-50% battery life at the end of the day – although I am not a heavy user that is much more than any previous phone. I also find the cover slippery but I have a thin, grippy cover that works perfectly. I am very happy with this purchase.

  10. I am soooo disappointed with Samsung decision to remove 3 key features that made them stand out from other phones. I relish in the comfort of having a removable battery, Mico SD and IR blaster. I never have to worry about limited storage, dead battery or misplaced remote. I have a note 3 and planned on skipping the 4 for the 5, now I’m going to start looking at other brands that hopefully will provide the same flexibility and freedom.

  11. So if I removed the IR Blaster, SD card and removable battery options from my Note 4 I would have a phone similar to the Note 5.

    I totally disagree with the articles title.

    It’s not what the Note 4 should have been.

    I’ll wait for the Note 6.

  12. Well.
    It tells me DON’T buy Note 5.
    Samsung must remove problems, mentioned by users of Note 4 & Note
    I was ready to buy Note5, but now I will wait for Note. Thanks

  13. Da'Avant Miranda Jr

    Don’t like the look of the note 5, the new edge looks better then the note 5.. To me the note 4 is better i’m hoping the note edge 2 is better!!

  14. Note 4 s pen works great. I love it. My note 3 still a great phone too.

    Thwy Probably should have skipped the note 5 and went to the 6

    • I mostly said the Note 5’s S Pen is better because it can let you save screenshot (drawn) “selections” to the gallery unlike the Note 4’s Pen which only lets you save a selection to the dreadful collections feature which is not user-friendly. It also feels premium, whereas the older S Pens feel cheap.

  15. I felt same way as the people above and still would like to see a removable battery and SD card. With that being said-I DO LUV NOTE 5 AT 1ST I WAS NEVER GOING TO BUY BUT THE MORE I SEEN NOTE 5 THE MORE I LIKE AND THE UPGRADES ARE GREAT SPEAKER IS AT BOTTOM-AWESOME AND THE THEMES ARE GREAT

  16. Should i buy note 5 or note 4? please give me an advice

  17. So disappointed. 3 major components missing in note5: removable battery, IR, sd card slot. So for this reason, I will stick with my note 4.

    Note 5 should have had:
    4gb ram, sd slot upto 500gb, 32gb and 64gb versions, an fm, such happy things

  18. Love this fine piece of hardware. I couldn’t care less about an IR blaster. Since I don’t use this for gaming 64gb is plenty. I’ll have a note 6 long before the battery has issues. Faster and more accurate than the Note 4. Noticeably better for creative art because of better accuracy and less lag. I’ll enjoy this for a year while you big babies continue to use older, inferior hardware.

    • The GN5’s S-Pen just works. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. I just like things that work and the S-Pen on the GN4 fails way too much for my taste. It’s odd that it took Samsung 5 iterations to get the S-Pen truly right. Just my opinion.

  19. Me too bitterly disappointed with the Note 5, I am a UK user of Notes (from 1 to 4) and have just bought a LG V10 wow thats a great phone.. miles faster with no lag compared to my Note 4.but I do miss the S pen…
    Samsung have lost my Note 5 purchase..this year…

  20. Just bought the Note 5 a couple days ago because it’s still the best phone on the market in my opinion. 64 GB of storage is plenty + there’s always cloud storage and the lack of a removable battery is not that big of a deal.