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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Preview

August 8, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Samsung is preparing to announce the Galaxy Note 5 next week in New York City, at their Unpacked event. Unpacked started back with the Galaxy S3 in 2012 at Mobile World Congress. Since then we’ve had 8 Unpacked events altogether, with Thursday’s being our 9th, this is the event name they’ve used to announce all their Galaxy S flagships since the Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note flagships since the Galaxy Note 2. While they’ve all shared relatively the same name, they have not all been the same. Anyone remember the Unpacked event in NYC for the Galaxy S4 in 2013? That Broadway show, that everyone seemed to hate. Where Samsung spent way too much time going over each feature of the device.

The first Galaxy Note was announced back in August of 2011, in Berlin just ahead of IFA. Which is typically when Samsung has announced their Galaxy Note flagships, however this year they are pulling a Galaxy S4, having the event a few weeks ahead of the IFA conference. While the Galaxy S4 was not before MWC in Barcelona, it was about a month later, in 2012. The Galaxy Note first launched in 2011, and didn’t make it to the US until early 2012. And then it was just an exclusive to AT&T. While T-Mobile did announce the Galaxy Note, it never really made it to T-Mobile for more than a few days. The Galaxy Note was really the first large smartphone we had, and by today’s standard it would actually be a regular sized smartphone, crazy right? It was a 5.3-inch device with a resolution of 1280×800. Just as a throwback, it also featured the Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor and just a gigabyte of RAM. Amazon how far things have gone in just three years.

In 2012, we got the Galaxy Note 2. Which was actually made available on Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and US Cellular here in the States. It followed the unprecedented move that Samsung was able to do with the Galaxy S3 earlier that year, bringing the same device to all the carriers in the US. Typically you’d get the same device with something slightly different for each carrier including the name. Remember the original Galaxy S? With the Vibrant, Captivate, Fascinate and the Epic 4G? The Galaxy Note 2 was a very popular device, and also brought along the tramp stamp from Verizon. Big Red had the idea of putting their logo on the home button of the device. Not too many people thought that was a great idea, for some reason.

Hot on the footsteps of the Galaxy Note 2, came the Galaxy Note 3. This was when many of us were begging Samsung to do something with their design, instead of giving us the same old, same old. So Samsung did something different. And I think I was the only one that liked it, actually. Samsung gave the Galaxy Note 3 a faux-leather back with faux stitching as well. It actually looked really nice especially in black. The Galaxy Note 4 came in 2014 with pretty much the same design, but ditched the stitching. Samsung also announced the Galaxy Note Edge last year with the Galaxy Note 4. It was their first curved display device, that was made widely available. It was more of an experiment for Samsung. And led to the Galaxy S6 Edge which we saw earlier this year.

Now here we are in August of 2015. Awaiting the Galaxy Note 5. After Samsung has had a bit of an interesting year. There was a lot of hype earlier this year surrounding the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, but after people started buying them and having them for a bit the hype died, and reports of bad battery life came about. While the hardcore Samsung fans were still upset about the removable battery and microSD card slot being removed. Samsung has in turn, lost some market share and their revenue has also declined. The South Korean giant, is hoping that the Galaxy Note 5 can turn that around. Which we’ll find out more about on Thursday.

So what can we expect from the Galaxy Note 5 on Thursday? Let’s take a look

Display

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On the display side, we’re looking at a 5.66-inch display. A tad smaller than last year’s Galaxy Note 4. It’ll also be a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560×1440. In the past, Samsung has had their displays on their Galaxy S and Galaxy Note devices, named the best display ever. So I would expect a pretty amazing display here from Samsung on the Galaxy Note 5. It won’t be curved, however. As that is being saved for the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which is also being announced at Unpacked on Thursday.

Battery

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Leaks are telling us a 3,000mAh battery. Which is a bit small when you consider the screen size. And when you consider the battery of the previous Galaxy Note’s were around 3220mAh in size. The battery was the only issue with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge earlier this year, having a small battery, and it looks like that’s going to be an issue this time around with the Galaxy Note 5 as well. Hopefully Samsung has some optimization going on in Touchwiz this time around.

Camera

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Looks like we can expect the same camera as the Galaxy S6. And that’s not a bad thing. The Galaxy S6’s camera is one of the best, if not the best smartphone camera around. So we’re looking at a 16MP camera here on the back with a 5MP front-facing shooter. It’ll be interesting to see if we get laser auto-focus this time around, as we’ve seen a few other OEMs adding it this year. 4K video recording will also likely make an appearance here on the Galaxy Note 5, considering the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4 both had the ability.

Performance

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Inside, we’re looking at the Exynos 7420. The same processor that powers the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. However, there is also word that we might be seeing the Exynos 7422, which is a slightly newer processor. Paired with that processor, we’re looking at 4GB of RAM. Which should be plenty for all the multi-tasking you can handle. The Galaxy S6’s performance is top-notch, and it doesn’t overheat like other smartphones. So I wouldn’t expect any issues here. Paired with 4GB of RAM, it should be more than enough for Android Lollipop with Samsung’s Touchwiz on top. Even if it is still a somewhat heavy overlay.

What else to Expect? 

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That’s about it as far as specs go. But as we saw in a recent leak, it looks like Touchwiz might be seeing another overhaul this year. In fact, the leaks make it look like Tizen, which is Samsung’s proprietary OS they’ve been working on – and hasn’t really taken off just yet. You can also expect a newly designed S Pen, and we’re also looking at an auto-ejecting S Pen on the Galaxy Note 5 this year. So it’ll be easier to take out the S Pen this time around, and it’ll also sit a bit more flush in the new design of the Galaxy Note 5.

The design of the Galaxy Note 5 appears to be pretty similar to the Galaxy S6 earlier this year. Which means we’ll have a glass back this time along with an aluminum frame. Hopefully we don’t have a protruding camera this time around, many have scratched up their camera on the Galaxy S6 because it protrudes a bit. Which is a bit unfortunate. At least give us sapphire glass on the camera Samsung.

Unpacked is this Thursday and all the fun kicks off at 11am EDT. It will be live streamed, for those that are interested in watching. We are also expecting the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and a new smartwatch, however rumors have been pointing to the Gear A being a no show this time around.