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Compared: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 versus Galaxy Note 4

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Nearly a year has gone since the Galaxy Note 4 and flash-forward to the present with the arrival of the much anticipated Galaxy Note 5 is a reality. Today we aim to pit the old against the new and discuss the main differences, mainly positive but some questionable.

The mobile tech giant has made some brand-new features both in hardware and software. Mentioning the former first, the processor gets an upgrade from the Exynos 5433 (SM-N910C) / Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (SM-N910S) to the chart-topping AnTuTu scorer, the Exynos 7420. Samsung’s newest phablet also gets a 1GB bump in the RAM department compared to the Note 4 (3GB), adhering to the current industry standard for new flagships.

Furthering connectivity speeds is the Note 5’s latest LTE Cat 6/Cat 9 pushing the older Cat 4 enabled Note 4 out of the water, with blistering future-proof speeds once telecommunication infrastructure is done catching up. Moving to the camera, we’ll see a similar 16-megapixel main camera, but the front shutter is now 5-megapixels from the previous 3.7-megapixels. Samsung has said to make the camera interface zippier as launching speeds have improved from 1.1 seconds to 0.6 seconds. Audio advancements are now up scaled to support an ultra-high-quality listening experience – couple that with Samsung Milk Music and you’ll be set to enjoy yourself.

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The star of the show of course will be the spring loaded eject-able S-Pen that will no longer chip anymore finger nails. Samsung has promised that the feeling of writing will be as close as to writing on paper but hasn’t mentioned raw specifications of increasing pressure sensitivity as for now. Hardware aside, it’ll also be enhanced to Scroll Capture long screenshots with Screen Write: a sure favourite for long direction instructions and conversations. Air command will now always appear on-screen to assist you with your S-Pen functionality.

Off-screen notes can be easily written with the S-Pen just by simply tapping on the screen with the stylus while in standby. PDF annotations are also easier with the S-Pen, giving users the means to simply sign a PDF document using the stylus and sending it off to be printed for your business needs.

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Design language also takes a turn with the latest iteration of the Note series. Gone are the days of plastically backs and in comes a more superior built product. Comparing the old and the new side by side and you’ll be able to tell them distinctively apart, especially so when you take a look around the edges and rounded backing of the Note 5. Placement of the camera and audio speakers have been adjusted to make the device better to look at and change the listening experience a little. Making up the bottom is now the moved speaker, and audio jack, while the positions of the S-Pen and micro-USB port remain. The phablet is now lighter too, weighing in at 171g, opposed to 176g (Note 4) and comes in a smaller footprint – 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm compared to the slightly larger Note 4 (153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm)

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Samsung has addressed some qualms – mostly related to its stance on premium materials and removable batteries. Seeing a change of trend towards users who prefer a more luxurious feel, the Korean manufacturer has decided that it was time to exclude removable batteries in replacement of a metal encased design From the S6 series to the current Note 5, we’re now seeing a more streamlined aesthetically pleasing device with more metal and glass. Although, there will always be trade-offs and this time it’s no exception, as the glass will pick up finger prints and smudges quite easily. The battery also takes a hit, now only 3,000mAh battery housed in non-removable fashion due to the unibody design, which dips from the old Note 4 – 3,220mAh.

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Worry not, as the Note 5 will be helped along by fast charging the device from 0% – 100% takes 90 minutes, 9 minutes quicker than its predecessor. If cables is not your thing, you’ll be happy as the newer Note even supports fast wireless charging, although charge times are nothing to shout about (0% – 100% in 120 minutes). Other than the removable battery omission, we’re also seeing an exodus of MicroSD support from the Note 5 – unsure why they decided to go down this route, seeing as dual-SIM trays usually are hybrids, allowing users to choose two SIMs or use one + a MicroSD card. Lastly, seemingly seen as an odd decision, Samsung decided to leave out the infared blaster seen on older released devices.

To cap-off, the Note 5 has made refinements in these categories:

Premium unibody design
Performance
S-Pen software and hardware
Connectivity
Dual-SIM support
Fast charging (in-built)
Wireless charging

and sacrificed some features in the process, as well:

Larger capacity removable battery
MicroSD support
Infared blaster

We’ll see how the Note 5 fares when it goes on sale in selected regions, while it’ll make an appearance sometime in September for our local market.

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