The Galaxy Note line has long been one of Samsung’s greatest assets in the mobile market. While other Android OEMs have made phablets before, Samsung was pretty much the first OEM to ship a high-end device in this segment. Although other Android OEMs have made phablets in the time since, Samsung continues to have a strong hold on this market.

For Samsung, unlike previous iterations of the Note family, the Galaxy Note5/S6 edge+ represents a significant change in design compared to previous generations, integrating many of the design aspects of the Galaxy S6 across the whole family. In many ways, the Galaxy Note5 resembles the Galaxy S6 in a different size. Meanwhile the Note5's companion device, the Galaxy S6 edge+, is effectively a second take on the Galaxy Note5, aiming for a design closer to a large format phone than a phablet as originially envisioned by Samsung. In this case the Galaxy S6 edge+ uses many of the design accents of the Galaxy S6 edge such as the curved display, all the while getting rid of the stylus.

Probably the easiest way to start is by looking at the basic specs. In order to make this easier, the usual spec sheet is below.


Galaxy Note 4

Galaxy Note5

Galaxy S6 edge+

SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
4xKrait 450 @ 2.7 GHz
Samsung LSI Exynos 7420
4xA57 @ 2.1GHz
4xA53 @ 1.5GHz
GPU Adreno 420 @ 600 MHz Mali T760MP8 @ 772MHz
NAND 32/64GB eMMC 32/64/128GB UFS 2.0
Display 5.7-inch 2560x1440 SAMOLED 5.7-inch 2560x1440 SAMOLED 5.7-inch 2560x1440 SAMOLED
Dual edge display
Network 2G / 3G / 4G
UE Category 6 LTE
2G / 3G / 4G
UE Category 6/9 LTE
Dimensions 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.3 mm
176 grams
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
171 grams
154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm
153 grams
Camera 16MP rear camera,
1.12 µm pixels, 1/2.6" CMOS size,
F/2.2 OIS

5MP F/1.9 FFC
16MP rear camera,
1.12µm pixels, 1/2.6" CMOS size
F/1.9, OIS

5MP F/1.9 FFC
Battery 3220 mAh (12.397 Wh)
3000 mAh (11.55 Wh)
OS Android 4.4 with TouchWiz (At launch) Android 5.1 with TouchWiz (At launch)
Connectivity 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.1, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.2, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC
SIM Size MicroSIM NanoSIM

The Galaxy Note5/S6 edge+ and Galaxy S6 are definitely different in size - coming in at 5.1" versus 5.7" - but there’s otherwise a great deal of similarity this time around. The Galaxy Note5 shares a number of major components with the Galaxy S6, so the big differences between the two lines this generation will primarily be due to the S-Pen and larger size, along with an extra gigabyte of RAM. However, there are still some notable differences that are worth going over, as Samsung has been able to integrate a few months of lessons learned from the Galaxy S6 into the Galaxy Note5.


The first, and easiest place to start is the design of this phone. If you’re familiar with the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy Note5/S6 edge+ is pretty much identical from a functional perspective. The front face of the phone has the same earpiece, home button, front-facing camera, and various sensors. Flanking the home button will be the two capacitive buttons, which are multitasking and back from left to right. The usual Samsung logo is on top, where the display driver for the display is. The bezel retains the same texture that it does from the Galaxy S6, which causes some interesting reflection effects, especially in the sun. The display also has noticeably thinner side bezels than what we saw on the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 4, which is visually quite impressive but in the absence of palm rejection is pretty close to the limit of minimum bezel size.

Along the side of the phone, the buttons, headphone jack, USB port, and speaker are all placed in the same places as the Galaxy S6, which should help if anyone is transitioning to the Galaxy Note5/S6 edge+ from the Galaxy S6. This means that the USB port is centered on the bottom of the phone, with the 3.5mm headset jack on the left side, and the speaker on the right. The volume buttons are also on the left side and are still as clicky and impressive as they were with the Galaxy S6, with no creep or mush and a clean break when the switch triggers. The power button is similar in feel and placed on the right side of the phone, high enough that you won’t accidentally activate the button when you’re picking up the phone.

The top of the phone has the SIM slot for both variants this time around unlike the Galaxy S6, which had the SIM slot in a different position depending upon which variant you got. Unlike the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 4, neither variant has a port for an IR LED/receiver for remote functionality. The Galaxy Note5 also adds a port for the stylus next to the speaker.

Depending upon what phone you get, the major difference can end up being the shape of the back cover. While the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S6 both have glass for their back cover, the Galaxy Note5 has a 3D curved glass back cover much like the Xiaomi Mi Note line. This really improves the in-hand feel compared to the Galaxy S6, which felt a bit blocky. The Galaxy S6 edge+ retains the same flat back cover from the Galaxy S6, but feels a bit easier to grip than the Galaxy S6 edge which had an incredibly thin metal rail to hold on to. Both phablets will be fingerprint magnets on the back cover, but due to the use of glass it’s pretty easy to wipe off fingerprints unlike glossy plastic.

Relative to the Galaxy Note 4, the changes are definitely notable. The metal frame of the Galaxy Note 4 was a relatively angular design, with flat sides and chamfered edges. This design made the phablet feel much bigger relative to something like the Note5 or S6 edge+, thanks in part to Samsung further reducing their device thickness with this latest iteration. The back cover of the Note 4 is faux-leather plastic that peels off much like the Galaxy S2's back cover, with a removable battery and microSD slot. The display has the same buttons, but the bezel had a striped design for unknown reasons. Some people might prefer the design of the Note 4, but I suspect most people are going to prefer the design of the Galaxy Note5.

Overall, in the hand I’d still prefer the Galaxy Note5 to the Galaxy S6 edge+, but pretty much either phone has acceptable industrial and material design. I still wish Samsung would work on cleaning up the front of the phone to be a bit more cohesive, but for 2015 the design of the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ is actually quite good. Samsung has sought to distance itself from their reputation of Hyperglaze, and with this phone it’s pretty fair to say that they’ve achieved just that. Both phablets have no real ergonomic issues and are generally well-designed, although aesthetically there are some symmetry issues.

Battery Life and Charge Time


View All Comments

  • Sailor23M - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    Well said. Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - link

    While not a fanboy.. (it's a phone for (censored) sake..) I do use Samsung phones pretty much exclusively these days simply because I am familiar with them and I've yet to see a company make one I like better.. That being said.. I am a long reader and commenter here as well.. and I certainly don't see any hate-on for any company or love-in for that matter.

    Occasionally some reviewers may know they have a certain amount of bias for some companies and may go overboard in trying to be fair ..coming across as to critical.. but that's pretty rare.
  • Tech_guy - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    Apple is designing extremely fast chips these days with amazing performance combined with iOS 9, it's hard to deny that iPhone 6s is the leader right now, by a LONG shot. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    Only thing 6s is better is better singlethread performance and GPU. 7420 still has better multithread performance (which android does use, says anandtech article!) and comes with better and larger display, smaller and lighter device, and true wacom pen and better camera.

    I just don't get it how 6s is "the leader" as it lacks in many division compared to now old GS6.
  • Tech_guy - Friday, October 2, 2015 - link

    It's not about the quanity of your cores but their quality. Just look at how Intel obliterates AMD because of their stronger IPC in each core. It's not of the same Apple has set the single core benchmark so high that others will HAVE to focus on single core performance. What some real world comparisons of iPhone 6s vs Note 5, anytime it's a larger app like a game or something the iPhone 6s just destroys those weak cores in the Exynos 7422. Reply
  • thedons1983 - Sunday, October 18, 2015 - link

    What a moronic comment! If your assertion were actually true, then literally everyone would buy an iPhone. They don't, however, because not everyone wants to suck on apples tainted teat. Their software is utter garbage, and the only reason they close it down so much, is because they know that it would simply break otherwise. IOS is woeful, as is OS-x, hence why user rates are so incredibly low. Even windows 8, which lots of people hated, has user numbers that OS-X could only dream of. Primarily, it's because windows is just better. Android beats IOS in almost every respect, and the only people that can't comprehend that, are idiot fanboys like you. You are actually, and truly, pathetic. Reply
  • Sailor23M - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    I have been a regular reader since 2003/04 time period - so a good 10+ years. Although I am an Apple user I do feel the site has progressively increased their bias/tilt towards Apple. If its true that "Galaxy Phones are pushing 4 times more pixels" then this should have been mentioned in the review. Reply
  • Kuzi - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    Galaxy S6/Edge/Note 5 resolution:
    2560x1440= 3686400 pixels

    IPhone 6/6S resolution:
    1334x750= 100500 pixels

    The Galaxy phones are pushing 3.68 times more pixels than iPhone 6 & 6S.
  • Peichen - Monday, October 5, 2015 - link

    Note 5 should be compared with iPhone 6s PLUS, not the regular size one. QHD on the regular S6 is just stupid but consider Samsung cheats with the sub-pixels counts on AMOLED the smaller screen does need QHD to not show pixels. Reply
  • Kuzi - Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - link

    Even though the Galaxy S6 uses a non standard pixel arrangment, it's 575 PPI screen is much sharper than the comparatively low res (by today's standards) 325 PPI screen of the iPhone 6S. Reply

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