Samsung Note 5 - T-Mobile
For Android users, Samsung is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Other companies may make a phone that’s bigger or maybe they have a feature or two that other may not, but Samsung dominates in a market that its fans love because of the range of available hardware options.
Samsung’s Note 5 was the pioneer in the large screen market and because of its frontrunner status, arrows were leveled at it in terms of usability and consumer demand. To be fair, people loved the large screen and it really didn’t do much to the device’s usability. In fact, Samsung used the screen’s real estate to roll out a stylus and further position itself as the anti-Apple option (more on this later).
Critics have raved about the 5.3 inch screen the Note 5 uses. Its color reproduction and clarity are what draw the most attention, meaning that it’s easier to read text and images are vibrant. Paired with the Note 5’s 16 megapixel camera (one of the best available on an Android device), the phone outputs image files into RAW (one of the few that do) thus ticking off a checkbox for any serious photographer. The camera also shoots 4K video, which is rapidly becoming a must-have specification for any premium phone.
Baked into the phone is Live Broadcast, a live streaming app. It’s much like Periscope or Meerkat, but with other people with Samsung phones. If you live in a Samsung phone-rich circle of friends, Live Broadcast could be an interesting feature. On the other hand, if your circle of friends tends to be more inclusive about their devices, you’re better off sticking to third-party applications.
The fingerprint sensor, which has finally matured into a feature that works to most reviewers’ satisfaction, is also included. It can also lock down third-party apps and also works with Samsung Pay, the company’s new mobile payment system that goes head to head with Apple and (curiously) Google Wallet. Samsung Pay has one interesting trick that makes the more useful of Apple or Google Wallet’s, a magnetic transmitter that works like a swipe. Considering many POS terminals still require a swipe and that they outnumber NFC-capable terminals, Samsung Pay is an interesting solution for the near-term.
The Note 5 comes in two data capacity flavors of 32GB and 64GB. This used to be a non-issue with microSD expansion, but Samsung takes that away with its new glass and metal design. Replaceable batteries and user-swappable storage is out and a more unibody construction is in (to the consternation of many loyal Samsung users).
The Note 5 is practically identical to the Samsung S5 Edge+. it’s the same size and practically the same feature set. The Note 5 includes the S Pen, which can now take notes while the phone’s display is off. The Edge+ features a curved screen that displays additional information. The Note 5 features a much more usable feature set, making a much more usable device.