We won't judge you for it too harshly Yeldarb, nobody should have to spell things on a Saturday evening
Thanks for all the questions – I’ve written up a review which I think answers a lot of the things you guys were interested in – will keep an eye out if any more Q’s come through!
I’d like to start with the admission I’m definitely not a professional phone reviewer. I’ll give you my honest opinion on my transition from my previous handset, the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge to the Note 5. Obviously the size was really not an issue coming from the Note Edge, it actually feels smaller in the hand without the edge. For those people out there with a smaller handset, and older Galaxy or iPhone and wondering what the transition is like to one of these larger screens - I found initially it took a little while to get used to (I moved from an iPhone 5 to the Edge). Simple stuff like the most comfortable way to hold it, how it feels in your pocket etc I found the main things that you need to get used to, but now I don't even notice it. I love the bigger screens, and would struggle to go back to a smaller phone now.
Unboxing the handset for the first time, the first obvious change from the Edge was the glass back, which looks fantastic. I didn’t use a case with my Note Edge, as the plastic/leather backing gave me quite a bit of confidence being able to put my phone on a table (quite roughly in some cases) without the worry of scratching, or breaking anything. Naturally with the new phone I’ve been a lot more cautious, both because it’s a new phone, and the glass feeling more susceptible to scratching. I’ll most likely be looking into grabbing a case for this one, but you can’t deny is looks great.
The second most noticeable feature was the screen quality. Even coming from the Note Edge which was excellent, the crispness of screen is without doubt the best I’ve seen. Android 5.1.1 is super smooth, and transitions between screens and apps is basically seamless. I’ve always found with Android handsets as times goes on, everything gets a little “slower” and apps and transitions seem to lag. Maybe that’s just me not backing up and restoring enough? The change from my Note Edge to the Note 5 was definitely noticeable in this department. Everything seems so fast!
I love getting a new handset and that feeling of starting fresh. Saying that, I still want to get the basics transferred over. Contacts, apps, and google account/s. I’m not sure if this is a new function (probably not, I’ve never used it before anyway), but allowing the transfer via NFC between handsets is amazing. It’s literally a touch between of the handsets together, you hear a beep, and all the magic starts happening. Within minutes your contacts are transferred, google account/s, and apps have started downloading. A really great experience. Long gone are the days of logging all of you accounts separately (which you’ve probably forgotten the passwords to) and remember all that apps you needed to re download and searching through the Google Pay store for them. I’ll also quickly mention fast charging. If you’ve never had a handset with it before, it’s insane. Out of the box I had 12% charge. I was at 100% in approximately 20 minutes.
I was most interested with the battery life as with a long commute to work each day and a lot of time spent of graphic intensive apps, as well as heavy usage at work, was finding my Edge was dying (well getting to sub 20% anyway) by the early afternoon without a charge. Luckily, I work at a desk all day so able to easily keep the phone on charge, so wasn’t a massive impact to my life day to day. I spent quite a few hours googling tips to improve battery life on my old handset which I had utilised most of, and saying that, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement with the Note 5 without any tweaking. With the same type of usage, I’m able to make nearly a full day including 2 legs of my commute without having to stress about a dying phone. However after a day testing without charging, I was still getting a little stressed by late arvo!
I wasn’t a massive user of the stylus with the Edge, however had begun to use this a bit more with the Note 5, and found it really handy with a couple of my favourite apps. That was until the unfortunate incident over the weekend where it went swimming in my coffee. Thinking a quick wipe off and it’ll be fine? Nope, completely dead and no longer gets recognised by the screen I really wanted to get a bit more of a play with the features. Anyone have a spare for sale??!
To be honest, the 32GB unexpandable memory isn’t going to worry me too much. I know there will be a lot of people who it will impact but the fact is for my day to day use, the memory is mostly taken up by photos and videos, which I back up to my PC at home regularly anyway. I’ve also signed up for the free 100GB OneDrive storage which comes with the handset which softens the blow.
The camera is excellent. I’m no photography expert, but it’s without doubt the best camera I’ve had on a phone. Both photos in low light as well as shots in bright light look fantastic.
Speed test wise, I’m lucky enough to get great Optus 4G coverage both at work in the Melbourne CBD, and at home. A quick test here gave me 40Mbps Down/ 30Mbps up in-building.
In terms of gripes using the Note 5, they are very far and few between. I’ve had a few issues with some apps crashing unexpectedly, but imagine this is more of a compatibility issue with 5.1.1, and will be fixed down the track. If you’re in a position to either upgrade your handset, or purchase one outright, this is definitely a handset to strongly consider. I’ve used a wide range of handsets over the years (Android, Windows and iOS), and the first few weeks of using this handset are without doubt the best experience I’ve had in terms of transition from one handset to another, hardware, functionality and quality.
Thanks for the review there Bubba..
It seems my only gripe and disaponment is the news that the pen seems to be a little fragile. My expectations of using it in real world applications has just become limited.. Yeah I know you dropped in coffee but it proves the ingress of a liquid into to something that one would expect to be at least ip65, it would take bugger all to implement the process of such things on the floor.
The device its self seems to have high ratings and thanks for taking the time to stick all these words together
Hmm I did mention the pen might go south however I wasn’t expecting it to go out that way. What a waste of a good cup of coffee. That NFC transfer sounds interesting and given I am still old school at transferring stuff I might have to give it a go. Pity about the pen as I would have liked to have known where you find it useful as opposed to being more of a gimmick. Any word on the sound quality and volume levels?
To be completely honest I'm pretty average at noticing differences in sounds quality I hardly ever use the external speakers for music, just headphones. Just gave it a test side by side with the edge and would probably say the edge was slightly louder. There is no distortion at max volume on the Note 5. It doesn't really stand out to me as being outstanding in anyway, just very good, just what I would expect from a phone these days. With headphones in, again would just consider it very good, cant notice any difference from my old handset.
Sorry can't be more specific
Excellent thanks mate. I have found that the smarter these devices become the worse they are as an actual phone. Maybe it’s just me however I find the sounds levels on these smart devices to be nothing short of terrible.
I would like a dollar for every time I see half a dozen kids gathered around someone playing a video straining to hear anything it all. Just for me I would like a speaker phone that works and a ring tone that I can actually hear. Oh well I guess I can always go back to using the vibrating phone alert on a stainless steel sink. After watching Jurassic world I reacon taping my iPhone to a glass sphere might be an even better option.