Thursday, September 24, 2015

Galaxy Note5 - Don't Call It a Phablet

I've now had my Galaxy Note5 for a little over a week and I'm ready to render a verdict: Love It.

Specifically: love the screen size and that I now have numeric row on the standard on-screen keyboard; love that it has 4GB(!!) of RAM to make for a snappy UI; love the Pro camera mode; love that they moved the speaker from the back of the device to the bottom; love the improved fingerprint scanner which is just about perfect; love the slick integration with the S-Pen, not sure how much I'll use it, but it's definitely got potential; love the super fast start-up of the camera (hit the home button twice, wait 2 seconds and you're ready to go). See a theme here?

What I'd change: not a whole lot. I truly miss the waterproof capability provided by the S5 and I don't get the fascination with the high end materials. What's the first thing I did with my sexy new metal and glass phone? Put it in a plastic case. It now looks exactly the same as every other phone in that model of case.

As a geek, I should be outraged that Samsung ditched the removable battery and SD card. In practice, it doesn't really matter. I now rely on an external battery for recharging throughout the day; and the SD card on my Galaxy S5 didn't save me from running out of space. As long as the majority of Android apps write their data to the internal device memory, the SD card is going to remain largely unimportant.

The biggest challenge for me and the Note 5 is that I'm no longer wearing it on my hip. That was a condition of purchase: I had to retire the belt clip style case that I've depended on since my first cell phone. Carrying a gigantic phone on my belt was just too much for Shira to handle. Shira picked me up a handsome Spigen Armor Case which does its job quite well, including a very functional built in kickstand. So far, I've carried the phone in my cargo shorts pockets. With Fall officially upon is, I'm going to have to figure out a jeans solution sooner than later. One word: murse. Anyways, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Bottom line: the Galaxy Note 5 feels like a true upgrade from the S5 in every way. It's bigger, faster and just all around better. It's exactly what a phone upgrade should be. (Compare that to the S6 which would have been faster and had more memory, but would have been essentially the same form factor. Feh, who want's that?).

Oh, and stop calling it a phablet. It's just a phone. Just because your phone is tiny next to my phone, that's not my phone's fault.

Special thanks to Michael Fisher of fame who helped me figure out the Note5 was going to be the ideal fit for me. (Sure, is a client of mine, but providing me with personalized phone shopping advice is hardly in the contract.)


  1. It is still a phablet... that said... the extra ram may end up taking me into the similar size realm when the new Nexus phones are announced next week. As for the battery... I'm with you on that one.. I'd rather have an external battery that doesn't require me to shutdown my phone to give it more juice. The SD card... I've been without it for the last 2 years.... don't miss it that much, but I'd love to have it back purely for the storage of photos and videos.... and I guess music and movies, but I just stream that kind of stuff these days.

  2. Nick - we'll agree to disagree :-).

    I'm fairly certain that by saying I don't need a swappable battery I've insured that my phone battery dies and I'm stuck with some huge bill to have it fixed. But yeah, I haven't bought replacement / extended batteries for a phone for years.

    Hopefully you'll pickup a new Nexus and we can truly compare devices!