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Hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy Note5

Al Sacco | Aug. 14, 2015
Samsung today showed the world its latest two "phablet" devices -- the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 (GS6) edge+ -- at a press event in New York City.

The GS6 phones marked a notable new focus on design from Samsung, and they are available in a variety of vivid colors, including a memorable and unique emerald green. Unfortunately, the Note5 comes in only two, boring colors in the United States: black and white.

Like the Galaxy S6, GS6 edge and now the GS6 edge+, the Note5 does not have a removable battery or an expandable memory card slot. That's par for the course these days, but it is the first Note device without these features. And that's a shame. You can never have too much battery life, and the option of swapping out a dead battery for a full one is always better than scrambling to find a power outlet in an unfamiliar environment.

On the subject of batteries, the Note5's 3,000 mAh battery is 7 percent smaller than the 3,220 mAh pack in the Note 4, which might not bode well for the possibility of longer battery life.

The absence of a memory card slot is all the more notable because Samsung chose to offer the Note5 with only two storage options: 32GB and 64GB. The Note 4 only came with 32GB of storage, so the new Note actually has an additional storage configuration. But it still lacks the large, 128GB option that's common today. 

Finally, the Note5 does not have an infrared (IR) blaster. For many folks, this won't be a deal breaker. In fact, I bet most people have never even used the IR blasters on their favorite mobile devices. However, if you've come to rely on a specific app that uses the feature (a remote control app for your Apple TV or other streaming box, for example) you may be disappointed to learn that it won't work on the new GS6 edge+.

To be clear, this isn't meant to be a Note5 review. It's impossible to accurately evaluate a new device after only an hour or two of hands-on time. Instead, I tried to spotlight the features, or lack thereof, that will stand out to people familiar with Samsung's current smartphone lineup. 

You can learn more about the new Galaxy Note5 on Samsung's website.


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