Today at its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 5. It’s the latest iteration of Samsung’s larger flagship smartphone series and makes a few pretty big changes.
In a lot of ways, the Galaxy Note 5 has the same design and technical specifications as the Galaxy S6, which seems to be a reversal of how it used to be. Going forward, Samsung will most likely launch big features and the latest specifications on the Galaxy S devices in the spring, rather than on the Note devices in the fall.
Here are 10 big things you need to know about the Galaxy Note 5, which is available for purchase on August 21.
As the rumors pointed toward, the Galaxy Note 5 follows the design trend of the Galaxy S6. The front and back are made out of glass and the sides are made of metal. Gone is the plastic and flimsy build quality—this thing is solid, looks great, and feels premium in the hand. However, it does come at a cost.
That’s right—as many Note fans feared, because Samsung has moved to a unibody design, users no longer have access to expandable storage or a removable battery. For a long while, these two customization options were championed features of Android users who scoffed at the limited design of the iPhone. The microSD slot was always a cheap way of expanding storage and having a removable battery was helpful for those hoping to keep their phones for more than two years. But now Samsung has removed access to both features and those people will now have to turn to devices like the LG G4 or OnePlus Two.
In terms of specifications, the Note 5 shares a lot in common with the Galaxy S6. It has the same 16-megapixel camera on the back, the same octacore Samsung Exynos processor, and the same QuadHD Super AMOLED display. Now none of these things are bad necessarily—it’s just a different model for how Samsung implements its newest features and technology. The new Galaxy S phones will get the big upgrade and the Note will follow suit, whereas before it was the other way around.
One of the only places where the Note 5 has an upper hand on the Galaxy S6 is the inclusion of 4GB of RAM. This helps the Note 5 do things like split screen multitasking and should really help performance across the board. Previous models and the Galaxy S6 all had only 2GB of RAM.
One thing the Galaxy Note 5 has on the iPhone 6 Plus is how incredibly small Samsung has managed to make its bezels. Though the Note 5 has the same 5.7-inch display that the Note 4 had, the Note 5 is actually considerably smaller overall. It’s an impressive engineering feat and really makes a difference when it comes to the device’s overall footprint.
Samsung has been pushing wireless and fast charging all year, and now the company is putting the two together with faster wireless charging. Samsung says that its new phones can be charged in 120 minutes, which is faster than some phones charge with a cord.
The Note 5’s stylus got revamped, which Samsung says has made it more balanced in the hand and even more precise. The big change though is the new clicking mechanism that lets users take the S Pen out with having to use their fingernail. One of the new software features of the S Pen is the ability to write on the screen without even unlocking it.
This is perhaps the weirdest thing Samsung had on the stage today—a case with a physical keyboard attached to it for the Note 5. It’s an ordinary looking case, except that it has a physical keyboard that attaches to the bottom quarter of the phone and lets you type away on the keys just like the old days. Of course, it covers up part of the screen, so you’ll want to take it off when you’re doing anything else, which seems like kind of a pain. The keyboard can then be attached to the back of the case when it’s not being used, but it still feels kind of silly.
One of the new features Samsung is pushing is its new partnership with YouTube. It wasn’t shown off in much detail, but the Note 5 will have the ability to immediately broadcast livestreams to YouTube, which sounds pretty cool if they can implement it correctly.
The Note 5 will come in four colors: Gold Platinum, Black Sapphire, White Pearl, and Silver Titanium. It will also be available in a 32GB and 64GB storage configuration. There won’t be a 128GB storage option, which will come as a disappointment to some, especially considering the fact that expandable storage is no longer available.