AT&T provided a Samsung Galaxy Note5 to facilitate this review; however, all opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Samsung’s smartphone, phablet, and tablet products. They’ve been my choice for the last few years, and I’ve not regretted sticking with the brand. I recently upgraded my beloved Samsung Note4 for the newer and flashier Note5, and I wanted to share with you some of the similarities and differences between the two.
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs. Note4 Comparison: Design Differences
The first noticeable difference is the overall design. The Note4 is larger and in my case clunkier because of an add-on Samsung wireless charger case. This charging case gave my Note4 carefree wireless charging and meant less wear and tear on the miniUSB port which I tend to damage on most of my portable devices. I purchased a similar charger for my Note3, which also increased its size and weight. Thankfully, Samsung integrated the wireless charging feature into their Note5’s thin design so there’s no additional cost and it retains its sleek lines. In fact, it weighs slightly less than the Note4 without wireless charging – now that’s impressive!
Another change on the Note5 is the S-Pen and how it docks. It’s now accessed by pushing the end of the pen up into the body of the phone which releases it and ejects it out about an eighth of an inch – just enough for you to grab it with your fingernail to pull it out. I find it mildly annoying trying to replace the S-pen, and it’s rarely clicked into place properly, so I’ve had it yanked out of the phone when it got caught in my pocket.
I’m sure this new design was in answer to the many users complaints about the previous Note3 and 4 models being uncomfortable to hold when the S-pen was out. It left a hard edge that’s been eliminated in the new design. They also changed the size. This new S-pen is thinner and lighter than the previous versions.
But for me, the most frustrating change in the design of the Note5 is the location of the earphone jack. Samsung moved it to the bottom of the phablet. I suppose it made sense to them because the mini USB jack is there also. But for me, it means I can’t use the earphone jack while it’s in my wireless charger because it blocks that area. But worse, when I’m playing a game it puts pressure on the earphone plug which I believe will eventually cause it to become loose over time.
The Samsung Note5 case is all glass and metal. It looks great, but it’s hard to hold on to and once dropped, that shiny metal band that frames the glass becomes noticeably dinged up quickly. I’d prefer something dark to hide the abuse my device takes on a daily basis. Still, it’s much tougher than the Note3 which showed its age early on with chipped silver paint revealing the black plastic below just days after I started using it.