Samsung Galaxy Note 5: Finally Some Great S-Pen Features

13 August 2015

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has finally been announced; it’ll hit US carriers later this month and launch globally (except in Europe) around the same time.

Of course, the usual mixture of incremental upgrades and the expected design shift to bring it in line with the Galaxy S6 showed up, but Samsung also introduced some great new S-Pen features. Actually great; it looks like the Korean giant finally came up with some added features that aren’t just questionable gimmicks.

New S-Pen features

Year after year Samsung has tried to make the S-Pen seem less like a gimmick and more like a tool. For the most part it’s succeeded; the S-Pen is indeed a useful feature that is loved by many users, but this year even the doubters might start paying attention.

The big news is that you can now pull your phone out of your pocket, whip out the S-Pen and start writing on the blank standby screen. No need to unlock, or even activate the phone. Writing on the black display gives you white letters, which are automatically saved when you’re done.

This finally makes the Note 5 as easy as using an actual notebook. It’s the final obstacle between the writer and the phone finally removed. It’s a great little piece of engineering and Samsung deserves all those pats on the back it’s probably giving itself.

Second on the list of features we love is Scroll Capture. This lets you take an image screenshot, not just of what’s on the screen but of an entire web page. Everything that is currently visible, as well as what you’d see if you scrolled up or down, is copied and stored as a picture. Fabulous. This is an honestly useful idea that we can see being adopted in to all of Samsung’s phones moving forwards.

Finally, the S-Pen is now spring-loaded. Click it in and it pops out far enough for you to easily grab. This is awesome news for those of us with short fingernails. It’s also kind of a no-brainer on a device with the same price tag as a half-decent wedding dress.

The phone itself

Based on the same metal and glass physical design as the GS6 and GS6 Edge, the Note 5 is a beautiful device that you probably don’t want to drop. Those front and back panels might be made from sturdy Gorilla Glass 4, but it’s still possible to shatter so brittle a material with a quick trip to a tiled or concrete surface.

As is usual with a new Note device, the Galaxy Note 5 is the most powerful device on the market. It comes running a Exynos octa-core processor (2.1GHz quad-core + 1.5GHz quad-core), backed up by a huge 4GB of RAM. That means it should be very fast; able to handle absolutely anything the Google Play store can throw at it for years to come.

The 5.7 inch screen has the same Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution as last year, offering 518 pixels per inch (ppi). Compare that to the 401ppi of an iPhone 6 Plus and you can see why people are fans of Samsung’s Quad HD displays.

The rear camera is 16MP, just like the Galaxy S6. Word isn’t out on how it compares to the S6, but if it’s even the slightest upgrade we’re talking about the best camera on the market. On the front it’s a 5MP shooter, which should provide great selfies.

Battery is a bit of a disappointment. Rumours suggested as high as 4100mAh, but we’ve actually seen a reduction in size by 7%, down to just 3000mAh. Last year’s Note 4 managed great battery life with its 3220mAh, so hopefully we’ll see something similar this time around.

Onboard storage is 32GB or 64GB. Strangely, Samsung made no mention of a 128GB option, but word on the web is that one is on the way in the near future.



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