I hated the Galaxy Note 4. Hate isn’t the word my colleagues here at SamMobile will use, but none of them were fans of the Note 4 either. The hardware was great, but the laggy software was what ruined the device when it launched, and Samsung’s abysmal software support further sealed the deal in making the Note 4 one of the most disappointing flagship smartphones from the Korean giant.
Great hardware has never been an issue with the Note lineup. The most top-notch hardware on the market has what has always separated the Note series from the rest, and this year, Samsung’s focus on a cleaner and optimized software experience has resulted in the Galaxy Note 5 being the most complete flagship Galaxy phone in my opinion.
There might not be a microSD card slot or a removable battery, but the Note 5 manages to do well in all the important aspects. The display is stunning, the camera is the best there is in the industry, the phone is screaming fast no matter what you throw at it, the design is as premium as it gets, the S Pen can let you be really productive, and battery life is pretty good as well (though not as good as it was on the Note II, or even the Note 3.) But as I mentioned earlier, it’s the software that really helps make the Note 5 be the complete package it is.
Why? Well, because in this day and age, everyone expects their smartphone to be smooth and fast, especially when they pay upwards of $800 for it. It’s not like people didn’t expect that last year, but at the time manufacturers were able to get away with laggy software rather easily, and Google also hadn’t done enough make Android as optimized as it is today (it’s not totally bug-free, but that’s another story.)
But the advent of low-cost smartphones like the Moto G or the OnePlus One, which offered a nice user experience despite their low price tags, has changed the landscape. Samsung knew this, and we saw its first step towards heavy optimization on the software front with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. Things have gotten even better with the Note 5, which looks more and more like it will manage to stay smooth even after a few months of usage, something that wasn’t true for the S6 lineup for many users. Add to that the features of the S Pen, and the Note 5 delivers a software experience that’s worth all the praise it can get.
Once again, the lack of two important features – expandable storage and a removable battery – might have put off some Galaxy Note fans (and also the fact that the Note 5 isn’t available in many markets), but there’s no denying the fact that the Note 5 manages to do all the important things very well. Note devices have always had the best hardware upon launch, and Samsung’s improved TouchWiz UX combines with top-of-the-line specs to make the Note 5 the complete flagship the company has ever made.