Samsung Galaxy Note 5: Early impressions

8 pictures

The Galaxy Note launched early this year, and Gizmag has the latest model in hand(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

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Today was launch day for Samsung's 2015 phablets, and after getting our hands on them at last week's launch, we now have them in house. Let's take a quick look at the Note 5.

The Galaxy Note 4 was one of our favorite phones of 2014, but with Samsung's new focus on premium design, the time was ripe for the first fully-premium Galaxy Note.

It doesn't disappoint, with a design that's very similar to the Galaxy S6's. Here, though, the Gorilla Glass 4 back slopes down on the sides – a great choice for the larger phone. It slides right into my palm, the smooth glass announcing that this a high-end piece of gear.

It doesn't look like there are any changes with the display this year, but that isn't remotely a concern. The 5.7-inch, Quad HD screen looks stunning.

Another upgrade comes from the S Pen. Physically it feels better in hand: it's still plastic, but has a faux metal finish that feels more solid and fits the phone's higher-end build.

... of course the best way to do that would have been to make the pen out of real metal, but this year we'll have to settle for metallic.

The pen also has a harder tip, which might sound like a minor upgrade, but it enhances the writing experience, making it feel more like you're writing with a real pen. It also makes it easier to mash the home button with the pen (on the Note 4, the pen felt a bit too flimsy to risk breaking or bending by repeatedly hitting the home button).

So far the Galaxy Note 5's camera looks outstanding (it's probably the same one found in the GS6 and GS6 edge). You can still launch it with a home button double-tap, it fires up insanely fast and takes some terrific shots.

Here are a couple quick samples (unedited, but downscaled to 1,060 px. wide):

We'll have much more when we run our full review, including battery life tests.

But so far our impressions line up with our thoughts right after the launch event: Samsung upgraded its pen-phablet in all the right ways. Stay tuned for more.

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