2015 was a very boring year for smartphones. However, if one stood out, it was the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, a phone built just as beautifully on the inside as it is on the outside. The Note 5 hasn’t really revived Samsung from its smartphone sales slump, but it proves that the Korean company can still make a remarkable product.
The Galaxy Note 5 received excellent reviews on its arrival. CNET gave the device four-and-a-half stars and praised the device for having an eye-catching design, high-end hardware, and the ability to take great outdoor photos. They love the upgraded stylus and the terrific battery life. However, the review didn’t like the fact that the Note 5 doesn’t have a removable battery and that there are no external storage options.
It is believed that although the Galaxy Note 5 is almost perfect, the lack of removable battery and microSD card slot are what stopped many potential buyers from purchasing the device. That’s not to say sales have been bad; it’s more of a case of sales not living up to what they should be, especially because Samsung built its best smartphone ever.
The best part about the Galaxy Note 5 is that it is compatible with the world’s first commercial virtual reality headset, the Gear VR. The Note 5 is also a perfect note-taking device as the S Pen capabilities have massively improved since the Note 1 came out in 2011. The Galaxy Note 5 is not only the best phablet, but also the best smartphone available right now.
The Note 5’s main competition, the iPhone 6s Plus, comes close. The iPhone 6s Plus also received mostly good reviews when it arrived in September. Trusted Reviews gave the device four-and-a-half stars.
“If there were ever any doubts over Apple’s ability to innovate following the passing of Steve Jobs then 3D Touch emphatically quashes them. The iPhone 6S Plus is a touch of genius, even if it is a little larger than it needs to be.”
Trusted Reviews adds that the only negatives are the fact that the iPhone 6s Plus is a little too big — and they are right, especially considering the Galaxy Note 5, which has a larger screen, is an overall smaller device. They, like others, also don’t like the fact that the iPhone 6s Plus has no fast-charging capabilities. The 6s Plus takes two to three hours to fully charge, while the Galaxy Note 5 can charge in 30 to 40 minutes. The overall battery life on the 6s Plus is good, but the Galaxy Note 5 definitely takes the prize for having the best battery life.
In 2016, both Samsung and Apple will upgrade their devices. The Galaxy Note 6 could become the first device with a flexible screen. The screen resolution may also see an increase, even though the human eye probably won’t be able to detect the pixel increase.
The iPhone 7 Plus is expected to finally get a screen resolution increase and, supposedly, a major re-design. There are rumors that the phone may get rid of the headphone jack and come with Bluetooth earbuds, which are becoming more popular. Let’s hope that Apple finally includes aptX technology for higher-quality Bluetooth playback. Like the Galaxy Note 6, we should know more about the iPhone 7 Plus by the beginning of this summer.
[Photo via Daryl Deino]