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My Samsung Note 5 Review

Thanks to Samsung Trinidad for providing this review unit. I am doing this review and I am thinking, what is the value of a review? Reviews help customers decide on what to purchase. Reviews are feedback for the manufacturer. Reviews are infotainment for techies and a general audience. Reviewers like myself are passionate about tech and we like to share our thoughts and experiences.

I have been using Samsung smartphones for a while and my experience has been mostly positive. My daily driver is the S6 edge+ and my secondary phone is my two and half year old S4. I have also used the Note, S3 and Note 4 and all of these I have reviewed. I have attended most of the Trinidad launches. So I have a good amount of experience with Samsung devices.

The S6 edge+ and Note 5 share the same specs but the Note 5 is different with its S-Pen and flat screen. In the early days of the Note 5 there was a lot of buzz about the S-Pen that becomes stuck if you insert it the wrong way. So be careful about this and I am sure this design flaw will be fixed in the next iteration.

The camera takes beautiful photos with different modes and a pro mode option. I believe artificial intelligence would greatly improve the quality of photos in the smartphone of the future. A full charge lasted me a day with normal usage. I would like to see some serious research and development happen for the smartphone battery of the future. We are depending more and more on our mobile device and a much better battery (size, life and time to charge) would help. Another area where we need to see improvements is the ability to customize the OS user interface and user experience. Similar to what is available through the use of ROMs and apps.

A large beautiful screen lends itself to multimedia consumption and gaming. Quality stereo front facing speakers could be an improvement in this area. I am not a gamer but I tested out Raging Thunder and it performed without issues.

The S-Pen sets the Note apart from other smartphones. The S-Pen is great for making notes, creating art, generating screen selections and precisely navigating. Two features new to the Note 5 are screen off memo and scroll capture. Scroll capture allows you to capture the entire length of content that scrolls. With screen off memo, you are given the option to make a note on the blank screen when you remove the S-Pen when the screen is off. Also if you move away with the phone (screen has to be off) without the S-Pen you get a neat alert. The S-Pen is definitely a great tool. Let’s see how it evolves in future phones.

And finally I wanted to get my mom’s input so I asked her what she would look for when deciding on a smartphone. She said features (especially things that other phones don’t have), material it is made from (what we term as build quality) and affordability. My mom uses a budget Android touch screen for making calls and using Facebook. I begged her to try the Note 5 and give me some feedback. She said the screen is very bright and big and high definition, the speaker is much louder than she is used to, the screen is moving faster (performance) and she likes the idea behind the S-Pen. She also said that she is fascinated by where technology has reached and how it is making our lives much easier.

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