Samsung Galaxy Note 5 First Impressions

This year Samsung had a new take on their Note lineup. The Galaxy Note 5 brings something new to the table compared to the Note 4. It has a new design, new and improved software, and sadly, the removal of two treasured features. How is it after a couple days of real world use? I’ve been using the Note 5 for the past couple of days and here’s what I’ve noted so far about this device.

Software & Performance

The software experience on the Note 5 is largely the same as that on the Galaxy S6. It’s still TouchWiz, but it’s lighter and seems to run much smoother. I quickly installed an alternate launcher and a new theme, but overall I’m fairly satisfied. Performance is good as well. There’s still lag from time to time, but there’s not as much as on the Galaxy S6. Memory management issues also seem to be fixed on the Galaxy Note 5. The main issue I’ve been having so far on this device is notification syncing issues. It seems like if I’m not actively using the device, my notifications (especially from Google Hangouts), just do not sync. I’ll have to do more testing here to see if there are any fixes.

Themes on the Galaxy Note 5 are a true gift.

Themes on the Galaxy Note 5 are a true gift.


I’m going to start this off by saying that I am both a fan of Samsung’s new design language, and I totally hate it at the same time. Yes, yes, the design is gorgeous, but, it’s totally impractical. This phone is slick in the hand, attracts fingerprints more than a mirror, and yes, it will still scratch/break. Rant completed, I’m not dissapointed with the hardware so far. The curved rear glass actually feels really good in the hand and the bezels on this device are thin, like stupid thin. Huge credit Samsung, the Note 5 is not as big as the screen size suggests.

As expected, the hardware on the Note 5 is great, but it's still got issues. AKA all those fingerprints.

As expected, the hardware on the Note 5 is great, but it’s still got issues. AKA all those fingerprints.

Battery Life

So this is the most controversial part of the Note 5. Battery life. With a smaller battery than the previous version many users, myself included, weren’t sure how battery life would perform. Long story short, it’s decent. I can easily get through a day, but that’s it. I usually end at day about 20% (that’s from 7:30AM to 9:00PM). That includes about 2-3 hours of screen on time. Is the battery life bad? Not at all, but it’s not great. Luckily the phone does include fast charging and also wireless charging. Side note about wireless charging, it seems to work really, really well on the Note 5, and I’m not sure why. I’m not talking about speeds however, I’m referring to accuracy. It seems as though the Note 5 is easier to align on a charger.

My battery stats on one of my first 3 days of testing.

My battery stats on one of my first 3 days of testing.

So overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the Galaxy Note 5. I wouldn’t say impressed, but so far, so good. Stay tuned of course for our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 coming very soon!

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