48 hours with Samsung's Galaxy Note 5

IDG News Service | Aug 21, 2015

Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 does is an impressive phone with a big screen, great camera and huge price tag.

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Impressive device, but there are drawbacks and not for everyone.

On sale today, US, Canada, globally later this month.

Costs a lot, around 700 dollars

While it has a huge 5.7" quad HD screen that is crisp and bright, the phone itself doesn't feel that big and it's easily pocket able.

The bezel is thin, sides are metal and front and back are glass, and the back attracts fingerprints easily.

With its octa-core processor, 4 gigs of RAM and big screen I thought battery life might be an issue. It has a 3-thousand milliamp hour battery, which got me through the day and then some under moderate use. You'll still be plugging your phone in overnight.

Out of the box it supports wireless charging, but doesn't come with a wireless charger. We happened to have another brand of wireless charging pad around the office and it worked no problem.

If you're upgrading from another Android phone set up is surprisingly simple with Lollipop's Tap and Go. Just put the two phones back to back and you'll copy your Google accounts and backed up apps and data.

The 16 megapixel camera is really impressive. It has a manual mode for avid photographers, but the auto mode does a great job and its low light performance is stunning. It's wide selfie mode is a clever feature that lets you swivel the phone to capture more in the image.

What makes a Note a Note is its S pen stylus. 4 years ago when Samsung introduced the first Note I was there and we all sort of scratched our heads when it came to the Stylus. After all the last time I used one was on my Palm Pilot.

The S Pen lets you annotate on the screen, jot down quick memos, turn your handwriting into text and most importantly, write notes when the screen is off - that would be my favorite use of the S Pen, though I didn't find it to be an essential piece of hardware for the phone. It tucks away in the bottom and you can forget about it. If you happen to forget to put it back, the phone will let you know.

Overall this phone does a lot of things really well and there's a lot and sometimes it felt like too many things to learn and too many settings to understand. If you're a smartphone power user then this phone will give you all you want and more, but if you're just a casual user then you're going to be paying a lot of money for features you probably won't use.
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