Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5


LAST YEAR’s Galaxy Note 5 wasn’t made available in the UK, but the popularity of Samsung’s Note series means it’s only fair to compare like for like.

We’ve pitted the Galaxy Note 5 against the UK-bound Galaxy Note 7 to see which comes out on top. You can also check out our Galaxy Note 7 hands-on review. 

Galaxy Note 7: 154x74x7.9mm, 169g, IP68 certification, USB Type-C
Galaxy Note 5: 153x76x7.6mm, 171g, microUSB

The Galaxy S7 Edge was Samsung’s crowning glory until the wraps came off the Galaxy Note 7 earlier this week. The Note adopts the Edge’s beautiful dual-curved screen and somehow manages to retain a sense of elegance despite the supersized 5.7in panel.

If you can remember back that far, the Galaxy Note 5 is pretty much identical to the Galaxy S6. It ditches the faux leather design of the Galaxy Note 4 that went before it, and instead has a premium metal and glass case.

Galaxy Note 7

The two phablets are evenly matched in terms of size. The newer Note is only 1mm longer than its predecessor, while the Note 5 is 2mm wider and piles on a few extra grams in weight. The Note 7 is slightly thicker.

The Note series is probably the most colourful in Samsung’s repertoire. The Note 5 came in a choice of Gold Platinum, Black Sapphire, White Pearl, Silver Titanium and Pink Gold, while the new Note 7 dazzles with Coral Blue, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx and Gold Platinum.

Galaxy Note 7: 5.7in QHD 2560×1440 resolution at 518ppi
Galaxy Note 5: 5.7in QHD 2560×1440 resolution at 518ppi

The two handsets are practically identical on paper when it comes to the screens, but the newer Note supports Mobile HDR (High Dynamic Response) video content thanks to the brighter 800-nits display. Samsung has used one of the best panels in the business, and the Super AMOLED display boasts plenty of punchy colour, strong contrast and sharpness.

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Galaxy Note 5

The Galaxy Note 7 also improves on the older model by slimming down the tip of its bundled S Pen to just 0.7mm, and the screen now supports 4,096 points of pressure sensitivity for greater accuracy and control. Samsung has also added IP68 certification to the Note this year, extending to the S Pen too which can now be used even when the screen is wet.

One of the problems that plagued the Galaxy Note 5 was the ability to stow the S Pen the wrong way round in the device. This has been corrected for 2016.

Galaxy Note 7: Samsung Exynos 8890 (four 2.3GHz cores, four 1.6GHz cores), 4GB of RAM
Galaxy Note 5: Samsung Exynos 7420 (four 2.1GHz cores, four 1.5GHz cores), 3GB of RAM

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 uses the newer Exynos 8890 chipset but the Exynos 7420 still packs a considerable performance punch. We’re effectively comparing an S6 to a S7 here, and there’s a small increase in core-speed and power efficiency.

The Galaxy Note 7 has the upper hand when it comes to RAM, with 4GB compared with 3GB. 

Galaxy Note 7: Iris scanner, fingerprint sensor
Galaxy Note 5: Fingerprint sensor

A fingerprint scanner lives in the home button of both smartphones, but the Note 7 has clever iris scanning technology on the front.

Samsung Note 7 unveiled

The new biometric sensor complements the Galaxy’s existing security credentials, allowing you to unlock the handset and authenticate payments using Samsung Pass with your eyes.

Galaxy Note 7: 3,500mAh
Galaxy Note 5: 3,000mAh

The Galaxy Note 7 has a larger battery, 3,500mAh compared with the 3,000mAh, but both are sadly non-removable.

Both phones ship with support for wireless charging, along with quick charging features that mean they can be charged to 50 per cent in less than 30 minutes.

Operating system
Galaxy Note 7: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Galaxy Note 5: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (upgradable to 6.0.1 Marshmallow)

The Galaxy Note 7 ships with the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update, and includes a newer iteration of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. This time, it’s done away with a lot of the flounce and appears cleaner as a result.

Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 7

The Galaxy Note 5 originally ran Android 5.1.1 Lollipop but it can be upgraded to the latest Android build.

Galaxy Note 7: 12MP rear-facing with 4K video, 5MP front-facing
Galaxy Note 5: 16MP rear-facing with 4K video, 5MP front-facing  

The two handsets borrow from their respective siblings when it comes to camera technology. The Galaxy Note 5 has an identical set-up to the Galaxy S6, namely a 16MP snapper on the rear with f/1.9 aperture, OIS and 4K video shooting ability. The Note 7 uses the S7’s impressive dual-pixel technology, along with an even wider f/1.7 aperture, OIS and 4K support. Both have 5MP selfie cameras on the front. 

Galaxy Note 7: 64GB, microSD (up to 256GB)
Galaxy Note 5: 32GB, no SD card slot

The Galaxy Note 7 continues the welcome trend of adding microSD support, this time up to a sizeable 256GB. Saying that, the base 64GB is generous enough for most.

In addition to the Note 5’s tricky availability in the UK, it’s also limited by its storage options. 64GB and 128GB editions are said to exist but they’re harder to find than even the rarest of Pokémon. The 32GB model is now easier to get hold of than it was originally.

Galaxy Note 5 has 5.7 inch screen

In short
Even on paper it’s hard to pick a clear winner between the Galaxy Note 5 and Note 7. Both feature impressive internals, cameras and QHD screens. The Note 7 does win out when it comes to looks and forward-thinking biometric security features. The improvements to the S Pen and addition of IP68 protection are also very welcome, but aren’t essential in our eyes. µ 

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