Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6


Introduction


Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung has seemingly taken to heart the ever-rumbling complaints about their plasticky flagships, and has quietly been working towards a total overhaul of its _phone_ line towards thin, premium and classy-looking handsets.

The newest Note5 phablet is no exception to this rule that got established with the Galaxy S6 before it, and it sports almost identical specs, too. Thus, we are pitting the 5.1” S6 and the 5.7” Note5 against each other to help you find out whether the phablet only has the big screen as an advantage on its side, or if there something else.

Design

The Note5 carries Samsung's new premium design tradition established with the S6.

While many were complaining about Samsung's all-plastic design paradigm until earlier this year, then continued complaining about its move to more premium, sealed bodies, Samsung had been quietly moving towards a silent revolution in the design of its phones, and of handsets in general. Besides introducing a metal-and-glass S6 that could be the envy of even more established premium chassis makers, it doubled down on the concept with the new Note5, improving on the high-end casing where it counts most on big-panel phones, the screen-to-body ratio. Carrying a 75%+ screen-to-phone-size ratio, the Note5 is one of the most compact 5.7" phone, despite the fact that, just like the Galaxy S6, it sports Samsung's now-obligatory fingerprint-reading home button.

This is not to say that the Note5 is still not a large handset – it is, and is, naturally, much harder to handle and operate with one hand than the 5.1” Galaxy S6, which sports a 70% screen-to-body ratio. The Galaxy S6 has edges that feel slightly sharper when held, while the Note5 feels more ergonomic and natural in the hand, if we discount the much larger size. The new S Pen stylus is tucked in the lower right corner, as usual, but this year's edition gives it an auto-eject overhaul – you simply push it in, and the sprint mechanism releases the stylus for easy take-out, so you don't have to fumble with your nails to push it out anymore.

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note5
Samsung Galaxy Note5
6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6



Display

The two remarkable displays are equals in most everything but screen diagonal.

The Note5 and S6 are equipped with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays of 5.7” and 5.1” sizes, respectively, making the record 577ppi pixel density count go down to 518ppi, though at these values there's hardly anyone able to tell the perceived difference in screen definition. Both displays are exhibiting the typical for AMOLED screens oversaturated, cold colors in the default Adaptive Display mode, but when you turn the screen to the Basic regime, color-calibration becomes much better, with credible presentation, and color temperature very near the reference white point. The lowest and maximum brightness levels are also excellent, which, coupled with the low screen reflectivity, contributes to the phones' good outdoor visibility. The viewing angles are very good, too, though tilting the phones even slightly shifts the colors way towards the colder side of the spectrum, as if you've switched to a different screen mode. You can operate the two panels with gloves on, as they have a high sensitivity switch tucked neatly in the display settings.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 563
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6584
(Excellent)
2.11
2.02
(Good)
2.94
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note5 470
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6722
(Excellent)
2.09
1.32
(Excellent)
1.94
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 56.1%
50%
unmeasurable
0.7%
1.9%
193.1%
216%
Samsung Galaxy Note5 60.4%
50%
unmeasurable
5.7%
2.4%
281.1%
128.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6


Introduction


Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung has seemingly taken to heart the ever-rumbling complaints about their plasticky flagships, and has quietly been working towards a total overhaul of its _phone_ line towards thin, premium and classy-looking handsets.

The newest Note5 phablet is no exception to this rule that got established with the Galaxy S6 before it, and it sports almost identical specs, too. Thus, we are pitting the 5.1” S6 and the 5.7” Note5 against each other to help you find out whether the phablet only has the big screen as an advantage on its side, or if there something else.

Design

The Note5 carries Samsung's new premium design tradition established with the S6.

While many were complaining about Samsung's all-plastic design paradigm until earlier this year, then continued complaining about its move to more premium, sealed bodies, Samsung had been quietly moving towards a silent revolution in the design of its phones, and of handsets in general. Besides introducing a metal-and-glass S6 that could be the envy of even more established premium chassis makers, it doubled down on the concept with the new Note5, improving on the high-end casing where it counts most on big-panel phones, the screen-to-body ratio. Carrying a 75%+ screen-to-phone-size ratio, the Note5 is one of the most compact 5.7" phone, despite the fact that, just like the Galaxy S6, it sports Samsung's now-obligatory fingerprint-reading home button.

This is not to say that the Note5 is still not a large handset – it is, and is, naturally, much harder to handle and operate with one hand than the 5.1” Galaxy S6, which sports a 70% screen-to-body ratio. The Galaxy S6 has edges that feel slightly sharper when held, while the Note5 feels more ergonomic and natural in the hand, if we discount the much larger size. The new S Pen stylus is tucked in the lower right corner, as usual, but this year's edition gives it an auto-eject overhaul – you simply push it in, and the sprint mechanism releases the stylus for easy take-out, so you don't have to fumble with your nails to push it out anymore.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note5
Samsung Galaxy Note5
6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches
153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm
6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note5

Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6



Display

The two remarkable displays are equals in most everything but screen diagonal.

The Note5 and S6 are equipped with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays of 5.7” and 5.1” sizes, respectively, making the record 577ppi pixel density count go down to 518ppi, though at these values there's hardly anyone able to tell the perceived difference in screen definition. Both displays are exhibiting the typical for AMOLED screens oversaturated, cold colors in the default Adaptive Display mode, but when you turn the screen to the Basic regime, color-calibration becomes much better, with credible presentation, and color temperature very near the reference white point. The lowest and maximum brightness levels are also excellent, which, coupled with the low screen reflectivity, contributes to the phones' good outdoor visibility. The viewing angles are very good, too, though tilting the phones even slightly shifts the colors way towards the colder side of the spectrum, as if you've switched to a different screen mode. You can operate the two panels with gloves on, as they have a high sensitivity switch tucked neatly in the display settings.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 563
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6584
(Excellent)
2.11
2.02
(Good)
2.94
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Note5 470
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6722
(Excellent)
2.09
1.32
(Excellent)
1.94
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 56.1%
50%
unmeasurable
0.7%
1.9%
193.1%
216%
Samsung Galaxy Note5 60.4%
50%
unmeasurable
5.7%
2.4%
281.1%
128.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Interface


With both handsets running Android 5.1 Lollipop, Samsung's famed TouchWiz appears with its latest, and somewhat improved version on the Galaxy Note5. Apart from the new wallpaper set, there are only a few visual upgrades, and a couple of new TouchWiz features that arrived with the Note5. These include, but are not limited to SideSync 4.0, which offers both wireless and wired PC-phone connectivity across most of your computing devices. Thanks to the auto-detection and quick setup functionality, you can instantly connect your Samsung device to your computer or tablet to respond to texts, answer calls, or swap files and backup data.

The new interface on the Note5 also introduces a bunch of novelties in the camera area like extra manual control, live broadcasting, and so on, which will be detailed in the camera section. Needless to say, the Note5 carries all the dedicated apps and interface options that come with the S Pen stylus, including the ability to annotate PDFs now, or highlight and crop a whole webpage with it.

The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5 - Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6

The user interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note5


Processor and memory


Samsung didn't feel a need to upgrade the zippy Exynos 7420 from the S6 to the Note5, and it didn't need to. The octa-core chip has four 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 cores, and four more power-efficient A53 cores, clocked at up to 1.5GHz, and is also built on the class-leading at the moment 14nm process, so it still decimates any benchmark app thrown at it.

What really differs from the S6 to the Note5, however, is that the phablet is outfitted with 4GB of LPDD4 RAM, instead of three, so you can line up a few more apps or games waiting patiently in the background at any given time.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 67207
Samsung Galaxy S6 58382
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 2532
Samsung Galaxy S6 2237
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 5476
Samsung Galaxy S6 5751
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 677.7
Samsung Galaxy S6 354.5
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 37
Samsung Galaxy S6 37
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 15
Samsung Galaxy S6 16
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 1765
Samsung Galaxy S6 1767
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 1431
Samsung Galaxy S6 1440
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 4717
Samsung Galaxy S6 5127
View all

Internet and connectivity

Faster LTE and newer Bluetooth standard on the Note5 may not compensate the lack of IR blaster for some.

The only significant thing going for the Galaxy Note5 in the web browsing department, besides the usual expectancies for any high-end device, is the vast real estate we’re given for the occasion, compared to the 5.1” Galaxy S6. Not surprisingly, it mitigates the need to scroll or pinch zoom a whole lot, as most pages are able to fit in their entirety on the display. Throw in lighting fast 4G LTE connectivity, you have all the necessary ingredients here for a great experience.

On the connectivity side of things, the Galaxy Note5 supports 4G LTE-A with a staggering amount of support for various bands, and 600 Mbps speeds, next to the S6's 300 Mbps LTE downloads support. Both share MIMO (2x2) antennas for improved reception and dual-channel Wi-Fi, as well as NFC, and positioning via GPS, Glonass, and the Beidou systems. The Note5 supports Bluetooth 4.2, versus 4.1 on its smaller sibling. The S6, however, sports an infrared blaster for controlling your home electronics – a feature that is missing on the Note5.

Camera

With identical hardware and only a few extra manual settings thrown in – the Note5 produces nearly the same photo quality as the S6.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung has traditionally been a company that offers one of the best cameras on Android, and it aims to continue this tradition with the Note5, as it uses the same 16-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front camera combo that we know and love from the Galaxy S6. We have a 1/2.6-inch sensor size on both (one of the larger on Android) with 1.1 micron pixels, and both the front and rear cameras feature wide, f/1.9 aperture lenses, which is a good asset if you care about collecting more light and getting good pictures in low light.

The quick launch camera shortcut introduced with the S6 and S6 edge is on the Note5 as well: just double click the home button to go straight into the camera application. The camera app on phablet is largely the same solution as on the Galaxy S6 with two new regimes being the big highlight: the auto mode that is self-explanatory, and the manual 'Pro' mode. The latter can now also control shutter speed on the Galaxy Note5, as well as support to capture in RAW, for a truly full manual ride.

As the identical camera modules would suggest beforehand, our samples with both phones turned out remarkably similar when it comes to image quality. The Note5 and S6 camera twins produce largely credible colors, with a slightly warm overcast. The exposure seems to end up a step above reality, producing somewhat overblown highlights, but illuminating shadowy scenes well. There is a fine amount of detail, and noise is kept in check throughout the frame. At night and in low-light scenarios, the wide aperture and OIS tech shine, producing sharp photos with high detail and low noise amounts.



When it comes to video footage, the handsets shoot in both 4K and 1080p definitions, producing sharp, vibrant imagery, with fast exposure compensation when panning around, though the same slightly warmish tones as the stills. The Note5 also intros a Video Collage function, which can stitch together a few scene cuts, and add various effects to them for extra appeal.


Multimedia


For those of you choosing to stick with the TouchWiz music player, as opposed to Google Play Music, on the Note5, you’ll be presented with the same design changes we’ve already seen established with the updated TouchWiz experience of the S6. Simplicity, that’s the core principle of the music player, which now favors a cleaner look than before. We wouldn’t say that it’s as dazzling as say, the new Sense 7.0 music player, but the toned down approach helps to give it a more streamlined feel.

Whether it’s the new placement of the rear speaker, or something else entirely, the Note5 audio output is less than what its smaller sibling produces, both through the audio jack, and through the speaker. It’s still powerful enough, though, and with a fine, neutral tonal output.

Moreover, the Note5 introduces an option for ‘UHQ Upscaler’ in the settings menu, which Samsung alleges to enhance and upscale audio for a clearer listening experience. Using a pair of V-Moda M-100 headphones, we barely notice a difference with the quality. In fact, it seems as though it’s been treated to a boost in treble and bass for a more robust tone – and nothing more. While we don’t notice a tremendous difference in our experience, Samsung claims that ultra-high quality audio (UHQA) is supported over Bluetooth on Samsung’s next generation wireless audio accessories.

It’s a treat to watch videos on the Note5's large, Super AMOLED display, since the contrast and color saturation are manipulated to achieve the best possible visual results – and it helps too that it’s a powerhouse to fluidly play all sorts of content. The S6 mimics this remarkable experience, but on a smaller screen, which automatically deducts points, unless you watch from up close.

Editing tools are diverse throughout the Gallery app, enabling us to do all sorts of editing on the fly with the Note5 and S6. Come to think of it, the selection is what we’d expect from most high-end phones nowadays, but there’s nothing really exclusive or unique about the tools at our disposal. Sure, we have things like cropping, filters, and shaping effects, but the added option of making collages is an added treat – a feature that’s rarely seen through stock Gallery apps.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 0.609
Samsung Galaxy S6 0.54
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 70.7
Samsung Galaxy S6 73.7
View all

Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Call quality


Unlike the Galaxy S6, the Note5 offers an extra volume mode for those situations where the normal volume through the earpiece isn’t enough. Still, the quality with the standard volume is pretty good and audible – with voices exhibiting a fair amount of fidelity and clearness on both handsets. The phones offer noise-canceling mics that do a good job at weeding out ambient noises, and relaying our voice loud and clear to its receiving end.

Battery

With much longer battery life and faster charging abilities, the Note5 gets the endurance nod.

Samsung Galaxy Note5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung put a much larger, 3000 mAh battery in the Note5, compared to the 2550 mAh juicer in the S6. Needless to say, the larger phone managed to be excellent on our battery benchmark test as a result, clocking in the stellar nine hours and change of screen-on time. The S6 does much worse terms of battery endurance, at a little over the seven hours mark.

Both phones can be charged extremely fast with the supplied quick charger, for about hour and a half, while the Note5 offers fast wireless charging as well, bringing down the time to charge the battery wirelessly from about three hours on the S6, to two hours on the phablet, so the battery round goes entirely to the Note5.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 9h 11 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S6 7h 14 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note5 81
Samsung Galaxy S6 78
View all

Conclusion


For those looking to uplift their screen desires, Note5 is a more than worthy replacement of the capable Galaxy S6. Not only does it sport a similar eye-catching design, but also offers an extra input method with the S Pen stylus tucked in the thin and light chassis.

Needless to say, the Note5 is also a multimedia powerhouse, with a much larger display, the same capable hardware, and a much longer battery life for those video-binging sessions that may arise. Add those advantages to the ones in the camera department, such as extra manual modes, and the Note5 becomes one of the most potent upgrades to the S6 you can find, if you can stomach the Benjamin or so higher price.


Samsung Galaxy Note5

Pros

  • Massive display
  • S Pen stylus
  • Great battery life

Samsung Galaxy S6

Pros

  • Compact size
  • IR blaster
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