The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are now available for sale.
Interested buyers can find them at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless stores for prices ranging between $25 and $45 per month, depending on the carrier and the exact model selected.
The Note 5, in particular, is an impressive piece of hardware thanks to its glass-and-metal design, large display, zippy processor, capable camera, S Pen stylus, and advanced productivity tools. Here are the handset's best five features:
Display: The Note 5's screen measures 5.7 inches across the diagonal and has quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution. Samsung uses Super AMOLED technology for its displays, and DisplayMate says it is the best screen it has ever tested. DisplayMate's tests confirm the Note 5's screen offers the highest absolute color accuracy, highest peak brightness, highest contrast ratio, highest screen resolution, and smallest brightness variation with viewing angle. Moreover, the screen shows significant improvements from the Galaxy Note 4, the previous record holder, in terms of reflectance reduction, brightness, and efficiency.
Processor: Samsung decided to use its own processor inside the Note 5 and turned to the 64-bit, octa-core Exynos 7240 with 4 GB of RAM. It has two processor banks of four cores each, one clocked at 2.1 GHz and the other clocked at 1.5 GHz. The former handles high intensity tasks while the latter focuses on efficiency and low-power needs. The Exynos 7240 easily beats Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810 with Antutu benchmark scores of between 67k-69k and GeekBench scores in the 1,450 range. Only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus score better.
Camera: The camera's 16-megapixel sensor is the least of its impressive traits. It carries over many of the specs seen on the Galaxy S6 camera, which is one of the best available in the market. For example, the f/1.9 aperture allows in more light, and the optical image stabilization ensures sharper photos. Other features include HDR mode and 4K video capture. Real-world results show the camera produces excellent pictures.
S Pen: The Note 5 wouldn't be a Note without the S Pen stylus. This year, Samsung made a handful of improvements to the stylus. To start, it now sits flush with the bottom edge and has a unique pop-out tab to remove it. More importantly, Samsung boosted the software used to interact with the stylus. The Action Center, for example, is easier to access thanks to a floating widget that hovers on the screen whenever the stylus is removed. The Action Center also allows users to assign some of the shortcuts for customization. No other smartphone offers such a powerful stylus experience.
Battery: Some people may complain that Samsung ruined the Note 5 (and the S6) by sealing the battery inside, but it gave the battery other features that make up the difference. The 3,000-mAh power cell provides enough charge to get the phone through a full day. If it fails before the day is over, it supports QuickCharge 2.0 and can go from 0-60 in almost no time at all. Finally, the battery supports high-speed wireless charging, so consumers can drop the phone on a wireless charging pad and ramp up the battery quickly any time they need.
[Get some new games for your new device: 10 Mobile Games To Ease Your Commute.]
Still not convinced? Samsung is letting people test the Note 5 (and other handsets) for a month for just $1. You'll have to be an iPhone owner to take advantage of the promotion, but who doesn't want to try a device with free service for a month? The offer is only available to US residents, who must be 18 or older, and requires a credit card.