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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 goes luxe (photos)

That leather-like backing is long gone. This year's supersize stylus phone takes up gleaming new hardware in the sexiest Note design yet.


Jessica Dolcourt

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Nic Healey

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1 of 38 Josh Miller/CNET

Bring on the shine

This is a Note like you've never seen it. Made of a glass back and metal trim, the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 5 brings on the bling.

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Stylus action

The stylus, which Samsung calls the S-Pen, is the one piece of equipment that differentiates the Note series from any other Samsung phone.

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One of the best new features, you can now jot a memo even with the screen turned off.

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It just clicks

The S-Pen physically clicks into place in the built-in holster.

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Stylus redesign

A flatter S-Pen won't roll away (we think).

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Stylish stylus

Not only is it supposed to work like a pen, it also looks like one.

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Note versus Note

The glossy glass Note 5, left, leaves the Note 4's folio look far behind.

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Mightier than swords

Side-by-side you can see the evolution of the S-Pen from the previous generation of Note.

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Locked in power

The other big different from previous Notes is, of course, Samsung's new policy of non-removable batteries.

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A faux farwell

The Note 5 swaps the faux leather finish of the 5 for the glass 'n' class we saw on the S6 and S6 Edge earlier in the year.

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Fingerprint magnet

While some people didn't like the fake grain finish, it's worth noting that the Note 5 gets grubby very quickly.

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Family resemblence

It's kind of the evolution of man, but with Notes. In order from L-R on the top line is the Note, Note 2 and Note 3. Underneath is the Note 4, Note Edge and the brand new Note 5.

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Trim it

While the Note 5 (left) and 4 share identical screen sizes, the Note 5 shaves down its footprint.

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It's not just the phones that have evolved over the years. The S Pen has seen more than a few iterations. Again, from L-R there's the Note, through to the Note 5.

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Back to Back

Spot the odd one out? On the far  right you'll see the Note 5, the first in the range to have neither a removable cover, nor battery.

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Customized shortcuts

The S-Pen calls up shortcuts from this wheel of items, to which you can add your own most-used apps.

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Add your apps

You can choose up to three for the shortcuts wheel, called Air Command.

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Camera app

Samsung styles the camera app just like the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but adds something else, too: the ability to broadcast live video to YouTube.

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The Note 5, while slightly shaved down from last year's model, is still a hearty phone.

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Side view

This slim silhouette doesn't come easy...

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No and no

Space-saving costs you the removable battery and expandable microSD card storage of previous Notes.

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Two 5.7-inch titans

The Note 5 isn't alone in its status as an extra-large phone. Samsung also released its fraternal twin, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

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Round versus square

You can tell the Edge+ (top) from its rounded sides, while the Note 5 remains more square.

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Gold gleam

In addition to gold, Samsung makes both Note 5 and S6 Edge+ in white, silver and black -- though not every color will sell in every country.

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Of course, stalwart Note features remain, like screen-splitting, which lets you open (and resize) two apps on a screen.

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A Note above?

There's so much more to know about the Note 5's features and specs. Check out the full Samsung Galaxy Note 5 weigh-in for all the details.

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App dock

Don't forget that you can move the Air Command floating app dock around if you don't like where it sits on the screen.

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Super screen

The AMOLED Quad HD screen isn't just big, it's also bright and easy to see, even in daylight.

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One handed

While not small, the stylus actually helps for using the Note one handed.

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Get arty

The drawing apps for the S Pen return in the Note 5.

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Take seat

Although we'd recommend sitting down first.

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Screen brightness

And popping on some cool shades.

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Massive rear camera

The 16 megapixel rear camera comes with some solid photo software.

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Manual control

There's also the option to adjust photo setting manually for people who understand what an ISO is.

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Simple option

There's also the standard run of features such as panorama modes and you can always download more as needed.

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Rear camera

The rear camera also has optical image stabilisation if you're feeling a little shaky.

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Take Note

The Note 5 is going on sale in most major territories -- check out our full review.

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