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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Note 4: What’s the difference and should I upgrade?

Samsung just launched its latest stylus-packing phablet, the Galaxy Note 5. But compared with last year’s Galaxy Note 4, what has changed and should Note 4 owners upgrade? Check out our full Note 4 vs Note 5 comparison review to find out.

Note 4 vs Note 5: At a glance

Phone Galaxy Note 4 Galaxy Note 5
Screen size 5.7-inches 5.7-inches
Screen resolution 1440×2560 1440×2560
Processor Snapdragon 805 Exynos 7420 octa-core
RAM 3GB 4GB
Storage 32GB + microSD 32/64GB, no microSD
Camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel
Front camera 3.7-megapixel 5-megapixel
Battery 3220mAh 3000mAh

Screen and media

Samsung hasn’t messed with the Note 4’s visual prowess, so the Galaxy Note 5 packs a similarly-specced 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with a Quad HD resolution, giving 515 pixels-per-inch. So in terms of visuals, there’s no difference here.

However, media fans should note one very important difference. The Note 4 sported 32GB of space for your music, movies and other media, but also came with a microSD memory card slot for expansion. Unfortunately, while the Note 5 comes in 32GB and 64GB flavours, the microSD memory card slot has been axed. That means you’re seriously limited in how many movies and albums you can carry around.

Performance

We still get great performance from the Note 4, which packed a Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM. It’ll happily stream HD media at the same time as you browse the web or run other apps, while the latest games run with silky smooth frame rates.

The Galaxy Note 5 boasts Samsung’s all-powerful Exynos 7420 processor, plus a mighty 4GB of RAM. As a result you’ll notice that apps load even faster and the Note 5 is also well and truly future-proofed. We’d be surprised if it started to creak in the next two years.

Of course, if money is an issue, the Note 4 is still a strong enough performer to warrant not upgrading for a while.

Battery life

The Galaxy Note 5 is a step back in some respects from the Note 4, with a smaller 3000mAh battery compared with the Note 4’s 3220mAh cell. Added to that is the fact that you can’t replace the Note 5’s battery if you suddenly find it dying prematurely, unlike the Note 4’s removable effort.

We’ll be sure to fully test the Note 5’s battery life and report back on how it stands up against the Note 4’s longevity.

Cameras

The rear camera on the Note 4 and Note 5 both boast 16-megapixel sensors, although the Note 5’s optics are now identical to the S6 Edge and S6 Edge+’s. To be honest, while the Note 5 packs a seriously impressive camera, we’re still more than happy with the Note 4’s snapper, which was one of the strongest mobile cameras of 2014.

We’d say keep your cash if the camera is your main potential reason for upgrading.

Verdict

The Galaxy Note 5 isn’t a huge step up from the Galaxy Note 4, more of a slight bump in specs. In fact, the lack of expandable storage in the new model is quite perturbing, meaning that movie and music fans will have to limit how much media they carry around, while the Note 5 also takes a backwards step with its non-removable battery.

And with news that the Note 5 may not come to the UK in 2015, the ballache of importing from overseas makes this decision even easier.

Read next: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge vs S6 Edge+: Should I upgrade?

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