Nexus is on the tip of everyone's tongue right now, but there'a case for picking a Note 5 instead.
Though the Galaxy Note series is the "original" big phone, you can now get any number of devices with a big screen and plenty of extra functionality. The new Huawei Nexus 6P offers the same 5.7-inch screen size (and QHD resolution) as the recently-released Galaxy Note 5, as well as a one-touch fingerprint sensor and high-end materials.
But while the Nexus 6P may be the new hotness right now, there's a solid case for going with the already-launched Galaxy Note 5 — here are a few reasons to consider it.
1. You get the S Pen
While it may not be the deciding factor for many, one thing to consider here is that the Galaxy Note 5 integrates a stylus — the S Pen. And once you get over the hubbub about being able to put it in backwards, the S Pen has a ton of functionality. You can write notes, annotate PDFs, manipulate small items on the screen and even just use your handwriting for text input.
Though you can buy a capacitive stylus for other phones, it just isn't the same as having a phone that's built to take advantage of a better stylus. Add in the fact that it just stores inside the phone and it's really a big selling point if you have any need for a stylus on your phone.
2. The software is tuned for a bigger screen
Software to take advantage of the S Pen is one thing, but Samsung has also worked in several extra features to make that big 5.7-inch screen more useful in general. While the Nexus 6P just displays content the exact same as a phone with a smaller screen, the Note 5 has features like Multi Window for running side-by-side apps, as well as small windowed apps that can let you reference content from several different apps at once.
Even further, the Note 5 has a higher density defined in the operating system than previous models, meaning apps load with slightly smaller interface elements and text, so you can fit even more content on the screen. That means more map in view in Google Maps, more emails in a list in Gmail and just plain more of everything you do on the Note 5.
3. A great and proven camera setup
No matter what phone you're comparing to, the Galaxy Note 5 has an amazing camera experience. Not only does it take fantastic photos in a variety of lighting conditions, it also does it super quickly — both in initial camera launch times and just overall camera app performance. The app is easy to use for quick shots, but extremely powerful if you hop into the Pro mode instead.
Though Google is pushing the specs and features of the Nexus 6P's camera, we're taking it all with a grain of salt until the phone is actually out there and taking pictures in a real-world situation. And based on previous Nexus camera performance, we unfortunately don't have high expectations. Just on paper the Nexus 6P camera should be capable when set next to the Note 5, but its lack of OIS is worrisome and we've yet to see how its camera app can stand up to the power of the Note 5's.
While Nexus 6P looks promising from a camera perspective, it's still a gamble to pick one up before you know how it really performs. Even early lab testing of the camera shows that while good, it doesn't match up to the latest from Samsung. The Note 5's camera is a proven quantity, and there's something to be said for that.
4. Wireless charging
Because the Nexus 6P is made out of metal (and a nice looking metal at that), it wasn't possible to get wireless charging inside of it like the Note 5 offers. Of course having USB-C charging helps, but nothing really beats the simplicity of just setting your phone down on a pad and having it pick up charge.
Add in the fact that the Note 5 supports both leading standards — Qi and Powermat — of wireless charging, as well as fast charging without wires on capable charging pads, and you have even more options when it comes to charging up the latest Note compared to the Nexus 6P.
5. You can buy from a carrier if you want
To many of us the fact that you can buy a Nexus 6P without any carrier agreement is a bonus, and we always recommend buying without a contract whenever possible. But the unfortunate truth is that these are expensive devices, and not everyone can afford to drop $500 to $700 on a phone outright nowadays.
While the Nexus 6P can be financed over 24 months if you go with Project Fi as a carrier, there's something to be said for being able to walk into any major carrier store in the U.S. and just pick up a Note 5 on a simple financing plan from the carrier you (and maybe members of your family plan) already use. You can put a small amount down and make the rest of your payments without interest for a year or two, which really makes the Note 5 more accessible despite its high sticker price.
And that brings up another point about availability. You can just buy a Galaxy Note 5 today and have it in your hands right away (or at worst the next day). Since Google and Huawei are the only retailers that can offer you the Nexus 6P right now, you're going to be a few weeks out (at best) from getting one — and maybe waiting just isn't an option.
6. What do you think?
Theses are just a few reasons why you may want to consider getting a Galaxy Note 5 over the Huawei Nexus 6P, but we want to hear from you! What do you think are the strengths of these phones and how they compare to one another?
- Read our full review
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- Note 5 vs. Note 4: What's the difference?
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- 5 things to know about the Nexus 6P
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- Nexus 6P specs