Some hopes and expectations for the next Galaxy Note
It's almost time for a new Samsung Galaxy Note — and it looks like this year's model could bring a few changes. It's the first time we'll see Samsung's new Galaxy S6 design language applied to a larger, stylus-equipped handset. And if the latest reports are to be believed, the Galaxy Note 5 could arrive significantly earlier than expected.
The Note line is a series of products with a unique appeal and a loyal following. The Notes are the only pen-toting phones to have sold in large numbers. They've also been showcase devices for Samsung's homegrown multitasking features, multi window and popup window.
So what's next? We'll make a few early predictions after the break, but we also want to hear from current Note users and anyone considering upgrading — what'll make the Note 5 your next Android phone?
Expect the next Note to look much more like a GS6 than a Note 4.
After Samsung's dramatic abandonment of plastic with the Galaxy S6, it always seemed likely that the Note 5 would look more like the GS6 than its immediate predecessor. And the latest rumors appear to back that up. Reports from SamMobile suggest that the next Note will feature a glass-backed design, while CAD renders from French site Nowhereelse point to "Edge"-style curved glass being used on the underside of the phone. (Imagine holding a GS6 Edge the wrong way around.)
If either of these reports is accurate, expect the Note 5 to look fancier than its forebears, while possibly being more susceptible to drops with that glass-backed chassis.
Having stayed at the 5.7-inch mark for the past two years, it's reasonably likely Samsung won't go any bigger this time around. Similarly, there's little reason to expect a screen resolution north of the standard Quad HD (2560x1440). A higher-res Note may happen eventually, but it'll take a generation or two before processors and batteries catch up to the power requirements of such a dense display.
The SamMobile report points to a Samsung-made processor being used in the next-gen Note — specifically an Exynos 7422 SoC. That's not too surprising given that Samsung's semiconductor arm had no trouble supplying chips for the GS6, a device likely to sell in higher volumes than the Note. The only real alternative is Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820, the first processor to use the chip giant's "Kryo" 64-bit design. But with an earlier launch being in the cards for this year's Note, it's unlikely that the 820 would be ready in time.
Our money's on a Note with neither microSD support nor a removable battery.
This is one of the big questions for power-users considering a Note 5 — will Samsung keep expandable microSD storage and removable batteries alive in the Note line, after abandoning them in GS6. Unfortunately for some, the rumor mill seems to suggest it'll have neither. The reported (curved) glass-backed design would make a removable battery highly unlikely, and there are some pretty sound business reasons why Samsung might want to stick with a fixed amount of internal storage.
With higher-capacity Samsung SKUs finally becoming more readily available of late, it makes more sense for the company to sell a more expensive 64 or 128GB phone upfront, as opposed to crossing its fingers and hoping those with a 32GB model will eventually buy a Samsung microSD card.
On the other hand, a fixed glass back makes it entirely possible — likely, even — that the Note 5, like the GS6, will come with wireless charging built-in.
Nothing has been specifically reported about the Note 5's camera, but Samsung has developed a strong track record in this area over the past year. The Note 4 brought us the first really great Samsung phone camera, while the GS6 improved upon it with superior optics. If we had to guess, we'd suggest Samsung might stick with a similar 16-megapixel camera, perhaps behind a brighter lens. Camera tech is an area of smartphone hardware with great potential to surprise, though.
Last year's Note Edge was a bit of a mixed bag. So will we see a re-vamped, edge-screened Note based on the new software tricks of the GS6 edge? Right now there've been no plausible reports of such a device. Instead we're hearing about a possible Galaxy S6 edge plus filling that role — essentially a supersized GS6 with a Note-sized screen. Rumored specs include a Snapdragon 808 processor and 3,000mAh battery — and that being the case, it's easy to see why Samsung might field this instead of a full-fledged successor to the Note Edge.
Note fans, what do you want to see from the next device in the series? Share your Galaxy Note 5 hopes (and fears) in the comments below!