At this year’s Mobile World Congress, leading Android OEM Samsung announced its newest flagship smartphones the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge. While the Galaxy S7 retained the 5.1” display size of its predecessor, Samsung bumped up the display size on the Galaxy S7 Edge from 5.1” to 5.5”. With the larger display, the Galaxy S7 Edge is now closer to the phablet territory. With a large 5.5” display, the Galaxy S7 Edge can easily be considered as an alternative to the Galaxy Note 5. And if you’re someone who already owns a Galaxy Note 5, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge could lure you with all the new features and hardware with a display that isn’t much smaller.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 may be an older device, but it still offers quite a few advantages over the Galaxy S7 Edge. Arguably one of the best smartphones to have launched last year, the Galaxy Note 5 certainly is capable of taking on any 2016 flagship smartphone. If you are someone who needs to get a lot of things done on the move, it is tough to ignore the advantage that the Galaxy Note 5’s S-Pen offers.
Which is why we thought it would be a good idea to pit these two siblings against each other in our versus specs comparison. In our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specs comparison today, we will be putting these two devices against each other across ten different categories – Display, Design, Dimensions, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, Battery Life, and Price. So let’s begin and find out if the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is significantly better than the Galaxy Note 5 from last year or if the Note flagship still makes a lot of sense.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are very compact devices for their screen size. But which one of the two is better in the dimensions department?
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 measures 153.2mm tall, 76.1mm wide, and is 7.6mm thin with a weight of 171 grams. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand measures 150.9mm tall, 72.6mm wide and happens to be 7.7mm thin. When it comes to weight, it is fairly impressive for a 5.5-inch device, weighing in at 157 grams.
As you can tell from the numbers above, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is definitely more compact than the Galaxy Note 5 in terms of overall dimensions. And that means the winner of the dimensions round is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Usually we find that newer devices always have an edge over older ones when it comes to the connectivity features. So let’s find out if the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has the edge over the Galaxy Note 5 from last year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 includes support for Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, NFC, ANT+, DLNA, Micro USB 2.0, and LTE Cat.6 networks (maximum supported download speeds up to 300 Mbps). Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand includes Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, ANT+, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Micro USB 2.0, and LTE Cat.9 network support (maximum supported download speeds up to 450 Mbps).
Apart from the fact that the Galaxy S7 Edge includes support for faster LTE networks, the rest of the features are identical on both devices. Which is why we are going to call this round a tie.
Typically, most flagship phablets are pretty impressive in the battery life department. So either of these two devices will not disappoint you with the battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is equipped with a 3000mAh capacity non-removable battery, which delivers pretty decent battery life. Thanks to the 14nm Exynos 7420 octa-core chipset under the hood, the Galaxy Note 5 manages pretty impressive battery life that is more or less on par with its predecessor, despite packing a smaller battery. You also have the Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving Mode to help you extract more out of the battery when you have very little of it remaining. The Quick Charging allows you to get around 4 hours of usage out of your Galaxy Note 5 with just a 15 minute charge. Wireless charging is supported too, including support for fast wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a major improvement in the battery life department when compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy S6 Edge. While the Galaxy S6 Edge only included a 2600mAh capacity battery, the Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a 3600mAh capacity battery inside. That’s an increase of 1000mAh. With such a significant bump in battery size, the Galaxy S7 Edge offers much better battery life than the Galaxy S6 Edge and even the Galaxy Note 5. And just like the Galaxy Note 5, you do get the fast charging and wireless charging support. Fast wireless charging is included as well, something that wasn’t present on its predecessor.
If battery life is something that you really care about, then Galaxy S7 Edge is definitely going to impress you more. That means the winner of the battery life round is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Samsung flagship smartphones have always been very impressive in the camera department and these two smartphones are no exception.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 features a 16MP camera at the back, paired with a bright f/1.9 aperture lens. The sensor used is a 1/2.6” type sensor sourced from Sony as well as Samsung’s LSI division, integrating phase detection auto focus (PDAF) technology for faster autofocus speeds. Rest of the key highlights of the Galaxy Note 5 Camera include optical image stabilization (OIS), 16:9 aspect ratio at full resolution, and a pretty powerful single-LED flash. The Galaxy Note 5 also happens to be the first Samsung flagship smartphone to include VDIS stabilization that helps it shoot incredibly steady videos. Coming to the software now, the Galaxy Note 5 offers a PRO mode with manual controls, YouTube live streaming support, and all the usual features such as Panorama photos, Auto HDR, 4K video capture, and face detection. One other key highlight is the “Quick Launch” feature which lets you access the camera almost instantly just by double tapping on the home button. For selfies, the phablet includes a 5MP camera on the front, paired with an f/1.9 aperture lens. Unlike most other selfie cameras, the one on the Galaxy Note 5 can record videos at up to 1440p. It also offers features such Auto HDR, Beauty Modes, Virtual Shot, and more.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand comes with a lower resolution 12MP camera at the back, with higher 1.4 micron pixel size. The higher pixel size is a result of the lower resolution as well as a slightly larger sensor size (1/2.5”). One of the most key new hardware features is the inclusion of Dual Pixel focusing tech that helps the sensor focus faster than almost all other smartphones on the market right now. The sensor used on the Galaxy S7 Edge includes two photodiodes instead of just one in every pixel. That’s basically what “Dual Pixel” is all about. The other major upgrade is that Samsung has switched to a brighter f1/.7 aperture lens on the Galaxy S7 Edge, which makes it perform better in low-light situations. Rest of the key camera features include Smart OIS (optical image stabilization), single-LED flash, 4K video capture, panorama shots, Auto HDR, and face detection. However, unlike the Galaxy Note 5, the new 12MP sensor doesn’t allow you to take 16:9 photos at full 12MP resolution. Some of the new software features include Motion Panorama, Motion Photo and Hyperlapse. In addition to these, the Galaxy S7 Edge also includes a PRO mode and supports RAW photo capture, just like the Galaxy Note 5. On the front, the Galaxy S7 Edge is equipped with a 5MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens that takes great selfies even in low-light situations. You also get a Selfie Flash feature, which uses the screen as a flash.
Even though the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge does bring a few new hardware features to the tablet, you aren’t likely to notice a major difference between the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S7 Edge as far as quality in good lighting conditions go. However, if you shoot a lot of pictures in low-light, the Galaxy S7 Edge definitely is slightly better. We’re going to give the win here to the Galaxy S7 Edge, but the difference between the two cameras isn’t very significant at all in terms of the quality.
Now let’s shift focus to one of the most key components of a phablet, the display.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 features a brilliant 5.7” 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution display with a pixel density of 518 PPI. The display features a layer of 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top for added protection. Like other recent Super AMOLED panels from Samsung, the Galaxy Note 5 display offers four different display modes to choose from – Basic, AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and Adaptive Display. When you choose the Basic display mode, the panel delivers impressive color accuracy that very few other smartphones can come close to. Along with fantastic color accuracy, the display also offers fantastic sunlight legibility and deep blacks that you associate with an AMOLED panel. In case you aren’t too keen on accuracy and just want punchy colors, you can switch to AMOLED Cinema or Photo Mode. The default Adaptive Display mode is also good enough if color accuracy is the least of your concern.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on the other hand features a slightly smaller 5.5” 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution display with a pixel density of 534 pixels per inch. The main highlight here is of course the dual-curved edges that allow for a more immersive viewing experience. On top, the display includes a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to help protect it against scratches. Now, just like the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S6 Edge+, the dual edges on the Galaxy S7 Edge aren’t just for show. Samsung does include quite a few “Edge” software features that utilize them. We will be discussing these features in greater detail when we get to the operating system category. Apart from the Edge features, the new Galaxy S7 Edge also features an “Always-on Display” which uses a part of the screen real estate to show you the remaining battery percentage, clock, unread messages and missed calls without having to turn on the display. This feature does affect the battery though, so do keep that in mind before you choose to use the feature on a regular basis. However, when your Galaxy S7 Edge is inside your pocket or in a purse, the feature is automatically disabled to help save battery. Color accuracy of the display is stellar just like on the Galaxy Note 5, while the peak brightness has gone up, making it very easy to use even under direct sunlight.
Overall, both these Samsung phablets feature a fantastic display and it is hard to pick a clear winner here. So we’re going with a tie in the display category.
When it comes to memory, the two Samsung siblings share a few similarities and also a major difference at the same time.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is available in two storage options – 32GB and 64GB. There is no microSD card slot in the phablet, so you cannot expand the memory further. A 128GB option was surprisingly dropped, although Samsung did launch a special edition 128GB version of the Galaxy Note 5 in South Korea last year. While there is no memory expansion on offer, the Galaxy Note 5 uses fast UFS 2.0 memory, which delivers much faster transfer speeds when compared to traditional eMMC 5.0 storage used on most other smartphones. However, UFS 2.0 storage is no longer exclusive to Galaxy handsets anymore as Samsung has started shipping UFS 2.0 chips to other OEMs this year and quite a few devices with UFS storage have already been announced. As far as the RAM goes, the Galaxy Note 5 includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. However, despite packing 4GB of RAM, the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t the best phablet out there for multitasking. Thanks to poor memory management, the Galaxy Note 5 is unable to keep multiple apps running in the background. So if you are a heavy user, this is something that you need to keep in mind.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge too comes in two storage options – 32GB and 64GB. However, unlike the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy S7 Edge does include a microSD card slot that lets you expand storage further by up to 2TB. While the memory expansion is definitely a major improvement, Samsung has made the 64GB version available only in select markets so far. That means most of you will have to settle with just 32GB of internal memory on the Galaxy S7 Edge. This is definitely disappointing and we would have liked to see the Galaxy S7 Edge being offered in three storage options like the Galaxy S6 Edge from last year. Complementing the fast UFS 2.0 storage is 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, identical to what the Galaxy Note 5 offers. However, Samsung has addressed the memory management issues on the Galaxy S7 Edge, as a result of which, multitasking is a much better experience on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Thanks to the inclusion of a microSD card slot and much better memory management, this round goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Since we are comparing a 2015 device against a 2016 device, almost everyone probably knows which of the two smartphones is going to win this round.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is powered by the Exynos 7420 octa-core 64-bit chipset with four ARM Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2.1GHz and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz. The chipset includes the ARM Mali-T768MP8 GPU with eight cores, which is more than capable of handling anything you can throw at it. Built on a 14nm FinFET process, the Exynos 7420 is quite an efficient chipset and doesn’t exhibit any serious overheating or throttling issue like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset that powers some of its rivals. In most benchmarks as well, the Exynos 7420 has the upper hand.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is definitely the more powerful device of the two as it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset in the US and a few other markets while the international version is powered by the Exynos 8890 chipset. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 is a quad-core 64-bit chipset with two custom Kryo cores clocked at 2.15GHz for performance and two cores clocked at 1.6GHz aimed at efficiency. Graphics are handled by the Adreno 530 GPU, which is a pretty significant upgrade over the Adreno 430 GPU from last year. In most benchmarks, the Adreno 530 is right up there at the top, which speaks volumes about the capability of the GPU. Manufactured on a second generation 14nm LPP process by Samsung, the Snapdragon 820 chipset is more efficient than the Snapdragon 810 and doesn’t have any major issues with overheating or throttling. The new flagship Qualcomm SoC also comes with a new Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, Hexagon 680 DSP, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support. However, Samsung hasn’t implemented Quick Charge 3.0 on the Galaxy S7 Edge. In international markets, the Galaxy S7 Edge is powered by Samsung’s in-house developed Exynos 8890 chipset which includes Samsung’s first custom M1 cores. The octa-core 64-bit chipset features four Exynos M1 cores clocked at 2.3GHz for performance and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for efficiency. Handling the graphics is the new ARM Mali-T880MP12 GPU clocked at 650MHz. It too is manufactured on the same second generation 14nm LPP process by Samsung. In terms of performance and benchmarks, both chipsets are comparable although tests have shown that the Exynos 8890 variant is a little better in terms of battery life and doesn’t throttle as much as the Snapdragon 820 version.
Quite clearly, the Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8890 chipsets are more powerful than the Exynos 7420. That means as far as raw performance goes, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge undoubtedly has the edge over the Galaxy Note 5. So the processor round goes to the Galaxy S7 Edge.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 features a much more premium design than any previous Galaxy Note device. It includes a solid aerospace grade aluminum frame in the middle with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front as well as the back. The back of the handset includes a slight curve that makes it much easier to hold in the hand, which is definitely a nice touch given the fact that is quite a large phablet with a 5.7-inch display. It also includes an S-Pen holder that lets you slide in the S-Pen when you’re not using it. The phablet comes in four color options depending on the market – Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Silver Titanium, and White Pearl.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge too is quite similar to the Galaxy Note 5 in terms of the overall build and design. It features the same glass sandwich design with a sturdy aluminum frame in the middle and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front as well as back. The back of the handset is curved as well, which helps make the handset more ergonomic. At first glance, most of you aren’t likely to notice any major difference compared to the Galaxy S6 Edge. The changes that Samsung has made are not likely to be noticed by many. However, one of the major changes in the design department is that the Galaxy S7 Edge happens to IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. The IP68 certification means the Galaxy S7 Edge will easily survive being submerged under water up to 1.5 meters deep for a period of 30 minutes. Another noticeable change is that the camera bump at the back is now almost flush and doesn’t protrude outwards very much like on the Galaxy Note 5. A new color options is available too – Black Onyx. Rest of the colors include White Pearl, Gold Platinum, and Silver Titanium.
Overall, there isn’t much to choose from between these two phablets as far as the design goes as they are both more or less very similar. So the design round ends up in a tie.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 currently runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system in most regions. It features Samsung’s refined new TouchWiz UX that has been updated with the Marshmallow update. As we have mentioned a number of times in our previous versus comparisons, Samsung has managed to cut down on the amount of bloatware and has made TouchWiz look and feel closer to stock Android than ever before. However, you still get a number of features from Samsung such as Smart Manager, Quick Connect, Slide Sync, S Voice, S Finder, S Health, Scrapbook, Download Booster, and the Power Saving modes. You also have a number of S-Pen related features such as S Note, Smart Select, Screen Write, and more. A new feature with the S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 5 is the ability to jot down quick notes even when the screen is off.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge too runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the latest iteration of Samsung’s TouchWiz custom UX layer. Compared to the Galaxy Note 5, there aren’t many major changes except for a few new features in the Camera app and new “Edge” features such as Edge Panels, Edge Feeds, and Edge Lighting. Thanks to the reduced bloatware, TouzhWiz doesn’t suffer from any major issues anymore and you shouldn’t worry about your Galaxy S7 Edge slowing down after a few months of use.
Since there isn’t much of a difference in the software, the operating system round too ends up in a tie.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is available from pretty much every single carrier in the US. The major carriers are now selling the 32GB version of the phablet for $99.99 on a 2-year contract while the 64GB version can be bought for $199.99. Off-contract price ranges from around $699 for the 32GB version to $799 for the 64GB version.
The Galaxy S7 Edge too is available from most major and minor carriers in the US, starting at $299 for the 32GB variant on a 2-year contract. If you wish to purchase the smartphone outright, you will need to be prepared to shell out $799. Prices do differ from carrier to carrier, so the exact figure could vary slightly depending on which carrier you choose to buy it from.
Clearly, the Galaxy Note 5 has a major advantage over the Galaxy S7 Edge in the price department as it is a lot more affordable. So the price round goes to the Galaxy Note 5.
Now that we have reached the end of our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy S7 Edge specs battle, it is time for us to find out which of these two Samsung flagship phablets has managed to emerge as the winner.
Out of the ten different categories that we compared these two phablets against each other in, four rounds ended up in a tie – Operating System, Design, Connectivity, and Display. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 won just one round – Price. The rest of the five rounds went to the Galaxy S7 Edge – Dimensions, Battery Life, Camera, Memory, and Processor. That means the clear winner here is the Galaxy S7 Edge.
However, we should make it clear that the Galaxy Note 5 does have a major advantage of being significantly more affordable. You should also keep in mind that in most categories, the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t that far behind its newer sibling. So if you do not go all the way and save some cash, the Galaxy Note 5 definitely makes more sense.
Which of these two Samsung phablets is your pick? Tell us by leaving a comment below.