Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5

Update: Samsung has officially halted sales of the Note 7 after multiple reports of some rather extreme battery malfunction. There's also a global recall in effect, so those who have already purchased the new phone are asked to send it back.

Original article below

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is unquestionably a step up from the Galaxy Note 5, though its name suggests it's actually two steps up from its Android phone predecessor.

We've tested the new phablet and brought along the old one to see where it makes its biggest moves. Its specs are more in line with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and its design reflects the stylish S7 Edge.

It's old against new in our Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5 comparison, so let's give Samsung's two S-Pen-focused smartphones a deep dive to see if the 2016 upgrade is worth buying.

Watch our video review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5: design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is by no means a small phone – it's still very much a phablet with the same 5.7-inch Quad HD display. It's just a tiny bit slimmer than the Note 5.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5

Note 7 has more curves on the right

At 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, the Note 7 is a meaningful 2.2mm narrower. That's a big deal for hand comfort and will reduce the amount of times you almost drop this smartphone juggernaut.

It's lighter at 162g and sports a curved display, one that's more subtle vs Galaxy S7 Edge. That reduces false touches and it still looks nifty, as its curved back meets the metal frame at a point.

At 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm and 171g, the Galaxy Note 5 keeps its display straight, but it too has a palmable curved back. Sadly, the older Note 5 isn't waterproof, while the Note 7 can survive in water at a depth of 1.5 meters (about 4.9 feet) for 30 minutes or less.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5: display

Believe it or not, the narrower Samsung Galaxy Note 7 size doesn't mean the screen has shrunk, too. It's still a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. It's beautiful.

Where the Note 7 really stands out is with its always-on display. In addition to showing the time and date, it shows Screen-Off memos, too. When the screen is on, it streams impressive Mobile HDR content.

The good news is that if you're buying the Note 5, it still has a Quad HD screen we considered the best phone display twelve months ago. It's still really impressive.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5: specs and performance

The newly announced Galaxy Note 7 specs confirm that Samsung's new phone will be faster, but the Note 5 is no slouch when it comes to performance either.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs Note 5

Both have 64-bit processors, and the US Note 7 has has a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM, the same specs as the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, LG G5, HTC 10, Moto Z and ZTE Axon 7. The UK version has a Exynos 8890 octacore processor, which has been more powerful in our tests.

The Galaxy Note 5 came out in the US and skipped the UK, but it does use an Exynos 7420, the same chip as the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. See the pattern here? The Note 5 saw its big upgrade moment with 4GB of RAM instead of the 3GB used by the S6 and S6 Edge.

Matt Swider