5 things we hope to see in the Galaxy Note 5

The rumor mill is on fire, so we figured we'd fire off with our own wish list of what we want to see in Samsung's next-gen phablet.

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Rob Schultz

The Galaxy Note 5 is coming. We don’t exactly know when it will launch, or how Samsung will introduce it to the world, but it’s on its way soon, and the Android blogosphere won’t stop talking about it.

Frankly, I want to talk a bit about it, too, because this year’s launch of the Galaxy S6 renewed my excitement for Samsung’s products. I feel like the South Korean company has finally figured out how to balance what its dedicated users want with what will resonate with Android newcomers.

So I wonder: will the Galaxy Note 5 have the same impact as its predecessors? Will it continue to entice smartphone users towards wielding a bigger phone? And will the company improve upon some of the fantastic features of its flagship phone released earlier this year?

Metal and glass, please

As I said in my review, I love the metal and glass construction of the Galaxy S6. It’s totally sleek and sexy. I’m hoping that Samsung will follow suit with the Galaxy Note 5, especially since the company tried on a metal body on last year’s Galaxy Note 4. Thankfully, leaks have already surfaced that suggest the Note 5 will borrow a similar chassis build and style as its flagship counterpart.

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This may or may not be a render of the Galaxy Note 5.

An expansion slot

Samsung bummed us all out when it axed both the removable battery and the expansion slot from the Galaxy S6—especially because those were the things that differentiated the Galaxy S5 from Apple’s iPhone! It even ran ads to that effect!

Unfortunately, the rumors say that we should expect the same from the Galaxy Note 5, so if you were planning on buying this phone-tablet hybrid, you might want to splurge for the 64GB version—otherwise, how else can you fit all those high-resolution camera shots and video recordings? Samsung should seriously reconsider giving us back that digital room to grow. A heaping of free cloud storage, like Microsoft OneDrive, is only so helpful.

I’m not holding out for a removable battery, either, though there are rumors that we’ll be seeing as big as a 4,000 mAh battery pack fueling the Note 5, in addition to wireless charging capabilities. That’s good to hear, because although you can’t swap out the battery in the Galaxy S6, at the very least you can charge it enough in an hour to last you on a flight from New York City to San Francisco.

The same camera, only better

The 16-megapixel rear-facing camera was one of the best features on Galaxy Note 4, though I’m hoping Samsung brings the same camera sensor from the Galaxy S6 over to the Note 5. Then, Samsung could make it better by simply refining the camera software a bit.

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The Galaxy S6 camera is one of the best Samsung’s ever made, so naturally it should improve upon it in the Galaxy Note 5.

Now that both LG and HTC’s respective camera apps support RAW + JPEG shooting, and the G4 supports full manual shooting mode, Samsung should give in and add those features, too. It’ll be helpful for those of us who take our smartphone photos into desktop editing applications like Adobe Lightroom. Given how great Samsung’s rear-facing cameras are, it’s a shame not to be able to do more with the phone than simply snap photos and post them to Instagram.

Also, with the LG G4 beating out the Galaxy S6’s low-light capabilities, Samsung should do a little tweaking to get the sensor in the Note 5 to the same f/1.8 aperture so that it performs on par with LG’s flagship.

Make the S-pen even more powerful

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The S-pen is a fantastic accessory, but Samsung could still do more to beef it up.

The S-pen has helped differentiate Samsung’s Note devices from other phablets. But for the Note 5 to continue to be Samsung’s darling, the S-Pen needs to shine a bit more. I’m of the opinion that Samsung should borrow some of what Microsoft’s done with the Surface Pen. It needs to be more pressure sensitive, with the ability to change the sensitivity in the settings. This would make the pen more useful for doodling situations, and more precise with handwriting.

It’d also be nice to get a quick launch feature with the S-Pen. I’d love to simply push down on the screen with the pen to launch an app of choice. When I’m taking notes, I want to be able to fire up the appropriate app more quickly, rather than hovering the pen above the Note’s screen, pressing a button to bring up Air Command, and then ensuring I tap the right app. 

Even less Touchwiz

Samsung did good with the interface on the Galaxy S6. It took away a lot of that extra stuff in Touchwiz and gave us a leaner and easier-to-use interface with about half the bloat as its predecessors. There’s still more cutting to be done, however. Samsung still needs to scale back on that blue-hue that it’s got going on all over the place, including eliminating it entirely from the Notifications panel and sticking with a similar menu to what stock Lollipop offers.

I’d also love to see the Themes app expand a bit. Rather than simply limiting us to the Themes that Samsung makes available, the app should borrow some of what Asus did with the ZenFone 2’s interface and let us customize Android with the icon packs and wallpapers we like from the Google Play Store. Or let us mix and match theme parts like HTC does with the One M9.

Got your own wist list of sorts for the Galaxy Note 5? Sound off in the comments below! 

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