The two most important questions to most Samsung Galaxy Note fans who are awaiting the next iteration are:
1. Is there a removable battery?
2. Is there a MicroSD card slot?
The Samsung Galaxy Note line is easily the most functional Android device. Not only was it the phone that pioneered larger screens, it also is the only phone to implement a stylus that actually works well. I’m a huge proponent of the Galaxy Note line as it always sets the stage for phones the following year. The Note typically comes with the fastest processor of the year, as next generation processors are typically announced and released in the 1st half of the calendar year, giving the Note ample time to integrate the new processors, since the Note is released in the second half of the year. Not only does it come with the latest processor, but it usually is the phone that ups RAM standards as well as display standards.
So it is safe to say, many people look forward to the Samsung Galaxy Note release every year and we have some images of what might be the next Samsung Galaxy Note 5. And people who love their Notes are very loyal to the function over design factor, so if I were a praying man, I would ask that Samsung please keep the removable battery and MicroSD card slot. We did see Samsung move away from both of those features in the Galaxy S6 line which angered many Samsung loyalists. Also keep in mind, the Note is one of the most expensive phones on the market, which means customers are looking for the best when they spend nearly a thousand dollars on one device.
From this blurry image, this phone looks very similar to the Note 4, and most might think you may not be able to gather much information from this picture. But if you look closely, it does look like the headphone jack has possibly been moved to the bottom of the device. As a Samsung Galaxy Note fanboy, this is a first if this is true and is truly a concern for me. Why? Because this gives more credibility to the rumors that the Note may have been redesigned to match the look and feel of the Samsung Galaxy S6. In order to keep the design and thickness to a minimum with the S6, Samsung moved the headphone jack to the bottom. In the picture, you can also see the stylus at the bottom right of the phone which gives this image credibility that it is actually a Note and not some other Samsung phone.
It also appears the speaker is squeezed in between the charging port and the stylus. The speaker port on the Note 4 was on the back. The Note 3 had the speaker on the bottom, so this might be an incorrect evaluation of the leaked picture, but I think by moving the speaker to the bottom of the Note 5 confirms the back will be made of glass and will be non-removable.
Analyzing this picture, my first question was why is there a screen protector on this device? I don’t know and don’t really think it takes away from or adds to the leak. But if you look at the left hand side, you see the volume buttons. On the Note 4, there was a volume rocker versus two separate buttons. If you look at the first leak in combination with the one right above, it looks like the volume control is now two distinct buttons like on the Galaxy S6. Having two volume buttons versus a volume rocker doesn’t really mean much, except it confirms the new Note design language is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6. Also take a look at the polished metal band that frames the phone. One thing you will notice is the phone fits very well within the metal frame. You can’t squeeze a business card in this new design! But it also looks like the metal frame around the Samsung Galaxy S6 in the image below which adds more fuel to the fire that this phone may not have a removeable back. As for the sensors, they are now moved to the left of the speaker which also matches the design of the S6. The sensors on the Note 4 were just to the right of the speaker.
So do we have answers to the two most popular questions about the Samsung Galaxy Note 5? Sadly, I think we do if these leaks are real. I don’t know the real reason why Samsung removed the MicroSD slot in the S6, some people say it is because no one really uses it and others speculate that Samsung listens to its customers and they claimed they wanted a better design and that better design eliminated the port for that slot. If Samsung really does listen to its customers, then why are they listening to most Samsung fans and removing the bloat from the software? My guess for Samsung removing the MicroSD slot is that they can charge more for memory upgrades. The 64GB S6 costs 100 dollars more than the 32Gb option. That’s a lot of money they were missing out on on.
As for the removal of the swappable battery, maybe Samsung thought customers didn’t need it since it would be replaced with wireless charging or the new fast chargers were sufficient to charge those large batteries. For those of us Note fans, we love having the ability to pick up a couple batteries from Amazon or Best Buy, and going from 0% power back up to 100% in less than a minute. That certainly beats fast charging and wireless charging. Note users are power users and need extra batteries without having to strap on a large battery pack. The phone is already big as it is, so assuming we would be okay with a battery pack is simply wrong. Also, most people know batteries have a limited number of charges so not being able to swap the battery gives this phone a lifespan of that battery. Note users charge their phones often because we use them a ton, which means we will reach our battery cycle limit faster than most.
I truly hope my analysis of these leaks is wrong, but I fear that I am right and Samsung has decided to go away from function to please those who care about design. If that is the case, this will be my last Samsung device and that makes me a sad customer.
“Just release the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 already!” – Josh Noriega (A fellow AG writer who has seen enough leaks)