Samsung Galaxy Note 5: A camera that excels in almost all aspects

Perfect for selfie-shooters. Images looked natural and showed smooth skin tones.
Perfect for selfie-shooters. Images looked natural and showed smooth skin tones.PHOTO: SAMSUNG

The image sensor in the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has the same 16-megapixel (MP) resolution as the one in the Note 4.

But the camera of the Note 5 has a wider and faster 28mm f/1.9 lens, compared with Note 4's 31mm f/2.2 lens.

The front-facing camera gets an upgrade to 5MP, up from Note 4's 4MP, but the lens is the same 22mm f/1.9 one.

To access the camera, you can swipe up from the bottom-right corner of the lock screen, where the camera icon is. You can use either of the volume buttons as shutter release.


  • PRICE: From $988

    REAR CAMERA: 16-megapixel (1/2.6-inch) 28mm f/1.9

    FRONT-FACING CAMERA: 5-megapixel 22mm f/1.9

The native camera app is pretty intuitive. It lets you change the ISO, white balance and metering modes.

If you prefer to keep it simple, you can change the shooting mode to Auto by tapping on the Mode function, which is located near the virtual shutter-release button.

Here, you can also change to modes like Slow Motion, Panorama, Video Collage and Live Broadcast.

The front-facing camera also offers many modes, including Wide Selfie and Live Broadcast. But I think many will be more interested in the Beauty Face mode, which gives you options to smoothen your skin, as well as make your eyes appear bigger and your face slimmer.

Images shot with the Note 5 in bright sunlight were almost as good as those taken with the iPhone 6s Plus. It lost out by only a small margin due to its rendering of the sky, which is slightly off- blue. Otherwise, the images were sharp and displayed no loss of details, even in the darker areas.

Panoramic pictures were nicely stitched. But there are segments that looked slightly underexposed.

Under low artificial lighting and without flash, the images shot had the correct exposure. Skin tones looked natural and details were crisp. It beats the competition in this test.

On the downside, when taken with the flash, the images have a slight purple tinge.

Night shots were correctly exposed with nice colours and visible clouds. Buildings were not overexposed and you could still see the details in the dark areas. In this round-up, only the Google Nexus 6P produced better night scene images than the Note 5.

But when it comes to selfies, the Note 5 takes the crown easily.

The selfies I took looked very natural and showed smooth skin tones and spot-on exposure of the environment. In addition, the front camera has the widest coverage in this round-up - ideal for those who like to squeeze plenty of people into a single frame for that party wefie.

Trevor Tan

• Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is a great all-round camera excelling in almost every aspect we have tested.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2016, with the headline 'A camera that excels in almost all aspects'. Subscribe