The original Galaxy Note was arguably the first phablet device. With a large 5.3” screen, high end processor, and a high tech stylus called the S Pen it really was a corker. It perfectly suited those power users who wanted to watch videos on the move, read books on a bigger screen, and write the odd note or two. It was the middle ground between a phone and a tablet – the first Samsung Phablet – and many of our friends have owned every device in the series.
Fast forward four years and Samsung has now unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Taking strong design cues from the Galaxy Edge it signals Samsung’s move away from plastics in their high end devices to premium materials. It’s something we’ve wanted for years – and the current crop of flagship devices (Galaxy S6, Galaxy Edge, Galaxy Edge +, and Galaxy Note 5) look absolutely stunning. Naturally the specs are top class too – a beautifully vivia 5.7 inch QHD Super AMOLED (518 ppi) screen, Exynos 7420 64 bit Octa Core processor, 4Gb RAM, 32Gb base storage, 16Mb rear facing camera, and of course a new and improved S Pen. It’s a brilliant device… but it’s not on sale in Europe.
Europe is a key market for Samsung Mobile. Not selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 marks a change in strategy. The Samsung Mobile range is huge. Samsung Mobile USA advertises approximately 90 different mobiles on their website. The key word here is choice – plenty of different variants covering multiple price points, on many different networks. A Samsung cell phone for every type of user. The disadvantage? More choice means lots of different marketing messages.
Without the Note 5 the jobs for Samsung Europe marketing are easier. There are less flagships to market and a much clearer message to consumers. Want the market’s best cell phone? Go for the Galaxy S6 Edge. How about the market’s best phablet? Go for the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Want a high end device but don’t want to pay the ‘Edge premium’? Go for the Galaxy S6 – the device that’s likely to be the default upgrade for a large number of Galaxy S Series fans.
Where does that leave the Note 5? What’s the difference between the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+? The Note 5 has the S Pen and weighs 171g whereas the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has the Edge screen and weighs 153g. That’s pretty much it. The dimensions are slightly different – the Note 5 is slightly thicker and wider but not by much. Presumably that’s to accommodate the S Pen functionality. However the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is a simpler sell – it complements its little sister, and it allows Samsung Mobile to advertise both the Edge and Edge+ side-by-side. That’s the Edge+ knockout blow.
We hate to say it but we think the Galaxy Note series is signing off. We think we’ll still see a Galaxy Note 6, and maybe even a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but they’ll be confined to just a few markets. Perhaps Samsung Mobile US will be the next to drop the Note. We hope we’re wrong and the underdog makes a comeback but it’s probably on its last legs. The knockout blow has been dealt and the count has started. The Note is being Edged out… and that makes us rather sad.