This week has been a feast for Android fans, as Samsung announced two brand new handsets. The two phablets in question are the Galaxy S6 Edge+, and the Galaxy Note 5. There could be some confusion about the two devices, as the Galaxy S6 Edge+ looks to be an entirely new product line, but is in fact effectively a sequel to last year’s Galaxy Note Edge. Samsung has chosen to rebrand this device in order to make it more of a mainstream device. The Galaxy Note 5 is simply a sequel to last year’s hugely popular Galaxy Note 4.
Although both handsets were expected by most analysts, and even the rebranding of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ was predicted by many analysts, it is still a noteworthy and unusual event for Samsung to announce two flagship devices simultaneously. It has been usual in previous years for Samsung to ensure that the Galaxy Note phablet receives a particular fanfare, and it has always launched as a standalone with this intention in mind.
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Samsung clearly wants to ensure that this new Galaxy S6 Edge+ release garners a huge amount of attention as well, and there seems to be an effort to redefine the phablet niche. This is certainly a marketplace that Samsung has owned in the past, but this could be changing considering the success that Apple’s first phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus, achieved last year. It was already expected that Apple would update this phablet with a September release date, but leaks in the last couple of days have now indicated that this is a certainty.
So Samsung has produced two devices that theoretically have significantly different demographics and audiences. At least, this would seem to be the obvious justification for producing and releasing two phablets in conjunction with one another. But how do they compare in terms of features and specs?
One of the first differences to note between the two devices is the fact that the Galaxy Note 5 will be delayed in all locations other than the United States relative to the Galaxy S6 Edge+. This is perhaps surprising considering that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is ostensibly a brand new device, but in reality Samsung has, of course, simply built upon the existing Galaxy Note Edge for this phablet.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9mm, while the dimensions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 are 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm. This indicates that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is slightly the wider of the two devices, but also slender and marginally shorter as well. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is also lighter than the Galaxy Note 5, with Samsung obviously hoping to make this device as accessible as possible for a mainstream market. The S6 Edge+ hits the scales at 153g compared to the 171g of the Note 5.
Both devices are entirely metallic in construction, and both have been fitted with fingerprint sensors. But the actual design of the two devices diverges significantly. This is obviously one of the primary ways that Apple intends to distinguish the two phablets. The S6 Edge+ is naturally somewhat akin to the existing Galaxy S6, with an attractive dual-edged display already winning plaudits from fans of the Galaxy series.
The Galaxy Note 5 is naturally more similar to the existing Galaxy Note series, and it could be asserted that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is the more innovative of the two devices in terms of design. But the Galaxy Note 5 still continues the aluminum-based design that received praise in the last Galaxy Note generation, and certainly shouldn’t be considered an ugly duckling.
This brings us to the second obvious difference between the two devices. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ does not feature the S Pen stylus that has become popular in the Galaxy Note series. This is obviously viewed as a premium item that contributes to the image of the Galaxy Note 5. One might argue that had Samsung included the stylus with the Galaxy S6 Edge+ then some might wonder what the difference between the two devices actually is beside aesthetics.
Both devices are fairly similar in this department, as both feature the same screen size and resolution. Both have 5.7-inch Super AMOLED displays with QHD 2,560 x 1,440 resolutions, and 515ppi pixel density. The main difference between the two is that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ features a dual-edge display, while the Galaxy Note 5 is simply based on a standard display. Personal preference would really come into which of these is considered superior.
There is no difference between the two devices whatsoever in terms of cameras. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5 both have a 16-megapixel rear camera, and have been fitted with a powerful 5-megapixel front snapper featuring an aperture of f/1.9.
Processor, storage and battery
Again, both devices feature exactly the same processor and battery, and both models offer the same storage options. Both are built around an octa-core Exynos chip, and are supported by 4 GB of RAM memory. 32 GB and 64 GB storage options are available, although some Samsung fans will bemoan the lack of micro SD.
The strongly rumored 3,000mAh battery has also materialized in both devices, and this could be another source of disappointment for Samsung fans. There are phablets on the market with larger cells than this, but Samsung insists that power saving functionality included in the Android operating system will easily compensate.
As was expected, both the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5 run on Android Lollipop, and also feature Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. But the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has specific apps that take advantage of the dual-edge display, while Galaxy Note 5 software utilizes the S Pen that is not present in the newer phablet series.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference in specs between the two devices. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ has been designed to be a little bit more convenient in terms of size and weight, and also has a more striking device associated with a mainstream phablet. The Galaxy Note 5 will appeal to existing Note users, and S Pen features may be appreciated by some aficionados. Decision-making regarding these two phablets will largely centre around design, feature sets and budget, with the S6 Edge+ significantly more expensive.