Samsung just announced its new big Galaxy phones — the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Both phones will go on sale August 21, but we’ll have to wait to hear from carriers on pricing.
The Galaxy Note 5 is the newest phone in Samsung’s Note line that’s been around since 2011, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is essentially a larger version of the Galaxy S6 Edge, but with some minor additions.
Both phones have 5.7-inch screens with resolutions of 2560 x 1440, which means they’re larger and sharper than the display on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are both powered by the same processor (a Samsung-made Exynos 7420) that has eight cores, which means they should be able to multitask easily (the more cores there are in a processor, the more tasks it can handle at once without any hiccups).
The main difference between the two new devices, according to Samsung, is that the Note 5 is really aimed at productivity (i.e. editing Google Docs, taking notes) while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is meant for media consumption (watching Netflix, etc).
Some other core details — both new Galaxy phones feature a 16-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, run Android 5.1 Lollipop, and have 4GB of RAM (that’s a lot for a phone). Both devices come with a new feature that allows you to broadcast video in real-time to YouTube directly from the Camera app.
Samsung seems to have borrowed some design elements from the Galaxy S6 — both phones have glossy, smooth glass backs and metal incorporated into the build. That also means the backs aren’t removeable and there’s no SD card slot — so you can’t swap out the battery or add more storage to your phone.
Here’s a closer look at each phone.
The Galaxy Note 5
In addition to giving the Note a more premium design, Samsung has also made some improvements to the S Pen. You can now gently press the top to take it out of its holster, which makes it easier to grab (previously you had to dig under the groove of the top of the pen to slide it out).
The S Pen is getting a few new features too: You can now jot down memos even when the screen is off, and the phone saves these notes to Samsung’s S Memo app.
Air Command, which pulls up menu wheel of things you can do with the S Pen when you click the stylus’ button, also now includes shortcuts to apps you’ve recently used. Samsung also claims that the S Pen feels more natural and fluid. You can now write on PDFs more easily, for example, and you can take a screenshot of an entire webpage or document rather than just a portion with a new feature called Scroll Capture.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is gorgeous, light, and thin. Samsung has added more functionality to the Edge, too, such as the ability to store app shortcuts on the edge panel. On the Galaxy S6 Edge, you can only add shortcuts to people you contact most frequently.
You can also move the edge handler around the screen on the Edge+, since it’s larger than its predecessor.
During my limited demo with both phones, they both worked well and performed smoothly. The Note 5 felt noticeably heavier than the Galaxy S6 Edge+, but overall it’s a big improvement in terms of design from the Galaxy Note 4.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is a beautiful larger-screened phone. But if Samsung decides to price it at $US100 higher than the Note 5 — as it has done with the standard Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S6 — it’s unclear if the curved screen will be worth the extra cash.