Hands On With The Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note5
We just left Samsung’s Unpacked 2015 event in New York City, at which the company unveiled its latest flagship, big-screen smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note5. Immediately following the on-stage presentations and big reveals, Samsung opened up a demo area featuring the new devices and we got to spend some hands-on time with each of them. A video of both devices in action is embedded below.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ Home Screen
Before we dive into the video, we should point you all towards our existing coverage. We’ve got additional details regarding the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ available at this URL. And the Galaxy Note5 announcement is available here. To reiterate some of the details, both of these new phones feature a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD screen resolution (2560x1440), though the sides of the S6 Edge+’s display are curved. And powering the devices is the the same octal-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor that’s at the heart of the previously-released Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. These new phones, however, are packing 4GB of RAM—not 3GB like the older model—and also have LTE Cat9 support and high-speed wireless charging built-in. Samsung has also beefed up the cameras; these new devices pack the same 16MP unit from the Galaxy S6 with OIS, but an additional digital image stabilization algo which complements the optical solution to further smooth out video is included as well. The software on the new devices also allows for live-streaming to YouTube.
Save for the curved display on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and integrated S-Pen on the Note5, Samsung’s new flagships are quite similar. The top of each device is home to the SIM slot and a microphone. The right side features the power button, the left houses the volume rocker, and the bottom sports a micro-USB port (no USB-C), another microphone, a speaker grille, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Note5 also has its S-Pen slot on the bottom.
The build quality of the devices is reminiscent of the Galaxy S6 and original Edge, though Samsung claims the metal frame is more rigid. The devices exude quality when holding them in-hand; like the original S6, which was lauded for its premium feel and improved build-quality, we think these new phones clearly possess the same traits and are of superior quality than older, plastic-backed devices like the S5, S4, etc.
The better build quality and newer design language, however, means both the S6 Edge+ and Note5 are sealed and don’t have user replaceable batteries or expandable storage. We thought there was a possibility the Note5 would retain these features, but alas it is not the case. Samsung will be offering some free cloud storage which will appease some users that like having microSD card slots, but that won’t please everyone. Charging the phones fully should take only 90 minutes with a wired charger and right around 2-hours with the wireless charging base, however. Again, that may be little solace for road warriors that prefer removable batteries, but it’s something to consider.
The software on the phones has been updated with new live-streaming features integrated into the camera app, more comprehensive screen-capturing that allows for auto-stitching of extra-long screenshots, and Samsung Pay support. The Note5 also gets an updated S-Pen command center, with hovering icons, and the ability to jot notes onto the screen, even when the screen is off and the phone is locked. And the S6 Edge+ has customizable menus that can be swiped in from the sides. We didn’t have much time to dig into the software, but it’s very similar to what is offered on the current Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
We’re told the base model for both devices will feature 32GB of storage. Information on models with more internal storage wasn’t revealed and pricing wasn’t discussed either. Considering the phones go on sale next week—August 21 to be exact—we should know soon enough. Pre-orders should go live at any moment as well. We were told to expect pre-order pages to start popping up around 3PM today.
We hope to have our hands on the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note5 in the not-too-distant future for more comprehensive coverage. And be sure to check out the image gallery below for more photos and a glimpse of the Samsung Gear S2, which is slated to be revealed in Berlin on September 3.