Samsung Galaxy Note5 And Galaxy S6 Edge+ Review: More Of A Good Thing

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Design and Build Quality

At roughly 5.5 to 6 ounces (Edge+ and Note5 respectively), both of these smartphones carry a bit of extra weight and girth but compared to 6-inch devices like the Google Nexus 6, they're fairly balanced and mostly manageable. For the ladies and those with smaller hands, they may take a bit of getting used to but once you've stepped into the 5.5 to 5.7-inch smartphone realm, there's almost no going back. The only phone that perhaps feels a bit more efficient in the hand for its screen size, would be LG's G4, though that device sports a 5.5-inch display. LG did figure out a way to absolutely minimize bezel with the G4 but its build quality pales in comparison to these to Samsung phones. For another reference point, the iPhone 6 Plus is .28 inches thick, while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note5 are .27 and .3 inches thick respectively. However, the iPhone 6 Plus is also almost a full quarter inch taller.
Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge

Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Topt back

"Premium," there's no other word more fitting to describe the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5. For so long Samsung was chastised for building capable, powerful handsets with all the latest technologies and features, only to fall short in the build quality area versus its primary rival, Apple. No more can that be said, however. Samsung may have, in fact, one-upped Apple even, on this 5.7-inch platform iteration and also with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as well. These phones are gorgeous, they feel great and are very durable. The only knock Android enthusiasts might have against them is the fact that the back of these phones are not removable and as such their batteries are not user-serviceable. In addition, though you can see their SIM card trays here in the above shot, what you won't find is an SD memory card slot for additional expansion. Especially with 3000 mAh batteries on board, we can easily look past the former issue. The latter lack of expansion, well, that depends on your needs. Most, except for true power users, won't likely miss this either.

Galaxy S6 Edge bottom
Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge cameras

The back side of the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ is an all glass, premium, high gloss affair. The Edge+ unit we received (left) is Samsung's gold platinum color and the Note5 here is black sapphire (we'd call it midnight blue). These phones feel great in the hand, though a little slick, perhaps but with mechanical design aspects that make them easier to grip and hold on to. The Edge+ has its dual curved glass front edges that allow your fingers to wrap more easily around the front of the device and also present a nice roll-in effect when swiping from the left or right edges of the display. The Note5 doesn't have a curved front display obviously but, unlike the flat edges of the back of the Edge+, the Note5 has a slightly beveled back casing design that allows you to cradle the phone in your hand a little better as well. It's a really good compromise actually, for a larger device like this and it adds a little flair to the Note5's otherwise straight-forward design cues.
Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge front display
One word of caution though on the Note5’s pen stylus. There is a reported design flaw (if you want to call it that) that is very real. If you insert the pen incorrectly and push it in backwards (which slips in just as easy as putting it in correctly), it can not only get very stuck inside the pen silo but removing it causes the Note5's pen detection mechanism to break permanently because the top of the pen catches on the sensor inside. It’s not good at all and Samsung really should have caught this issue before release, though they do warn you about the issue in their user manual. It's up for debate whether or not Samsung should be "given a pass" on this issue. Even though it's very avoidable, if you're unaware of it, it's also too easy to make the mistake as well. We'll let you decide but for now, it is what it is.

But back to the highlights (which keep coming). The real stars of the show here are the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED displays that Samsung built into both the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note5. These panels are super bright at over 500 nits and with over-the-top saturation. Really, in terms of smartphone display technology on the market today, you can’t beat Samsung AMOLED. Both the GS6 Edge+ and Note5 have QHD displays with native resolutions of 2560X1440 and a 518 pixels per inch density. Everything just pops on these devices and the Edge Plus' display has that extra bit of sexy flair with its dual curved edges. Really, a smartphone is so heavily weighted in terms of quality by its display, that this one aspect alone of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Note5 make them worthy of consideration. They also happen to be relatively easy on battery life, especially considering the size of the panels, but we'll delve into that a bit later as well.

Finally, we're not sure why but the Galaxy S6 Edge+ appears to give the illusion of slightly better viewing angles. Perhaps it's the curved display edges that are playing tricks on our eyes or the slightly more shrouded display, with very thin bezel, that keeps the Note5 ever so slightly less visible, but side-by-side, there appears to be a slight edge for the Edge+. Regardless, the Note5's screen is still top-notch, no question about it.

Suffice it to say that whether indoors or in dimly lit areas or outside in broad daylight, display quality is a strong suit for either of these flagship Samsung phones.

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