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

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Camera and Battery Life

Beyond the 4GB of RAM upgrade over the previous generation Note 4 and the new Galaxy S6, the new S6 Edge+ and Note5 have the same great 16MP rear-facing HD camera but these new Samsung phones reportedly add an enhanced optical image stabilization algorithm for better video shooting. Also, the still camera mode has all the tradition settings but hitting the mode button, not only offers all of the previous shot types like Selective Focus, Panorama and the Pro Camera, but you also now get a Live Broadcast mode that shoots directly to YouTube. We need to play around with this feature a bit more but it could be a welcome addition for super sharer types and users looking to shoot video and upload it on the fly. It could come in rather handy for folks like us that need to shoot impromptu interviews or event coverage.

Camera Options

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Live Streaming
Samsung's New Live Broadcast Mode - Ready To Stream To YouTube

Still image quality with the GS6 Edge + and Note5 is top notch. Again Samsung's camera sensor and software setup combination is arguably best of class currently on the market right now. Well-lit shots as well as low light shots look about as good as it gets for any flagship device these days. Colors are rich and balanced with and sharp detail, especially with HDR mode turned on. These phones are quick to focus and getting a quick very clean shot couldn’t be easier on automatic settings.

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Another nice feature is how fast the camera fires up with a double-tap of the Home button. This often overlooked feature could make the difference between getting that shot in the moment, or not.  With video, Samsung’s tweaks to the image stabilization weren’t specifically noticeable to us over the current Galaxy S6 devices but there’s no question about it, these new Samsung phones capture great video too. We should also note the GS6 Edge+ and Note5, like the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge also shoot UHD video at 3840X2160 (~4K) resolution, which is something Apple is reportedly working on with the next generation iPhone 6S. Ironically, Samsung's #NextBigThing already has that capability.

Battery Life Testing
How Long With They Last?
Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5 have 3000 mAh batteries that gave us high hopes for long battery life, and we weren't disappointed. In the following two tests we have battery life results from essentially best and worst-case scenarios.

The first test, AnTuTu's Battery Test, is a high-load benchmark that aims to drain the battery of a device as quickly as possible, setting the display brightness to high and cranking up workload for the processor, graphics core and memory.

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Among Android smartphones on the market currently, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note5 take top honors in this benchmark offering the best scores of the bunch. It's likely due to Samsung's Super AMOLED display technology coupled with their larger 3000 mAh batteries that these two new phablets can maintain uptime for so long. Again, this test cranks display brightness to 100% and you would think that would hurt the larger 5.7-inch GS6 Edge+ and Note5, but they still come out on top.

In our "best-case scenario" web browsing test, we cycle a page ever few minutes with screen brightness set to 50% and WiFi enabled. All other radios like Bluetooth, NFC and geo-location are turned off and the phones are forced to keep displays on for the entire test. Phones are then monitored for uptime duration.
 
GS6Edge Plus And Note5 Batery Life

In this test, we once again see the Samsung phones rule the roost. The only device that's actually in the hunt is the overly large (in our opinion) Google Nexus 6 with its 3220 mAh battery. However, that battery isn't enough backup to catch any of the top Samsung devices. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ came in just behind the standard Galaxy S6 Edge here, however, which leaves us a bit skeptical that perhaps its battery needed more conditioning. We may return to this page and update it with a fresh set of numbers for at least the S6 Edge+ and possibly the Note5 as well. Update 8/30/15: We re-tested both new Samsung phones and while the Note5 results didn't change, as expected the Galaxy S6 Edge+ picked up over an hour of additional up-time with some additional battery conditioning. And also, the Note5 was able to maintain over 11 hours of use in this test, which is a pretty great result for both devices.

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