Last night’s Unpacked 2015 event, Samsung’s New York showcase, lasted less than an hour if you exclude the time spent waiting for the company to get started and at the end of everything we had our first official looks at the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+.
We’ve already had a rundown of the new handsets, as well as a couple of other surprises from Unpacked, from our men on the scene but here’s just what you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.
1 We’re getting both of them this year
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be landing in South Africa in the first week of September, according to Samsung South Africa’s director of mobile Craige Fleischer, with the Note 5 showing up some time in September. This is a similar arrangement to other locations around the world, it looks like the States is the only place getting both handsets at launch. But expect to pay for them when they get here, odds are good that the Note 5 and the S6 Edge+ will cost more than their predecessors. So the S6 Edge+’s 64GB model will be more than R16,000, then?
2 They’re wielding near-identical screens
Yup. 5.7-inches, the same resolution, the only difference here is that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has added that edge to the screen. So if you’re stumped for choice you’re not going to be examining the pixel count in hopes of being swayed one way or the other – you’re going to have to find another metric. And, as you will see, that’s going to be tougher than you think.
3 The Note 5 takes its cues from the S6 (with all the joys and problems that brings)
The Galaxy Note 5 has undergone the same transformation from the Note 4 iteration as the one we saw from the S5 to the S6. So it’s all metal and glass, with lashing of premium all over the place. Great, right? Well, mostly… You see, as gorgeous as the Note 5 looks and feels, it’s lost the removable battery and microSD expansion options, two items that contributed to the Note’s popularity. Whether this will hurt sales remains to be seen. Of course the S6 Edge+ has the same issue but we were expecting that, given the design of the smaller Edge.
4 Samsung’s new phones are packing ALL the hardware…
Yeah, we knew that this was coming. Samsung have not skimped on the hardware for either of their new oversized smartphones but that does mean that you’re basing your choice of phone more on screen shape or whether you want a stylus or not than on specs. Both the Note 5 and the S6 Edge+ have 4GB of RAM (remember when that was a new thing for desktop PCs?) and Samsung’s Exynos 7420 processors in place, as well as matching 16MP cameras with OIS.
5 …which means that you’ll battle to upgrade from an S6 or S6 Edge
The larger phones feature more RAM (4GB to 3GB) compared to the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge but otherwise the hardware is close to identical. Samsung’s processor, as powerful as it is, is already in the older phones so unless you’re really keen on the Note 5’s size (and who wouldn’t be?) you don’t actually need to upgrade. Not yet anyway and we’d still hold off until some benchmarks show up to even consider it. The cameras? The same, as are most of your storage options. But if you’re still using last year’s model (any model, it doesn’t matter which one) then grabbing a Note 5 or S6 Edge+ will put you in possession of the most powerful phones on the market today.
6 We were totally wrong about the S Pen (but it has improved)
We were really hoping for that auto-eject stylus feature but it was not to be. All the speculation, leaks and hunts through old patents came to nothing but that doesn’t mean that Samsung ignored the one thing that makes the Galaxy Note 5 a member of the Galaxy Note family. The stylus has been tweaked and will now pop out at a press rather than having to be manually dragged out. It’s no magnetic solution but we’ll take it until the future presents itself more clearly.
7 It’s going to be tough to choose one of this quartet
The Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are divided only by the smallest of differences at this point. If you’ve already got one of the earlier pair, you probably shouldn’t be looking longingly in this direction. You can if you want to and we won’t judge you for it but it won’t be worth ditching the S6 or S6 Edge yet, just for the RAM boost and minor tweaks on offer. As we noted earlier though, if you’ve got anything less than the two best phones we had seen to date this year then upgrading makes sense. If you’re all about the power and don’t mind the price, that is.