As expected, Samsung unveiled its latest big format smartphones – Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ – at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event in New York. The two devices look to continue Samsung’s leadership in the big display segment.
According to Samsung, the big display and phablet segment is a growth market. And since the introduction of the original Note, Samsung has been a de facto leader in the category it invented.
It’s clear where Samsung is taking the big format category. At Unpacked, it clearly defined two sub-categories: the Note category and the dual-curve edge category. While both share similar styling and underpinnings, the Note distinctly comes with the S Pen stylus, and the edge boasting a unique dual-curved display.
The fifth generation Note 5 marks a huge departure from its predecessor in terms of design and material build. In fact, it’s the biggest design change in the Note product category so far. If you’ve been blown away by the design and build of the S6 and S6 edge, then you’ll love the new Note 5.
The Note 5 is unapologetically inspired by the S6, and for the first time features an all-metal body, with a curved back covered in glass. It’s both beautiful to look at and easier to hold.
While consumers want bigger displays to do more, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want a bigger phone. The Note 5 addresses this need with a roomy 5.7-inch display but yet making it smaller, thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
The Note 5 is only 7.9mm thick and weighs an impressive 169g.
The S6 edge plus on the other hand, is literally a bigger S6 edge. It’s got the same design language of the stunning S6 edge, and packs slightly better hardware.
Samsung mentioned that the foundation of the new Galaxy devices are four prong: Processor, Camera, Display and Charging technology.
As you may now, the new devices share a common platform and identical innards. The octa-core Exynos 7420 mated to a Mali-T760 GPU power the devices, bundled with a wholesome 4GB LPDDR4 RAM. It’s not exactly a new processor, having featured on the six-month old S6, but it’s still a runaway powerhouse based on benchmark scores.
The 16MP f/1.9 main shooter in the S6/S6 edge completely impressed me, and Samsung has chosen the same camera module for the new phablets. The camera comes with OIS and is capable of 4K video recording. Selfie lovers will be satisfied with the ultra-wide angle 5MP f/1.9 front shooter that also supports the much-loved ultra-wide selfie found on the Note 4 and S6.
Display expert Samsung seldom disappoints in the display department, and sure enough the 5.7-inch QHD AMOLED display is astonishingly sharp and vibrant. It pushes over 500PPI. That’s way too much your eyes can crunch, but hey, more is better right?
The other pillar is in charging technology. Samsung’s fast charging technology is impressive, losing out slightly only to OPPO’s VOOC charging in terms of raw speed. What’s even more impressive is that there’s now rapid wireless charging, giving you a full charge, wirelessly in 120 minutes. The Note 5 and S6 edge plus supports WPC and PMA wireless charging standards.
Both devices support LTE Cat.9 and will not have a removable battery or microSD expansion. Based on sources, both devices will support dual-SIM for the Malaysian market, the first time a flagship Galaxy device has departed from a single-SIM option.
Smartphone makers have mostly ignored quality audio on smartphones, aside from the purposeful Xperia range with High-Res Audio, or recently seen on the Vivo X5 Pro. Don’t forget the stunning Marshall London, too. Audiophiles should be happy that Samsung has finally done something about audio on its mobile products. Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA) technology upscales your existing low bit rate MP3s to higher quality audio. It supports up to 24bit/192kHz audio and will take high-res audio formats like FLAC.
An important aspect of smartphone use is battery life. Both the Note 5 and S6 edge plus get relatively large 3,000mAh units. The battery rating is actually smaller that the Note 4 but thanks to a more energy efficient processor, the devices should enjoy all-day battery life.
Pricing and availability
The Note 5 and S6 edge plus is available for pre-order on 21 August 2015 in US. General availability is 28 August. The two devices are expected to be revealed in the Malaysian market by end of August or before first week of September.