Samsung’s “next big thing” comes in the form of two phablets -- the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. Internally both devices have mostly the same features ranging from their octa-core Exynos processors to built-in 16MP back cameras. Where they start to show their differences is on the outside.
The Galaxy Note 5 comes with a built-in S-Pen stylus that can be used for a number of features such as taking notes while the screen is off and navigating around the phone. If you’re looking to be a little more creative, it works well with artistic apps and such as Autodesk’s Sketchbook. It also works well in productivity apps such as Microsoft’s Excel, which often has users jumping from cell to cell.
In lieu of a stylus, the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus comes with a 5.7-inch curved display that can be used to display notifications, stock market data and other information. If you swipe left on the right edge of the display, it also is used to bring up a list of favorite contacts and apps. When the phone is placed down, the curved edge of the screen will light up when you’re receiving a call or message.
One upside with the Note 5 is the curved back design, which makes it comfortable to hold with one hand. While the S6 Edge Plus has a beautiful curved display, the side edges are much thinner and can sometimes feel like you’re playing a balancing game between holding the phone securely and navigating through the display. While it’s not a deal breaker, it is something to be aware of.
Both the Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus come packed with the same 16 MP camera that is capable of shooting 4K video. So if a camera is your top priority in shopping for a smartphone, you can go wrong with either device. Camera quality was solid both indoors and outdoors with minimal noise. The Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus also support live broadcasting at 1080p resolution through YouTube. But at the time of filming we had some trouble getting it to authenticate with Google’s servers.
Both the Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus also come packed with a 3,000 mAh battery, which generally got both devices through a work day without the need for a recharge. But should you need to top-up, a fully drained battery can be recharged in two hours using an optional wireless charging accessory or fast charged over a wired connection in 90 minutes.
The Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus will also support Samsung Pay -- the company's contactless mobile payment system -- when it officially launches on September 28 in the U.S.
Prices for the Note 5 and the S6 Edge Plus can vary by carrier. Under a two-year contract with AT&T, the 32GB Galaxy Note 5 retails at $249.99, or you can opt for a fully unlocked model at $699.99 through T-Mobile. The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus through AT&T is $299.99 with a two-year contract. A fully unlocked version is available through T-Mobile for $779.99.
Color options will option from country to country. While our review models were both Gold Platinum, the Galaxy Note 5 in the U.S. is only available in Black Sapphire and White Pearl. The S6 Edge Plus in the U.S. is available in Gold Platinum and Black Sapphire.