Samsung has upped the ante in the smartphone market with the launch of its two most powerful devices ever – the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5 – which were unveiled at a global launch in New York City.
Each device, expected to be released in Australia before the end of August, is as much about design as it about power and functionality.
The timing of the event held at the Lincoln Center was also significant for Samsung as it gets in ahead of a rumoured Apple event on September 9 which will see the introduction of the new iPhones.
The Galaxy Note smartphones in previous years were revealed at the annual IFA tech show in Berlin. This year, IFA kicks off on September 4 which would have placed the launch too close to Apple’s event.
Both the the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 have a stunning 5.7-inch quad HD Super AMOLED screen. They have a pixel density of 518ppi (pixels per inch).
Both edges of the Galaxy S6 edge+ are curved like the smaller S6 edge which was unveiled earlier this year.
The Note5 has a regular screen but you will still find some curves. Both edges of the back panel reflect what Samsung has done with the S6 edge+ screen.
The result is a thinner device that, thanks to these curves, is a lot easier to hold and use with one hand.
The Note5 also adds its signature S Pen – now in its fifth generation – for smooth and instantly responsive writing on the screen and multi-tasking features that will please the power user.
The S Pen can be ejected from the bottom of the Note 5 and conveniently stored there again when you’re done writing.
But not only are the devices beautiful on the outside, they are also powerful on the inside and boast computer-level power thanks to the 64-bit octa-core 14nm processor which is comprised of a 2.1Ghz and 1.5Ghz quad core processors.
And there’s also 4GB RAM under the hood making the new Samsung products among the most powerful devices in the smartphone market.
Running the latest Android 5.1 operating system, they are designed for users who demand a lot from their products whether it’s playing sophisticated graphics-intensive game, enjoying a multimedia experience on the move or desktop-strength multitasking.
The dual curved edges of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ screen can be utilised as a short cut to your favourite five contacts and your favourite five apps.
And when it’s locked, the edge+ screen’s curved edge can still display the time, your notifications and the latest news headlines.
The Note5 S Pen is more versatile then ever with a new and enhanced Air Command – a short cut ring that appears on the screen to allow users to quickly jot down a note, write on a screen shot and select part of a website.
Now users can also annotate a PDF document with the S Pen as well as add their signature before saving it and sending it as an email attachment.
Another new S Pen writing feature is Screen Off Memo which means users can instantly write directly on the Note5 screen even if the device is locked.
It also captures a screen shot of an entire website with the new Scroll Capture feature instead of taking multiple screen shots to achieve the same thing.
On the camera side, both devices have 16-megapixel cameras with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and Auto Real-Time High Dynamic Range (HDR). It also has a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
And the camera can be launched in just 0.6 seconds with the Quick launch feature – a double tap of the home button – so it’s ready to take that picture right away.
The devices can also shoot 4K video and broadcast a live full high definition video stream to an individual or group or to the public through YouTube.
Anyone who receives the link to your live broadcast can view it on any PC or mobile device with a link to YouTube.
Also onboard the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 is embedded wireless charging technology which is compatible with any of the popular charging pads available today.
With wired charging, the devices can still be fully charged within 90 minutes and wirelessly in 120 minutes.
The new Samsung smartphones also support the latest version of SideSync which makes it possible for the device to be linked to a PC or tablet to access files, data and apps across these products.
If the smartphone is being charged in another room and you receive a call, SideSync will direct that call to the connected PC or tablet where you are in the house.
Also unveiled along with the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5 was Samsung Pay – a safe and accessible mobile payment system.
And the difference with Samsung Pay compared to other similar services is that it will work not only with NFC (near field communications) terminals but also the more common MST (magnetic secure transmission) terminals which are still in use in up to 90 per cent of stores.
Samsung Pay is also secured with a pin or your fingerprint credit card information protected by a single use ID at the time of transaction.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 are sealed devices – like the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, and do not have a removable battery or a microSD card slot to expand the memory.
There are two memory options – 32GB or 64GB and they devices will be offered in four colours – White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung