After lower than expected sales with its hero Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge smartphones, Samsung is now rolling out the big guns with the larger and more powerful Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5.
They are both on sale now.
Both devices have upped the ante with larger 5.7-inch quad HD Super AMOLED screens, more features and faster processors.
In a smartphone market that’s getting more sophisticated by the minute, these new Samsung devices are suited to power users, customers who consume a lot of content on the move and anyone who wants to take excellent images through the included 16-megapixel rear camera and the front-facing 5-megapixel camera.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 have graceful curves blended into their designs – on the screen with the S6 edge+ and on the back panel with the Note5.
The Note5 has a flat screen and the S6 edge+ has a flat back panel.
Made of glass and metal, these new devices have a nice weight to them with a build quality that gives them a premium look and feel.
With a curved back panel, the Note5 sits even more comfortably in your hand.
The S6 edge+ on the other hand, with its flat back panel and thin edge, sits less comfortably in your palm.
We found the thin edge and curved screen also made it more likely that we would unlock the device and interfere with the screen when we didn’t want to.
The curved S6 edge+ screen does give the impression of an edgeless display.
It also puts shortcuts to your five favourite contacts and your five favourite apps literally at your fingertips on that screen edge.
The Note5 also has the S Pen neatly tucked away on the right side of the bottom edge and it can be popped out and be ready to write on the screen, even when the device is locked.
This was particularly handy when you need to take down something fast.
It has impressive responsiveness and it feels no different to writing with a real pen on a piece of paper.
The S Pen also allows users to create memos on the go, draw and paint and even use it as a clipping tool for images.
We were also able to sign and save a PDF with the S Pen and send it via email all within the device instead of having to print out the document, signing it and scanning it again.
The most obvious features of the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Note5 are their screens. Samsung has always delivered dazzling displays on their smartphones and these are no exception.
This time though, Samsung has gone a step further with quad HD 2560 x 1440 resolution and the added clarity is noticeable not just for images and videos but also with fonts when reading websites, documents and e-books.
Another standout feature on both devices is the 16-megapixel camera which includes super fast auto focus and OIS (optical image stabilisation) to ensure sharp videos and shake free videos each time.
The pictures we took with the new Samsung smartphones were brilliant with the onboard sensor providing accurate and warm colours.
Even in low light, we couldn’t fault the camera with every bit of light extracted and illuminating the image.
SideSync was one of our favourite features and it allowed us to connect the phones to our PC or Mac or to a tablet and swap files between the products.
During our review we had SideSync working on a PC with the Note5 in the other room being charged and we received a call.
Instead of having to run into the other room to retrieve the smartphone, we were able to answer the call on the PC. Same thing goes for text messages.
We found the fingerprint reader had also been improved and not it all you had to do was have your finger on the home button instead of having to run your finger precisely over the centre on previous Samsung devices.
We turned this feature off on those earlier smartphones but were happy to keep using it with the Note5 and S6 edge+.
These devices will also be compatible with Samsung Pay – which is definitely coming to Australia – but we couldn’t test this payment system.
When it does arrive we’ll be able to incorporate our credit cards and shuffle between them if we needed to. The actual credit cards could be left at home.
If these devices had a middle name it would be power.
Between the octa-core processor and the 4GB RAM the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note5 are not going to leave you wondering.
They are fast whether it’s opening apps, switching between apps or opening the camera.
That added RAM means you can have multiple apps open at once and even run two side by side.
Each Samsung smartphone has a 3000mAh battery and we had easily a full day and almost a day and half between charges. We found turning down the screen brightness also helped extend the battery life significantly.
There’s also a power saving mode as well so it will put the devices almost into hibernation and only allow the bare essential features to save power.
On the charging side, you’re fully powered up in just 90 minutes.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
Samsung has decided not include expandable memory on the Gear S6 edge+ and the Note5 and onboard memory is either 32GB or 64GB.
This is a big mistake in our books.
Like we said when the S6 and S6 edge were released (also without expandable memory), the more these devices can be different to an iPhone the better.
One of the reasons why customers are attracted to Samsung smartphones is because they are not an iPhone.
But now Samsung has taken away that point of difference and it could be a costly decision.
Samsung has certainly delivered two exceptional devices in the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5.
No matter what type of customer you are – a power user, content consumer or an artist – the user experience is excellent.
And that experience is backed by top shelf features including an amazing screen, a sensational camera and great performance.
Samsung Galaxy Note5 32GB – $1099 available in Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum.
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ – $1,199 (32GB) and $1,299 (64GB) available in Black Sapphire and White Pearl.