Alongside the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung also introduced a new addition to the Galaxy S6 family. Call it a crossover Galaxy S/Note hybrid, but the S6 edge+ is the first flagship phablet from Samsung that isn’t a Galaxy Note.
Samsung may have made a misstep with its estimates for demand of the S6 edge earlier this year, making far less of the dual-curved variant of the flagship S6. This time, it’s making sure every bit of the premium smartphone market is addressed. Despite Samsung’s penchant of producing a device at every price point, there was one area that it surprisingly did not address: a premium phablet that doesn’t have a stylus. Why didn’t it offer a premium phablet without an S Pen?
That has now been addressed. The S6 edge+ may share the same Galaxy S6 moniker, but its target market is slightly different. Offering a large-screen experience without S Pen software and the beautiful dual-curved screen, Samsung is making sure the S6 edge+ is a strong alternative to the Galaxy Note 5 – and a compelling competitor to the iPhone 6 Plus.
Samsung made sure there isn’t anything different between its two new flagship phablets. Internally, both the S6 edge+ and Note 5 are startlingly similar. Both have an Exynos octa-core chipset, 4GB of RAM, 16MP + 5MP camera sensors, 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, and 3,000mAh non-removable batteries with Fast Charge. Really, the only difference between the two is the S Pen. That way, you won’t be getting a “lower-end” version if you opted for either the Note 5 or S6 edge+.
That said, the software experience is vastly different. Where the Note 5 focused on productivity features focused on the S Pen, the S6 edge+ went about enhancing the Edge UX. One of the biggest shortcomings from the Galaxy S6 edge was with the limited functionality of the Edge Screen, which was simply a shortcut to five favourite contacts. Samsung has moved quickly to remedy this, reintroducing Quick Access app shortcuts from the original Galaxy Note Edge and baking it seamlessly into the S6 edge+.
The Edge Screen now has two screens: one for your five favourite contacts, and another for app shortcuts. Users can easily customise what shortcuts appear here, drastically adding more feasible use for this feature. The Edge Screen shortcut, previously accessible on just the Home and lock screens, is now able to be used in any screen – even within apps. And, with the larger display in mind, you can now adjust the position of the Edge Handler (the little area where you swipe to open Edge Screen shortcuts) to anywhere along the sides of the curved screen.
As for People Edge, Samsung has also moved to add more functions to this rather than making it a shortcut. With the new People Edge, you can now “send emotions” to your favourite contacts. You can send handwritten notes, emoticons or even “poke” your favourite contact. Remember those gimmicky things you could do on the Apple Watch, like sending heartbeats or scribbles to another Apple Watch user? Well, here’s the large screen version of it.
That said, it is more likely that someone would want the S6 edge+ for its design more than anything else. Like the S6 edge, the larger version is unlike anything else in the market, which adds a uniqueness that not many can say for a Samsung phone. And, with the larger size, it is also easier to hold than the S6 edge.
Samsung is also introducing new colourways to complement the sexy new universal design language on its new products. While we were only shown the black version of the S6 edge+, internal briefing documents also revealed a handsome metallic silver version, while pink was also said to be in the works.
What’s crucial, however, is how Samsung chooses to price its new curved screen smartphone. Should it maintain the premium price point to complement the unique design and features, or would it buckle to the trend of lower-priced competitors? The Note 5 should have it easier given its established fan base, but the S6 edge+ would be a tougher challenge for Samsung.