The smartphone market was always destined to be incredibly competitive, but in recent years that competition has intensified exponentially. HTC, for example, one of the leading companies in 2011 sold more handsets than Samsung. However, this week the Taiwanese company’s shares dropped so sharply that the money the company has in the bank is greater than the value of the shares on the stock market. Intense competition and an abundance of choice have caused a number of manufacturers to suffer as a result.
Samsung created a whole new "phablet" market when it launched its Note series at IFA Berlin in 2011. Many questioned its enormous 5.1 inch screen especially when the average for that year across the industry was just 2.4 inches. However, the likes of HTC, Apple and LG have all since joined the bandwagon and launched their own phablet ranges. So in August 2015, Samsung have launched their latest additions to the phablet market: the Galaxy S6+, S6 Edge+ and Note 5.
The Samsung launch event in New York on Thursday 13th of August saw the company unveil its latest additions to the smartphone family. Normally Apple and Samsung release their phones at the same IFA Berlin event in September. But amidst all the turbulence Apple has been experiencing since launching its own phablet, Samsung looks to have wanted to get ahead of the competition.
The South Korean technology giant needs to improve sales figures if it's to remain competitive with its American rival, Apple. Within the past 12 months Apple have released their largest handsets to date, consisting of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus along with its automated paying service ‘Tap-to-pay”.
J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of IT and mobile communications stated, “Today the journey continues in the large screen category that Samsung created.”
The showstopper had to be the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. The standard sized S6 Edge has been praised by critics and customers alike for being the most futuristic phone of the year, but a larger version was desired to compete with the iPhone 6 Plus. The curved “dual edge” screen sets the phone apart from any other competitor, whose ingenious design utilises the edges for displaying contacts and other content. However, it's worth mentioning that the only differences between the original Galaxy S6 Edge and the plus size version is that it contains 1GB more RAM, the battery is 3000mAh (vs 2600mAh) and of course is slightly larger (5.7" vs 5.1"screen).
Samsung also announced the launch of its ‘Samsung Pay’ service that would begin its launch in South Korea on August 20th and then in the USA on September 28th. Don’t worry though, as the company also mentioned that it would be launching in the UK, Spain and China with partners (who it plans to mention closer to their individual launch dates). This new service allows you to pay at a checkout with your phone, and all you need to authorise the payment is your fingerprint on the phone's button.
Besides the additional services, Samsung have honed in on customer complaints and finally made the Note 5 feel like the premium phone that it is. With a host of extra features, the phone is more than just a cosmetic makeover from the previous model. Features such as being able to take out the pen and simply begin writing on the black screen make note taking instant and incredibly practical.
In my opinion, I believe the most useful thing Samsung have implemented is the seamless Smart Switch transfer feature where you can migrate all the information from Apple products to Samsung. The tech giant has bridged the gap and now made it possible for you to transfer all your content from iCloud, iTunes and an iOS device if you happen to be looking to upgrade from Apple to Samsung.
Nobody expected the Note 5 to have any curves like the S6 Edge +, but Samsung have added a curve to the back of the Note 5. Try to imagine flipping the S6 Edge so the curves are on the underside; this is what you will feel when you hold the Note 5, making it much easier to handle. Plus it’s a great way to reduce manufacturing costs whilst improving the feel of two phones for the price of one.
The Note 5 also boasts an incredibly thin bezel of only 1mm, meaning the screen is larger than the previous model, but the overall phone is 3mm smaller compared to the Note 4.
The S6 Edge+, for the most part, feels the same as the standard S6 Edge. The only noticeable difference is that the phone is a bit bigger to grip which may require you to use both hands more often (depending on the size of your hands, of course).
The biggest gripe which Note range buyers are complaining about seems to revolve around a couple of the more fundamental changes which Samsung has made with its new Note 5. You can no longer remove the battery or add additional storage with an SD card. People in their millions have argued the advantages and disadvantages of this online, with long standing Samsung fans heavily debating this aspect in particular.
However, I do understand that to improve performance and decrease size, the tech giants like Apple and Samsung need to incorporate the battery and memory into the phone. Whilst it was a practical selling point to have, if Samsung buyers want to see the end of plastic, this is one of the sacrifices we must endure.
The smartest new feature that Samsung have incorporated into the Note 5 has to be the action of pulling out the Sylus-pen and simply writing on the dark screen to begin creating a note. Its quick, instant and just what someone needs to make a quick note.
A second innovative feature is the screen grab functionality, if you have a big web page you would like to screen grab, you no longer have to screenshot each section. Now you can screenshot the entire webpage by simply dragging across it, as you would if you were cropping a large image.
Tech Specs: Samsung S6 Edge+ and Note 5
Resolution: 1440x2560 pixels
Storage: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Processor : 1.5GHz
Rear Camera: 16 MP
Front Camera: 5 MP
OS: Android 5.1
Battery Capacity: 3000 mAh