As anticipated, Samsung dropped two new handsets on our heads at today's Unpacked event in New York. The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus boast a lot more common features than differences, starting with their sharp, 5.7-inch Quad HD displays.
The internals are also pretty tough to distinguish, with both phones sporting octa-core Exynos 7420 processors, 4 GB RAM and 32- or 64-GB of storage. All of this makes for some extremely zippy performance in the limited trials I was able to put the phone through in my short time with it.
What immediately sets the two Galaxies apart are some key pieces of design language. As keener observers have no doubt already gathered from the name, the S6 Edge Plus sports display that curves on one side, allowing for improved viewing angles and curve-specific features like Apps for Edge, which utilize the side real estate to display bits of info like contacts.
The flat-screen Note 5, on the other hand, saves all of its curving for the glass-backed rear. Both phones are remarkably easy to hold for 5.7-inch phablets. Samsung's really done a make-the-most-of-the-footprint on both phones, and a few well-placed curves save the phones from being downright unwieldy – particularly in the case of the Note, where the convex backing conforms nicely to the hands.
Galaxy S6 owners will recognize many of the design elements here (and iPhone 6 owners might spot a familiar note or two), including the glass backing and metal frame. As with its smaller sibling, the Note 5 and Edge Plus are extremely well-crafted devices with a premium feel. The days of plasticky flagship seem to be little more than a relic of Samsung's past.
There are some other nice touches here and there, such as the easily removed S-Pen, which pops out with a press. Both devices are avaiable for preorder today and will start shipping on Aug. 21. Samsung Pay is expected to roll out roughly a month later on Sept. 21.