New Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and a Note 5 To Go On Sale In OZ Soon
At an Unpack event in New York overnight Samsung has launched a brand new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and a Note 5 that include new software developed by Samsung.
The Korean Company who is under pressure from Apple who will reveal a new iPhone in September is betting on getting tens of thousands of Australians who own a Note 4 to step up to the new device.
Samsung Australia plans to hold a media event on September 18th in Australia.
A Company executive said “Following the global announcement, we look forward to launching the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5 in Australia soon” In the UK the Note 5 is being held back.
The upgrades that Samsung have revealed while delivering significant hardware overhauls also deliver a number of new software capabilities.
The S6 Edge+, which is expected to be available with carriers and selected retailers on September 4, has a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display and the same curved glass design that debuted with the S6 Edge. Samsung and carriers are tipped to start taking pre-orders between August 18 and the 24th of said sources.
The phone features a new aluminium frame, which Samsung claims is 1.7 times stronger and 1.3 times more scratch-resistant than its predecessor, and a super-slim bezel, which means that the overall device is narrower than some smartphones with 5.5-inch displays.
With research showing that consumers in Australia are turning to video due to carriers offering more data bandwidth Samsung has positioned the new S6 Edge+ as a multimedia device, and has introduced several new video features such as steady video recording with face recognition on the front-facing camera, for smoother selfie-videos, and native live broadcasting supported by YouTube.
It has also added new video editing options, such as “collage mode”, which allows users to film several videos and have them playing back side-by-side in a collage, and series mode, which allows you to cut together several video clips into a continuous film.
Audio quality has also been improved, with the addition of a ultra-high-quality (UHQ) Upscaler, so the ordinary MP3s on your phone can be upscaled to 24-bit 192kHz sound, and a dedicated clock to minimise sound distortion and noise.
Shortly before the announcement LG announced 24bit streaming for their G4 smartphone.
As part of their software upgrade program Samsung has developed its own UHQ Bluetooth codec, so users can stream music from their S6 Edge+ smartphone to a Samsung Galaxy Pro headset or speaker via Bluetooth, and still experience premium quality sound.
In terms of the core specs, the S6 Edge+ is not hugely different from its predecessor. It has the same processor as the S6 Edge, the octa-core Exynos 7, and the same camera combination (16MP on the back and 5MP on the front). It also features Samsung’s “defence-grade” security platform, Knox.
Samsung has improved its wireless charging technology, so despite having a bigger battery than the S6 Edge (3000mAh compared to 2600mAh), the S6 Edge+ takes one hour less to charge wirelessly. Wired charging takes 5 minutes longer than on the S6 Edge.
The S6 Edge+ also comes preloaded with SideSync 4.0 which allows users to sync their smartphone with their PC over Wi-Fi and easily move images and files between devices by dragging and dropping. They can even manage incoming text messages and phone calls from their PC.
As well as the “People Edge”, that was introduced with the Galaxy S6 Edge and allows people to quickly call, text or email their most frequent contacts, Samsung has added an Apps Edge that allows them to quickly access their favourite applications.
The People Edge has also been enhanced, so users can now send pokes, pictures and emoticons to their top contacts as well as calls, texts and emails.
The Galaxy Note 5,
Apart from having a flat screen and a stylus that pops out of the bottom, the only real difference is that the Note 5 is ever so slightly bigger and heavier (153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm, and 171g).
The mid-August launch puts Samsung’s new smartphones on the market ahead of arch-rival Apple’s next iPhones.
The US Company is reportedly preparing for its largest initial production run for new phones so far by the end of the year.
While the Note 5’s screen size stays the same at 5.7 inch, but it gets slightly skinnier than the Note 4.
Both phones get their RAM upgraded to 4GB, up from 3GB. The Edge+’s application processor stays the same with Samsung’s internally-developed 64-bit, quad-core Exynos 7420 built on a 14-nanometer node. The Note 5 gets a processor upgrade with the Exynos 7420 from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor found in the Note 4 (or the Exynos 5433 found in Korea version of the Note 4).
The Edge+ packs a larger battery of 3,000 mille-ampere hour, over the Edge’s 2,600 mAh. The Note 5, however, gets a battery downgrade, going from 3,220 mAh in the Note 4 to 3,000 mAh in the Note 5.
The Note 5 uses higher-quality materials. Instead of a plastic back, it’s now glass. This is bad news for Samsung consumers who liked the removable back that allowed them to switch out the battery or expand their phone’s storage capabilities.
Similar to the S6 Edge, the Edge+ packs a 16-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel on the front.
But some of the more important changes are coming in software.
A new feature called App Edge gives users quicker access to their favourite apps from any screen on the Edge+. The menu can appear anywhere the user decides to place it along the side of the Edge+. It works similar to the People Edge feature on the Edge, where users can get quick access to their top five contacts. This makes it so the user doesn’t constantly have to be pulling up the home screen to get to their favourite app.
The Note 5’s S Pen stylus gets a little more useful. Without even having to wake up the screen, users can start writing on the Note 5 and take notes like on a piece of paper. The S Pen’s air command features have been improved. Air commands lets users hover the S Pen over the screen and a menu pops up. In the new version, users can add their favourite S Pen apps. The S Pen’s performance has also been boosted with decreased latency between when the screen is touched and when the markings start showing up on the screen.
The new devices also improve Samsung’s SideSync, which syncs a user’s phone together with a PC or TV. The 4.0 version makes it easier to connect. As soon as a user gets home, their phone starts syncing up with their computer if they’re on the same network. SideSync will allow users to do anything they want on their phone directly on their computer (respond to texts, take phone calls), as well as drag and drop files from either the PC or the phone. The software will also be available on the Mac soon.
The two phones also give users the ability to scroll capture the images on their screen. That means users can grab and save a long web page from top to bottom in case they want to save it for later. This could be useful if the user wants to save directions to go somewhere for later when they might not have a data connection.
Samsung is putting more effort into kick starting Samsung Pay, its effort in the mobile wallet space.
Right now, it’s being piloted in the South Korea and it plans to launch in the U.S. in September.
Currently Samsung Australia executives are talking to financial institutions and retailers about a Samsung Pay system in OZ.
Samsung’s devices use both MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies, so users don’t have to wait until stores roll out NFC-enabled point of sale terminals to pay for goods with their phones. For Apple Pay, users have to wait for this roll out.
Finally, perhaps one of the quirkiest new software features on the two new phones is the ability to live broadcast video directly to YouTube. In both phones’ camera app, there’s a live broadcast mode where users will be able to immediately start broadcasting. “The benefit of that is that it’s accessible to any platform,” said Drew Blackard, director of product marketing at Samsung. “Users can play it back on a phone, laptop, TV, anyone with access to YouTube.”
While the big standouts will be some of the software improvements, it makes sense Samsung is focusing on hardware updates for its S6 Edge device and not the S6. Although sales figures weren’t released for either phone, Samsung apparently didn’t anticipate how much demand there would be for the S6 Edge. Consumers had been wanting to buy the Edge, but they were not always finding it in stock.
“Samsung recognizes that the curved screen on the Edge is a differentiator for them,” said Charles Golvin, founder of Abelian Research. “It’s different from the iPhone. It has unique functionality.”
But will this be enough? Even though Samsung is trying to get ahead of Apple in the competitive launch cycle, the iPhone 6’s larger screens really hit Samsung’s advantage in the premium smartphone market.
“Samsung is putting effort into software to extend their differentiation in other ways,” said Golvin. “They’re continuing to iterate and fine tune. But it doesn’t make a big difference. There’s not a lot to differentiate these devices these days.”