Samsung today showed the world its latest two "phablet" devices, the Galaxy S6 (GS6) edge+ and the Galaxy Note5, at a press event in New York City. The curvy, sleek GS6 edge+ is an upsized evolution of the company's smaller GS6 edge, which was released in the United States last April. The stylus-equipped Note5 is the newest member of the popular Note phablet family. The Note 4 first hit the U.S. market last October.
The timing of Samsung's announcement not so coincidentally comes about a month before Apple's expected new iPhone unveil -- which should take place on or around Sept. 9 -- and the Korean electronics king is clearly hoping to divert attention from Apple.
Last week, I spent some time with both of the new Galaxy devices during a media event at New York's Soho Grand hotel. Though I didn't put the two phablets through all the paces, I had enough hands-on time to form some solid first impressions. A number of things -- some for better, some for worse -- stood out to me about the new GS6 edge+.
What you'll like about the Galaxy S6 edge+
The Galaxy S6 edge+ looks like a large GS6 edge, with one notable exception: The stainless steel bezel has a distinct ridge at its center that surrounds the device, which gives it a bit more texture and helps you grip it when it's not covered in a case. The difference is relatively minor, and most users will quickly cover their phones with a case or skin anyway, but it's hard to miss if you're familiar with the original GS6 edge. The GS6 edge+ is composed of the same contoured glass and metal, and like the GS6 edge, its big brother is great looking.
Samsung's "edge" devices get their names from the curved sides of their displays and the associated "People edge," and now "Apps edge," features. The company has expanded and enhanced that functionality by adding a new application tray that gives you quick access to your most-used apps. The original GS6 edge lets you slide a tab inward from a side to access five preset contacts, and the new GSG edge+ builds on that feature with easy access to five apps, which you access by sliding a tab from the edge inward, and then scrolling sideways, past your favorite contacts, to your app tray. The next time you slide the tab to see your the edge features, it picks up where you left off; if you used the app tray last, you'll see it first instead of the contacts.
When I reviewed the GS6 edge last spring, I wrote that the People edge was as much about aesthetics as it was functionality -- let's face it, those curved edges look slick. The addition of the App edge adds real value, because most people probably use their favorite apps more frequently than they call or text friends or colleagues.
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