Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Interface and functionality
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge packs a lot of tricks up its sleeve – tricks the Note 4 will learn, we hope.
TouchWiz – Samsung's custom user interface – has evolved quite a bit over the years, and on the Galaxy S6 edge, it comes in its latest, most refined form ever. Gone is the gimmicky and laggy Android layer we once knew. Powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 edge is simple and functional, focused on features that make sense, all while leaving the gimmicks in the options menu, just in case you feel like scrolling down a web page by tilting the handset.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which has already been treated to its Android 5.0 update, seems to be running a TouchWiz version that's similar to what we see on the S6 edge. It's missing quite a few bits found on the newer TouchWiz release, however, and we're not talking only about the performance improvements it brings along.
For example, one cool perk you'll find on the Galaxy S6 edge is its native support for themes. These let you give an entirely new look to the phone's interface – you may make it cute and colorful or professional and minimalist, whatever your heart desires. Themes can be downloaded for free from Samsung's catalog.
Another standout feature exclusive to the Galaxy S6 edge (and its flatter counterpart, the Galaxy S6) is the new Samsung Pay mobile payment system. Once launched, the service will let you use the Galaxy S6 edge instead of a Master Card of Visa card at major retailers. At this time, we can't promise that Apple Pay is coming to the Note 4 anytime soon.
On the Galaxy Note 4, a double press of the home button enables S Voice, which is Samsung's alternative to Siri. In TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 edge, however, Samsung has assigned a new, much more useful shortcut to the phone's home button – a double press takes you to the phone's camera in no time, even when the phone is locked.
In addition, we have to highlight the set of features that take advantage of the Galaxy S6 edge's curved display. One of them is the option to view notifications, news, stock prices and more when the phone is in stand-by – that is done with a simple swipe of the curve which enables this info ticker without turning on the entire screen. Besides that, the dual-curved edges provide us with instant access to People Edge – a small ribbon that offers us access to up to five favorite contacts. From the lock screen, the convenience factor is there because it's accessible at a moment's notice. However, if you opt to have a security lock of some kind, the feature might not be available – that's unless you enable the lock screen to show all notifications. Furthermore, something pretty cool happens when one of your favorite contacts gives yo a call. If your S6 edge is laying flat with its screen down, the edge will be illuminated in the respective contact's color, thus acting as a notification light by illuminating the underlying surface. The effect is subtle, but it is there.
The Galaxy Note 4's S Pen is something you won't find on the Galaxy S6 edge, As we mentioned earlier, it is a digital stylus made for taking hand-written notes and drawing, but it can be used for UI navigation, text input, or cropping areas of the screen and saving them as notes. It's a cool perk, and we'd not complain about having it, but it isn't something many would be using on a daily basis.
On both the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy Note 4 we have Samsung's health and fitness monitoring tool known as S Health. The former ships with a newer version of the app, however. The most striking difference is that the new S Health has been significantly simplified. Its UI gives you all your essential data at a glance, and getting to handy features like the pedometer, the heart rate monitor, or the UV light sensor, is more intuitive than before. Speaking of which, both phones have their heart rate and UV light sensors placed on the back, next to the camera lens. One inconvenience remains, however. In order to measure your pulse, you're required to pause your exercise routine and stand still while the phones' sensor does the measurements.
The on-screen keyboard is one of the UI elements that hasn't really changed with the Galaxy S6 edge's introduction. Practically, it is identical to the one on the Galaxy Note 4, which actually isn't a bad thing. It is spacious, accurate, and the extra row of numbers at the top comes in handy often. Both keyboards support the swipe input method, which is disabled by default. Typing with two thumbs is more comfortable on the Note 4 as its screen is wider, but the Galaxy S6 edge is more than adequate for the purpose as well.
Processor and memory
The two performance powerhouses handle anything with ease, although the Galaxy S6 edge is undoubtedly more future-proof.
Hardware-wise, saying that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is powerful would be an understatement. With the new 64-bit Exynos 7420 SoC ticking inside of it, Samsung's flagship is the new Android smartphone to beat, judging by the tests and comparisons we've performed between it and other Androids. At the same time, the chip's industry-leading 14nm manufacturing process ensures low power consumption and efficiency. Data crunching is performed by an octa-core CPU configuration featuring four high-performance 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 cores and four energy-saving Cortex-A53 cores running at up to 1.5GHz. Graphics are handled by a Mali-T760 MP8 GPU with a 772MHz top clock speed.
With its quad-core, 32-bit Snapdragon 805 SoC, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is no slouch either, although it scores lower on synthetic benchmarks compared to the S6 edge's Exyons chip. This is valid for both single- and multi-core benchmarks, as well as for GPU-intensive tasks. Specs-wise, the silicon features a quad-core Krait 450 CPU cluster with a 2.7GHz top clock speed and an Adreno 420 GPU running at up to 600MHz. Furthermore, the Snapdragon 805 is built on the older and less power efficiend 28nm manufacturing process. We must note that a Galaxy Note 4 model with an Exynos 5433 SoC is also available in select markets, yet its performance is comparable to that of a Snapdragon-powered Note 4.
We must point out that both smartphones pack 3GB of RAM, which is plentiful by today's standards. However, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge relies on DDR4 technology, while the Note 4 has a DDR3 RAM chip. In plain words, DDR4 is both faster and more energy-efficient than its predecessor, which is a welcome improvement.
Some will surely be disappointed to know that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge does not offer a microSD card slot for storage expansion, unlike the Galaxy Note 4 and every other Galaxy S flagship before it. What the phone does, offer, on the other hand, is dramatically increased read/write performance of its built-in storage thanks to UFS 2.0 technology. Compared to the Note 4, the Galaxy S6 edge is two times faster at reading data from its on-board storage, and four times faster at writing it. And faster storage speeds translate to better real-world performance in a number of cases.
To compensate for the lack of expandable storage, Samsung will be offering the Galaxy S6 edge with up to 128GB of storage, although you may choose to stick with 64 of 32 gigabytes of the stuff and save a few bucks along the way. The Galaxy Note 4, which comes with 32GB built-in as standard, will accept microSD cards of up to 128GB in size and probably beyond.
Internet and connectivity
Flawless performance, no complaints here. With its large display, however, the Note 4 is definitely better prepared for web surfing.
There are two web browsers pre-loaded on both the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and the Galaxy Note 4. One of them is Samsung's own solution, labeled simply as Internet. Multiple tabs, incognito mode, and other essential browser features are on board, along with a navigation strip on the bottom which you may or may not like. Bookmarks are synchronized with your Samsung account, in case you happen to have one. The browser also has this cool feature called Reader mode, which strips a web page of all unnecessary content, leaving only the body of an article for easy reading.
Alternatively, you may use Google's Chrome, which is no less powerful of a browser. It lets you access tabs you have opened on other devices, and the app's built-in data compression feature may save you a significant amount of data when browsing on a 3G/4G connection. Moreover, your browsing data, bookmarks, and history are saved in your Google account, which you're more likely to have.
Whichever of these two browser you pick, chances are you won't be disappointed by their performance. Both run without any issues on the Galaxy S6 edge and on the Galaxy Note 4. Yet the latter phone is more convenient for web browsing, of course, thanks to its larger display.