Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs Samsung Galaxy Note 5
With the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge's release, Samsung is coming back with a bang, realizing what it started last year to its fullest potential. The Galaxy S7 edge has several things going over its predecessor, such as subtle design enhancements, significant hardware improvements, and user-centric niceties like water resistance and expandable storage. Although it lacks groundbreaking features, such as the iPhone 6s' 3D Touch interface or the LG G5's novel modularity, the Galaxy S7 edge is among the most attractive and technologically accomplished Android smartphones to date.
So is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which not only looks and feels like a premium device should, but also sets an example for what it means to be a Swiss Army knife of a smartphone with its overwhelming feature set. In the world of Android phablets, the Galaxy Note 5 is yet to witness a true competitor, although Samsung's other choices for high-end, big screen phones – ones like the Galaxy S7 edge – are pulling the rug under the Note series' once unshakeable feet. After all, not everyone's eyeing a big screen smartphone with productivity in mind, and neither are they willing to pay a premium for the S-Pen feature set.
With all this in mind, let's compare the Galaxy S7 edge and the Galaxy Note 5's many strengths, weaknesses, similarities, and differences so you can obtain an informed perspective over these amazing Samsung smartphones. Let's dig in!
Both phablets look and feel absolutely premium, but the S7 edge is more reasonably sized and waterproof, while the Note 5 has the S-Pen stylus.
Being an iterative upgrade, the Galaxy S7 edge doesn't look much different than its predecessor, but the incremental changes have refined the design. It is still a futuristic and elegant device whose dual edge curved screen is immediately striking. Samsung actually took a cue from the Galaxy Note 5, transplanting its curved glass back onto the Galaxy S7 edge. Thus, the back of the handset isn't flat like the S6 edge and it feels better in the palm. The Note 5 is also a sight to behold with its smooth glass back and carefully sculpted metal frame, but it goes for a comparatively conventional look. Alas, both devices are utter fingerprint magnets with their glassy bodies, needing a thorough wipe every now and then. When clean, though, both phablets look and feel absolutely premium.
Interestingly, the Galaxy S7 edge is reasonably sized for a 5.5-inch device and makes the Note 5 look and feel massive in comparison. The Galaxy S7 edge is therefore easier to operate one-handed with its smaller footprint, while the Galaxy Note 5 makes two-handed use a necessity in most cases. Weight-wise, both devices feel substantial with their metal and glass builds. They are sold in a somewhat conservative choice of colors, though – Black, White, Gold, and Silver. While all too predictable at this point, the color variants do look nice and classy, and the way light plays off both smartphones' metal and glass bodies is just fancy! However, the Galaxy S7 edge does have a design advantage over the Galaxy Note 5 in that the handset is IP68-certified, which means it's dust-tight and can be safely submerged into water 1 meter (3.28 feet) deep. The Galaxy Note 5 has no such superpowers, so you'll have to baby it, or get the bulkier Galaxy Note 5 Active.
Being rugged is one thing, but rocking a pressure-sensitive stylus is another level of cool, and the Galaxy Note 5 has that going for it! The S-Pen is the church's top when it comes to productivity-oriented functionality on a smartphone. The stylus is hidden in a silo along the lower right corner of the phone. Press down on it slightly, and the non-business end of the S-Pen pops out of the slot. Take it out for a spin and enjoy the special S-Pen features – writing with the screen off, Air Command, Write on PDF, and Scroll capture, among other things. Being the technological powerhouses they are, both handsets have fingerprint sensors for biometric security, heart rate sensors, wireless charging and rapid charging.
Samsung's latest AMOLED displays are among the industry's best, but the Galaxy S7 edge doesn't improve the Galaxy Note 5's foundation much.
Samsung's latest AMOLED displays are one of the best the industry has to offer, and neither the Galaxy S7 edge, nor the Note 5 are exceptions to that. Both are very sharp with their 1440 x 2560 px resolution, and size-wise, the one on the GS7 edge is 5.5 inches, while that on the Note 5 is 5.7 inches by diagonal. We're talking big screens here, folks!
Both displays are reasonably color-accurate, although red colors, in particular, are somewhat off the reference points and appear oversaturated. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S7 edge's display can't really be called an improvement over the Galaxy Note 5's, but it still ranks among the best smartphone screens there are.
With a minimum of 2 nits and maximum of 493 nits brightness output, the Galaxy S7 edge presents a marginal improvement over the Galaxy Note 5's 2 nits minimum and 470 nits maximum. These are sufficiently bright displays that can be used under intense light and won't strain your eyes in the dark. However, there are other smartphones that offer a peak brightness output of 600 to 800 nits and above, so Samsung isn't a leader here. Viewing angles are good, but shifting the perspective introduces visible color distortion – a shortcoming of Samsung's current AMOLED screens.
While it lacks technological improvements, the S7 edge's display does have something to differentiate it from the Note 5's, and that's 'Always On' functionality. When it's outside your pocket, the S7 edge constantly keeps part of its screen on to show you glanceable info, such as the time, notifications, and appointments. The best part is that this is supposed to help with battery life, as Samsung and fellow 'Always-On' purveyor LG claim users turn on their screens up to 200 times a day just to check the time. The Note 5's display can't pull off such tricks, but it is bigger than the S7 edge's, and has the ability to receive input from Samsung's pressure-sensitive stylus, of course.