Samsung launches Galaxy Edge+, Note 5, creates phablet sibling rivalry

What's a business tech buyer to do: Go with the Edge+ phablet with a snazzy design or bet on the S-Pen stylus to make you more productive? Samsung just created a sibling rivalry.

samsung-note-edge.png

Samsung on Thursday launched its Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 and could have created some large-screen brand confusion for the business tech buyer. How much does a stylus sway you?

At an event in New York City, Samsung unveiled its two large screen -- 5.7-inch -- entries. The big takeaway is that the Edge+ and Note 5 share the same hardware specs (what you'll find on the Galaxy S6) with the exception of the latter's stylus. Which device is chosen in the field largely depends on how much a stylus matters to your productivity.

Speaking at the Samsung Unpacked event in New York, Samsung Electronics CEO J.K. Shin said "we're using our smartphones in two ways -- as multimedia users and multitaskers."

shin-on-stage.jpg

Those two use cases led Samsung to create two large screen devices. "We developed two devices. One ideal for the multimedia consumer. The other perfect for the multitasker," said Shin, who also noted that Samsung Pay is available everywhere now.

shin-on-stage-2.jpg

edge.jpg
Samsung's Galaxy Edge+ CNET

The other catch here is that the Edge+ has those fun sloping sides. Sure, we're not sure what to do with the notification pane and there is no killer app for the Edge and Edge+ design, but the hardware grabs your eye. The Note 5 hardware is basically the same as the Note 4 with the S6 internals. The difference with the Note is that it's all-glass and has a stylus.

Nevertheless, the Note 5 will be positioned more as a business tool.

note-keyboard-cover.jpg

CNET has the full rundown of the specs and first impressions for the Edge+. But the main takeaway for Note fans is that the removable battery and storage expansion are gone. In previous years, the Note has one-upped what the Galaxy S smartphone line had. This year, the Note and Edge+ are positioned about the same. And if you don't love the stylus, the Edge+ is probably more eye catching.

If anything, the Note 5 rhymes more with the Galaxy S6.

Jessica Dolcourt recaps the Note in her first take for CNET.

There's little that's new in the Note 5 to elicit strong excitement, and the allure of that flashy glass back panel quickly fades as your smudgy fingerprints bloom all over its mirrored surface. Despite all that, the Note 5 is still clearly a high-end handset -- so far it seems to most powerful of any stylus device -- and one that first-time Note users will enjoy.

In other words, your selection between the Note 5 and Edge+ is all about the S-Pen. Other business features such as Samsung's KNOX security platform are built into both devices.

note-5.jpg
Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 CNET

This Note 5 update includes an S-Pen that is billed as a better, more fluid writing instrument with less latency. The stylus can drag and drop text, capture screens and navigate menus. There's also a Keyboard Cover that can be used with the Note 5 just in case you wanted to relive the BlackBerry days.

Clearly, Samsung is hoping that its dual phablet attack can thwart Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, but it has launched four devices with the same specs and the only difference being screen size.

Going forward, it's unclear what happens to the Note 5 and Edge+. In an ideal world, perhaps we'd have an Edge+ with a stylus. The big question is whether the multitasking stylus gives you enough productivity to keep the Note in play.

Samsung is clearly marketing as if multitasking and work and multimedia consumption are two different categories with overlap. We'll see how demand plays out with tech buyers.

samsung-note-specs.png