Last year, Samsung produced perhaps the best Android phablet to date. The Note 5 was a powerful premium device offering features galore, and it seemed that only the Note 6 could provide a better purchase. But could the Galaxy S7 Edge have just rung the death knell for the beloved Note series?
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An heir denied
The Note 5 was undeniable. If you were after the power needed to multitask, nothing could compare. The S Pen, while not for everyone, was designed to make it as productive a device as possible. And all of this was backed up with one of the best Android cameras ever.
It seemed, for a long time, that the Note 5 was the only choice for the financially secure phone buyer looking for a powerful multitasking device. Surely, only the Note 6 could end its reign. But now, with the arrival of the Galaxy S7 Edge, not only does the Note 5 seem redundant, but perhaps even its successor, and thus the Note line entirely, seems dead in the water. Let's see why.
The Note 5 has a 5.7-inch screen. This places it in the upper echelons of the smartphone size range and allows it to support multiwindows comfortably and create a more useful place to conduct your complicated business. But it does mean that one-handed use of the device is rendered, at the very least, troublesome. There is the one-handed use mode, that shrinks the screen down to a more manageable size, but then your weaker hand is left lingering with nothing to do as the screen shrinks away from it, leaving only a dark wasteland in its wake.
The S7 Edge has managed to settle on the perfect size
The Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch screen. This effectively means it replaces the S6 Edge+. The standard S6 Edge was only 5.1 inches. This decision by Samsung to make its standard Edge model so large is interesting because it places it in direct competition with the Note 5, which is only .2 inches the larger device.
Not only can you use the S7 Edge with one hand, but it somehow manages to also feel smaller than it is. To my mind, thanks to its wonderfully balanced design, the S7 Edge has managed to settle on the perfect size. The Edge software features increase the multitasking usefulness of the phone, and the space the screen affords you is ample for any task the Note 5 might also be considered for.
Early rumors suggest the Note 6 might see a small increase in screen size, up to 5.8 inches, but why? Did anyone wail over the lack of an extra .1 inches of diagonal display on the Note 5? Probably not. And if they did, they'd be better off with a tablet, anyway.
The S7 Edge offers 4 GB of RAM and either the Exynos 8890 or Snapdragon 820 processor, depending on where you live. It's face-meltingly fast. Switching between apps, multi-windows, gaming, nothing is a problem here. And it won't be for, at the very, very least, a year and a half. The S7 Edge is, by smartphone standards, future proof.
The Note 6 has been rumored to pack in an insane 6 GB of RAM, but why? Is anyone's S7 Edge going to struggle with anything they could conceivably need it for? No.
Unless, as is also rumored, Samsung really does plan for the Note 6 to slip into a dock and effectively function as a small laptop, then the Galaxy S7 Edge has it pinned. Any superior tech the Note 6 might bear is better only by a technicality. Any user benefits will be so small as to be insignificant.
Many people see the S7 Edge as the best-looking phone on the planet
And how useful will a phone be that functions as a laptop? Even an aging laptop will offer more functionality than a phone could hope to provide. The phablet-laptop hybrid may one day be a worthwhile purchase, but the first of its kind will not.
The S7 Edge has adopted the Note 5's curved back, but that's just one area where the device has been finessed. I, like many others, see it as the best-looking phone on the planet.
Whether you use the Edge software features or not, the curved screen edges make the screen-to-body ratio impeccable, and the weight is enough to make it feel consequential without being cumbersome.
The Note 6 might put up a fight, but it's hard to see it topping the S7 Edge here.
Styluses don't matter
Okay, maybe the S Pen has it uses. Personally, if I find a device with a stylus in front of me, I will use the stylus for about five minutes before abandoning it forever, judging it to be a useless waste of organic polymers. For others, this might be a make-or-break feature. If you want a stylus, you can't have it on the S7 Edge, but on the Note 5, you can just not use it if you don't like it. So, the Note series has the advantage here, but I don't think a device will live on because a stylus is the only advantage it offers over a competing device.
So, the S7 Edge is powerful enough to handle anything the Note 6 could wish to. Maybe the Note 6 wants to power a laptop, but this seems somewhat gimmicky, for now, at least. We will have to wait to see if Samsung really intends to do this with the Note 6, and how successful or even useful it would be.
If you want a device that's large enough to effectively support multiwindows, powerful enough to switch instantly between apps, and is supplemented by the best camera available on a smartphone, AND you want it all in a package that will make bystanders stare and adore you just for holding such a miraculous and stunning object in your mortal hand, then the Galaxy S7 Edge has already won.
The Note 6 and, thus, the series has been rendered useless, dead and forgotten. Not even a stylus can save it.
Do you think the Note 6 is dead on arrival, or could it be good enough to offer a better device than the S7 Edge? Tell me what you think in the comments.