It’s becoming clearer and clearer by the day that Samsung’s “true” flagship for the upcoming holiday season was always meant to be the Galaxy S6 Edge+, not the Note 5. It’s of course no coincidence the latter is getting a more limited global bow, and even its freshly surfaced S Pen-related “design flaw” may have something to do with sloppier R&D.
Many will argue you’re not supposed to insert the stylus the wrong way in its slot, and you deserve what’s coming if you don’t pay attention to the direction the tip is pointing at. But is it really as simple as that? Not if you consider such drama was impossible at previous Note generations and their non-springy pens. Physically impossible, as in prevented by design.
Anyhoo, this is not a piece about the Galaxy Note 5 for obvious reasons. It’s about the fully working, thoroughly well-designed and super-provocative Galaxy S6 Edge+. Also, its number one box-office opponent at the moment. That is, until the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus go on sale.
The LG G4’s curves are clearly subtler than its rival’s, and the hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC is no match for the raw speed of the Exynos 7420. Can the leather-clad dark horse then still keep up with the metal-and-glass front-runner? Let’s find out:
Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs LG G4 – pricing and availability comparison
Up for grabs from all big four US carriers, Samsung’s “next big thing” is nowhere to be found on Amazon for the time being. At Best Buy, it’s bundled with a free wireless charger, which is neat, and can further net you $200 on a gift card with qualifying trade-ins.
If you’d rather take your business directly to wireless service providers, Verizon is selling the edgy phablet starting at $32 a month, no upfront fee, or $768 outright. AT&T asks $47 extra off-contract, and also still does carrier agreements in exchange for $299.99.
Then there’s T-Mobile, where the 32GB 5.7 incher costs $780 at full retail, and finally, Sprint will give you a free Galaxy Tab 4 (on-contract) if you score the Galaxy S6 Edge+ with Lease programs or Easy Pay, i.e. $0 down. Alternatively, the Now Network wants $350 with pacts, or $792, no strings attached.
Quite the upscale purchase, no matter your retailer or operator choice, especially given an unlocked LG G4 is only $455 through Amazon. In brown leather, so none of that ceramicky or “metallic” plastic exterior nonsense. Of course, if you dig the non-leather gold or white models, they’re pretty affordable too, at $470 and $495 respectively.
Arguably the handsomest flavor is the leather black, available for $472 SIM-free, or $99.99 with Sprint or Verizon contracts. That’s one battle LG wins with ease, although it goes without saying the war remains wide open.
Design and build quality
Aesthetically speaking, this is very much an apples and oranges comparison. Which is not to say we can’t like one fruit more than the other. Can you guess which one? Of course you can. The scrumptious, stylish, robust, metal-and-glass dual-edged treat, measuring 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm and tipping the scales at 153 grams.
Thanks to a slightly smaller screen and polycarbonate build, you’d expect the G4 to undercut the S6 Edge+’s weight, but that’s not really the case. Granted, the difference is negligible, as the leathery (or metallic) heavyweight contender weighs in at 155 grams.
At its thickest point (remember, the G4’s got a curve too), the 5.5 incher measures a fairly chunky 9.8 mm. And it’s also a bit wider than the GS6 Edge+, although shorter, courtesy of those now iconic physical buttons moved to the back.
At the end of the day though, this is a crushing victory for the odds-on favorite. Ladies and gents, we have an exciting tie so far on our hands!
Display and cameras
5.7-inch Super AMOLED with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 518 ppi pixel density vs. 5.5-inch IPS LCD, 2,560 x 1,440 and 538 ppi respectively. Before you call this another tie, perhaps you’ll be interested to hear what DisplayMate had to say about the Quad HD panels on the Note 5 and S6 Edge+. Without going into too much detail, they’re “the best performing displays ever tested.” And that includes the G4.
Now, cameras are a delicate subject to tackle for the moment, as we haven’t taken the photographic units of the S6 Edge+ for a real-life spin yet. On paper, the rear shooter should be as remarkable as the one on the G4, with 16 megapixels, optical image stabilization, autofocus and LED flash offered across the board.
Selfie addicts will likely find more comfort in the 8 megapixel front cam of the older flagship, as the new kid on the block only sports a 5 MP secondary camera.
Processor, RAM and battery life
This is where G4’s dreams of glory are completely smashed to pieces. We already showed you a series of Note 5 benchmarks, in which the S Pen phablet obliterated its predecessor, not to mention its Snapdragon 808-powered arch-nemesis.
The S6 Edge+ features the same exact octa Exynos 7420 silicon, with a matching 4GB RAM for good measure. Ergo, expect a similar 30 to 35 percent gap in system performance, plus a noticeable advantage in energy efficiency for the S6 Edge+ also, despite its larger screen and identical 3,000 mAh battery.
A conclusive recent autonomy test put the Galaxy S6 Edge+ near the top of the charts, with 9 hours+ of single-charge endurance, whereas the LG G4 trailed way behind, at a modest 6 hours of so. Let’s not forget the new guy also comes with wired and wireless fast charging capabilities in tow, compared to wired only as far as the “veteran” is concerned.
Storage, software and others
What’s the score now? Five, six to one in favor of the S6 Edge+? Give another point to the G4 on account of microSD expansion. And a third one for the user-removable battery. Which still doesn’t make our verdict very hard to cast.
Particularly when you add the touch-based fingerprint recognition technology of Samsung’s bad boy in the equation, as well as its arguably superior copy of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Proprietary UIs are mostly a matter of personal taste, but we think we speak for the vast majority of our readers when we say TouchWiz is prettier than Optimus 4.0.
Bloatware? Both phones are filled to the brim with non-Google apps, yet Samsung actually provides a few you’ll find use for. S-Voice, S Health, Kids Mode, plus a bunch of free “Galaxy Gifts” typically worth a good few hundred bucks.
Connectivity-wise, neither device features a futuristic USB Type-C port, with LTE speeds slightly enhanced on the S6 Edge+, and Bluetooth 4.2 superseding 4.1. We have a clear winner therefore, and it’s exactly who you think.