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Should you upgrade? Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. Galaxy Note 5 vs. Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

galaxy note  vs s edge plus samsung
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Sadly, the gorgeous Galaxy Note 7 has been the focus of a massive recall. Now, replacement units have been catching fire and that’s forced Samsung to temporarily halt production. Samsung officially declared an end to the Note 7 in early October.

“For the benefit of consumers’ safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production,” Samsung told Digital Trends in a statement.

Related: Hot potato! How to ditch your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 before it explodes

If you have a Galaxy Note 7, please return it immediately to the place where you purchased it. You are entitled to a full refund or an exchange for a replacement device of equal value, as per the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall. Please see our full guide on how to return your Note 7 here. The guide also includes recommendations of which device to buy instead.

Below is our original comparison between the S6 Edge Plus, Note 5, and Note 7.

Related: Five reasons why the Galaxy Note 7 is the big, beautiful phone you should buy

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Thumber

Galaxy Note 5

Note 5 Thumber

Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7 THumber

Size 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm (6.1 x 2.98 x 0.27 in) 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm (6.03 x 3.00 x 0.30 in) 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm (6.04 x 2.91 x 0.31 in)
Weight 153 g (5.40 oz) 171 g (6.03 oz)  169 g (5.96 oz)
Screen Dual-edge, 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED Dual-edge, 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
Resolution 2,560 × 1,440 pixels 2,560 × 1,440 pixels 2,560 × 1,440 pixels
OS Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, upgradeable to 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, upgradeable to 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Storage 32GB, 64GB 32GB, 64GB 64GB
MicroSD card slot No No Yes, up to 256GB
NFC support Yes Yes Yes
Processor Exynos 7 Octa 7420 Exynos 7 Octa 7420 Qualcomm MSM8996, Snapdragon 820 (U.S. Models),
Exynos 8890 Octa (International Models)
RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, GSM, 4G LTE, HSPA Wi-Fi, GSM, LTE, HSPA Wi-Fi, GSM, 4G LTE, HSPA
Camera Front 5MP, Rear 16MP Front 5MP, Rear 16MP Front 5MP, Rear 12MP
Video 2160p 4K UHD 2160p 4K UHD 2,160p 4K UHD
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes Yes
Iris scanner No No Yes
Water resistant No No Yes
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3,000mAh battery Non-removable Li-Po 3,000mAh battery Non-removable Li-Po 3,500mAh battery
Charger MicroUSB MicroUSB USB Type-C
Quick charging Yes Yes Yes
Wireless charging Yes, Qi and PMA Yes, Qi and PMA Yes, Qi and PMA
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, gold, silver, white, pink Black, gold, silver, white Black, white, gold, silver
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
DT review 3 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Specs

It’s a little odd comparing last year’s tech to what’s current — there’s no doubt the Galaxy Note 7 will beat out its predecessor and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 820, which benchmark site AnTuTu placed at the top of its high-performing smartphone chips list. Samsung even has a newer Exynos 8890 chip that will be powering the international variant of the Galaxy Note 7, compared to the default chip found in the other two smartphones. That’s not to say that the 7420 Exynos chip is poor — it’s still a high-performing chip, but both the 8890 and 820 are a step above it.

All three devices have 4GB of RAM, which should be plenty enough for multi-tasking. They all also have the same 2,560 x 1440p Super AMOLED Quad HD 5.7-inch screen and a fingerprint sensor.  Hardware-wise, the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is the lightest, but the Note 7 comes in second. In terms of internal storage, the Note 7 wins thanks to its support for a MicroSD card. The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Note 5 have 32GB and 64GB options — the Note 7 only has one 64GB option, but the added slot lets you bump that number up to 320GB if you get a 256GB MicroSD card.

Related: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 packs the legendary S Pen, an iris scanner, and USB Type-C

But of course, the most chalked up feature of the Note 7 is its iris scanner — it lets you unlock your phone just with your eyes. In our initial tests, it was fast, though it did have trouble unlocking the device in certain lighting conditions. You can also use it to unlock apps and folders, and while it’s a little more than a gimmick — the S6 Edge Plus and Note 5 don’t have one.

The battery for the Note 7 also has gotten a 500mAh boost, and the addition of USB Type-C is certainly a plus thanks to its fast-charging capabilities. All three devices support wireless charging and quick charging.

Even the S Pen is better all around on the Note 7, compared to the Note 5. Spec-wise, the stylus has a smaller tip and improved pressure — that allows writing with it to feel a little more natural. The S6 Edge Plus doesn’t come with a stylus.

Overall in terms of internals and the S Pen, it’s clear that the Galaxy Note 7 is the winner here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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