Galaxy Note 5 vs. S6 Edge Plus: Which Phone Is Best for You?

Welcome to the galaxy of Galaxies. Samsung just launched two new handsets -- the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, bringing the total number of premium Galaxy smartphones launched this year to five.

All the new Samsungs have the same DNA (with the same Exynos processor and superb cameras), but each device has its own strengths and unique personality. We analyzed the Galaxy phones launched this year to help match you with the right handset.

If you're a compulsive note-taker or super productive road warrior: Galaxy Note 5

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Lovers of lists, take note. If you always find yourself wanting to jot down your thoughts, you'll appreciate the Note 5's enhanced S Pen features. For the first time on a smartphone, you can start scribbling on the screen when it’s off. You can also write directly on PDFs. The Note 5’s ample 5.7-inch screen, combined with Samsung's multitasking software, lets you juggle multiple apps at once. The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus has a sexier curved display and is considerably lighter (because it loses the S Pen) but it costs about $100 more. For those seeking a better work-life balance, the Note 5 will be a dependable companion.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

If you're a Netflix or online-video fiend, or love mobile games: Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

Today's smartphone screens are great for scrutinizing Facebook or Tinder profile pics, but the Netflix or YouTube fiend will want the S6 Edge Plus for its generous 5.7-inch quad HD Super AMOLED display. The larger screen makes it easier to enjoy your videos or games than the 5.1-inch displays of the S6, S6 Edge and S6 Active. Also, the S6 Edge Plus comes with ultra high quality audio for better sound (as does the Note 5). Shortcuts and apps along the screen's edges give you quick access to your music player or favorite contacts, too.

If you’re deciding between the S6 Edge Plus and the Note 5, it comes down to a few things. The Edge Plus gives you the same large screen as the new Note in a lighter and sleeker looking package. But the Note 5 offers pen input for less money (although it’s not a huge premium if you go with a monthly installment plan).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

If you're a klutz or water sports enthusiast: Galaxy S6 Active

This phone is nearly indestructible. Withstanding a barrage of our torture tests, the Galaxy S6 Active is the Superman of smartphones, perfect for the butterfinger-prone or those who live on the edge. The Active will survive a dunk in up to 3.2 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, so it's safe to take the phone to the pool or the bathtub. You can even take out some of your rage on the Active - it still worked after falling down a flight of stairs and being smacked against a banister. (It only cracked after a second round of banging.) Best of all, its 3500-mAh battery clocked almost 10 hours on our endurance test, enough to outlast your forest hikes.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

If you're a fan of good-looking devices, or like turning heads: Galaxy S6 Edge

Boasting dual curved screens along its sides, the Galaxy S6 Edge is a technological work of art. Your friends will coo over how the Edge's 5.1-inch display spills over, and the phone's Edge shortcuts make it easier to reach your favorite contacts. The handset's small size also makes it more pocket-friendly than the S6 Edge Plus. The S6 Edge happens to pack a bigger battery than the regular S6, which helped it last about a half hour longer on a charge. Sure, the Edge costs $100 more than the regular S6, but if you care about aesthetics it’s the one to get.

If you’re deciding between S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus, the Plus is the way to go if you want a bigger screen and are willing to pay for it. But if you want something more compact stick with the smaller Edge.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Unlocked)

If you're a price-conscious shopper looking for an all-round solid phone: Galaxy S6

Of all the Galaxy smartphones announced this year, the S6 is the cheapest and the most basic. But that doesn't mean it isn't a solid smartphone. It boasts the same speedy performance as its siblings and the same great camera, but without the bells and whistles. Samsung also dropped the price for the S6 in Europe, and we expect that dip to reach the U.S. soon. If you don't need a curved screen or a stylus on your smartphone and just want something that will work well every day, the S6 is your best Galaxy flavor.

Samsung Galaxy S6 (Unlocked)
Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Deputy Editor, Reviews at Engadget and also leads the site's Google reporting. She graduated with a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University before joining Tom's Guide and its sister site LaptopMag as a staff writer, where she covered wearables, cameras, laptops, computers and smartphones, among many other subjects.