Samsung is offering an Ultimate Test Drive program to Apple iPhone owners to entice them to try and switch to one of Samsung's latest Galaxy S6 Edge+ or Note 5 smartphones, which officially went on sale Aug. 21.
Any iPhone owner can participate in the Ultimate Test Drive after paying a $1 fee and registering using their iPhone on the program's Website. Participants can choose from one of the two phones and will also receive an activated SIM card and a step-by-step instruction guide. They then have 30 days to choose whether they will buy the smartphone after the test or if they will return it, according to the company.
Full rules and eligibility requirements for the test drive program are available from Samsung. Participants are responsible for any damage to the phones while they have them and will be billed for replacement if they are lost. The last day to register for the test drives is Dec. 31.
Samsung has been hit hard in recent years by lower sales of its mobile phones, which have been losing ground to cheaper phones from Chinese handset makers and from stiffer competition from Apple and others.
Samsung is still trying to figure out how to continue to hold its shrinking lead in the global smartphone market in a competitive atmosphere that has seemingly placed a target on Samsung's corporate back. The company had hoped that the April launch of the latest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones would help it dramatically battle back against Apple's iPhones, which came out in September 2014, but supplies of the S6 Edge, which proved to be more popular with consumers, were not adequate, causing the company to lose sales.
Samsung even held its special Samsung Unpacked 2015 preview event on Aug. 13, about a month before its normally scheduled September launches, for its new S6 Edge+ and Note 5 flagship smartphones so it can try to beat Apple in the marketplace.
Both new smartphones are extensions of existing flagship models, but they get improved performance and a wide range of upgraded components and features. For the first time, the two devices also share the same basic platform, including the processor, RAM, cameras, battery power and more.
The latest S6 Edge+ and the Note 5 phablet arrive just four months after the long-awaited launch of the company's redesigned Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. Both the S6 Edge+ and the Note 5 include 5.7-inch quad HD Super AMOLED displays, 4GB of RAM—up 1GB from previous versions—and more powerful octa-core Exynos 7420 processors.
Also included on both models is a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5MP front camera with additional improvements, such as a quick launch feature to capture photos faster with fewer finger taps to unlock the phones. The phones, which are available for preorder immediately, will be sold in 32GB and 64GB versions. They are available in retail stores and from mobile carriers, with prices to be announced by individual carriers.
In addition, both smartphones also integrate the upcoming Samsung Pay mobile payment service, which the company announced will launch in the United States on Sept. 28. Samsung Pay is being built to allow users to pay for purchases using their Samsung smartphones in just about every retail location through its acceptance of multiple payment systems—ranging from near-field communication, or NFC, to traditional credit card readers and swiping terminals, according to the company. Samsung Pay also integrates Samsung's Knox mobile security platform, which uses one-time codes to authenticate purchases, rather than transmitting a user's personal or credit card information.
The S6 Edge+ has the dual curved side screen edges of earlier Edge devices, while the Note 5 includes an improved and more sensitive S Pen for writing on its screen.