To state the obvious: the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is a larger version of the Galaxy S6 Edge. That means one of the best Android phones of 2015 just got a bigger and better variant. If you're a fan of larger-screened smartphones, and have been wanting to see that curved screen on a bigger device, this Galaxy S6 Edge Plus review is for you.
- ✓Flawless finish
- ✓Consistent construction
- ✓Excellent image quality
- ✓Above average performance
- ✓Good battery/energy saving options
- ✕Non-removable battery
- ✕No microSD expansion
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ release date was August 21 in the US and Canada; pre-orders for US customers opened at 3:00 PM Eastern time on August 13. Unlike the Galaxy Note 5, the S6 Edge+ is also available in the UK. It goes on sale on September 4 and pre-orders have been open since August 18.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ price is sitting around US$779 for the 32 GB version and US$859 for the 64 GB version off-contract (depending on where you buy it). For a two-year deal, you'll pay US$349.99 for 32 GB and US$449.99 for 64 GB handset.
In the US, both versions of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ are available in Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum colors. The handset is available with carriers Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless as well as online retailers, including Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ design and build quality
The original Galaxy S6 Edge was revealed to the world back in March, and you may think that the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus doesn't bring anything new in terms of design and finish. But while it's not vastly different from its smaller sibling, in the context of large-screen smartphones, the 6 Edge Plus' curved screen is entirely new.
The 5.7-inch screen wraps around both sides of the device, and while those curves make the phone a little odd to hold, the footprint of the device as a whole is remarkably small. The glass on the back looks good, but is a huge magnet for fingerprints.
Like the S6 Edge, the S6 Edge Plus has an aluminum frame and the same thin edges where the curve of the screen meets the frame. Despite these thin edges, the S6 Edge Plus still manages to place the power and volume buttons in their usual locations.
To call the S6 Edge+ a 'big' phone isn't entirely fair: it might measure 5.7 inches, but it's actually only a little bigger than the Xperia Z2, which has a 5.2-inch screen. The power button on the right-hand side can be reached easily enough with your thumb, but the volume buttons are placed so high up on the left-hand side that they're difficult to reach without an awkward hand shuffle.
On the top edge of the chassis is a pinhole microphone and a tray for the nano-SIM card. But there's also one glaring omission: the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus does not have an infrared sensor, despite there being one on the smaller S6 Edge.
The bottom edge of the S6 Edge Plus has a USB 2.0 port with a headphone port and a single speaker grill. The eagle-eyed among you will spot another change here: on the regular S6 Edge, the other pinhole mic lived between the USB port and speaker grill, but on the S6 Edge Plus it is found between the USB port and headphone jack. We can't say we noticed any improvement to audio quality, but we assume Samsung had a good reason for moving it.
The S6 Edge Plus measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm, compared to the original S6 Edge which is 142.1 x 70.1 x 7mm. It weighs 153 g, 16 percent more than the smaller version.
On the front, the S6 Edge Plus features Gorilla Glass 4, which is, according to Samsung, 50 percent stronger than the previous incarnation. The glass panel on the back is also Gorilla Glass 4 and, depending on which color you choose, will collect fingerprints like they're going out of fashion. White is the better color – gold and darker colors require constant cleaning.
The 16 MP camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus protrudes from the back panel, so it is likely to show signs of wear and tear over time if you always place the phone face up. Fortunately the glass covering the camera is also the durable Gorilla Glass 4, but the metal trim around the camera lens is going to get a bit scratched up over time. The phone also wobbles when placed on its back on a flat surface, because the protruding lens is in the middle of the phone.
Of course, if we worked at Samsung, we would have bulked the phone out so that the lens didn't protrude, and filled that extra space with more battery – but that's just us.
Next to the camera lens, there's an LED flash and sensor for monitoring your heart rate, which also serves as a shutter button for taking photos with the front-facing camera.
The front the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus has the same construction as the S6 Edge: at the top we have a proximity sensor and notification LED, the speaker for calls and a 5 MP camera. The combined physical home button and fingerprint scanner makes a return, as does Samsung's typical switcheroo of capacitive button placements: multi-tasking on the left and back on the right, the opposite of stock Android.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus looks great and has exceptional build quality, but all that glass, those slippery materials and very thin edges mean the chance of you needing a case is pretty high. We have seen the Edge display hold up quite well in drop tests, but unless you like to live dangerously, you're going to cover up half of those lovely curves with at least a bumper case, which is shame.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ display
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus screen measures 5.7 inches with a QHD display definition of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 518 pixels per inch. As usual, Samsung has opted for a Super AMOLED panel, meaning you'll get bright, saturated colors and deep blacks at the expense of outdoor visibility. The other upshot of AMOLED is that it is better for your battery, because only the colored pixels are illuminated.
The best feature of the Galaxy S6 Edge plus is the curved screen. There's plenty to be said about the software features that take advantage of this curved display, but the other great benefit is the immersive viewing that's made possible by a screen that literally rolls off the sides of the phone. You will get some reflection at the point where the screen curves though.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus' screen has great color representation, balanced brightness and super sharp image quality thanks to the 2K display resolution. With a pixel density above 500 ppi it is practically impossible to identify individual pixels on-screen with the naked eye. Some will say this is an unnecessary excess, but others will love the perfect detail.
As we saw with the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Edge Plus a variety of different screen modes, including adaptive display and cinema mode. According to Samsung, the color temperature of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus display is 6,700 Kelvins, almost the ideal reference point for true-to-life colors (6,500 Kelvins). These readings come from the less saturated screen modes.
Even though AMOLED displays are not as bright in daylight as LCD screens, the 501 nit brightness of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus does an admirable job of outdoor visibility. The viewing angles of the AMOLED display are also really good, which is a bonus for a phone that is supposed to be viewed from the side a lot more than usual.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ special features
The biggest selling point of any Edge device is the software features that go hand-in-hand with the eye-catching screen. There are a few Edge screen functions, some of which you'd know from the smaller version and some that are new. For example, you can now use the edge of the screen specifically to display favorite apps, with a feature called Apps Edge, or to make a 'favorite contacts' list, using People Edge. People Edge debuted on the S6 Edge, but Apps Edge is all-new.
People Edge lets you store up to five contacts on the edge of the screen, which you can swipe out to call, message, email, or send photos or emoji. These contacts are color-coded so you always know who you've missed a call or notification from.
If your phone is lying face down, it will also display a color-coded light to tell you who is calling. If you're busy, you can reject the call and send a pre-programmed message simply by touching the heart-rate sensor on the back of the phone.
Other Edge screen features include Night Clock, for a battery-friendly clock readout on the side of your screen, Information Stream, to keep you up to date with the latest headlines, stock prices and Twitter feeds, or battery and weather details, as you prefer.
The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is identical to the one found on the smaller version of the phone. That means it is accurate, responsive and very easy to set up. An added bonus for the S6 Edge Plus is that Samsung Pay is now available – at least in a beta version – so fingerprint scanner secured mobile payments are also a reality. Well, sort of. The roll-out of Samsung Pay hasn't been quite as smooth as Samsung would have hoped, but at least the hardware is in place.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ software
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Samsung's refined TouchWiz user interface on top. The interface is just like the one found on the Galaxy S6 Edge and fortunately there's less bloatware on the S6 Edge Plus than on previous Galaxy devices. You might even use some of the Microsoft bloat, such as Skype, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and OneNote.
In the app drawer you'll find that Samsung has decreased the number of its own apps, but you'll still get S Voice, S Health and the Galaxy Apps Store, along with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and the usual Google apps. While we're still not fans of having pre-loaded, non-removable apps on our devices, you can at least disable and hide most of the apps on the S6 Edge Plus.
Just as Google made Android Lollipop flatter and brighter than KitKat, so Samsung made TouchWiz flatter and more colorful than it was before too. It is also worth noting that Samsung's custom skin has been rebuilt from the ground up to work better with Android Lollipop and be as fast and responsive as possible. It is definitely quicker, lighter and more intuitive, and the splashes of color, specific to each application, are much nicer than all that drab blue.
Another great benefit of a large-screened phone is how easy it is to use multi-window mode. Samsung has a great history of incorporating multi-window apps, and the software on the S6 Edge Plus handles the task very well. There's something really great about watching a video while writing an email or sending a text. Multi-window apps show a little icon in the Recent Apps list/multitasking overview.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ performance
Changes in the hardware between the Galaxy S6 Edge and the new S6 Edge Plus are virtually non-existent. The screen and battery are larger, but other internal components are the same. The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus specs are powered by the 64-bit, octa-core Exynos 7420 CPU and 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
Like the S6 Edge, the S6 Edge Plus doesn't have a slot for a microSD card but uses flash memory based on the standard Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 to make it faster, more secure and use less power. While many fans will miss microSD expansion, the upshot is that this new memory system combined with 4 GB of RAM means you'll be able to access data faster and multi-task like never before.
The Exynos 7420 is a Samsung-built processor built that uses the 14 nanometer node. At the time of writing, this is still the highest performance manufacturing process for CPUs in commercially available devices. What this means in practical terms is lower cost, higher performance and better energy efficiency. The phone does heat up a fair bit during some tasks but it cools down very quickly and never force closes apps or crashes.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus specs produce a very smooth and responsive experience. The Exynos 7420 uses the Mali-T760 graphics unit to produce great performance in high-resolution games and applications without missing a beat. While you may find a few skipped frames here and there in graphically intensive games such as Real Racing 3 or Asphalt 8, overall the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is very quick and handles processor-heavy tasks well.
The response time of the fingerprint scanner is very good, and the phone reacts immediately when you use a double-press of the home button to launch the camera app. Scrolling web pages or the app drawer, launching and closing apps and multi-tasking are all done at above average speeds. The only bug I found was that Apps Edge didn't always launch the apps for which I had placed shortcuts.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ audio
Despite only housing a mono speaker on the bottom edge of the phone (not the best location for a speaker), the Galaxy S6 Edge plus has admirable audio quality in games, movies and music when you're sitting on around 75 percent volume. Anything less than 50 percent will be too quiet if you have any background noise in the area.
Samsung includes some tweakable audio settings for the S6 Edge Plus though, but these can only be utilized when using headphones – Bluetooth or wired – because only then can you make use of stereo sound capabilities. It's nice to have these settings, but it's a shame that the phone's mono speaker means you can't appreciate them without headphones.
For in-call sound quality, the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus leaves nothing to be desired. Audio volume and clarity are exemplary, on both the receiving and transmitting ends of a call. In-call volume is perfectly adequate at just 50 percent, meaning you have some room to turn it up if you're on a busy train, in traffic or among a noisy crowd.
Whether making calls with your carrier, WhatsApp or Hangouts, the audio is clean and clear and the noise-canceling technology handles background noise well.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ camera
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus camera is the same one found in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, meaning you'll get equally impressive results from the bigger Edge. It's a 16 MP Sony IMX240 sensor with an f/1.9 aperture. The front-facing camera is also the same – a 5 MP f/1.9 aperture shooter.
You've also got optical image stabilization for photos and VDIS (a software-based stabilization technology) when shooting video. There's also 4K video, RAW support, slow-motion, fast-motion, selective focus, HDR, YouTube live broadcasting and more. There's nothing in the experience of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus camera that will disappoint. It is easily one of the best cameras on a smartphone right now (the LG G4 and iPhone 6 would be the others).
In our Galaxy S6 Edge Plus camera test, the sensor produced excellent results, just as expected. Macro results weren't quite as good as they could be and low-light situations produced typically grainy images but these are hardly big flaws. After all, there are very few smartphones that do exceptionally well in these categories. Take a look at these Galaxy S6 Edge plus camera samples and judge for yourself.
The camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus offers great color and detail. Optical image stabilization helps reduce blur and the effects of hand shake. Even in videos the software-based stabilization does a decent job.
As always, the best results come in well-lit environments, but you can see that even in early evening the performance starts to drop. Image processing with the front-facing camera is also a little less impressive than it should be, as skin tones and color are not very natural.
Using the home button to quickly launch the camera is a great feature and we're glad it's available on the S6 Edge Plus. You can also live stream to YouTube with the broadcasting function for sharing with people in your contacts list. The camera app itself is clean, minimal and packed with all the features you need but few you don't.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ battery
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus battery comes in at 3,000 mAh, 450 mAh more than the S6 Edge. I found that battery performance on the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus was actually superior to both the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. I regularly made it through a 24-hour day of pretty average use habits with battery to spare.
If you're really hammering the S6 Edge Plus battery you can still count on around 10 hours of battery life, with 70 percent of battery drain coming from the screen. Dropping that screen brightness or opting for darker backgrounds and themes will also help thanks to the AMOELD display. Making use of Samsung's battery saver options will get even more out of the battery.
If you asked me whether I missed the ability to remove the battery I'd have to say no. This is not just because the battery life itself is quite good, but also because the S6 Edge Plus is very fast to charge. In just 35 minutes of wired charging time the battery was at 50 percent capacity. By one hour and 20 minutes, charging was complete. Even when benchmarking the battery, the S6 Edge Plus ranks very well against the competition.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ technical specifications
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is not a phone for everyone: it is a big device, it is very expensive and the edge functions – and the feel of the phone because of the curved screen – will not appeal to everyone. It is certainly very recognizable though and this is perhaps its strongest selling point.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is not the best phone for productivity (that title goes to the Galaxy Note 5) and it doesn't have the very latest specs (its specs sheet is pretty much just the Galaxy S6 specs sheet). But it will appeal to fans of multimedia who love to consume movies, play lots of games or live broadcast themselves to YouTube.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is an exceptional device with one very big problem: the price. For all the things the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus does so well, it's hard to justify them as worthwhile when you consider the price. The cost/benefit ratio seems way out of whack. You can easily find a different phone with equal performance and hardware for a much lower price – you just won't get that curved screen.
The Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is a size rival to the iPhone 6 Plus and a companion device to the stylus-equipped Galaxy Note 5. If you want a big screen with great specs and don't want an S Pen, the S6 Edge Plus might be for you. However, Samsung hasn't really done anything new with the S6 Edge Plus other than making an existing phone bigger. The one big thing going for the S6 Edge Plus is the curved screen is unique among large-screened phones. Perhaps that's enough.