Galaxy S6 Edge+ review: Samsung’s great, big, unnecessary phone

It’s fast and nice to look at, but the Edge+ is one splurge you'll really have to consider.

Good news! Although it seems like Samsung is delving back into old habits by launching a slew of different phone models just because it can, I’m happy to report that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is not simply more cannon fodder. It’s a fantastic phablet device with a vibrant 5.7-inch display, a stellar 16-megapixel camera, and curved edges that are sure to turn some heads. Overall, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is simply another example of Samsung’s phone-making magic. That might sound hyperbolic, but considering the Edge+ is its fourth hit in a row, it seems completely fitting.

Simply put: It's a bigger S6 Edge

I’m really into the curved edge design that Samsung’s got going on. It took me a while to warm up to it on the Galaxy S6 Edge, but those curved edge garnered so many compliments out in the wild—especially from iPhone users. 

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Yes, iPhone users like this look.

The edges are even better on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ precisely because it’s bigger. The curve on this size feels more natural than on the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s also so much easier to type out emails and read the Gawker comments (my favorite after-work activity) on a 5.7-inch display. Sometimes, the S6 Edge is a bit too small, and then I have to find my tablet somewhere in the house to get some reading done. Tablets are great, but they can’t go everywhere with you; a bigger phone like the Edge+ works better in a jam.

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That gold is glorious.

The Edge+ has all the same trimmings as its smaller predecessor: volume buttons on the left, power button on the right, headphone jack and speaker grill on the bottom, and a fingerprint sensor embedded in the Home button. My review unit of the Edge+ came in gold and it looks so similar to the Galaxy S6 Edge, I often confused the two.

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I really couldn’t tell the difference between the two, especially when they’re the same color.

I still can’t grip the Edge+ as well as the 5.1-inch Galaxy S6 Edge, but I’m not as afraid of dropping it as I was during my initial hands-on with the device. Its larger size actually makes me more cognizant of its existence in my Big Bag of Things, and it’s not as easy to lose while shuffling through all my stuff. If you’re a multi-tasker with a big bag who wants the bigger screen, the Edge+ will suit you well. But if you’re looking for a phone to keep quiet in your pocket through most of the day, I’d avoid this size altogether.

Just like the rest of the family

Inside, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is virtually identical to the Galaxy Note 5, and shares most of its internal components with the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge, too. The Edge+ runs on a 2.1GHz octa-core Exynos 7420 chip and 4GB of RAM, the extra bit of which really does help with device performance. It also features a 3000mAh battery pack and is available in 32GB and 64GB variants.

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This is a powerful device.

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According to PCMark, it’s also well suited for everyday tasks. 

In our benchmarks, the Edge+ was speedy, responsive, and performed on par with the rest of Samsung's top-end phones of this year. If you’re curious to see the full performance rundown of the device, I broke it out into its own separate article here.

I’m satisfied with the Exynos 7420’s performance overall, but I still have some hesitation about what TouchWiz will do to the device over time. I have had software slowdown issues with the Galaxy S6 Edge, which were made worse by its RAM management issues. I haven’t experienced any hiccups with the Edge+ yet, but I’ve also only been wielding it for about a week or so.

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The S6 Edge+ can get you through a day of lots of smartphone tasks.

At the very least, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will get you through an entire day of smartphone-ing. That means checking email, snapping photos, and making a phone call to order a pizza because your favorite place still doesn’t take online orders. The Edge+ was on standby most of the time I was fiddling with the Galaxy Note 5, and I was surprised at how many days it managed without needing a charge. I got down to about 12% on the last half of the third day. I don’t like to worry about whether my phone is eating up juice while it’s dormant in my bag, and fortunately that’s not the case with the Edge+.

It’s also a camera

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but like its siblings, the Edge+ features a rear-facing 16-megapixel camera and a front-facing 5-megapixel one. It’s the same fantastic camera sensor that’s in the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and Note 5, and it’s another reminder that Samsung has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market.

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A few shots with the Galaxy S6 Edge+. 

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The Edge+’s photo-taking abilities were on par with its counterparts.

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The Edge+’s low-light performance was also similar to its counterparts. The f/1.9 aperture really helps it in dimly lit situations.

The Edge+ also features all the new camera fixings of the Galaxy Note 5, including live YouTube broadcasting, video collages, and a few new manual controls. You can read more about those camera features here.

Nothing special about TouchWiz here

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The Edge+ lets you dock app shortcuts in the curved area of the screen.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t do much more to TouchWiz this time around—at least in terms of slimming it down. It’s still the same blue-hued interface that’s featured on all the rest of the Galaxy devices, and you still have to contend with apps that you can’t delete taking up space on the device.

On the bright side, Samsung bundled in some new features in the Edge+ you might actually find useful, including the new sound enhancing mode called Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA), and the ability to dock app shortcuts in the edge of the Edge+’s display. The audio enhancement ability is available on the Galaxy Note 5 as well, though the Edge features are specific to the Edge+.

Okay, so did we really need it?

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Is this curved phablet something you want?

I don’t believe we need the Galaxy S6 Edge+—not with the Galaxy Note 5 existing alongside it. But that’s what Samsung wants: for you to want its product regardless if you need it or not. That’s how Apple roped in its iPhone users, and that’s how Samsung hopes to appeal to the Android-using crowd with its curved devices. I wish that Samsung would have launched the 5.7-inch version of the Edge earlier in the smartphone season, but at the very least it’s attempting to establish the idea that it too is capable of luring in smartphone users, just like Apple does. 

 

This story, "Galaxy S6 Edge+ review: Samsung’s great, big, unnecessary phone" was originally published by Greenbot.

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