Samsung had announced the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and its large screen flagship, the Galaxy Note 5, around the same time. While both these are large screen phones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is a higher end variant of the dual-edge display phone Samsung launched this year – the Galaxy S6 edge. Looks like Samsung is confident of turning the Edge moniker into a category in itself. What's with the Korean giant having launched three Edge phones over the past couple of years? Let's see if this is a high end phone that you should go for.
Build and Design: 8.5/10
Samsung has repeated the design element seen on the Galaxy S6 Edge on the S6 Edge+, and why wouldn’t it – it's a large screen variant of the same phone after all. Coming in four colour variants – Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Silver Titan, White Pearl – we got the Gold Platinum model for testing.
The phone exudes elegance thanks to the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 back panel complemented by the dual-edge curved display up front which also has the Gorilla Glass 4 protection. The remainder of the phone build makes use of Series 7000 aluminium in construction. Samsung has ensured that the bevelling on the edges is seamless and there aren’t any sharp corners on the phone. We did find the phone to be slippery and the rear side is a smudge magnet, which is evident on the Gold Platinum rear side.
On the right hand side, you have the power/standby button and the on the left hand side are the volume rocker buttons. These buttons have a good amount of travel and have bevelling on their edges as well. The top edge gas the single nano SIM card tray, and at the base you have the 3.5mm audio jack, a microUSB port and the speaker grill section.
The 16MP rear camera protrudes out quite a bit and beside it you have the dual tone LED flash unit and the heart rate sensor. Samsung branding graces the region just under the camera. The protrusion on the camera, makes the phone rest in a slant manner when placed on the rear side on a flat table. So the moment you get any message or call, the vibration can be quite annoying thanks to the proximity to the surface of the table and the minute air gap. It may sound like nitpicking, but the only other alternative is to place the phone on its display. While we would not advise that, we were impressed with the build quality of the phone though. Despite falling on the ground once, there were barely any noticeable scratches. However, when placed on its back, and thanks to the curved edges on both sides, you will have to be careful while lifting it lest it slip off if you try gripping the curved edges. Due to its 5.7-inch size, the phone will require a two handed use.
Samsung has used its homegrown Exynos 7420 SoC in the Galaxy S6 Edge+ which houses an octa-core processor with one quad-core cluster clocked at 2.1GHz and the other quad-core cluster clocked at 1.5GHz. On the graphics front, you have a Mali T760 graphics processor. To ensure things run smoothly, Samsung has employed 4GB RAM. The model we were testing came with a 32GB of internal storage out of which 25.1GB is available to the user. There is no provision to add in a microSD card.
The phone runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and it comes with the TouchWiz UI atop it. We will elaborate on the software later. There is a 16MP rear camera along with a 5MP front facing camera. On the connectivity front, you have a single nano SIM card slot which can take in 4G LTE cards, there’s Wi-fi 802.11ac, Wi-fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with GLONASS, NFC and it also supports Wireless charging. There is no IR blaster on the S6 edge+. The phone houses a 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery which is not removable.
Samsung has added on the TouchWiz user interface atop the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update. We have spoken at length regarding the software embellishments of the TouchWiz UI in our Samsung Galaxy A8 review, all of which are applicable for the Galaxy S6 Edge+ as well. We will take a look at the new features – namely the edge screen and the fingerprint scanner.
The dual-edge screen is the feature that makes the Galaxy S6 Edge+ stand apart from competition. There is a quick access feature which lets you access your five most used apps or quickly connect with your five most common contacts. The Edge screen can be set up to be on either side, depending on your preference. It lights up when you get a phone call from any of the contacts you have set and the phone is resting on the display.
The Information Stream feature lets you select the edge screens which give you news updates or notifications to be displayed on the curved display. You can download more edge screens and double clicking on the news ticker item opens up the news on the phone. You can even set the edge screen as your night clock – when the curved edge display only shows you the time. To activate the edge screen you need to rub along the length of the edge display twice. Then you can swipe up or down (if you are holding the phone in the landscape orientation) to access your various information streams.
The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ functions in a similar manner as the Galaxy A8. It's certainly not the quickest scanner around and on occasions when your fingers are moist, it will require at least three tries before you can pass through. You can add up to 5 fingerprints in the phone and can use it to unlock your S6 edge+. There is a multi-window mode as well which lets you work on two apps simultaneously, provided they support multi-window modes.
Apart from this, you have the standard set of Samsung’s proprietary apps such as Smart Manager, S Health, Voice recorder (which has an Interview mode along with a standard mode), S Voice, SideSync for phone mirroring, Galaxy Apps store and so on.
Samsung has gone with a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixel) display for the S6 Edge+ which gives you a 515ppi pixel density. It comes with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Thanks to the Super AMOLED display, the screen is bright and vibrant. Samsung AMOLED displays are known to have a slightly warm tinge and that is true in the case of the S6 Edge+ as well. Contrast is top notch as well with deep blacks. Watching movies and playing games on this display is a pleasure. The sharpness of the dual curved display is also good. We had no issues reading the scrolling text on the curved display. All in all, we barely found any flaws with the display.
Samsung’s Exynos 7420 chipset, based on a 14nm manufacturing process, paired with 4GB RAM has proved that it can hold its own against Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 810 SoC. In fact, if you just look at raw numbers, the Galaxy S6 edge+ is ahead of the the Sony Xperia Z3+ and OnePlus 2 – both of which sport the Snapdragon 810 SoC with 3GB of RAM – in most tests. AnTuTu gave a score of 69,555 on the S6 edge+ as compared to 53,060 and 48,199 on the Xperia Z3+ and OnePlus 2 respectively. Geekbench 3 gave a multi-core score of 5,049 as opposed to 3713 and 4022 on the Xperia Z3+ and OnePlus 2 respectively.
User experience on the phone was quite smooth and there wasn’t any instance when the phone shut down apps randomly. We were just annoyed when we had to swipe right to get to the home screens from the Flipboard app (which is the left most home screen) – the swiping isn’t as speedy and on most occasions we ended up pulling up the edge-screen. Maybe Samsung could release and update which gets rid of the issue, which although not much of pain, still affects overall user experience.
The 4GB RAM is more than enough to let you do multi-tasking with ease. Even when it came to gaming, the phone played back everything we threw at it with aplomb – be it Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, Modern Combat 5 and so on. The odd placement of the 3.5mm audio jack does affect the manner of holding the phone which is annoying. Yes, the phone will get warm when you are playing games and the edges particularly heat up, but the recovery time is quick. For instance, after shooting a two minute 4K video, the chipset temperature reached around 70 degrees according to CPU-Z.
Call quality is good on the device and the earpiece speaker is loud. The Galaxy S6 edge+ has a downward firing speaker, which is loud and gives a good output when playing various kinds of music, from classical to rock. But while playing games there are chances that you may end up blocking it altogether.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ sports a 16MP rear camera with an f/1.9 aperture and it supports optical image stabilisation. The front-camera is a 5MP shooter and it also sports a f/1.9 aperture. The camera user interface is a bit advanced than other smartphone cameras that we have seen offlate, but within a couple of hours you should get used to it.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ camera offers a variety of modes for the camera enthusiast. Apart from the plain vanilla Auto mode, you have the Pro mode lets you adjust focussing, White balance, ISO, aperture and exposure; Selective focus lets you adjust the focus after the fact; Panorama lets you take vertical as well as horizontal panoramas; Video collage lets you shoot four videos and arranges them in a 2x2 collage; Slow motion and Fast motion are self-explanatory video modes; Virtual shot mode lets you shoot a 360-degree video of an image which can be played back by tilting the phone around. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ also offers a Live Broadcast mode, that lets you stream to your YouTube channel live just like Meerkat and Periscope. You can download more modes from the Galaxy app store.
PS: Image samples have been resized here. To check the full resolution, please click on the images
When it comes to performance, the phone does not disappoint. It has one of the best cameras we have seen so far on a smartphone this year. Not only are daylight photographs, but also low light and night time shots packed with immense detail. Unlike most of the smartphones we have seen this year, where the image quality degrades when you shoot in low light, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ gave images which still managed to retain detail, even at 100% zoom. Double tapping on the home button brings you right into the camera mode from the sleep mode. HDR photographs are well balanced. The optical image stabilisation keeps things blur-free and we got a lot of shots from inside a moving vehicle which had barely any blur. When it comes to shooting video, we really liked how the S6 edge+ cancelled out the background noise. It lets you shoot full HD, full HD with 60fps, QuadHD as well as UltraHD. Video quality is much better than what we have seen from other flagship phones. In case you haven’t realised yet, the camera on the S6 edge+ is meant for photography enthusiasts.
Battery Life: 8/10
For a 5.7-inch QuadHD display sporting phone, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ offers a 3,000mAh battery which is non-removable. We could manage to get around a day’s worth of usage on a single charge which involved surfing the web, calling, messaging, video streaming and gaming. PC Mark for Android gave a battery life of 8 hours 25 mins which is quite good. The phone offers fast charging feature which lets you charge the phone from 0-100% under two hours. The phone also supports wireless charging, but you will need to buy the wireless charger separately. Overall, we were impressed with the battery performance and you can extend it further by activating Power saving and Ultra Power saving modes as well.
Verdict and price in India
Samsung has delivered a good phone for those who were on the fence regarding buying the Galaxy S6 Edge, because they wanted a phone with larger display. The hardware innovation is the only USP of the phone which makes it stand apart. While the dual-curved edge display looks good, there is limited utility as we have already elaborated in the review. Unlike the Galaxy Note Edge, which could let you launch apps from the edge display, the one on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will only give you information stream.
At Rs 57,900 for the 32GB variant, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has fierce competition in its own backyard. The Galaxy S6 Edge sporting a 5.1-inch display is available for Rs 48,000 for 64GB storage (although with 3GB RAM and 2600mAh battery) makes more sense in case you want to go for the S6 edge phone just for its design. For those looking at a large screen phone, and could do without the edges, the Galaxy Note 5 priced at Rs 54,000 makes more sense as its Stylus offers many more productivity features than the edges on the S6 Edge+ ever could.
So long story short, go for the Galaxy S6 edge+ only if you are interested in its design and want your phone to stand out in the large screen segment. For others, wait for the prices on the phone to drop.
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