We’ll keep this one short and sweet. After all, most of what can be said about the Galaxy S6 Edge+ we said when Samsung released the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge earlier in the year. The ‘plus’ here refers to size mostly; the size of the phone, the size of the screen and, most importantly, the size of the battery.
The focus in this review will be on the differences — good and bad — but make sure you also read our review of the Galaxy S6 for the complete picture.
There is no doubting that the Edge+ is an eye-catching smartphone. Its sleek, reflective curves will start conversations, and if that is something you love about a new phone, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s not that the smaller, original Edge lacks these qualities -- both phones are made from the same materials -- but the oversized footprint of the Edge+ gives it extra ‘oomph’.
But the way a phone looks can have little bearing on what it’s like to use it. The glass on front and back looks great, but it makes for a very slippery phone, and the weight and size of the Edge+ only makes it worse. This is one of the few phones that we find ourselves clinging to, terrified that we'll lose our grip and send it careening towards the cement below. The Edge+ takes great photos (as you can see below) but taking the photos is a scary experience: there just isn’t that much phone to hang on to.
Like the smaller model, the Edge+ has almost no trim along the sides that aren't a part of the touchscreen. You try your best to hold it in a way that won’t activate a function onscreen, but it is tricky to do this and keep the phone firmly in your fingers. This is a problem we encountered regardless of which task we were trying to perform, whether its web browsing, messaging or watching a video; the number of times you accidentally touch the screen is seriously frustrating.
The pay off for this annoying design is the phone’s wow factor and a few mostly useless software tweaks. You can, for example, set up Quick Contacts and swipe in from the edge to speed dial one. Another swipe and you'll find a list of your favourite apps. Or, you can set up the edge to act as a scrolling information ticker while the phone is in standby. For us, the trade-offs far outweigh these meagre gains.
A Big Screen Deserves A Big Battery
Without a doubt, the best parts of the Edge+ are the screen and the battery life — two sides of the same coin. The large 5.7-inch screen is superb, there are few screens in market that look this sharp or this colourful. It is a super bright screen, too, so our outdoor visibility under strong sunlight is great.
To make the most of this excellent display, Samsung has packed a decent-sized 3000mAh battery into the phone, an impressive feat with a phone this slim. It isn’t just the size of the battery which makes the difference, but also the way Samsung’s software makes the most of the juice you have. The result is fantastic, even for a heavy user. We easily got through a second day on a single charge, but even if your usage is higher than ours, you should never feel caught short by a phone that can’t survive until the end of a busy day.
There has been a lot of discussion about Samsung choosing not to use removable battery in its 2015 flagship range, but when battery life is this good, it’s hard to complain too much.
As we saw with the Galaxy S6 and Edge earlier in the year, Samsung is on a roll with its photography tools. The camera in this phone is another great example. It is difficult to take the photos (as described above) but the results are worth the effort.
There are few phones with as many customisable camera settings. A few keystrokes and you're in Pro Mode and have the option to adjust all the settings you'd find on the back of a dSLR camera.
Worth your money?
There are some major pros and cons with the Edge+, but the final, and perhaps deal breaking, consideration is the price. There is no way around it, the Edge+ is one of the most expensive Samsung phones ever, and it's right alongside the iPhone 6s Plus as one of the costliest phones you can buy right now.
The problem is that this extra expense goes towards paying for the features we like the least. The curved display is a cool proof of concept, but Samsung really hasn’t figured out a way to implement it in a way that doesn’t impact on the way you’ll use the phone everyday. This isn’t a small quibble, this is central to the phone’s design, as we don’t like it.
In our opinion, we’d save the extra money. Go for a cheaper Galaxy S6, or a Galaxy Note 5 if you’re after a bigger screen. Or save even more money and consider an LG G4, Motorola Moto X Style or a new Huawei. These are all excellent options, and though you’ll lose the wow factor of the curved screen, you’ll save a bunch of money too.