Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ – So sharp you’ll cut yourself

I’m experiencing the slightest sense of deja vu here. I’ve seen this phone before but someone seems to have turned up the magnification a bit. But that’s something that can be laid at the door of the Galaxy S6 Edge which doesn’t exactly look dissimilar to the Galaxy S6 Edge+, its belated and oversized twin. The latter is the subject of this review, if the headline didn’t make that immediately apparent.

Does Samsung’s increased size (and the addition of a second edge) make a purchase of one of these handsets a possibility for folks who took the jump and got an S6 Edge at launch? Hell, are you going to want to swap out whatever your current device is for one of these at all? On the face of it, I’m going to say ‘yes’ but that’s because you can snag one of these at present for a significant discount on its R15,000 RRP. Are there any other reasons? Ummm…

Metal And Glass

S6 Edge Plus FrontLet’s just say that there are several reasons to get one of these phones and the price drop is just one of them. A very bloody welcome one, but still just one. Samsung’s flirtation with metal and glass is on full display here, written larger than before but that’s to accommodate the 5.7-inch 1,440 x 2,560 Super AMOLED curved display that dominated the front. It’s clear, it’s curved, it’s got an extremely gorgeous resolution – and we still don’t have much use for the curved edges. But I’ve seen people that do, so the S6 Edge+ must be double the fun for them.

The button at the base of the phone’s front end doubles as a fingerprint scanner, bracketed by soft-touch keys on either side. The volume rocker is on the upper left-hand side, the power button opposite on the right and the headphone jack, microUSB charge port and a speaker vent lives on the base of the metallic strip that surrounds this phone.

On top is where your SIM card is inserted. You’re going to need a special tool to get the holder out and it fits nicely flush once it is in place. The rear panel is all glass, broken only by the camera bump and flash assembly at the upper centre of the phone. Oh and despite how attractively engineered all of this is, all that glass is a righteous fingerprint magnet. Just saying…

Hot-Rod Internals

S6 Edge Plus BaseThere are no complaints about the look of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ – the curved screen makes sure that you’re never going to mistake it for anything other than a Samsung. But the insides also go quite a way towards setting this phone apart.

Samsung have seen fit to bestow upon their updated phone an Exynos 7420, which works its magic with the accompaniment of 4GB of system memory and a choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage. As with the other previous high-end phones from the South Korean powerhouse, you’re going to have to make do without a microSD slot. Or a removable battery.

Samsung have included a 3,000mAh battery though, which charges a lot faster than you’d think (with approved charging hardware, anyway). Combine the above with that super-clear Super AMOLED and you’re looking at a recipe for a speedy, attractive all-rounder. But how does the S6 Edge+ perform?

On The Bench

S6 Edge Plus ProfileHonestly, you shouldn’t be asking that question at all. There’s almost no point. When the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were tested earlier this year they were the fastest phones that Stuff had encountered. It would have been more remarkable if anything had changed in the intervening period. Since the specs are largely the same as those found in the S6 (aside from some extra RAM), that’s not likely.

Which means that the benchmark results, while impressive, were not surprising in the slightest. Geekbench 3 popped out a single-core result that was consistently around the 1,495 mark in several runs. Multi-core was even better, not dipping below 5,000 and reaching 5,184 on one occasion.

The run through AnTuTu was similarly unremarkable, while still being notable. A score of 63966 on AnTuTu’s 32-bit test (yes, I know a better score is possible with the 64-bit test but: old phones) showed up but the graphics performance was also a wonder to watch. The 3D rendering test shuttled between 45 and 60 frames per second – that’s almost PC performance. Kinda.

Ready For Your Close-Up?

S6 Edge Plus CameraHaving established that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will spank everything in the room, with the exception of another Samsung, it’s time to look at the cameras. The Edge+ has two of em. And, like its two predecessors, they’re both great.

The 5MP camera in the front, while good, doesn’t really signify as you’re going to be spending all your time with the 16MP rear cam. Not only have the optical image stabilisation and Auto HRD features made it a walk in the park to use as a point-and-shoot, Samsung have gone for a Pro mode in the camera app where you can fiddle yourself to bits if you know your f-stop from ISO speeds. There’s a simplified version of this available too, in case you’re all thumbs-in-front-of-the-lens.

If you’re packing the S6 Edge+, you really don’t need another camera. It matches up to and in some cases exceeds the average compact, resulting in images that you wouldn’t mind stacking up against shots taken with a good DSLR. When the worst thing you can say about a phone’s camera is that it sticks out at the back a bit, you’ve got yourself a winner.

Verdict

Following the price drop on this one out of reach handset, it’s absolutely a contender for the phone that you need to own until something better comes along in 2016. Performance is top-notch, the screen is nigh-unbeatable, it’s got that little curve thing going, and it looks… so… good. That said, if you caved in and bought the Galaxy S6 or the S6 Edge at launch, you shouldn’t even bother thinking about upgrading. You’re looking at a lot of the same specs, with slight tweaks and modifications here and there, in a bigger chassis. If someone else is paying for it then get the upgrade by all means but if it’s your own cash and you already have a 2015 Samsung flagship trading up doesn’t make much sense.

Good

  • Excellent hardware
  • Ditto the design
  • That screen is exceptional, even though we don't use the edges

Bad

  • Its default price is... madness
  • MicroSD, where are thou?
  • No compelling upgrade reasons from an S6 or S6 Edge
9.5

Amazing

Stuff South Africa's online editor and print assistant editor, Brett Venter has churned out more words on more titles than most journalists will in a career. He's kind of shy.

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