There are two ways to describe the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. It’s a Samsung Galaxy Note5 without the S Pen, or it’s a larger and more powerful S6 edge. That means its great looks come at the cost of the productivity features that make us so excited about the new Note5.
To be fair, the S6 edge+ has some exclusive features of its own that take advantage of its curved display, proving that the edge in the edge+ is more than just a design gimmick. It also shares a nearly identical spec sheet to the Note5, making it if not the most powerful, than one of the most powerful, flagships on the market at launch.
(Update 8/26/15: The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ review is live.)
We’ve already seen alerts, information tickers, and notifications take advantage of the unique edge design. Particularly with the Note Edge, which had a more severe slope than the S6 edge that lent itself to passive information. The more stylized and gradual slope of the S6 edge and now the S6 edge+ seems better geared toward usability and one-handed operation.
To that end, the new S6 edge+ brings both the “Apps edge” and “People edge,” two screen’s worth of shortcuts, available via a quick swipe. Both have user-set shortcuts, and they make using a large smartphone with one hand just a bit less awkward. Lefties will appreciate the fact that the “edges” can be set for accessing from either side.
S6 edge+ also borrows from the Note5’s display blurring when the “edges” are accessed, making the process easy on the eyes and keeping the display free from clutter.
The Samsung Galaxy edge+ earns its plus from its larger, 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, though it has the same resolution as the 5.1-inch S6 edge, 2560 x 1440. That means its 518 pixel-per-inch count is lower than the S6 edge’s 577 PPI, but even the most eagle-eyed user would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Just like the Note5, the S6 edge + sports an octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC (64-bit, 2.1GHz Quad + 1.5GHz Quad, same as the S6 and S6 edge) and 4GB of RAM (the S6’s both have 3GB). It features Android 5.1 (Lollipop).
It has either 32 or 64GB capacity, a 16-megapixel rear shooter with optical image stabilization, and a 5-megapixel front camera. It supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi on both 2.4 and 5GHz, and Bluetooth v4.2 LE, as well as LTE Cat 9. It has a single USB 2.0 port.
Its 3,000mAh battery is larger than the S6 edge’s 2600mAh juice pack, but it charges just as fast, according to Samsung. It supports both PMA and WPC wireless charging technologies.
It measures 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9mm, and weighs a scant 153g.
It shares a bunch of features with the Note 5. The Galaxy S6 edge+ has a fingerprint sensor and KNOX security, so it will support Samsung Pay, which works with both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). For users, that means Samsung Pay will work with just about any credit card reader, whether they support wireless transactions or not.
It can live stream to YouTube Live through its camera app, and it can upscale streaming music to CD-like quality in Samsung’s words. It has similar Bluetooth upscaling for streaming audio to specific Samsung headphones and speakers. And it features SideSync 4.0 for sending and receiving files wirelessly to a PC or Mac through virtualization and drag-and-drop.
Hardware Hands On
The S6 edge+ looks great and feels great. Though it’s hard not to be impressed with what Samsung was able to do with the glass, many of the hardware criticism we levied at the Note5 also apply here. That means it has no removable battery, no microSD card slot, and it has a USB 2.0 port that seems ancient compared to the rest of the spec sheet.
Though it’s undeniably well built, we didn’t hear anything about rugged design features, dust proofing, or water resistance. Chances are you’ll want to hide this beauty in a protective case.
Given the display wraps around the sides, there is no bezel to speak of, however there is plenty of room on the top and bottom to house the earpiece as well as the physical home button and capacitive softkeys. It may seem out of place on such a slick smartphone, but we love the physical home button and hope Samsung never abandons it in favor or on-screen keys.
Galaxy S6 edge+ will be available in Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum, for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.
To call the S6 edge+ a prettier Note5 without the productivity features is not the dismiss it. Its design is too slick and its spec sheet is too impressive. We look forward to testing this one out fully.