Hands-on with the Galaxy S6 Edge+: Did we really need a bigger version?

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is the perfect example of how Samsung sometimes does too much, too soon.

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Remember last year, and the year before, when we all complained about Samsung churning out phone after unneeded phone? As soon as it started doing that, the quality of its product lineup quickly deteriorated. I’m hoping the Galaxy S6 Edge+ isn’t a hint that Samsung’s back to its old tricks again.

Here’s the thing: I genuinely love the Galaxy S6 Edge. I use one as my daily driver. But did Samsung really need to churn out another version of it? I was perfectly fine with the idea that the Galaxy Note series would be Samsung’s “phablet” darling, but now there are two different “big” phones to account for. I can see this eventually becoming confusing.

The S6 Edge’s bigger brother

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The mega-sized Galaxy S6 Edge+. 

The Edge+ doesn’t offer much you haven’t seen before. It’s outfitted in the same thin, metal-and-glass chassis as its counterpart, the Galaxy S6 Edge, with similar curved edges on either side of its 5.7-inch screen. Even its antenna stripes and speaker are placed in the same spot as its predecessor. 

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The similarities are hard to overlook. 

Inside, has the same processor as the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge: the 2.1GHz octa-core Exynos 7420. Only this time Samsung gave it 4GB of RAM instead of 3GB, and a 3,000 mAh battery pack instead of 2,600 mAh. The larger battery pack is certainly a godsend after the battery woes of the regular S6 Edge, but the bigger Super AMOLED display means the Edge+ may be less energy efficient than its predecessor. I’m worried about the Edge+’s battery life in the real world, even with all the battery saving features offered in the settings. 

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Up close and personal: this Galaxy S6 Edge+ does not use a USB Type-C connector. Wahhhh. 

I love big phones. I didn’t at first—and Samsung’s part of the reason why—but now I’m particularly partial to them. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is really comfortable to use. Its large size actually works in your favor for heavy multitasking and fast-typing situations. But whenever I’d hold it, I was afraid it’d slip out of my hand. At least with its smaller counterpart, I can grip its 5.1-inch screen all the way around; at 5.7 inches, I can barely reach.

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The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is so much bigger than its little brother.

Samsung’s TouchWiz interface has been scaled up to fit the Galaxy S6 Edge+’s larger screen. There’s more room for icons on the Home screen, but otherwise it’s the same software experience you get on the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge—including the bundled-in Microsoft Office applications that you can only disable from the Applications Manager.

A few Edge extras

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Now you can add application shortcuts to the Edge screen. 

Like the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Edge+ offers a few extra software features that take advantage of the curved display. You can now add up to five application shortcuts to the edge screen, in addition to five favorite contacts, and bring them up from any app—previously, you could only access them from the Home screen. It’s a convenient feature, but I don’t even use this ability on my S6 Edge. There’s also a tiny tab that peeks out from the corner of the display’s edge and it gave me flashbacks of the Multi Window tab from older versions of TouchWiz.

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What will it be? A live broadcast, or a video collage?

The Edge+ also comes equipped with a few new camera modes, including YouTube live broadcasting and video collages. Live broadcasting is simple to set up: all you have to do is link it to your Google account. I couldn’t try out the live streaming feature myself during my hands-on, but I like that YouTube is directly integrated into the device’s native camera app. I’m curious to get a peek at what the privacy settings are during a live broadcast, though.

Additionally, the Edge+ will come equipped for Samsung Pay—which is finally launching in September—as well as Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQ), a software feature that acts like an audio booster for downloaded and streaming music. You can read more about in my hands-on with the Galaxy Note 5

A little too much, too soon

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So...it’s a big curved phone!

I would have loved to see the Galaxy S6 Edge+ announced alongside the Galaxy S6 Edge, just as Apple introduced its iPhone 6+ alongside the smaller-sized iPhone 6. (I would have probably bought the Edge+ instead.) But, announced alone half a year later, the Edge+ seems sort of futile. Who is this phone for? Is there really a demand from users who wanted a bigger Galaxy S6 Edge? Or is it for the Note 5 users who don’t want to worry about carting around a stylus? My feeling is that this is simply Samsung overdoing it again.

Regardless, I really liked the Galaxy S6 Edge+. It’s a great example of the kind of quality smartphone-making Samsung is capable of. 

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