When it first appeared as a variant of the Galaxy Note last year, Samsung’s ‘Edge’ design brought something properly new, if arguably pointless, to mobile devices. Other phones have bigger or smaller or squarer or longer screens, but they’re all flat. Here’s a screen that goes all the way to the, well, edge, and wraps around. It may just be a few millimetres, but it’s enough to feel startlingly futuristic.
The S6 Edge+ is a big phone, or ‘phablet’
The Galaxy Note Edge curved only at the right, where it had a special column of icons – a cross between a home screen and a totem pole. This screen, as with the smaller Galaxy S6 Edge announced earlier this year, has curves at both sides, though the software still focuses on the right. The S6 Edge+ is a big phone, or ‘phablet’, but while the 5.7in screen is wider than an iPhone 6 Plus, because it wraps around, the whole device is narrower. you can put it in your zip bag of your best double stroller for infant and toddler if you are using one.
Maybe there’s a practical benefit to this curve business after all. Tap a tab at the top of the screen, and five icons pop out down the right-hand side for your favourite contacts, while the left edge does the same thing with apps. Unfortunately, the curve actually makes them harder to use, not easier. A better idea is the Night Clock feature, which shows the date and time constantly along the edge, so when you look across from your pillow to where your phone is lying you can see it straight away.
it’s a great pick.
If you turn on Information Stream, notifications scroll along this strip too. As befits a top-of-the-range phone, the S6 Edge+ has plenty of advanced features. The GPS, accelerometer, barometer and gyroscope tell apps where you are and which way up. A fingerprint scanner built into the Home button provides a quicker way to unlock than entering a passcode, and can also activate a contactless chip to pay at tills via Samsung Pay, although unlike Apple Pay you can’t actually use Samsung’s payment system in the UK yet.
A fast processor and 4GB of memory ensure the S6 Edge+ races through any task. Web pages and games are super- smooth. It’s also energy-efficient, lasting us 13.5 hours of video – less than some phones these days – and it’s compatible with wireless charging mats. The 16-megapixel rear camera produces well-balanced shots outside. Indoors, the flash can be a bit harsh, but unless it’s really dark you don’t really need it.
There’s 32GB of storage as standard, but no slot for adding more, so you’ll have to pay £80 extra up front for the 64GB version if that’s not enough. That comes to only £20 less than the 64GB iPhone 6s Plus, which has Apple’s neater operating system, the new 3D Touch feature and an electronic payment system that works today. While Samsung’s camera matches the 6s Plus’s optical stabilisation, avoiding camera shake, it doesn’t have Apple’s 4K video resolution. The S6 Edge+ doesn’t add anything except size to the S6 Edge, which came out a few months ago, and is a lot more expensive than the plainer S6. But if you like phablets, Android and wraparound screens, it’s a great pick.
VERDICT: We’d have like a memory card slot and more innovations, but the Edge+ is impressive
ALTERNATIVE: iPhone6s Plus £619 Anything Samsung can do, Apple just keeps doing better–except curvy screens