Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ unboxing and first impressions: an edgy phablet that’s loaded, but pricey

“We go hands on with Samsung’s latest flagship offering, the Galaxy S6 edge+”

Following the battle of top-end smartphones from brands like Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG in the first half of this year, it’s now time to brace ourselves for the second round of competition in this segment. As usual, the device to watch out for around this time of the year is Apple’s iPhone, but while the next-gen iPhone 6s is yet to go official, it’s rival Samsung has fired its first salvo with the Galaxy S6 edge+. In accordance with its name, the handset is a bigger version of its namesake, the Galaxy S6 edge (review | FAQs), which holds the record of being the first phone in the world with a three-sided display.

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It’s also interesting that the Chaebol has launched the Galaxy S6 edge+ within just a week of its global unveiling, which is surprisingly fast as usually, the company takes around a month to bring its devices to the subcontinent. What’s more intriguing is that there was no sign of the Galaxy Note5, which was introduced alongside the device last week. While Samsung maintains that the Note5 will be coming to India in the due course of time, for now, let’s take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and its box contents.

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Just like Samsung’s previous flagships, the S6 edge+ comes packed in a compact box with a minimal design. Prying open the cover brings up the smartphone and below it you’ll find the quick start guide. Underneath the tray, you’ll find the standard set of accessories – a pair of stereo earphones, a micro-USB cable and a 2A travel charger.

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The Samsung Galaxy S6 duo marked a major shift in brand’s design philosophy, and the Galaxy S6 edge+ continues that, albeit in a bigger avatar. The whole device is constructed from glass and metal, exuding premiumness from every angle. The fascia is almost covered by the large 5.7-inch display panel, which cascades down on both sides.

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Above the display, you’ll find an earpiece, proximity and light sensors along with a front-facing camera. Samsung’s familiar oval-shaped physical button, sandwiched between two capacitive keys, can be found below the display. The home button in the middle also doubles up as a fingerprint reader. While the display appears to be evenly curved on both sides, it is tapered down slightly on the right, leaving enough space for the volume buttons and power toggle.

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The noise-cancellation microphone and ejectable nano-SIM tray lies up top, whereas the base is choc-a-block with the headphone socket, a micro-USB port and speaker grille.

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The ample use of glass can be found at the rear panel of the unibody phone. While the demo unit we had was a silver hue, the Galaxy S6 edge+ will also be available in gold option. The back panel is home to the main camera unit along with an LED flash, accompanied by a heart-rate monitor and SpO2 sensor. You’ll also find Samsung’s logo towards the middle. While the glassy panel lends a distinct identity to the smartphone, it also is prone to slippage very easily, not to mention that it’s reflective and attracts fingerprints like a moth to a flame.

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Even though the Galaxy S6 edge+ is considerably larger than the Galaxy S6 edge (which features a 5.1-inch screen), Samsung has managed to keep its heft and thickness in check. In fact, it’s a hair slimmer with its frame measuring 6.9mm (vs 7mm). It tips the scale at 153g, which is quite lightweight for its size. While one-hand usage of the device might not be an easy task, it’s still comfortable for basic tasks like calling or accessing apps. However, if you want to do more such as typing, you’ll need to resort to using both hands.

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The display on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ offers true-to-life colours along with impressive sharpness thanks to Super AMOLED technology and a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. With a high pixel density of 518ppi, the phone is great for consuming multimedia content or reading eBooks. The brightness levels are also good and so are the viewing angles.

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The display curving towards the edges lets you swipe to access your favourite contacts (a feature seen on its progenitor) or your favourite apps. The ability to launch apps is an interesting idea, since it acts as a quick launcher and can be accessed from anywhere. Another welcome change in the functionality of the edge screen is that the position of the handle can also be changed.

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With the Galaxy S6 duo, Samsung ditched the Qualcomm chipsets for its homebred Exynos SoC’s and the same processor powers the Galaxy S6 edge+. It’s equipped with the Exynos 7420, which offers four high-speed cores running at 2.1GHz, while the other four cores are tuned at 1.5GHz for handling menial tasks. Samsung has increased the RAM to 4GB to make full use of 64-bit capabilities of the CPU and offer a seamless multitasking experience. With such powerful hardware, the device should be capable of the same performance we saw on its predecessor, although we’ll need to spend more time with the device to verify this.

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Being a unibody smartphone, the S6 edge+ doesn’t support memory expansion, which once used to be a highlight factor for Samsung’s flagship offerings. However, with 32GB of storage on board, with around 24.4GB available, it should be able to satisfy most user’s needs.

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Android 5.1 Lollipop topped with Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz layer handles the software operations on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. The brand has toned down its custom skin a lot in the recent past, as you’ll find very few preloaded apps, such as Outlook, OneDrive, Facebook, etc. apart from Google’s suite of apps and some Samsung titles. The UI also gels well with Google’s Material Design ethos.

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We proclaimed the Galaxy S6 edge as one of the best smartphone shooters, and the same combination of snappers are available on its bigger brother. It flaunts a 16-megapixel camera at the back with an f/1.9 aperture and a 5MP camera at the front. For illumination in poorly-lit environments, there’s an LED flash. The company has also added an interesting capability to the camera app – users can broadcast their videos live to their friends via YouTube.

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Rounding up the spec sheet is support for 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and NFC. With the increase in size, the handset also gets a bigger battery rated at 3,000mAh. Another useful capability is apart from fast charging support thanks to the bundled adapter, the device is compatible with wireless chargers too, although it you’ll need to purchase this separately for Rs 3,599.

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While there are a lot of accessories that will be available to buy for the Galaxy S6 edge+ ranging from a clear case to glittery back covers, what caught our attention was the Samsung keypad cover. Priced at Rs 4,599, the accessory acts both as a protective cover as well as keypad, offering you physical keys to type fast and accurately.

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The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ is a loaded phablet, both in terms of specs and its pricing of Rs 57,900. With the new breed of affordable flagships cropping up, it might be difficult to justify investing in Samsung’s latest offering, but it has its own charm with its dual-edged display and powerful configuration.

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