Mobile Technology

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S6 Ed...
Samsung is still determined to make curved screens a thing, with the Galaxy S6 Edge+
Samsung is still determined to make curved screens a thing, with the Galaxy S6 Edge+
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The curved 5.7-inch display on the Galaxy S6 Edge+
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The curved 5.7-inch display on the Galaxy S6 Edge+
You can swipe the upper right part of the curve to bring up shortcuts
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You can swipe the upper right part of the curve to bring up shortcuts
The Edge+ is a nice phone, but is it worth sacrificing a stylus?
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The Edge+ is a nice phone, but is it worth sacrificing a stylus?
The Edge+ is only 6.9 mm (0.27-in) thick
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The Edge+ is only 6.9 mm (0.27-in) thick
That aluminum frame should look familiar to owners of the 5.1-inch Galaxy S6 Edge
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That aluminum frame should look familiar to owners of the 5.1-inch Galaxy S6 Edge
The Edge+ weighs a mere 153 g (5.4 oz)
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The Edge+ weighs a mere 153 g (5.4 oz)
The same Gorilla Glass 4 back that you'll also see on the Note 4, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge
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The same Gorilla Glass 4 back that you'll also see on the Note 4, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung is still determined to make curved screens a thing, with the Galaxy S6 Edge+
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Samsung is still determined to make curved screens a thing, with the Galaxy S6 Edge+
Galaxy S6 Edge+ (left) with iPhone 6 Plus
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Galaxy S6 Edge+ (left) with iPhone 6 Plus
The phone is slightly more comfortable in hand than the Note 5
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The phone is slightly more comfortable in hand than the Note 5

Last year Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge was a more limited, almost experimental variant of the Note 4. But this year Samsung is giving the Galaxy S6 Edge+ a more prominent role next to its stylus-laden equivalent, the Galaxy Note 5. We spent some hands-on time with Samsung's new curved phablet at today's NYC launch event.

Based on our demo, we think the Note 5 is the more interesting of the two handsets. Since they're almost identical, your decision comes down to curved screen and no S Pen vs. flat screen and S Pen. And considering Samsung improved its stylus (again) in the Note 5, and threw in some new pen-based software to go along with it, the decision seems like a no-brainer.

... the pen is mightier than the curve.

The same Gorilla Glass 4 back that you'll also see on the Note 4, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge
The same Gorilla Glass 4 back that you'll also see on the Note 4, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge

The curved 5.7-inch display on the Galaxy S6 Edge+
The curved 5.7-inch display on the Galaxy S6 Edge+

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is still, however, a very nice handset. 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with Quad HD resolution, 4 GB RAM, octa-core CPU and the same excellent cameras found in the GS6? That's not a bad formula at all.

If it weren't sitting next to the Note 5, we'd be making a much bigger deal about this phone. It's the first tier-one Samsung phablet that isn't part of the Galaxy Note lineup; it's also Samsung's most direct rival yet to the iPhone 6 Plus:

Galaxy S6 Edge+ (left) with iPhone 6 Plus
Galaxy S6 Edge+ (left) with iPhone 6 Plus

The selling feature, at least in theory, is that curved screen that slopes off on both sides. In our review of its near-identical baby brother, the Galaxy S6 edge (maybe we can start calling it the "Edge Minus?"), we found the practical aspects of the Edge Display to be minimal. It was a serious cosmetic perk, but anything more than that? Nah, not for us.

It's the same deal here, with the 5.7-inch Edge+.

You can swipe the upper right part of the curve to bring up shortcuts
You can swipe the upper right part of the curve to bring up shortcuts

Those supposed practical benefits include a swipe-in gesture to fire up contact or app shortcuts. There isn't much to say about this: swipe across the upper-right edge and get a shortcut pop-up. Cool enough, we suppose. But hardly enough to justify skipping the S Pen – and possibly throwing down some extra loot.

Our biggest surprise in handling the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is how light and thin this sucker is. At just 6.9 mm (0.27-in) thick and weighing a mere 153 g (5.4 oz), it's better in both of those categories than the Note 5. The Edge+ is missing the sloped back that the Note 5 has, but otherwise is even better-feeling in hand. Both feel terrific, but the Edge+ has the, erm, edge.

The Edge+ is only 6.9 mm (0.27-in) thick
The Edge+ is only 6.9 mm (0.27-in) thick

We could go into more detail about the S6 Edge+, but we'd just be repeating ourselves from our Galaxy Note 5 hands-on. Check out those impressions, subtract the bits about the S Pen and S Pen software, shave off some thickness and weight, add some Edge Display shortcuts of questionable value, and you have the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

We'll need to spend some extended time with a review unit before jumping to any conclusions about the Edge+, but remember that as pretty as curved displays are, that novelty will likely wear off long before the S Pen's utility does.

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