Interestingly, Samsung did not launch the Galaxy Note 5 along with the Galaxy S6 Edge+ in India. The Galaxy S6 Edge is not all that old, but the Galaxy Note series hasn't had an update since the Galaxy Note 4 launched last year. When asked why, Asim Warsi, Vice President, Marketing, Mobile and IT, Samsung India dodged our question and only said "We will meet on a separate day to talk about the Samsung Galaxy Note 5."
Coming back to Samsung's latest smartphone launch, the real question here is what it offers over and above its predecessor. On paper, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ features a larger display, more RAM, and a bigger battery than the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Review | Pictures) other than some minor changes. We spent some time with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ at the event, and while we will reserve our formal verdict until we can conduct a full review, here are our initial thoughts about the new smartphone.
From a distance, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ looks identical to the Galaxy S6 Edge. However, it is slightly thinner at 6.9mm while its predecessor measured 7mm. In the real world, no one will notice this tiny difference. The smartphone also features a 5.7-inch screen compared to the 5.1-inch seen on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
Much like the Galaxy S6 Edge, the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ stands out from the crowd because of its screen, which curves around both sides of the phone. It will be available in Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium colour variants in India. We spent some time with a Gold Platinum unit during the launch event.
The front and rear panels of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ are all glass. You can see the body colour through the rear glass, which is highly reflective. The camera bulges out slightly, like it does on many other Samsung models. The phone was bit hard to grip, mainly because of its thin sides, something we pointed out in our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review as well. Despite being heavier than its predecessor, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ feels light at 153 grams.
Below the screen, one can find the physical home button with an integrated fingerprint scanner which worked fine during our limited time with the device. However, one thing that disappoints us is that Samsung is yet to confirm whether the Samsung Pay payment service will come to the Indian market or not. Considering that Apple is yet to introduce Apple Pay, Samsung could gain an advantage over its biggest rival in bringing this feature to the country first. Warsi however said that the company is yet to finalise anything about it.
Placed on either side of the physical home button are the capacitive Recent and Back buttons which light up only when touched. The power and volume buttons are housed on the right and left sides of the phone respectively. Similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ features a Nano-SIM card tray on the top, while the speaker grille and 3.5mm audio jack are on the bottom, alongside the Micro-USB port.
Specifications, software and camera
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC with four Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2.1GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz. It also has 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It features a 5.7-inch QHD (1440x2560-pixel) Super-AMOLED display with a density of 515ppi. The Galaxy S6 Edge, on the other hand, has a 5.1-inch QHD display.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilisation, apart from a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The company at the event demoed its new Live Broadcast feature which can directly broadcast video to YouTube. We asked whether the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will be getting the Live Broadcast feature with future system updates, but Samsung India said that no final decision had yet been made.
Just like its namesake, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ has no microSD card slot. However, it does see improvements in terms of battery capacity and RAM - the phone has a 3,000mAh battery and 4GB of RAM, upgrading the specs of the previous version - the Galaxy S6 Edge has a 2,600mAh battery and 3GB of RAM. Android has also moved up from version 5.0 to version 5.1.1.
The handset features Fast Charging technology which Samsung claimed will allow it to charge fully in roughly 90 minutes, though wireless charging will take roughly 120 minutes. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ comes with a Cat. 6 4G LTE modem and supports India's 4G LTE bands.
Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/A-GPS, and Micro-USB 2.0. The Samsung Galaxy Edge+ measures 154.4x75.8x6.9mm, and weighs 153 grams.
The software on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ looked much the same as on the Galaxy S6 Edge. The company utilises the curved display edges using what it calls Edge Screen panels, which flash in predefined colours when any of up to five contacts call. We did not come across any other major software changes in our limited time with the handset.
Much like the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Review | Pictures) and Galaxy S6 Edge, the new curved-screen smartphone comes preloaded with Microsoft's Skype, OneDrive and OneNote apps. Considering that there is no microSD slot on the handset, Samsung is offering up to 100GB of free storage on OneDrive. When asked why storage expansion had been dropped, Warsi stated that users are steadily moving towards cloud storage option which is why Samsung is offering free OneDrive storage. Galaxy S6 Edge+ buyers will also get the standard 15GB free cloud storage space on Google Drive.
Due to constraints at the launch event, we were unable to test the camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge+ in optimal lighting conditions. We will have to wait till we can perform a full review to see whether the cameras of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ are better than those of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ has a number of small improvements over the Galaxy S6 Edge, but nothing that is very noticeable except for the screen size. The company has launched the 32GB variant of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ in India priced at Rs. 57,900. The smartphone will go on sale on August 28.
The biggest competitor to the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be the Galaxy S6 Edge, which can be bought from various stores for as little as Rs. 48,500. It remains to be seen whether Samsung will phase out the Galaxy S6 Edge now that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has arrived. The Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are also available at lower prices than the Galaxy S6 Edge+ which could give it a tough time in the Indian market.