Samsung went flagship happy on consumers in 2015. First saw the Galaxy S6, and later on it was joined in the line up by the S6 Plus, the S6 Edge and latterly the S6 Edge Plus. Join us as we review the latest in Samsung’s Galaxy S6 line up, and find out just how the device looks to improve on its stable mates, and exactly whether it’s worth your hard-earned dosh!
So first of all I would like to thank Vodafone for the review it. In this case I have a Black Sapphire coloured device with 32GB of on board storage.
So the first thing you’re greeted with is the device itself. Under the device sits a SIM removal tool and under the tray you get the usual paperwork. Finally throw that aside and you get to the goodies; a power brick, Micro USB cable and a set of earphones. These do look a lot like the Apple earbuds, but it remains to be seen if they sound as good.
From left to right is all the different layers used.
Let’s get these out-of-the-way quickly. For more information on the specs, a quick Google will give you all you need to know. So you’re getting:
- 5.7 inch Super AMOLED display 1440 x 2560px
- Android 5.1.1
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual band
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Micro USB
- Fingerprint Scanner
- Heart Rate Monitor
- Wireless Charging Qi/PMA
- 3000 mAh Battery
- 16 MP Camera – 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@60fps
- 32/64 GB Storage
- 4 GB RAM
- Exynos 7420
- Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 CPU
- Mali-T760MP8 GPU
- For a full in-depth specs list, click here to check them out at GSM Arena (http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s6_edge+-7467.php)
The one thing I am disappointed with is the fact there is not a micro SD slot.
A Tour of the Device
Up front is the where all the magic happens with that reasonably sized 5.7 inch screen with the leading edge design. Below that is the home button (which houses the fingerprint scanner), back button and multi-tasking button. On the right side of the phone you have the power button. On the left you are greeted with the volume +/- buttons. Up top you’ll find the SIM tray as well as a microphone and down below is the 3.5mm headphone jack, another microphone, Micro USB port and a speaker. Finally flip the phone round on to its back to display the camera, LED flash and heart rate monitor.
A tour of the device.
Coming in at 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9mm it is safe to say that it is a thin device and weighing 153g it is fairly light device too. When I first picked up my thought first was “Wow…this is light” especially when compared to my HTC One M8 which is my current daily driver. Something else to think about here is the glass back. Remind you of anything? Yep the iPhone 4 and 4s. It seems like Samsung has definitely refined some of Apple’s design methodology here. It’s also one problem I do have with the design. Not only does it hold residue from your fingers at every touch, it also feels very slippery in the hand. With a design this aesthetically pleasing, but potentially fragile, I would definitely invest in a case to safeguard the glass back (and screen) should I ever actually own one. Another issue I have is the way that heat from the battery does tend to warm your hands when using the device, as the heat is dispersed.
So on to the battery which is probably the one thing that will be a make or break component for some people. I’m pleased to say that it performed quite well. As usual, I primarily streamed podcasts and Spotify throughout the day with the occasional social media check in. Now my day starts at 8AM with the device at 100%. When I return home it at about 4:30pm the device still had some juice left in it, but not a lot. It would then continue to run in the aforementioned manner until about 6pm at which point it had dropped to about 2%. Not too bad, but your mileage will vary based on your usage of course.
This is where the included quick charge technology comes into its own. The one problem I encountered, which I mentioned earlier, was that to drive that 1440p display the phone would become warm to touch. Not a deal breakder for many no doubt but nevertheless rather annoying.
Whilst not indicative of normal use, I did run the Geekbench 3 battery test. It’s nothing to write home about here, dying in over 8 hours, but it should get through a day of medium use, and with the forthcoming Marshmallow update, introducing the Doze technology, we expect better things from the included 3000 mAh battery.
Whilst we all know synthetic benchmarks are not the be all and end all when it comes to accurately measuring day-to-day performance of course people still want to know benchmark scores. So I ran the usual benchmark apps here such as Geekbench 3 and AnTuTu Benchmark. I’m pleased to say that the device performed well scoring 1473 in Geekbench 3’s single core test and in the multicore test scoring 5204. In AnTuTu Benchmark it scores 64109 just a bit below the original S6.
Let’s start with a summary. The rear facing camera here is pretty damn amazing, both in low light and well-lit situation. There, we’ve got that out-of-the-way. The photos show up great and don’t have any grain to them (please note all the photos were taken with everything switched the auto). Take a look at some samples below:
So the camera performed great as I mentioned, and continued when recording at 1080p (as shown in the embedded video below). Minus the shakiness by me not using a tripod it is honestly fair to say that overall it is a great optical setup for stills and videos. In my opinion this could replace a traditional point a shoot camera for many consumers, as, after all, consumers are surely more likely to carry their phone with them than a camera in most daily situations. This is the way that I personally see cameras in phones heading; delivering more than sufficient quality to bridge the gap to DSLRs for most amateur consumers.
The main feature of the edge line of devices is, well, that “edge”. It’s also rocking a 5.7 inch Quad HD AMOLED display. All I can say is damn, if that isn’t one hell of a crisp display. For consuming media, like watching YouTube videos and casual gaming, it really is great. Though Quad HD is bit overkill for a smart phone in my opinion as 1080p still looks more than good enough for most uses, the QHD display does look great in video playback. At 1080p though the videos still look great and I would have preferred a 1080p panel to try to add a bit of extra battery life.
Whilst having the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus people where asking “What does the edged screen do?”. Well it is quite simple. Not a lot really. In the settings menu you can set up a few things. The first is shortcuts. There are two different shortcuts, People Edge and Apps Edge. I’m not going to explain this in too much detail, as these are pretty simplistic and simply deliver shortcuts to either contacts or applications. There is also a feature called Info Edge which displays the time, date and battery percentage. This is could be pretty useful for many as the main use of this feature could be as your bedside clock, which honestly is something I used and will be missed when switching back to HTC One M8. The final potential use of edged screen is the Edge Notifications feature. Again, rather self-explanatory but essentially this means if you get a text, email or phone call and the device is screen down the Edge will light up and provide an indication that “something” needs to be looked at on your device. I had this turned off as it only works with the Samsung apps much to my chagrin. The lack of this features’ use case to one side, it is a simple yet genius use of the edged screen.
I’m not an audio expert, that’s Mark’s title, but I can still say what is good and what is bad. The speaker, whilst not in the worst place (on the rear of a device) is placed in an almost equally stupid place at the bottom of the device, and I quite often found myself covering the speaker. When not covering up the speaker it sounds pretty good and does get plenty loud. They are certainly no HTC One M8 boom sound speakers, but it certainly gets the job done and it doesn’t sound terrible when you get it going at full blast.
What can I say about this that hasn’t already been said a number of times. It’s running Android 5.1.1 with Touchwiz over the top. Sure you can put different Touchwiz skins on th device courtesy of the theming engine but it’s still Touchwiz. Like with most devices I ran a third-party launcher, Action Launcher from Chris Lacy (Click here to download it) and I used Moko Icon Pack from djskarpia(Click here to download it). The software UI gets the job done and for the more amateur smartphone consumer, TouchWiz will be vibrant and fun to use. It’s certainly lighter than it used to be on the resources (or the resources just increased/improved) but it’s still not something I’d want to play with for too long.
So to round out, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is a great device and is a great successor the S6 and S6 Edge. The screen is super crispy and is by fair my favourite display I’ve ever used. The battery life is good considering its pushing 1440p panel though if it used a nice 1080p panel it would extend the battery and not detract too much from the clarity of the display. Something I didn’t mention was the fingerprint scanner. I didn’t really know where to put it in but boy can I honestly say it performs almost perfectly. 99.9% of the time it works flawlessly but there were the odd occasions where it didn’t work first time. However it did work on the second time so it’s not something I’d be overly concerned with. The camera is great and could easily replace a point and shoot as I mentioned, both for stills and video.
So, is it worth the near £520 RRP (check out the Vodafone store for more information)? Well, the answer is a resounding “kinda”. I can honestly say you sort of pay for what you get. After all it is a premium device, but it’s by no means a faultless one. If you’re a light-medium user of your devices, who wants great photos and videos, and a cutting edge design, then this is the phone for you.
Would I buy one? Yes. I would buy one myself, if I had the £519.99 to .