Despite its curved screen and increased dimensions, the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ phablet has its roots in the more modestly-proportioned Galaxy S6 smartphone. Both are top-end flagship devices for the South Korean firm, and they even share a processor, but which is the smarter buy?
Dimensions and design
Galaxy S6 Edge+: 154x76x6.9mm, 153g
Galaxy S6: 143x71x 6.8 mm, 138g
Obviously, the Galaxy S6 is the more compact and portable of the two, being a traditional smartphone rather than phablet. Still, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ should be commended here for very nearly matching the Galaxy S6's superb slimness, ending up just 1mm thicker despite being notably longer and wider. The weight difference isn't all that much either; a mere 13g in favour of the Galaxy S6.
If portability is paramount, then, the Galaxy S6 wins out. Those who are more interested in a larger screen, conversely, will definitely appreciate how close the Galaxy S6 Edge+ gets to the depth and weight of a much smaller smartphone.
Processor and RAM
Galaxy S6 Edge+: 64-bit octa-core (2.1GHz quad + 1.5GHz quad), 4GB RAM
Galaxy S6: 64-bit octa-core (2.1GHz quad + 1.5GHz quad), 3GB RAM
This is as close a call as it's possible to get; both the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy 6 pack the exact same amount of processing power. The Samsung-built processors dynamically switch between the two quad-core clusters, depending on the intensity of the task; the 1.5GHz quad-cores handle the basics, and the 2.1GHz quad-cores will kick in for more demanding work.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ still manages to take the advantage, featuring a generous 4GB of RAM to the Galaxy S6's 3GB. Both are considerable amounts of memory, to be sure, but the extra gigabyte of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ should help it run multiple apps more efficiently. Since Samsung's TouchWiz skin for Android includes support for split-screen multitasking, that small hardware upgrade could potentially make a big difference.
Galaxy S6 Edge+: "Dual Edge" 5.7in Quad HD Super AMOLED at 2560x1440 (518ppi)
Galaxy S6: 5.1in Quad HD Super AMOLED at 2560x1440 (577ppi)
Being an upscaled version of the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ inherits the former's unique screen, which curves around the side of the device to offer a couple of slivers of extra space - useful for notifications. That's on top of the gigantic 5.7in main display, which even manages to dwarf the sizable 5.1in screen on the Galaxy S6.
That said, while the screen is bigger, the resolution is not. Both devices share a high 2560x1440 resolution, but since the Galaxy S6's screen is smaller, it boasts a sharper pixel-per-inch (ppi) density. In theory, this should make it look sharper.
In reality, it's difficult for the human eye to perceive ppi differences over the 400 mark, so we're giving this one to the Galaxy S6 Edge+ as well. 518ppi is still incredibly sharp, and remains very impressive by phablet standards.
It's also pleasing, if unsurprising, to see both devices make use of Samsung's Super AMOLED tech to ensure deep blacks and bright, vibrant colours.
Operating system and software
Galaxy S6 Edge+: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Galaxy S6: Android 5.0 Lollipop (upgradable to 5.1)
This is effectively a tie - the Galaxy S6 will automatically update to the most recent Android 5.1 version once it's out of the box, giving it parity with the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which comes with the OS pre-loaded.
At least it's a clear win for users; Android 5.1 Lollipop is the best version yet, featuring built-in encryption, managed user profiles and a more colourful and user-friendly UI. The TouchWiz custom skin will fiddle with the latter a bit, but won't get in the way of the performance and security updates Android 5.1 has received over previous versions.
Also of note is Samsung Knox, the firm's proprietary encryption service. Aimed at enterprise users, it allows IT managers to create password-protected work areas. These run in their own sandbox, so any data stored in a work area will be both kept separate from personal data and protected from malware attacks in the event that the rest of the phone/phablet is infected.
Galaxy S6 Edge+: 3,000mAh
Galaxy S6: 2,550mAh
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ has the better battery on paper, with significantly higher capacity than that of the Galaxy S6 Edge. However, we're not convinced that this will yield a much longer effective battery life; that larger screen will undoubtedly sap power at a fast rate than the Galaxy S6's display. We'll have to wait until we get our hands on a testing model to find out either way.
In any case, both the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy S6 support wireless charging, allowing users to recharge by simply placing the device on a compatible charging pad. These pads haven't seen widespread adoption yet, but their implications are intriguing; in the future, we could see wireless charging stations integrated seamlessly into desk and tables in public places, reducing or eliminating the need to carry a charging cable.
Galaxy S6 Edge+: 32GB/64GB
Galaxy S6: 32GB/64GB/128GB
A slightly disappointing showing for the Galaxy S6 Edge+ makes the Galaxy S6 a superior choice for users who'll be filling their device with files, music and media. Not only is there a greater range of storage options available for the Galaxy S6, it also offers a much higher maximum option of 128GB to the 64GB of the Galaxy S6 Edge+.
This is actually a downgrade for the latter; the smartphone it was based on, the Galaxy S6 Edge, also had a 128GB version available. We're not sure why Samsung would cut this option for the phablet follow-up, other than for the sake of equality with the 32GB/64GB Galaxy Note 5, which was revealed at the same time.
Galaxy S6 Edge+: 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
Galaxy S6: 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
Samsung seems to have simply copied the Galaxy S6's cameras for the Galaxy S6 Edge+; both the front and rear cameras are specced exactly the same between the two devices, right down to F1.9 lenses.
This isn't necessarily a complaint, as the Galaxy S6 could take some very good shots, so the Galaxy S6 Edge+ should be equally capable.
While we're surprised by how similar these two are, particularly where the thickness, processor and cameras are concerned, it's hard not to be tempted by the Galaxy S6 Edge+, what with its vast, tapered screen, bigger battery and extra RAM.
Nonetheless, credit is due to the relatively dinky Galaxy S6, which stands up exceedingly well to a device that would have made lesser smartphones look old-fashioned. It remains a top-tier handset that should catch the eye of anyone who isn't yet keen on squeezing 5.7in of phablet into their pocket.
Watch our video hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ below.
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