I'm a big fan of the regular Galaxy S6 Edge. It took Samsung up into the same aesthetic and build quality league as Apple's iPhone − and arguably overtook it. Here was a phone that did something brave and new with its curved screen; a phone that was truly different to what had gone before. I only had a few short days with the S6 Edge, but ever since the thought of trading in my iPhone 6 for one never quite left my mind.
And so to the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. As the name suggests, this is a larger version of the regular Edge, adding 0.6 inches to the screen, and is the replacement for the Galaxy Note 4. This doesn't sound like much, but the extra size and weight makes handling the Plus a lesson in dexterity and, given it's made of glass, an expensive lesson if the worst should happen.
Did the Galaxy S6 Edge need a larger screen? Has Samsung given us the perfect answer to the equally massive iPhone 6s Plus? I've spent two weeks with the new phone to find out.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus: Look and feel
Gorgeous, isn't it? Samsung pulled out all the stops with the regular S6 Edge and for the Plus the design has been left completely unchanged. Photocopied at 125%, the Plus is otherwise identical. The screen curves at both sides and leads to an aluminium chassis that flows around the outer edge. Both front and back panels are glossy glass and, in the case of my review unit, a metallic purple (Samsung calls it black) that catches the light beautifully. Of course, it also gets covered in fingerprints.
But there's a problem here. It's a personal one, but for me the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is simply too big (a bit like its name, come to think of it). I really struggle to reach the corners when using the phone in one hand, and while this is also true of the iPhone 6 Plus, the tiny edges of the Samsung make holding it precarious. There really is very little to hold onto, and with cold fingers on an autumn morning I'm reluctant to hold the phone in one hand while walking.
Those thin edges also make phone calls uncomfortable after more than a few minutes, as they slowly dig into your thumb. But put these small, personal issues to one side, and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is a lovely smartphone and, truth be told, after a week or so I had got used to its sharp edges and slippery back.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus: Screen
Measuring 5.7in, the Plus's screen is 0.6in larger than the regular Galaxy S6 Edge but retains the same 1440 x 2650 resolution. This means pixel density falls slightly from 577ppi to 518, not that you'd ever notice because individual pixels are impossible to spot and the pictures produced are superb. The curves look cool, but add very little to how you use the phone. As with the smaller S6 Edge, swiping in from the side brings up access to five favourite contacts, but a software tweak unique for the Plus means a second swipe shows shortcuts to five applications.
It's nice enough, as is the ability to show the time, date, weather and notifications on either curved edge without lighting up the whole screen. But really the edges are there for aesthetics and because Samsung isn't selling the Note 5 in the UK, this is the only large phone it sells here. The screen is gorgeous, only let down ever-so slightly by a vignette caused by the curves, darkening the image slightly at the edges.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus: Software and Performance
Here, all is identical to the Galaxy S6 Edge. The only difference is that RAM has been increased from 3GB to 4GB. It has the same 32 or 64GB of storage, although the lack of a microSD card slot to increase this remains, and the same Exynos 7420 processor made up to two, quad-core chips running at 1.5GHz and 2.1GHz respectively. Performance is right on the money and means everything responds just about instantly.
A fingerprint reader on the Home button unlocks the phone, but it isn't as fast or reliable as a similar system on the iPhone 6 and 6s.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus: Camera
Again, everything here is the same as it is on the smaller Edge. This means 16 megapixels, with optical image stabilisation on the back and a 5MP sensor on the front. Excellent photos are fast and easy to take, low-light shots aren't a problem, and you can take 4K Ultra HD video.
When I started writing this review the phone was priced at £749 for 32GB and a massive £829 for 64GB − both more expensive than the iPhone 6s Plus, and therefore difficult to justify. But now these have fallen on Samsung's website to £599 and £679 respectively and are now much more sensible. Bizarrely, the smaller S6 Edge is slightly more expensive.
At these prices the Edge Plus is worth plenty of praise. It's a fast and highly accomplished handset that excels in just about every area. It will be too big for many, but I was amazed at how quickly I adjusted to using the larger screen. The Edge Plus is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that is genuinely difficult to criticise − and this is coming from an iPhone user. If you want a large Android, then this is, without a doubt, the one you should buy.