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Hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+

Al Sacco | Aug. 14, 2015
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 'phablet' packs a ton of top-of-the-line features and functionality, and it's a great-looking smartphone. However, based on first impressions, it also has a few notable shortcomings.

And finally, the GS6 edge+ has a new Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA) "upscaler," which you can use to convert poor or average quality audio files to higher bit rates. More specifically, Samsung says "any audio" MP3 files, or files from a CD, can be upscaled to a maximum of 24bit/192kHz, though not all audio players will be able to take advantage of the increases.

These are the features and functionality that impressed during my hands-on time with the Galaxy S6 edge+, but a number of the phablet's unfortunate shortcomings also caught my eye.

What you might not like about the Galaxy S6 edge+

I'm going to come right out and say it: I don't like phablets. They're just too damn big. Of course, that's a matter of preference, and clearly lots of people love their obscenely gigantic phones. If you're partial to large phones, the Galaxy S6 edge+'s size shouldn't be a concern, but despite its sweeping lines, smooth curves and slick glass surfaces, the phone feels clunky. And its curvy design and size make it somewhat slippery and unwieldy.

Continuing in the tradition of the original GS6 edge, the GS6 edge+ does not have a removable battery or an expandable memory card slot. That's par for the course these days, but I stand firmly in the camp that mourns the loss of these important features. You can never have too much battery life, and the option of swapping out a dead battery for a full one is always better than scrambling to find a power outlet in an unfamiliar environment.

The absence of a memory card slot is all the more notable because Samsung chose to offer the GS6 edge+ with only two storage options: 32GB and 64GB. Gone is the 128GB option that was available for both the GS6 and the GS6 edge. Honestly, this isn't a big deal for me, because I, like most consumers today, rely more and more on cloud storage. But it's sure to rub certain users the wrong way. If nothing else, it represents the unfortunate trend toward fewer choices for consumers in high-end gadgets, and that's not a good thing. 

The GS6 edge marked a notable new focus on design from Samsung, and it was available in a variety of vivid colors, including a memorable and unique emerald green. Unfortunately, the GS6 edge+ comes in only two, boring colors in the United States: black and gold.

The GS6 edge+ has the same cameras (rear and front-facing) as the GS6 edge, and while there's nothing wrong with the camera on the original GS6 -- in fact, it's a great camera overall -- it's somewhat disappointing not to see any improvements or enhancements, beyond a new image-stabilization tweak for the video camera. Cameras are among the most used, and most important, features in modern smartphones, and I wanted to see Samsung bolster the shooter on the GS6 edge+. Something about that plus sign tagged onto the end of the name seems to call for enhancements to major features. 

 

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