|Style & Handling|
|+ Stunning design||- Average battery|
|+ Great camera||- Pricy|
|+ Amazing power||- Edges aren’t very useful|
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is beautiful, powerful, expensive and a bit of a gimmick. It’s a great phone, but the curves don’t add a lot.
Samsung has released two flagships this year and while the Galaxy S6 will enjoy more sales the Galaxy S6 Edge could be what we’ll be looking back at five years from now when we’re rocking foldable phones, but only if the curved screen idea takes off of course.
With flagship specs and a stunning design the Galaxy S6 Edge is certainly the best advert for curved screens yet, but to succeed it’s got to do more than just look the part, it’s got to be a genuinely useful design decision. So is it? Or are you better off sticking with the standard Galaxy S6?
With the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung has finally stepped up to the table and delivered a smartphone with a premium design and of the two the Galaxy S6 Edge is arguably the better looking.
Both phones have a slim build, with the S6 Edge coming in at just 7.0mm thick and both have a metal frame and glass back. They also both have the slightly curvy shape that many Samsung phones have and the curved screen on the S6 Edge just adds to that, leaving it begging to be held and admired.
It both looks and feels premium, while still looking a lot like a Samsung phone for better or worse, as the design is similar to other Samsung handsets, just with plastic replaced with more premium materials.
The screen helps it stand head and shoulders above the normal S6 in the looks department though and leaves it as one of the very best looking phones around and certainly one of the most unique. Sadly though as with the standard Galaxy S6 it’s not water or dust resistant.
If you’re considering a Galaxy S6 Edge it’s almost certainly because of the screen, given that in most other ways this is just a Galaxy S6 with a higher price tag.
And this is where things get a bit complicated, because the screen is both brilliant and a bit of a disappointment. For a start it’s brilliant in all the same ways as the screen on the Galaxy S6 is, as it’s a 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch.
Let’s break that down, 5.1 inches is probably a good size for most people, being big but not too big. Coupled with a QHD resolution and insanely high pixel density it’s also one of the sharpest screens around and its Super AMOLED technology ensures it’s rich and vibrant.
But it also goes beyond the screen on the Galaxy S6, because it’s curved. This achieves several things.
For one thing it gives it a truly bezel-less design and leaves it looking incredible and then there are the extra features of the curved display, such as being able to assign different colours to different contacts and have the edges light up in the colour for whoever’s calling, so you can see who it is without ever looking at the main screen.
But that’s a fairly minor feature and with the edges being so small there’s not enough space to do much else. Some media apps allow for their controls to be displayed on them, which is useful as it keeps the main screen uncluttered, but that’s about the most they can do.
Given that this is a phone which starts at around £670 (around £70 more than the already pricey Galaxy S6) it becomes tricky to justify when the extra functionality is so minimal.
In some ways it’s even a step back from the Galaxy Note Edge, which might only have had one curved edge, but at least it was big enough to serve as a proper second screen. Still, it certainly looks good and for many people that might be enough.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 processor with four cores clocked at 2.1GHz and four clocked at 1.5GHz.
It’s a slightly surprising setup as most new flagships are launching with a Snapdragon 810, but Samsung’s Exynos chip seems every bit as powerful and it’s paired with 3GB of RAM, so the S6 Edge is a multi-tasking champion too.
It’s also great on 4G, as it’s a Cat. 6 device, meaning that it can theoretically enjoy 4G download speeds of up to 300Mbps. Of course you’ll first have to be on a fast enough 4G network for that, for which you’ll need to be somewhere with LTE-A / 4G+.
The Galaxy S6 Edge has a thoroughly impressive camera too. There’s a 16 megapixel sensor with optical image stabilisation and it can shoot video in up to 2160p at 30fps, so whether you’re taking photos or filming things this phone is up to the job, even in challenging conditions, like poor lighting or for motion.
The front-facing camera is pretty decent too. It’s a 5 megapixel wide-angle lens, so it can take sharp shots that you can fit big groups into and that snapper is capable of shooting 1080p video at 30fps, so it’s good for video calls.
Samsung’s also realised that the best moments are often fleeting, so you can quickly get in to the camera with a double tap of the home button, ensuring you miss less and snap more.
The Galaxy S6 Edge uses Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, but not quite as you know it. Having listened to criticism of past versions the company has removed various menu layers, popups and other bloat, colour coded the whole thing so apps of different types are paired together, added clear descriptors where before there were ambiguous icons and allowed you to disable many pre-installed apps.
The end result is a faster, more intuitive interface that you can further customise to your liking by making use of the Theme Store.
On top of that you also get Android Lollipop and as this is a new high end phone it’s bound to get updated to whatever version of Android Google releases next.
A curved screen not enough of a feature for you? In that case you might be pleased to hear that Samsung has put a new and improved version of its fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S6 Edge.
It now works a lot like Apple’s Touch ID scanner, allowing you to just place your finger on the home button in order for it to scan and unlock the device. It also works similarly well, as it’s fast and accurate and at last a genuinely preferable solution to any of the other security options on offer.
Plus with Samsung rolling out Samsung Pay it’s only going to get more useful, as you’ll be able to use your fingerprint to authorise contactless payments.
The other feature worth a quick mention is the phone’s heart rate monitor. This isn’t quite as exciting both because, well, it’s a heart rate monitor, on a phone, and because it hasn’t really been improved since its Galaxy S5 outing, but if you want to keep track of your health and fitness it’s one extra tool at your disposal, so could come in handy.
Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 2600 mAh battery, which is fairly small for a phone of this size and power and it shows in use. You can expect to get a full day of use from it unless you’re watching videos for ten hours straight, but it won’t last through a second day, in fact you’ll be lucky if it lasts through a second morning.
It does have some fancy tricks up its sleeve though. Aside from an Ultra Power Saving mode which keeps it going by limiting the CPU and functionality there are also some great charging options. It supports wireless charging for one thing, but more usefully it also supports fast charging, allowing you to get up to four hours of use from just a ten minute charge.
The S6 Edge comes with a choice of 32, 64 or 128GB of built in storage, but there’s no microSD card slot so you can’t expand it beyond that and the larger sizes are seriously expensive. 32GB starts at around £670, but for 64GB you’re looking at £760 and the official RRP for the 128GB version hasn’t even been confirmed, but you can bet it will be well over £800.
It’s rich in connectivity at least, with options including Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a beautiful phone. It’s powerful too, has a brilliant camera, a stunningly crisp and rich screen, a good interface and some great features, such as fast charging and a fingerprint scanner.
It’s so close to being the complete package but a slightly mediocre battery lets it down. Beyond that it’s also exceedingly expensive, even compared to the Galaxy
S6, yet it doesn’t offer much more. It does offer a little more though, so if money is no object the Galaxy S6 Edge is the better phone, just be aware that while the curves look great they don’t do much.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Specification