Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (15)

Samsung have typically always stuck to a certain set of design rules with their flagship smartphones, but up until recently we have see that mentality change. We normally deal with plastic housing, removable batteries, and expandable storage. While not the most important aspects of the device, they did shape the overall design, feature set and aesthetic. Something we had become use to with Samsung over the years.

The Galaxy S6 pretty much chucks those previous rules out the window. The Galaxy S6 Edge is one of two (possibly more) devices in Samsung’s latest flagship offering. The design stems from the Note edge which launched late last year with Samsung now taking the edge to both sides of the device.

Before we take a closer look at the device, let’s check out the specs for the Galaxy S6 Edge

  • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz
  • 5.1″ Super AMOLED of QHD (1440 x 2560) resolution with 577ppi and  Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Exynos 7420 64-bit chipset, octa core processor with four 2.1GHz Cortex-A57’s and four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores,
  • Mali-T760 MP8 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16MP camera, f/1.9 aperture, 4K video recording, LED flash, optical image stabilization
  • 5MP front-facing camera, f/1.9 aperture, 1440p QHD video, HDR
  • 32/64/128 GB of built-in storage (64GB comes as standard issue on some markets)
  • fingerprint scanner
  • LTE Cat.6, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, IR port, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+
  • Heart-rate sensor, barometer, SpO2
  • Wireless charging (Qi/PMA)
  • 2,600mAh battery

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (9)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (10) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (11)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (8)

The edge of display bleeds over the side of the phone. This not only looks beautiful by itself, but also gives the display a very nice immersive feeling. The Note edge featured a single side curve, but it was more distinctive. the Galaxy S6 edge doesn’t really add separate functionality such as dedicated notices as the Note edge did, but still looks way nicer.

 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (7) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (4)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (5)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (6) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (14)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (12)

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge both feature a metal frame and gorilla glass on the front and back of the device. Sadly, the device is completely sealed, meaning no removable battery, and shockingly no MicroSD card slot. While the lack of those features are sizable drawback, this is no doubt Samsungs most beautiful device. It looks and feels amazing, a true piece of engineering beauty.

UI

The Galaxy S6 is rocking their latest version of TouchWiz. This is easily the best version yet. It’s simple and unbelievably fast. The design also has subtle changes, but Samsung did a great job in making sure TouchWiz didn’t use up too many resources. The Octa-Core CPU of course helps in this arena.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (1) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (6) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (4)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (5) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (7) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge UI (8)

The recent app list is very similar to the Android default, but does include the multi-tasking button to split view two apps together. Something the Note 4 had at launch as well.

The S6 Edge also has a side swipe action that brings up 5 color coded icons that users can set up for specific contacts. The colors are then associated with the contact and allows the device to flash that color when facing down – allowing you to identify who is ringing before looking at the screen.

Camera UI

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Camera UI (1) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Camera UI (5)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Camera UI (2) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Camera UI (4)

The camera app has been given a decent upgrade. The latest version includes more control over manual settings with the new Pro mode. Auto is still available for quick options, which still includes HDR, Video Stabilization and such. Samsung also include saving custom options in the Camera Pro mode. This is an excellent feature that allows users to really tweak their camera settings and save them for future user without having to keep re-doing them each time.

Now let’s take a look at images taken with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Below are images taken with HDR off and HDR on. The full size images can be viewed with the link below them.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (1) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (1)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (4) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (4)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (2) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (2)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (3) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (3)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (5) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (5)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (6) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (6)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (7) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (7)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (8) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (8)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (10) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (10)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Photo (9) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HDR Photo (9)

Full size images

Videos

The Samsung Galaxy S6/edge supports a good few different video modes. This includes 1080p, 2K, 4K, HDR, stabilization, and 60fps. Below are some videos put together with all of these different options.

1080p

1080p@60fps

2K

4K

Benchmarks

Performance has already been clear throughout the device, but benchmarks are still a great way to convey just how good it performs.

3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited21716
Antutu 5 64bit67706
Geekbench 3 Single-Core1468
Geekbench 3 Multi-Core4630
Vellamo Metal2558
Vellamo Multicore3001
Vellamo Browser (Chrome)3064
Vellamo Browser (Stock)5178

Pretty much the highest scores we have seen on a smartphone. The Galaxy s6 Edge is easily the top performing smartphones on the market.

Gameplay

We’re always interested to see how well gameplay performance is on a device. Below are some of the most popular and graphically intensive games on the market. The games we test are Dead Trigger 2, GTA San Andreas, and Modern Combat 5. Normally we use an Xbox 360 joypad with a USB OTG cable, however Samsung have not included support for the joypad with the device. Something we first saw with the Galaxy Alpha, but not with the Note 4, so not sure what Samsung are doing here. We do apologies for any interference in the video you may getting from having to use touch controls.

Battery Performance

Samsung include a 2,600mAh battery inside the Galaxy S6 Edge. Since the battery is not user removable, it makes it more important that we can decent performance out of it. Below is our run through of semi-specific tasks.

Phone Calls20-30 Minutes
Text message/Chat/EmailsThroughout the day(checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos10-20
Video recording20-30 Minutes
Internet browsingThroughout the day(around 30-40 minutes total)
Gaming30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix30-40 Minutes
ConnectivityWiFi and 3G; mostly 3G
Screen Brightness50-percent

At the end of the day we saw the Galaxy S6 Edge last all day with just under over 25-percent battery life left. This is with medium-heavy usage. While not as impressive as we had hoped, we can easily see this device lasting all day with somewhat heavy usage.

Keep in mind that at 50-percent the display was still extremely bright and lowering it more would easily provide a decent boost. The same can be said for many factors, where doing more or less of certain tasks will have an affect on battery life, so always keep that in mine.

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap up our review. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edges takes Samsung in a few new directions and offers the usual bump in performance mostly across the board. We break down our conclusion into a few categories with Design, Display, Camera, Performance, and finally overall.

Design

The new direction for Samsung. The Galaxy S6/Edge is Samsung’s first device were design was the main focus, and more so for the Edge. It can’t be denied that the Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung’s most beautiful looking device they’ve made. It’s also one of the nicest available. The curved glass is a marvel to witness and hold and really goes a long way to making the device look unique and gorgeous. That being said, it does bring forward some drawbacks and highlights what could be seen as some bad decision making on Samsung’s part.

The device now lacks any form of expandable storage, and no longer has a removable battery. Two features that have been apart of Samsung design foray for years. Also missing from the predecessor is any form of water resistance behavior, again another feature missing that simply means Samsung sacrificed real functions for design; not always the best move.

While some people may not miss some of these features, it is clear that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is meant to look as good as possible, and Samsung ditched anything that got in the way of that. We do love the look of the S6 Edge and think Samsung nailed its design. We just wish it didn’t cost us those important specs and it would have been nice if Samsung  kept at least the expandable storage, but we all know what time spent wishing does.

Display

The display included in the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is outstanding. Reaching one of the highest PPI on the market with it’s 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution display. The S6 Edge also includes the beautiful curve on the sides that give a subtle but nice immersive feeling. The quality overall is top of the line with colors being the typical AMOLED saturated and clean. The brightness is beyond high and and makes for some easy sunlight viewing. While the specs on paper are a clear winner over the S5 from last year, it must be noted that the S6 doesn’t take much of a leap over the S5, simply because of the S5 was so good as well.

However, much like the Galaxy S5 last year, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge display is their best yet and easily one of the best available.

Camera

Samsung include a 16MP ISOCELL sensor that includes an insane list of features starting with HDR, OIS, near-instant focusing, 1080p@60fps, 2K, 4K recording. We ran through the usual photos in both normal and HDR and then all of the top video modes. All fantastic, but the real winner for the camera is the app. Samsung did a great job giving the user more control over individual options, while sticking with the typical auto features.

Camera quality itself was excellent. Images have never looked so good on a Samsung flagship device before. The videos did well when using the video stabilization, but we did get some serious shakiness without it. So make sure to use it when available.

Performance

The fastest smartphone on the market. Every aspect of the Galaxy S6 Edge was completely smooth. Our benchmarks showed a massive jump in numerical performance over the current market competition.

Battery life was decent, but again could have been more improved over the S5 from last year. The now 2K display will easily drain a little more, so it would have been nice if we saw a bigger bump in battery life. The fast charging does works really well and give’s us 100-percent in just over an hour.

Overall

The latest from Samsung goes in a semi-new direction. We still have a lot of the same, but it’s clear that Samsung’s ideology has changed. Looking back at previous Galaxy S devices, we could predict the future model based on tech available. Who knows how long Samsung were looking to mix things up with a new design, and the curved display wasn’t a shocker and first stepped out with the Note Edge.

Straight up we are displeased with the lack of expandable storage, non-user removable battery and no form of water resistance. We typically wouldn’t be as displeased with the lack of these features had they not been previously available in last years S5; moreover, Samsung already proved they could make a beautiful device with some of those features intact on the Galaxy Note 4. No matter the argument it’s a solid downside that they’re missing on the Galaxy S6, and for no feature alternative – just a new design.

The last drawback on the Galaxy S6 Edge is the pricing, with the smartphone ranging from €700-to-over-€1000 depending on the storage amount.  This makes it easily one of the most expensive smartphones out there, again something nobody likes to see.

Once we get passed those hurdles. The Galaxy S6 Edge is still Samsung’s best device. Starting with a spectacular looking phone that houses their best display, best and unbelievably fast chipset, and a camera that aims to please with beautiful shots and excellent array of modes and a fantastic app.

We don’t really see a massive leap over the previous Galaxy S5 that warrants an upgrade for everyone. The display and camera while better, won’t have anyone jumping out of their seats. We’re basically looking at a few semi-incremental updates with a much better looking device and a massive performance gain.

There is no denying the Galaxy S6 Edge is one of the top phones available and beyond the few drawbacks that we hope Samsung will never repeat, It’s still an amazing piece of tech that hits the mark on most aspects and the design proves Samsung can make a spectacular looking phone.

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