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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

evan kypreos

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
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Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Best cameras on any phone
  • Innovative design
  • Superb build quality
  • Fantastic screen
  • Monstrous performance

Cons

  • Curve screen just for show
  • Tricky to hold
  • Costs more than S6
  • No SD card slot anymore
  • Gaming hurts battery life badly

Key Features

  • 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560-resolution screen
  • Octa-core Exynos 7420 chipset
  • 2,550mAh non-removable battery
  • 3GB RAM
  • Wireless charging
  • Samsung Pay mobile payments
  • Android 5.0 L with TouchWiz
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £695.00

UPDATE: 08/03/2016:

Last year was a great year for smartphones, but Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge may just have been the best handset of 2015.

Now that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have been launched, there's never been a better time to invest in the company's previous flagship device.

Combining innovative design and top performance with one of the best cameras on the market, the S6 Edge remains one of the most impressive handsets you can buy – especially now prices have fallen in the wake of the new generation of Galaxy phones release.

What's more, the S6 Edge recently received a refresh with Samsung's launch of Android Marshmallow. You can find a rundown of all the new features in our Android 6.0 for Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge piece. But here's a brief list:

  • A new memory manager that allows you to check how much memory each app is using
  • Battery optimisation on a by-app basis
  • Better Google Now integration with Google Now on Tap
  • More control over app permissions
  • A new power saving feature called Doze
  • A wider edge panel allowing for more content to be displayed
  • Enhanced content in the edge panels with more options and information
  • Edge handle customisation – adjust the size and position of the tab
  • Third party edge content

What this means is that not only are the S6 Edge's design, build quality, and features still outstanding, but the new Marshmallow OS means you'll get the same user experience as you would with the S7 Edge.

You can read our original review of the Galaxy S6 Edge below.

What is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge?

Attention may currently be firmly locked on the recently unveiled Galaxy S6 Edge+, but it’s important to remember there’s a smaller alternative option for smartphone buyers looking to reap the benefits of Samsung’s “Edge display tech.”

Unveiled alongside the Galaxy S6 earlier this year, the Galaxy S6 Edge is is the second ever smartphone to feature the Edge display technology Samsung debuted on the Galaxy Note Edge phablet.

TrustedReviews Awards 2015: Winners announced

Edge displays are curved screens that wrap around smartphones’ sides. They are designed to complement the phone’s main screen and offer increased display space for the users.

This combined with its super sharp 5.1-inch, 2560x1440, 577ppi, Super AMOLED main display and blazingly fast octa-core processor make the Galaxy S6 Edge a great choice for any smartphone buyer.

Watch our S6 Edge hands-on video from MWC 2015

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 6

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Design

Metal edge; Gorilla Glass 4 rear; 142 x 70 x 7mm; 132g; Home button; Soft keys

There’s a refreshing honesty about the S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge’s design. There’s no attempt to make smooth plastic look like metal, or textured plastic look like leather. No, this time around the edge is made of aluminium alloy that feels just as strong as it looks. The front is covered in Gorilla Glass 4 – the latest version of the popular toughened glass – and so is the back. Nothing feels cheap about the S6 Edge apart from a couple of tiny throwbacks to a bygone era – the ear speaker grille looks like metal-painted plastic and the inside of the SIM tray is plastic.

Related: Best Smartphones and Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 15

It’s not just the materials that are top notch, either; it's the way they’re put together. The diamond-cut edging brings a lustre to the metal border that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 5, but thinner and more tasteful. The SIM-card tray sits flush with the top of the phone and looks better integrated than the slightly recessed tray on the HTC One M9.

What’s most amazing is that Samsung has managed to pack a 5.1-inch screen into a body not that much bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. That means you can easily get to all areas of the screen, even with normal-size hands, which is something you can’t on the 5-inch HTC One M9.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S5 Specs Comparison

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 73

The S6 Edge isn't much bigger than the iPhone 6

The buttons on the Galaxy S6 Edge are also brilliant – firm and with just the right amount of spring. Their location is excellent, with the power button a few inches from the top of the right edge, while the volume ones rest a little higher on the left. You’ll never mistake one for the other – a common complaint made against the One M9.

If there’s one thing we’d change, it’d be the rear camera. It juts out of the back like an unsightly pimple. It’s not quite as ugly as the one on the Galaxy S6, a marginally thinner phone, but it still spoils the otherwise perfect-ten looks of the S6 Edge.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 59

On the plus side, the glass back is surprisingly grippy – much more so than the one on the Sony Xperia Z3. The white version we tested doesn’t have a problem with fingerprint marks, but you might want to keep a cleaning cloth handy if you go for the more colourful options. Some colours, like the gold and green, look a little tacky too.

If there’s a problem with the design, it’s how the edges make the S6 Edge less comfortable to hold than other phones. That’s because the edges taper the wrong way – away from your hand. What little edge there is slopes back into your hand to combat this, but it still has a sharper, pinching sensation compared to other phones. It’s not intolerably bad, but we prefer the iPhone 6’s curved edges and the HTC One M9’s curved rear, which follow the contour of your palm.

Related: Best Cheap Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 51

We can put up with some idiosyncrasies for a phone this stylish, though, and there a few other foibles you should be aware of.

One is how, at first, it’s all too easy to hit the soft keys accidentally. There’s so little space left for them that you’ll often find yourself pressing the Back or App Switch key by accident. You learn to hold the phone more tentatively over time, but it’s an issue.

Another is the home button, which houses the fingerprint scanner. It isn’t flush with the front of the phone and, like the Galaxy S5 before it, this means that it can be unwittingly pressed while in your pocket. It might sound like a small issue, and as long as you have a lock you shouldn’t be calling any people you don’t want to, but it does turn the screen on and this could have a direct impact on the S6 Edge’s battery life.

Related: Best Android Phones

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 41

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S4 VS S5 VS S6: Which is the right upgrade for you?

Trickier to solve is how the curved screen makes it all too easy for your hand to brush against the edge of the screen, which prevents you from scrolling or hitting a link with your thumb. It takes a moment to realise that the phone hasn’t frozen; it’s just that part of your palm is resting on the edge of the screen. We fear this could become a common problem as brands push edge-to-edge displays.

Related: Best Mobile Deals: Top Smartphone offers this month

But so far we’ve found these little irritations to be just that – little. We can forgive them for the general look and build quality of the S6 Edge. They could grow into relationship-ending resentments, but our gut feeling says they won’t.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Amit Aggarwal

March 2, 2015, 9:34 am

Benefits? Benefits?! Talk about glass half empty... Why does there need to be a specific benefit of the curved screen on the S6 Edge? Why isn't it enough that it simply looks cool, and futuristic? I'm no Samsung fanboy (I have an iPhone 6), but honestly this sort of whinging 'first look' just serves to curtail innovation in an industry which is nowadays somewhat lacking, rather than applauding a company doing something different, and yes, cool, just for the heck of it.

mode11

March 2, 2015, 11:11 am

As they said, if it costs no more than the normal S6, then fine, but if you have to pay extra for it then it needs to demonstrate it's not just a pointless gimmick. Chucking features on devices isn't really that 'innovative', surely it's chucking useful features on that counts? Samsung have a history of bloating devices with pointless features rather than thinking them through.

John Smith

March 2, 2015, 11:30 pm

Of course it will cost more you fool. Do you think it costs the same to manufacture?

John Smith

March 2, 2015, 11:41 pm

I think this site should be called Untrusted Reviews. Totally biased yet again, with no credibility. The iPhone with it's dated tech was destroyed by the HTC M8, and now that Samsung has stepped up to the plate with the S6, we still have more spin against their devices. The annoying thing is that Samsung was pushed into this design and sealed in battery because of the criticisms from so called experts. Samsung's only mistake is not to realise that the biased media will always find an angle to criticise them and big up Apple.

John

March 2, 2015, 11:54 pm

That Edge is beautiful. Truly unique and different design but not alienating. I love it.

mode11

March 3, 2015, 10:27 am

Steady on. My point was that when you're paying extra for something, it needs justification. Therefore more features don't always equal better.

Dan

March 6, 2015, 3:55 pm

But it's not a pointless "feature". It's a design choice. They're giving people the option to opt for (probably at a notably higher cost) a cool modern design if they want it. People pay more for clothes because of their design or look. That's not necessary either. It's stupid making such a utilitarian argument when you're given the choice. Few companies would go to the expense of releasing two versions of a product to give that choice. Samsung should be applauded for doing so. Really there is zero reason to complain or be negative in any way about the option - because it's an option! This is one the first phones that actually looks radically different - it looks futuristic. Having the option to pay for that is cool.
People pay more for certain phones over others not for the features or performance - but the design/build. So why can't the same be done within Samsung's own product line? It's the same as paying more for an iPhone or HTC than a previous samsung model because they were made of metal. Except now you get the same (best) specs, and the design is truly unique and futuristic!

mode11

March 7, 2015, 6:05 pm

Just because you're given the option not to have it doesn't make it a good piece of design. If Samsung had faith in it, it would be standard. But as it puts the price up a lot with no discernible benefit, it would kill the S6's chances.

It's just there because OLED allows for curved screens. Once the novelty wears off this 'feature' will be forgotten about - it's already been toned down a lot since the original Note.

Rather than seeing it as a stylish extra, it just smacks of gimmick, which is nerdy, not cool.

Frankel

March 27, 2015, 12:01 am

I hardly visit TR any more. They're so biased no wonder it's going down hill... Praise everything Apple do and hate on Samsung.

You're better of going to other sites such as PhoneArenea or GSMArena for phone reviews. Anyway the journalism is so poor here and when they try to talk technical it becomes a laugh.

If you look around the web, the vast majority are praising what Samsung has done but here it's the same old propraganda. Apple really must do you guys favours. :)

They hype up HTC flagship phones but the sales numbers are not even worth mentioning.

John

March 27, 2015, 9:17 am

I think you're showing your own bias - "iPhone with it's dated tech was destroyed by the HTC M8". And yet how many hundreds of millions more iPhones have been sold compared to the M8.

Exactly.

Nothing wrong with TR's initial review.

Keith

March 27, 2015, 10:04 am

Without Gimmicks, we live in a world of boring functional devices. Apple using metal rather than plastic was never functional, but certainly wasn't a bad design.

I'd have to side with Dan here, you have the option. And good design doesn't have to be functional. And apart from that there is some functional benefits as mentioned in this column.

John

March 27, 2015, 1:01 pm

*Update* I had an opportunity to play around with the Edge v S6 last week. I'm not convinced that curved glass really does anything useful. If anything, it makes the phone slightly less pleasant to hold as the side bevels are narrower and slightly sharper. The normal S6 actually feels better in the hand to me.

The Edge might have those side notifications and the nightclock but it isn't really used as fully as it could be ie like on the Note Edge. It's like Samsung got worried about making it too gimmicky or cluttered, but I think they should have done more to differentiate them. I normally have these in a cradle or dock beside my bed so not convinced the nightclock is that useful.

Both lovely phones though, but the Edge is just crazy expensive and I don' think it justifies the price. From initially liking the Edge more, I think I prefer the S6 normal version.

danielfrisbee

March 27, 2015, 2:22 pm

phones seem to have launched into an ever diminishing return ratio, close to £1000 for something that can if you buy cleverly be 98% achieved by something around £150. It seems like an experiment is being carried out collectively by the phone industry to see just how much people's obsession with mobile technology fashions can be monetised. Complete madness if you ask me.

mode11

March 27, 2015, 8:39 pm

Dated tech? Pffft. The iPhone routinely destroys other phones in CPU - and especially GPU - performance, and it's camera is always up there with the best. Touch ID is also the only easy to use / reliable fingerprint sensor.

Everlast

March 28, 2015, 1:14 am

Just a month or two after Apple announced the biggest ever quarterly profit by a public company - $18billion - it is a bit stupid to say that their best selling product was destroyed by an anonymous product.
I've not even seen a person use the HTC M8 in the wild.

LeeTronix

March 28, 2015, 8:04 pm

hmm interesting read and also the comments, I appreciate it is easy to go off topic when making a comment so bare with me!

I own the note edge and also a blackberry passport and lumia 1520 and yes an iphone, my favourite without hesitation is the blackberry passport and is my daily go to device but that is not the topic here so I wont go on here about that. The reason I mention these phones is that owning them as opposed to just reading about them or handling one gives me the option to give a non bias opinion.

The note edge is a really beautiful phone and the edge screen I find is extremely useful with its overall functionality and application switching (up to 20). Also I find it very comfortable to hold in the hand as the single edge side seems to give a nice grip weirdly enough but not sure about the s6.

I have not used an s6 edge but reading the review on here it does seem a pointless review. The s6 looks solid so far to me and very well designed and put together, and as for the spec's ie; cpu etc well android does use/need more engine power for smooth performance so that seems logical but I have to disagree with the price which does seem too much just like the overprice none sense for and iphone, I find the iphone not that comfortable to hold its thinness makes you over hold it or is more uncomfortable and the design I find personally is bland and the back of it looks like white lines you see painted on a road, very hideous to look at.

The point of any phone is choice while I am not a fan of samsung as a business I cannot fault them for making beautiful devices and they do try to and do innovate which is also pushing forward and challenging the software and technology limits. What I find interesting is that with the s6 they took a little longer than normal if I am correct to release it so they are trying to read the market and analyse what is out there in the premium end. My feeling is that this phone will be a super seller for samsung and it is good they have improved on losing much of the bloat-ware by slimming it down.

For me the s6 looks beautiful, well thought out and offering the iphone lovers or wannabe's a really nice and certainly more comprehensive alternative. While I do not particularly rate the iphone whatsoever it does not surprise me it is selling everywhere as it aggressively promotes itself as the "best" and has without question the the most comprehensive marketing strategy and yes including back handers for reviews which does damage the journalists profession but that is what they do. The sober fact is if readers want to by into the iphone hype then sadly they will and many will always defend their phone because in principle mainly of pride and keeping up with the jones's / fashion mentality.

Thanks for reading my opinion.

mode11

March 29, 2015, 6:58 pm

I wouldn't say using metal in a phone is a gimmick - it's just a strong, light and rigid construction material.

Feel free to spend the (huge) premium for the Edge, but it's not cool or functional enough to be worth it to me.

collin denning

March 29, 2015, 10:37 pm

Um. There is a 32GB Edge. I'm looking at the preorder page for it right now.

gordz

March 30, 2015, 8:31 am

did you just say that one phones technology is not dated because it sells alot?

Wow. I'm amazed. How are those things connected?

John

March 30, 2015, 11:41 am

The original comment was so retarded it's not even worth responding to. iPhone 6, dated technology? That's pure troll bait.

Keith

March 30, 2015, 2:26 pm

>> light and rigid construction material.

Yeah.. A bit like what all other none metal phones are made off. :) The metal in an iPhone didn't give any great benefits, this has been proven again and again.. But do I prefer metal phone over a plastic one, I sure do.

>> worth it to me.

Neither me, but then having the option is sure nice. But the point of my post wasn't to justify to you what I spend my money on anyway.

Evan

March 30, 2015, 6:42 pm

Hi Collin
Thanks for the post. It looks like most networks won't stock the 32GB version but it looks like some retailers are. We've amended the review to reflect that.

mode11

March 30, 2015, 6:56 pm

Point taken :-)

I guess metals feel nice in the hand and are easy to make thin-yet-rigid devices out of, but they are easy to scratch. The matte polycarbonate of older unibody Lumia's (e.g. the 800) is probably the most practical material, even if it doesn't - quite - have the showroom appeal of aluminium.

shnatiw

March 31, 2015, 9:12 am

Good review. More positive than the one on CNET. There is no doubt that this is the most striking phone out there now. Even though as mentioned the curved screen has little practical use now. As the article says its hard to recommend the Edge over the standard S6 for anything other than its look. But, as we all know the "look" of something actually counts for a hell of a lot these days. And a £70 difference is easy to overlook at these prices anyway. You might even make it up in a resale/trade price a year down the line. Anyway, once you get over the whole expandable/removable storage/battery loss issue, and I have, then this is the clear flagship smartphone winner. It's just a shame that this isn't the true S5 successor. I thought that the benchmark results, even at this early stage, were very interesting, and justify Samsung's decision to go with their own processor. The QHD screen and OIS backed camera also look to be class leading. And the fact that the software only uses 1.3GB more storage than the leading Nexus device shows the inroads that Samsung has made on that issue. All in all I think the initial verdict on the article is very fair, this phone is not perfect, "but it's damn close".

Keith

March 31, 2015, 11:56 am

Dated technology is correct, the destroyed part is of course wrong. Apple OS / Software makes much better use of the technology that it doesn't matter. I just wonder what it would be like if Apple stuck one of these 8 core monsters into there flagship phones, and upped the screen tech to OLED. Now that would be interesting. :)

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