The Galaxy S6 is Samsung's most revolutionary phone to date. It features a completely revamped build design that includes glass and metal. top of the line specs with 3 GB of RAM and an Exynos 7420 processor, and a great 16 megapixel camera with an f/1.9 aperture. The Galaxy S6 edge is definitely the phone to beat so far in 2015.
After the flop of the Galaxy S5, Samsung’s profits were reeling and they needed to do something extreme to bring them back up. They decided to redesign their next S devices from the ground up and dub the S5 successor “Project Zero”. What came of it is a power-packed Galaxy S6 edge that looks even better than it performs, which says something. The all new Samsung is here and it starts with the Galaxy S6 edge. Let’s get into the review.
For the longest time, Samsung devices always stood out in the pack, and for the wrong reasons. Samsung has long been hailed the king of smartphones, but their phone design never showed for it. Even though they released some of the most popular and most expensive Android devices on the market, they still continued to use a plastic design.
More recently, with devices like the Galaxy A series and the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung showed some promise. The Note 4 for example, had nearly the same overall design, but this time it came with a metal chassis. This was the turning point from Samsung.
The good news is that the Galaxy S6 edge picked up right where the Note 4 left off. Not only does the Galaxy S6 edge feature a metal chassis, but it is also flanked by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back of the device. Like I noted in my first takes article, I never thought I’d see the day where Samsung dropped plastic altogether, but that time has come.
Not only does the metal chassis and glass front and back make the device more aesthetically pleasing, but it also gives it a premium feel when holding it in the hands. This device is not your creaky Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S5, this is the real deal. Never once have I heard any unwanted noises coming from S6 edge from holding it too tight or pressing buttons, which is just awesome.
Speaking of the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy S6 is smaller in nearly every direction compared to its predecessor. The S6e comes in at 142.1 x 70.1 x 7 mm compared to the 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm of the S5. This is quite remarkable when you note that the S6e has the exact same sized display and is only .1 mm taller due to the bigger home button for the finger print sensor.
The S6e is still easily identifiable as a Samsung device through and through, but at certain angles, some folks will ask “which iPhone is that?” This is probably due to the bottom and top of the device. On the bottom of the S6e, the speaker and the headphone back have been moved to the bottom of the device, just like the iPhone 6.
The speaker has been relocated from the back to the bottom right of the device. If I can’t have front-facing speakers, I’ll take a speaker on the bottom over the back any day of the week. The headphone jack has been relocated as well, migrating from the top to the bottom. I prefer this as well, because honestly, who puts their device in their pocket right side up.
The volume rocker seen on previous S devices has been changed to two individual buttons, but still reside on the left side of the device. This makes it very easy to distinguish whether you are pressing up or down, which was a problem on the old rocker style.
The power button still is on the right side of the device, but it has moved a tad south on the device. It is still very easy and comfortable to press, unlike on some devices.
The button choice on the Galaxy S6 edge was definitely a great move from Samsung, because they are very tactile and clicky. On previous devices from Samsung, the bottoms seemed to mushy and were very loose against the chassis. The S6e is very well designed, because there is no play on the buttons. They are very tight to the chassis and there is no wobble.
The front of the device looks completely like a Samsung device through and through, mainly due to the home button, capacitive buttons, and the Samsung logo just south of the earpiece. If you’re familiar with Samsung devices from the past, you will be right at home with the Galaxy S6 edge. The buttons are all in the same locations and the LED notification light still occupies the top left of the device.
It is worth noting that when the device is flipped on its front, so the screen is facing down, the home button and earpiece protrude enough to raise the display off the surface it is sitting on. This was definitely a must in the designing of the S6e, especially if Samsung expects users to advantage of the edge lighting feature.
On the back of the device you have the camera centered in the middle towards the top with the flash/heart rate monitor to its right. Now the camera protrudes slightly, but I haven’t found it affects the way it lays down very much. It will just vibrate very loudly, but it is still very sturdy. I don’t have a problem with this at all, as the device being only 7 mm thick makes up for it.
With the radical change in design as well, we cannot forget that certain Samsung staples have been removed. Both the removable battery and the microSD card slot have been removed in favor of a thin and sleek design. The former would have been very nice on this device.
Now, on to the main design change on the Galaxy S6 edge. As the name states, the device has an edge to it. Unlike its big brother, the Note Edge, this device features an edge on both sides of the device. It gives the phone a distinct look that no other phone has.
Surprisingly enough, the device is very comfortable to hold. It was worried that with the edge of the phone taking up much of the sides, it would be tough to hold, but that is not the case. I honestly think it is very ergonomic and actually prefer to hold it over many phones with flat displays.
The display category is something that Samsung always takes extra pride in. Samsung has some of the best displays on their devices due to their Super AMOLED technology and the Galaxy S6 edge is no exception. The S6e features a 5.1 inch display that boasts 577 ppi, which is atop the market as of this review.
I have always preferred Samsung displays, although some complain of them being too saturated. The display is always very vivid and has the most accurate color reproduction I’ve ever seen. I have had multiple devices with QHD displays, but the S6e is in its own category.
The display is cooler, which I prefer, especially when comparing it to the warmness of the mammoth device called the Nexus 6. It excels when displaying high resolution content, especially images with tons of texture and color.
Since the device is AMOLED, it can get very dim and can get excessively bright. The perks of the AMOLED display also lie within the ability to turn off certain LEDs when heavy black content is displayed. This makes black reproduction amazing and it helps the battery life department as well.
The Super AMOLED alone doesn’t differentiate the Galaxy S6 edge from other devices, it does so with the help of the display being curved. Since the Galaxy S6 has the ‘edge’ moniker, it has two sloping sides, on the left and right of the device. The display slightly curves down towards the bottom of the device, not nearly as steep or wide as the Note Edge though.
Since the edges on the S6 edge is aren’t as extreme as the one on the Note Edge, Samsung integrated them all into one display, instead of having the edge a separate entity. On first thought, you might think that it might affect daily usages such as texting, watching video, etc., but it does the opposite. In my opinion, the dual-edges only heighten the productivity of the device.
When you slide your finger across from the edge the device, it is a very smooth transition as there are no sharp corners. This works brilliantly with Android 5.0 Lollipop and the many slide-out drawers that accompany the latest update. On top of that, it gives the illusion that drawers and other content are actually being pulled out from the bottom of the device, which has a nice appeal. It’s about the little things in life… right?
To accompany the dual-edges, comes a few features that are only found on the Galaxy S6 edge. The most notable is the edge lighting feature, which displays a color on the preferred edge (right or left), when the device is flipped upside down and you receive a notification. It is a nice addition, but it is really only effective in darker rooms or on surfaces that reflect well.
Along with edge lighting, a few features return from the Note Edge, which include night clock and a notification ticker. With the night clock feature, you can set your device to display a clock on the edge of your S6e between certain times at night. The notification ticker is accessed by sliding your finger up and down the edge. It will display the time and weather, notifications, and a Yahoo news ticker, if you enable it. I think the latter has more promise, but it is limited as of now.
Samsung took radical measures when it came to their redesign, so it comes to no surprise that they did the same with their hardware. Although Samsung has been knocked for their design, no one can deny that Samsung always employed the top of the line hardware to be put in their flagship devices. For example, the Galaxy Note 4 sported the Snapdragon 805 instead of the second-gen Snapdragon 801.
Samsung wanted to continue to use top of the line hardware on the Galaxy S6 edge, which is one of the main reasons they opted out of using Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 810 processor. Qualcomm’s first major 64-bit chipset was plagued with overheating issues, so Samsung decided to go in-house with their own Exynos 7420 chipset.
The Exynos chipsets have been used in multiple Samsung devices in the past, but it has never really made it ashore in the United States. Samsung knew they had something special with the Exynos 7420, especially when we all saw it top the AnTuTu Benchmark.
The Exynos 7420 employed in the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has four cores clocked at 2.1 GHz and four clocked at 1.5 GHz. Not only is the Exynos 7420 in the S6e top of the line in performance, but it is backed by 3 GB of DDR4 RAM. Those two coupled together create the fastest Samsung device I have ever used.
On top of the power-house inside, the Galaxy S6 edge ships with Android 5.0.2 out of the box and the newest version of TouchWiz. Android Lollipop with Samsung’s update version of TouchWiz brings the fastest experience ever to a Samsung device. Since I have used this device, there has been no stutters or lags seen on previous devices. I was truly shocked once I saw it first hand.
The TouchWiz UI is still heavily laid on top of the stock Android experience, but it seems less-intrusive as years past. Although it was rumored that nearly all pre-installed apps would be removable, that is not the case. Samsung just made it easier to disable apps, which is still appreciated it.
Samsung has finally made TouchWiz practical, but it could be a combination of their power-house specs and along with a revamped TouchWiz.
The camera is something I always get excited for on Samsung devices. They never seem to disappoint with their cameras and always make sure to use top of the line materials. Not only are Samsung’s cameras great, but their image processing software is second to none. Even more so with the Galaxy S6 edge.
The Galaxy S6 edge is completely built from scratch, and that doesn’t exclude the camera. The Galaxy S6 edge features the same sized 16 megapixel camera as the Galaxy S5, but it comes a little more loaded this time around. Not only does the 16 megapixel rear-facing shooter on the S6 edge feature OIS, but it features a very wide f/1.9 aperture. On top of all that, comes a 5 megapixel front-facing camera with HDR capabilities.
If you are unfamiliar with apertures, just understand that the lower the aperture size, the better. The Galaxy S5 featured an f/2.2 aperture, so the S6 edge is quite an upgrade. Essentially, with a lower number, the wider the aperture opening is, thus, letting in more light for low-light images.
I’ll just go right out and say it. The Galaxy S6 edge camera is by far the best camera I have ever used or seen on a mobile device. That includes my HTC One M9 (review coming soon), Xperia Z3, and many other devices.
First off, the S6e’s camera opens in an insanely fast .7 seconds by double pressing the home button. Compared to previous Samsung devices, this is an amazing upgrade. Not only does the camera open faster, but it performs even better.
The camera is excellent in lower light, especially compared to other smartphones. The only time the images really start to get too grainy, is when you’re completely in the dark, like outside. Even though it gets grainy, it still looks miles ahead of other phones (as seen above in my image of the moon).
If there is one category where the Galaxy S6 edge disappointed me, it was the battery life one. Battery life on past Samsung devices have been decent to good, but the Galaxy S6 edge has a power hungry display running alongside a power-packed processor.
It is both disappointing, but at the same time impressive how long the battery goes. On a normal day of usage, which usually is around 12-15 hours for me with 3 hours of screen on time, I’ll end with around 5-20%. Looking at the numbers at first, it looks quite terrible, but then you have to remember the device only has a 2,600 mAh battery. It has 200 mAh less than the Galaxy S5, a QHD display, a 64-bit processor and still goes the distance. Pretty crazy.
The Exynos processor is key in making the battery last that long, as it uses a 14 nm process instead of the 20 nm process found on the Snapdragon 810 processor. That means the processor runs upwards of 30% more efficiently. If they were to employ a bigger battery, we could really see some great numbers.
Quick-charging is supposed to make up for the sub-par battery life, but I’d honestly take a thicker device than having to worry about when I’m going to juice up next. I always liked the fact that Samsung’s batteries were removable, but I never really took advantage of that feature. On the S6e, it would have been very nice, as I would have swapped batteries multiple times by now.
Since I mentioned quick-charging, it definitely works on this device. I have let the device drain down to 0% a few times, and I can get it back up to 100% within 85 minutes. The fact that it can charger just over 1% per minute, it is just amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t want to carry my quick-charger with me everywhere. Who does?
Edit: Every day my battery life seems to increase. With the same usage as images above, I’m at 3 hours of screen on time with 40% left. When I think it can’t get any better, it does.
The Galaxy S6 edge definitely shows us what Samsung is capable of and it only makes me want to look towards the future. The S6e is by far the best performing Android device I’ve ever used in every category, sans battery life. It is hard to imagine a device that looks this amazing could perform even better, but it definitely does.
The Galaxy S6 edge brings to the table what Samsung has thoroughly lacked throughout its many phone releases: design and performance. The S6e brings the best iteration of TouchWiz EVER and it is great to see that Samsung has wholeheartedly ditched plastic in their builds.
If you are in the market to upgrade your device, whether it is an iPhone, Samsung, etc., you will not be disappointed by the Galaxy S6 edge. It brings new innovation to the table, but is still completely functional. Samsung has definitely hit the ground running with their latest flagship and the Galaxy S6 edge is the epitome of what Android is capable of.