Amid much fanfare and anticipation, Samsung’s new flagship phones hit the shelves in April. The brand new, top-of-the-range Galaxy S6 is partnered by its even sleeker sibling, the Galaxy S6 Edge. With prices rumoured to initially start at a wallet-busting £760, you’ll want to know that you’re getting bang for your buck before you fork out a small fortune. So what is so good about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge?
The most spectacular feature of the S6 Edge is the design. Often criticized for focusing on functionality at the expense of fashionable phones to fall in love with, Samsung have blown that accusation out the water with their latest release. Part of the beauty is that Samsung have literally taken beautiful design to the edge, introducing the world’s first dual-curved displays smartphone. But the S6 edge isn’t just a looker. As well as being great on the eye, it still has the performance to match, that Samsung Geeks have become so accustomed to.
Samsung’s 2014 flagship Galaxy S5 didn’t seem to capture the hearts of users worldwide, despite excellent specs. They needed to respond with a game-changer. And it looks as though with the S6 Edge, Samsung may very well have done just that…
Design, Design, Design!
In the past, Samsung have taken heat from some corners for appealing to heads rather than hearts. In the eyes of critics, Samsung phones have tended to be that partner that you know is technically right for you in every way, but you just can’t fall in love with. Well prepare to feel butterflies in your stomach; the Galaxy S6 Edge is a true beauty.
Moving away from their traditional designs, Samsung have ditched the plastic body and opted instead for premium materials. The Edge boasts a classy aluminium unibody chassis, bringing it in line with the flagship devices from Apple and HTC. Together with the latest glossy Gorilla Glass coating on the front and rear, it really does make for a beautifully smooth design, both for the eye, and the hand. As ever, you’ll have a range of colours to choose from; the Edge is available in white, black, gold and green.
Samsung Geeks may be concerned that the new materials make the Edge vulnerable to clumsy fumbles. However in theory, it shouldn’t. The fourth generation of glass manufactured by Corning is supposed to improve display durability by around 80% compared to the conventional glass found on smartphones.
It’s clear that Samsung’s design department have really put the hours in with this one. The corners have been precision tapered into elegant curves while the power and volume buttons have been lovingly crafted. What’s more, the shape of the phone and its strategically placed buttons mean you can easily and comfortably use the Edge one-handed, without risk of sending it flying to the floor.
So far, so good. But what really sets the S6 Edge apart from the crowd is, well, its edges! We’ve seen phones before with screens extending onto a second side of the phone; Samsung’s own Note Edge helped to lead the way last year. But the S6 Edge takes this one step further, by curving the screen around both sides of the phone. This creates a stunning ‘infinity-pool’ style effect, giving the illusion that the screen goes on and on forever.
And those dual-curved displays aren’t just there to look good…
Living Life on the Edge
Ok, so we have to be completely honest with you, they kind of are! Looking good and showing off do in fact seem to be a large part of the Edge’s edges raison d’etre (try saying that after a glass of wine)! They’re pretty cool in and of themselves. And that is partly the point from Samsung; they’ve got two curved displays because nobody else has…and because they can. But even though their function may not be as revolutionary as early promise suggested they might be, the display edged still have some pretty cool uses.
However firstly, if you’re familiar with the Galaxy Note Edge’s single edge display, wipe that from your mind. Because the S6 Edge’s wrap-around screen shares few of the same practical functions. Samsung have ditched the always-present interface strip that the Note Edge uses for viewing alerts and launching apps. Instead, the interface strip is usually hidden from view. It only appears when you slide it out (from either side) using a tab in the top-third of the display.
Once you’ve slid it out, it can act in much the same way as before, to view notifications such as texts and emails. And, in much the same way as the traditional top-strip, they’ll flash up without you having to check on them. In fact, in this respect, the side display offers little that isn’t already provided by the top-strip, other than reading more of the message.
When your screen is switched on, the main functionality of the side screen is what Samsung call ‘people edge’. You can assign five of your favourite contacts a certain colour. If you miss a call or message from an assigned friend, a little tab will appear on the edge in their corresponding colour to alert you. By sliding the coloured tab, you can fast track the process of responding.
When your phone is face-down, the edge will subtly glow in the appropriate colour if one of your key contacts is calling you. Handy for those in regular meetings (or if you need a pre-arranged excuse to bail on an awkward date). You can even place your finger over the heart rate monitor, to send your friend a pre-programmed message.
The other main function of the edge screens is when the main screen is off. By stroking the edge screen, you can get it to display a range of information feeds such as news headlines, sports scores as well as standard information such as date, time and weather. As this is still such a new concept, a broader range of information streams may be available in the future.
Not Just a Looker
While the edges may be more about looks and novelty than performance, the same cannot be said for the rest of the phone’s specs. Because while it looks and feels awesome, it also has the performance to back it up.
Firstly, the Edge’s display is being widely talked about as one of the best ever on a smartphone. The main screen is 5.1 inches – pretty standard. But as well as Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology which ensures bright, vibrant colours the Edge boasts an impressive QHD, 1440 x 2560 resolution, providing crystal clear clarity. To put it in perspective, that’s the same resolution as the Galaxy Note 4 stretched over its 5.7 inch screen. And it’s also a significant improvement on the S5’s 1080 x 1920 pixels display.
Another step up from the S5 is the Edge’s running speed. Not only have they used their own Exynos 7410 chip which on paper is faster and more efficient than chips used by rivals. But after criticism that the S5 tended to be quite slow, Samsung have also stripped away some of its TouchWiz interface software, with impressive results. It not only beats the S5 for speed and smoothness, it’s also probably the best android on the market in these respects!
If the lack of expandable memory potential is a worry given the absence of an microSD slot, fear not. The Edge is available with 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of memory plus Samsung have enabled you to delete all but the essential pre-loaded software and apps. The impact is actually overall more available space than on previous models.
Finally, the Edge’s camera is another world leading feature. It still has the same 16 megapixels as on the S5 but a wider f/1.9 aperture lens means up to 40% more light can be captured, compared to its predecessor. This means higher quality snaps in low light and possibly the fastest smartphone camera on the market.
What is so good about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge?
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is not only stylish and innovative but it also boasts impressive performance. This is a phone that you can truly fall in love with. And not only that. As the first smartphone with dual-curved displays, this is bound to be a conversation starter!
The edges may lack truly revolutionary uses, but that doesn’t stop them being pretty cool and fun. And while their look may outweigh their performance, the same cannot be said for the rest of the phone. From display quality to running speed to camera quality, the S6 Edge really does pack a world-leading punch.
Following the underwhelming reception of the Galaxy S5, Samsung needed to bounce back with a vengeance with their latest flagship releases. And pre-sale figures and reviews suggest the S6 and S6 Edge will help them do just that.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out some of these other product reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: