Introduction and design
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a striking handset, taking the title as the world’s first dual curved displays smartphone.
It attracts the eye, puts butterflies in my stomach and makes me weak at the knees. Samsung has, at last, made a handset which not only packs a powerful punch, but looks fantastic too.
Following on from the Galaxy Note Edge which boasted a single curved screen, the Galaxy S6 Edge was rumored for some time so its arrival wasn’t a surprise – it’s the natural progression for Samsung’s curved display technology.
It’s certainly not cheap though, with the entry level 32GB model rocking a wallet trembling SIM-free price tag of around £700 (around $1030, AU$1320).
If you fancy 64GB or even 128GB of internal storage you’re looking at approximately £749 (around $1120, AU$1430) and £829 (around $1180, AU$1500) respectively.
Shop around though and you’ll be able to find it a little cheaper than Samsung’s official site with the 64GB model available for around £635, $915 (about AU$1290) off contract.
That makes the Galaxy S6 Edge more expensive than the iPhone 6 Plus, a handset that already has my bank manager sweating.
Samsung has announced some bad sales figures for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge with news of both phones getting a “price adjustment.” We take that to mean the handsets are going to be dropped in price a little but there’s no news on when it’ll actually happen.
Samsung also hasn’t confirmed how much will be knocked off the price or whether the discount will come to all markets though.
The Galaxy S6 Edge arrives alongside the Samsung Galaxy S6, and the two handsets share pretty much identical specs. The S6 Edge is slightly thicker (7mm vs 6.8mm), slightly lighter (132g vs 138g) and packs an ever so slightly bigger battery (2600mAh vs 2550mAh), but that’s it.
In short then, there’s very little between the two, aside from the obvious inclusion of the two curved display edges on this device. It makes the £100 difference in price hard to swallow and me question why Samsung bothered making both handsets in the first place.
In an effort to get a slender handset with a metal unibody Samsung has removed the microSD slot, blocked access to the battery and shied away from dust and waterproofing.
Many potential customers won’t be too bothered about these omissions, but for power users who have stood by Samsung for its continued inclusion of expandable memory and removable battery this news will be difficult to hear.
That said, whip the Galaxy S6 Edge out when you’re with your mates and they’ll all be clambering over you to get a peek of your new SpacePhone.
It’s also worth mentioning the Galaxy S6 Edge ran away with the Best Phone award at the TechRadar Phone Awards 2015. The ceremony took place in July this year and our judges seemed to love the innovative curved display as well as Samsung’s fully thought out redesign.
We are also expecting Samsung to introduce an Galaxy S6 Edge+ handset quite soon with rumors heating up in recent weeks. There’s a Samsung Unpacked event scheduled for August 13, maybe we’ll see it there.
I’ve already expressed my love for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s design, but in truth this is a Jekyll and Hyde device.
Place the S6 Edge face up on a desk and you can’t help but be impressed with the sweeping sides, rounded metal frame and overall premium appeal of the handset.
These are compliments usually reserved for the iPhone range and HTC’s One series, but Samsung has managed to haul its design department into the 21st century banishing plastic to the lesser mobiles in its line up.
There’s no question there are some similarities to Apple’s design here. The placement of the headphone jack, microUSB port and machine drilled speaker holes on the base mimic the iPhone 6, while the change from a volume rocker to separate metal keys on the left also suggests a Cupertino influence.
With the edges of the handset tapering to a very slender profile thanks to those dual curved displays there’s no space for a SIM tray – plus that glass rear isn’t coming off.
This has forced Samsung to the top of the handset where it lines up alongside an Infra Red blaster, handy for controlling your home entertainment systems.
Everyone I showed the Galaxy S6 Edge was impressed by the handset’s premium appeal and lush curves – that was until they actually picked it up.
While the front of the S6 Edge is beautifully curved, the rear is as flat as a pancake, instantly making the handset feel a lot wider than it is.
Coming from the HTC One M9 which sports a lovely arching metal behind which nestles wonderfully into the palm, the S6 Edge never felt at home in my hand.
Things are made a little more unbearable thanks to the metal frame which runs round the circumference of the device.
On the front it doesn’t sit flush with the curved Gorilla Glass 4, creating a rather annoying lip which you don’t get on the Galaxy S6, while on the back the edges of the frame are sharp and dig into your hand.
The glossy glass rear offers little in the way of grip, which made me tighten my grasp on the handset, resulting in the frame digging into my palm more.
It’s never going to draw blood, and I wasn’t exactly in pain, but the S6 Edge is uncomfortable to hold for extended periods.
Had Samsung repeated the curved design of the front on the rear the Galaxy S6 Edge would sit a lot better in the hand. It may make it slightly thicker, but that would mean a bigger battery and no camera protrusion – which in my book would be good things.
Sticking with the back and I have to say I’m a little disappointed. For all the good things I can say about how the Galaxy S6 Edge looks front-on, it all seems to be undone by a sloppily implemented rear.
True, you don’t spend much time looking at the back of your smartphone, but the rear of the Galaxy S6 Edge looks like it was a bit of an afterthought.
I’m all for minimalism, but the flat, blank rear does nothing to ignite the senses and the bulky camera lens rearing its ugly head from the S6 Edge is a rather unattractive sight.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is available in white, black, gold and green – and the latter three reveal just how much of a fingerprint magnet it is.
There is some evidence of this on the white model when you turn the screen off, but the other colors reveal the full effect of the finger smudges – front and back.
In short, you’ll find yourself cleaning your Galaxy S6 Edge regularly if you don’t want your greasy paw prints on show.
Samsung’s iconic home button is retained on both the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but it’s been updated with a vastly improved fingerprint scanner (more on that later) and a sturdier construction.
This makes it feel more premium and resilient, while the touch sensitive ‘back’ and ‘multi-tasking’ keys flank it, illuminating only when required.
The futuristic premium look and feel helps to justify its lofty price tag a little more, but a number of niggles detract from the overall experience.
Display, Edge screen and People Edge
You’re not going to find a display like the one on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge on any other smartphone. It’s a unique piece of engineering and it certainly looks impressive.
The main display measures 5.1-inches and boasts a QHD, 1440 x 2560 resolution providing pin sharp clarity and Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology ensures everything is bright and vibrant.
That gives you a pixel density of 577ppi, which bests the Galaxy Note 4 with the same resolution stretched over its larger 5.7-inch screen resulting in 515ppi.
While the Galaxy S6 is the natural successor to the Galaxy S5, the S6 Edge pretty much replaces the Galaxy Note Edge which rocked up in 2014 with a 5.6-inch, 524ppi screen, but just one side of its display was curved.
And it’s the dual curving sides on the Galaxy S6 Edge which are the key talking point for the handset. There’s no doubt they produce a highly attractive handset, and the Gorilla Glass 4 covering should keep it well protected.
On paper then, the Galaxy S6 Edge sports a superb screen, and while I can’t fault it in terms of resolution and clarity, the bump from full HD to QHD doesn’t actually add a whole lot more to the experience.
Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology makes it stand out when compared to the 1080p Sony Xperia Z3 and HTC One M9, but there’s not a lot to pick between the S6 Edge and the corking display found on the Galaxy S5.
Don’t get me wrong though, the display on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is lovely and the way it gently curves away on each side will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Just don’t expect a marked step up from 2014’s fleet.
It’s not just for show however, and Samsung is convinced its innovative side screens can provide some genuinely useful functions. I, on the other hand, am not so sure.
First up you can only have the edge screen on the left or right of the screen – there’s no option to have details displayed on both sides simultaneously – which seems a little counter intuitive.
On the Galaxy Note Edge you can call up the edge screen at any point, but on the Galaxy S6 Edge it’s only available when the screen is off.
There is additional functionality relating to the edge when the screen is on, but again it’s relatively limited – more on this on the next page.
The column of apps you got on the Galaxy Note which included shortcuts to key applications and tools such as a ruler has been completely left out on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
I am close to the edge
The main functionality for the edge screen is actually only available when the main screen is off on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
You have to slide your a finger one way then the other along the side of the handset to wake the edge screen, but it’s highly temperamental and I regularly found the Galaxy S6 Edge failing to recognize my swipe first time.
The idea here is you can get a quick overview of any important notifications, news headlines, sports scores or just an update on the time, date and weather without having to power up the battery hungry main display.
Thing is, the information is limited and if you’ve had to swipe several times to get the edge screen to show you’ll give up and just hit the home key to wake the full screen for all your notification and time needs.
A text message will scroll along the edge screen in its entirety so you can read it, but you can’t interact with the message from here – you’ll need to unlock and navigate to the app yourself.
There is some control over what gets displayed on the edge screen, but again it’s limited and not overly easy to find in the ‘Edge screen’ section of the settings menu.
The news feed comes via Yahoo News and cannot be tailored to any particular topics, the sports scores are again provided by Yahoo and there are only a handful of leagues and teams to choose from.
You can choose multiple teams, but the results tick through so slowly I found myself losing patience with it.
There’s no option to change the provider of the information and while the inclusion of a Twitter bar sounds like a good idea, all it does is show you what’s currently trending. It’s hardly inspiring.
I’d like to have seen perhaps the latest tweets from a handful of people I select, or some in-depth stats on my retweets, favorites and new followers.
Stocks (from Yahoo, again) is another feed you can slap on the edge screen, but that’s all you get pre-installed. News, sports, stocks, notifications and Twitter trends.
So the slightly slow interface paired with a drab line up of feeds left me feeling a little hard done by, but then I noticed an option to download additional feeds. Sadly though, only one was available and it was RSS.
Not a totally useless offering I admit, but it’s hardly game changing. Hopefully more feeds will appear over the next few months bringing greater functionality to the edge screen, but for now in its current lock screen state it’s rather lackluster.
People on the edge
Turn the screen on and you won’t be able to bring up the information bar anymore, but you’ll notice a slender transparent tab at the top of the display.
Depending which side you’ve selected to have the Edge screen displayed will dictate whether this tab appears on the left or right.
Drag the tab into the screen and you’ll pull open what Samsung is calling the People Edge on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
Five colored circles will appear and you can assign five contacts (known as ‘My People’) to these slots for easy access when it comes to calling, texting or emailing them.
The People Edge is accessible from the lockscreen and homescreen, but no where else. That’s a little annoying as you’re forced to exit any app you’re in before getting to this ‘quick setting’ panel.
Another frustrating thing about the People Edge is the fact it’s there to alert you to key messages and missed calls, but it only covers calls, texts and emails.
There’s no support for the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or other messaging services, which means you could still miss an important message.
I send the majority of my messages via these web based applications, so I found the People Edge limited in its usefulness. If you’re a fan of these services then you’ve been warned – the People Edge is not your friend.
A useful function Samsung has built in to the People Edge comes when you pick the phone up off a surface. The Galaxy S6 Edge will detect it’s been picked up and notify you on screen (in a low powered black and white display) whether you have any missed calls, texts or emails from your key contacts.
Again I’d like to see integration with other messaging apps here, and hopefully Samsung will be able to provide this in a future software update.
Face down, message up
The final feature of the Galaxy S6 Edge’s unique side displays comes into play when the handset is placed face down.
It provides a discreet light up notification to alert you that you’ve received a call, text or email from a key contact.
You can even dismiss the call and send a pre-written text message to that person by placing a finger on the heart rate monitor for two seconds.
As long as you can remember which color is which contrat then Edge Lighting can be a handy feature for those regularly in meetings.
For general day to day usage though you’re unlikely to really use it, so while it’s available you might just want to switch it off in the settings.
Fingerprints, heart rate and smart locking
Supreme finger scanning
It’s no secret that Samsung’s first attempts at fingerprint scanners on smartphones were woeful.
Samsung upgraded its scanner for the Galaxy Note 4, but it was still off the mark. This time around it’s completely rebuilt the system to possibly the best offering on the market.
You no longer have to swipe your fingerprint across the home button, instead you just place it over it much like you do on the iPhone.
What really impresses on the Galaxy S6 Edge though is the speed of recognition. While on the iPhone there’s a short pause while it works out your print, the S6 Edge almost instantly registers and unlocks.
It’s a supremely slick setup and makes using fingerprint recognition an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
You can also use your fingerprint to validate PayPal payments, verify your Samsung account and sign in to websites which support the tech.
I’m still waiting for the integration with Google Play so I can pay for apps with my fingerprint, but that functionality surely isn’t too far off.
Smarter than your average lock
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is also smart lock enabled, meaning that you won’t need to offer up a fingerprint, pin or password to unlock the handset if a trusted Bluetooth device is near by.
It’s easy to set up trusted devices, just pair them to the S6 Edge over Bluetooth and then add them to the trusted list in the ‘Privacy and safety’ section of the settings menu.
You can also set up trusted places, such as your home or office, but the app warns you that locations have a radius of 80 meters, making it less secure.
I had my LG G Watch R and wireless Sony headphones on my trusted list, so whenever either was within range of the Galaxy S6 Edge I didn’t need to offer up a fingerprint.
Hand the phone over to a mate though and they can’t get past the lock screen. Mwahahaha.
Don’t just feel the beat, see the beat
Samsung’s S Health app and heart rate monitor are nothing new in the smartphone world, but both have been upgraded for the Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6.
The S Health app sports a cleaner look with a handy dashboard main screen providing a snapshot of your fitness and quick links to things such as heart rate, work outs and stress monitoring.
If you’re having a particularly lazy day it will also tell you to be more active. It told me that quite a lot but hey, you’re not the boss of me S6 Edge!
I’ve always questioned Samsung’s decision to stick a heart rate monitor on a smartphone, as they make far more sense on a wearable such as a smartwatch, but the Korean firm is sticking to its guns with its latest flagships duo.
To be fair to Samsung the monitoring appears to be more accurate and you now get a cool ECG visual in the S Health app as well – making you feel like you’re actually doing something vaguely medical. I’m just waiting for the beeps to be implemented.
There’s a built in pedometer, and although it’s a little bit hit and miss in its calculations it’s never hugely out. The only thing is you may not have your phone on you every time you’re up and walking about – meaning you miss out on vital steps.
Interface and performance
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge rocked up with Android 5.0 Lollipop, now upgradeable to Android 5.1.1, but like any handset from the Korean firm it’s not the pure version of the software.
You’ll find the latest incarnation of Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay in play here, and it’s the best version yet with a cleaner style and fewer distractions.
The look is still distinctly Samsung, and if you’re looking to transition from on older handset from the firm you’ll still feel right at home on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
On the lock screen you’ll find quick links to the camera and dialer apps and a swipe of a finger across the screen will see a brief bubble animation as the handset unlocks (provided you’ve not set up any level of security).
You’ll also notice the translucent tab towards the top of the display, which as I’ve explained in a previous section provides access to the People Edge if you want to contact one of your five favorite chums.
Onto the home screen and in a similar way to Sense on HTC’s handsets a swipe from left to right will take you to a news feed. On the Galaxy S6 Edge it’s Flipboard’s technology in action.
If this revolving news list isn’t your cup of tea you can disable it, allowing you to experience a more natural Android home screen setup.
There’s also an option to adjust the spacing between the applications on your home screens, allowing you to cram more onto the screen.
The default setting is a 4×4 grid, but this can be changed to 4×5 or 5×5 if you really need to have a huge number of apps (and/or widgets) front and centre.
A double click of the dedicated home button below the display will see the camera app launched instantly, with a very impressive load time.
Hit the multi-tasking button to the left of the home key and a vertical list of tiles will appear showing you the apps currently running in the background.
You can easily close individual apps by swiping across them, but also all of them at once by hitting the button at the base of the display.
The first time you load up the multi-tasking pane there is a very slight pause while the Galaxy S6 Edge sorts itself out, but from then on it opens up instantly.
Contacts, calling, messaging and email are all handled by stock applications on the S6 Edge, but Google’s Gmail and Hangouts apps also come preinstalled if you fancy a change.
Samsung’s keyboard is serviceable, but it’s not as accurate or fluid as some third party alternatives and I found myself pining for Swiftkey.
The slope of the screen on either side of the S6 Edge means you’ll need to slightly adjust your typing style as letters on the end of rows (mainly Q and P) lie on the bend of the display and can be a little tricky to tap.
It didn’t take me too long to get used to the new orientation, but it will slow you down for the first few days.
Sure, the TouchWiz interface won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it is a decent improvement on the previous generation and I couldn’t find any major issues with it during my time with the S6 Edge.
Previous Samsung handsets have come packed with pre-installed applications – some good, a lot not so good – but the fat has been trimmed on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
You’ll find fewer bloatware apps on the S6 Edge, and while there are still a few knocking about Samsung now lets you disable the ones you’ll never use, hiding them from view.
Sadly you can’t go as far as to uninstall them, but out of sight, out of mind is almost as good.
Interestingly Samsung lets you disable all the pre-installed Google applications from Gmail and Drive to Maps and the Play store. I wouldn’t recommend disabling any of these as they’re all pretty useful, but it’s nice to have that option.
S Health, S Voice and stock apps such as the calculator and memo pad can also be disabled, although the Galaxy Apps icon can’t be removed.
Keep an eye out for Android Marshmallow soon. The impending update won’t likely change TouchWiz much, but it will bring a bunch of Google improvements, from new Google Now features, to full app permission controls and even battery life boosting tools.
There’s no Qualcomm chip here like in the HTC One M9, instead you’ll find Samsung’s own-brand Exynos octa-core chip running the show which is backed up by 3GB of RAM.
The processor is made up of two quad-core chips, one clocked at 2.1GHz for the heavy lifting tasks such as gaming and movie streaming, while the 1.5GHz chip takes over when you’re doing more mundane things such as text messaging or surfing the web.
All this power means everything feels slick under the finger, and I was able to whizz around Android without any sign of slow down.
The speed at which the camera app loads is testament to the processor’s prowess, and demanding games such as Family Guy: Quest for Stuff and Real Racing 3 were handled with ease by the Galaxy S6 Edge.
Running the Galaxy S6 Edge through Geekbench 3 a number of times saw it come out with an average multi-core score of 4774 – a cracking result when compared to the Galaxy S5‘s average of 2905.
In short then, there’s very little the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge does wrong when it comes to interface and performance. This is a handset you can throw anything at and it’ll gobble it down like a greedy child and come back asking for more. Nice.
When the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge was announced at MWC 2015 concerns were raised over the battery life of the handset.
Could the 2600mAh battery – a full 200mAh smaller than the power pack found in last year’s Galaxy S5 – really provide a decent performance? Sadly, the answer is no.
With a higher resolution display and more powerful processor to contend with the battery inside the Galaxy S6 Edge struggles to see out a full day on a single charge.
If you think that’s bad spare a thought for the Galaxy S6 which sports the same high-res screen and power, but has to make do with a smaller 2550mAh power pack.
Something else which may be a dagger through the heart of any loyal Samsung owner is the fact the battery can’t be removed – and thus swapped out for a full charged pack.
It’s a compromise Samsung has made for an improved design – and the S6 Edge does look great – but also because it believes it can now deliver a strong battery performance. Hmm.
During moderate use throughout the day which started at 7am and included an hour or two of Spotify, an hour of gaming, various messages over a variety of apps, some web browsing and emails, a few camera shots and the odd phone call, I found the S6 Edge was limping towards the charger around 10pm.
Considering we were seeing around a day and a half of battery life from 2014’s flagships with similar usage, this drop in endurance is a real shame.
The effect the screen has on battery life is clear – I easily chewed through the first 20% of battery within the first couple of hours of the day during my morning commute by continuously gaming and streaming music to my Bluetooth headphones.
A small saving grace is the Galaxy S6 Edge loses very little power in standby mode. If your phone spends most of the day sitting on your desk, in your bag or hidden in a pocket you should have a decent slug of life left when it comes to the evening.
Samsung’s answer to this rather questionable battery life is its fast charging technology. The Galaxy S6 Edge charges 1.5 time faster than previous Galaxy S models, and it can regain four hours of usage from just 10 minutes of charging.
Now that is impressive, and it is achievable, but only with the bundled charging block that comes in the box.
If you leave this charger at home and borrow someone’s when you’re out and about then you won’t benefit from this super speedy power up.
The Galaxy S6 Edge is also wireless charging enabled, and it’s compatible with most wireless charging pads and mats currently on the market, which makes it easier to refuel – although again you won’t get the fast charging functionality here.
Rather surprisingly when I put the S6 Edge through the TechRadar video test which sees a full HD, 90 minute video played at full brightness, with accounts syncing in the background over Wi-Fi, it lost just 15%.
If you’re really struggling for battery then you can always turn to Samsung’s power saving modes.
The standard power saving mode limits performance, reduces screen brightness, frame rate and timeout and a few other bits and pieces to try and eke more time from the power pack.
If that’s not enough you can take extreme measures and turn on Ultra Power Saving Mode. This locks down the entire Android interface to leave you with a limited black and white panel with access to just six core apps.
I switched on Ultra Power Saving Mode with just 4% of battery left and it managed to keep the Galaxy S6 Edge going for another two hours – which is pretty impressive.
The rear facing camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is excellent. It’s one of the best cameras I’ve had the pleasure of using on a smartphone.
You’ll find the same cameras here that you get on the Galaxy S6, with a 16MP rear facing snapper and a 5MP option up front.
Don’t let that put you off though, as coupled with that QHD display and some seriously speedy processing the camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge is a joy to use.
The image quality specialists over at DXO Mark agree, giving it a score of 86, which was enough for it to top the charts. It’s since been beaten by the Sony Xperia Z5 with a score of 87, but it’s still sitting at the number 2 spot.
Being able to launch the camera from anywhere on the handset by just double clicking the home button is a useful feature, and the fact it loads the camera almost instantly means you’re much less likely to miss a shot.
Samsung has worked on its camera app, making it less cluttered and easier to use – and it’s a welcome change as previous iterations just threw in features left, right and center and they got in the way of actually taking a picture.
The app now has a handful of modes including auto, pro, selective focus, panorama, virtual shot, slow motion and fast motion.
Most of the time I stuck with auto, as the Galaxy S6 Edge does an excellent job at recognizing your surroundings and adapting the settings to get you the best image.
Pro mode opens up various options such as white balance, exposure and contrast if you want to fine tune your shot, while panorama supports both vertical and horizontal sweeps giving you more freedom.
Selective focus allows you to choose the point of focus of an image after you’ve snapped it. You only get a choice of three; near, far or all, but it’s a clever effect and worth playing around with when you get a chance.
Virtual shot is more of a gimmicky feature, but also kind of cool. Select an object you want a 3D view of, and then move the S6 Edge around it. The phone will capture a series of images and stitch them together into a GIF.
You can then look round the object by tilting your phone left and right. It’s fun to show off, but the quality is pretty low and it can be a hassle capturing the shot in the first place.
The S6 Edge can record 4K video using its rear camera, and 2K video on the front, but if you select to record slow or fast motion you’ll only be able to capture footage in 1280 x 720.
Back to snapping photos and as well as loading up impressively quickly the Galaxy S6 Edge also has a slick shutter speed.
The camera lens is in a good location on the rear of the handset and I rarely found my fingers wandering into shot – something that happens a lot with iPhones.
If you’re having trouble reaching the onscreen shutter key you can use the volume buttons on the side to snap a picture – something which comes in especially handy when using the front facing snapper for a cheeky selfie. There’s even a beauty mode to make your skin look perfect/fake.
The S6 Edge performs best outside in daylight, with a high level of detail captured and even the 4x digital zoom doesn’t degrade quality as much as I was expecting.
Indoors the S6 Edge is a strong performer and while low light is still a work in progress for all smartphone cameras, there is an noticeable improvement in this area over the 2014 line up.
There is a LED flash on the rear, but as with many smartphones it tends to dominate the shot and over exposure your subject so try and avoid using it.
You can check out some of the lovely pictures I was able to take with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge on the next page.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is almost identical to the S6 Edge. The main difference is the screen, as the S6 has a standard 5.1-inch QHD panel, but it also has a slightly smaller 2550mAh battery and a lower price tag.
You don’t get the edge screen features from the S6 Edge here, because there’s no screen for them to be on, but that’s not exactly much of a loss.
The Galaxy S6 has a great screen, the same excellent camera and matching powerful innards for a well rounded smartphone experience.
Like the S6 Edge though battery life is a let down and there’s no microSD slot or removable battery.
- Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S6 review
iPhone 6S Plus
Apple has just released its second ever phablet, and it’s much the same as the first. This is just slightly larger in terms of dimensions than the Galaxy S6 Edge, but the two handsets both have lofty price tags in common.
On paper the Galaxy S6 Edge has the 6S Plus beat with a better, higher resolution display, more powerful rear camera and a whole load of power under the hood.
Where the iPhone comes into its own though is the iOS interface, which is simple and straightforward – it’s certainly less confusing than TouchWiz. Samsung isn’t the only one with an innovative screen tech either – the iPhone 6S Plus comes with a new technology called 3D Touch that means you get different functionality depending on how hard you press the screen.
Both handsets offer beautiful design and while the S6 Edge has a few gimmicks thrown in for good measure, the iPhone 6S Plus keeps things on the straight and narrow giving you the features you need and making them work seamlessly.
- Read our in-depth iPhone 6S Plus review
LG G Flex 2
Samsung isn’t the only company experimenting with curved smartphone displays, and the LG G Flex 2 is the second generation handset from its Korean rival.
The G Flex 2 is big and brash, and it curves in the opposite direction to the S6 Edge giving it more of a banana phone look.
A flexible full HD 5.5-inch display dominates the front of the Flex 2, while a self healing rear gives it some impressive Wolverine style appeal.
The Galaxy S6 Edge hasn’t been made to bend and flex like the LG, so in that regard the two handsets are quite different – but one thing is for sure, curved screens are here to stay.
- Read our LG G Flex 2 review
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Samsung has now released an even bigger version of the Galaxy S6 Edge – the Galaxy S6 Edge+.
There’s not much of a change here though – it’s essentially a bigger version of the same phone in this review. This time there’s a 5.7-inch display with curved edges on both sides of the phone again.
It looks great but it may be a bit of an issue if you’re got smaller hands. Under the hood it’s the same set up as we’ve seen on the Galaxy S6 Edge, apart from a new 3,000mAh battery.
You’ll want one of these if you’re a bit disappointed in the screen size of the Galaxy S6 Edge but it’s going to cost you a little bit more than the normal version.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ review
Moto X Style
Motorola’s latest flagship price comes at a much lower price than the Galaxy S6 Edge. Prices start at US$399.99 or £360 (around AU$545) for the lowest storage versions. It’s a fully customizable handset that looks quite like the Nexus 6, but this includes a 5.5-inch 2K display and a super-fast charging battery.
It has a curved back much like the Nexus 6, but you can choose what colour of material you’d like it to be in. The Moto Maker tool on the Motorola website allows you to change the look including the colour of your phones rear as well. You don’t get that with the Galaxy S6 Edge.
The front display is beautiful to look at and while it’s not curved like the Galaxy S6 Edge, it is quite a bit bigger with a fantastic screen to body ratio.
- Read our review of the Motorola Moto X Style
Sony Xperia Z5
Sony’s latest phone is a big step in the right direction for the company, but it isn’t anywhere near as exciting as what Samsung did with the Galaxy S6 Edge.
The Xperia Z5 comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD display, but there’s no curved edges here. If you want exciting screen tech you’ll want the Xperia Z5 Premium instead.
But this is a premium smartphone that looks great to hold and has a surprisingly good fingerprint sensor sitting flush with the side of the phone. It also has a stronger battery life than the Galaxy S6 Edge does so if you’re after long lasting power this might be a good choice for you.
The Xperia Z5 is going to cost you a similar amount of money to the Galaxy S6 Edge so it’s certainly worth considering. If you’re looking for a truly exciting phone though, go for the Galaxy S6 Edge.
LG has just announced its successor to the popular G3 in the form of, you guessed it, the G4 – and it puts up a good fight against the Galaxy S6 Edge.
LG has followed Samsung’s suit and focused its efforts on the design of the G4 but opted for something a little different with a leather back on certain handsets.
The front features a cracking 5.5-inch display with a pixel resolution of 1440 x 2560 equalling 538 pixels-per-inch. The LG G4 has an impressive camera set up too with a 16MP sensor and more camera modes than you could shake a selfie stick at.
Under the hood sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and microSD support up to 128GB. Plus despite earlier reports it wouldn’t, the G4 even comes with QuickCharge technology for its 3000mAh battery.
- Be sure to read our review of the LG G4
Hands on gallery
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a fantastic looking handset which is guaranteed to turn heads, and with a heap of power under the hood it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
Power and looks will only get you so far though, and the S6 Edge falls down in a few areas which prevent it from hitting top marks. If you’re able to splash the cash you won’t be disappointed, but you can get an almost identical experience with the Galaxy S6 for less money.
Front on at least, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is one of the best looking smartphones on the market and many will say it’s the best.
The QHD display complements the sweeping, curving design by giving you something visually stunning to look at. It’s not a huge step forward from the full HD panel on the Galaxy S5, but it looks great.
I am also impressed with the performance of the Galaxy S6 Edge with the Android interface effortlessly slick under finger and while the improved TouchWiz interface may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s certainly better than previous iterations.
The camera on the rear of the Galaxy S6 Edge is also worth writing home about, as it’s capable of taking some stunning shots without any effort on your behalf.
All the good points about the S6 Edge can be applied to its brother, the Galaxy S6, as apart from screen design the two handsets are identical. And as the S6 is a good deal cheaper than the Edge, it’s difficult to really make a case for the added cost.
Sure the design is lovely, but in the hand the S6 Edge can get uncomfortable and the lack of a microSD slot and removable battery will be an instant turn off for some of the Samsung faithful.
The lack of expandable storage isn’t a huge issue as the S6 Edge comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB flavors with the added bonus of 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage – but battery life isn’t up to standard.
You’ll struggle to see out a whole day with moderate usage, and that’s a real shame. If you’re a heavy user you’ll be dashing for a charger mid-afternoon.
For all the fanfare of the edge screens, the functionality Samsung has provided to show off its latest innovation is disappointingly limited.
A few feeds on the lock screen and the People Edge quick links on the home screen hardly cry out as must-have features. There’s scope for more to be added in the future, but at the moment they’re not overly useful.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is one of those phones that sets a line in the sand for smartphones. It makes curved edges viable, offering them in a phone that doesn’t look bonkers just for the sake of it.
It won’t sell anywhere near as well as the standard S6, simply because it’s very expensive and users are always reticent to try something new when there’s no proven need for it, and rightly so.
The battery life is not good enough for a 2015 flagship smartphone, the price is difficult to justify and the loss of some Samsung staples in the microSD slot and removable battery will turn some off.
But this is the phone we all hanker after secretly, something that looks premium yet futuristic.
I love the design and I want all phones to follow in its curved screen footsteps. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge lays solid foundations, but this handset is still a work in progress.
First reviewed: March 2015