Introduction

How big of an impact can a small change have? The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has only the extra screen curves compared to the vanilla Galaxy S6, but these two phones couldn't feel any more different - it's a difference that you can readily feel when you hold them in your hand.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Different, and yet the same, the two Galaxy S6 phones share some of the best components available, tied together with software built on new philosophy to match the new hardware ideology.

Here's the recap of the key specs and disadvantages and... please, pardon the deja vu feel.

Key features

  • Curved screen, thin (7mm) profile, premium dual-glass design reinforced by a metal frame
  • 5.1" Super AMOLED of QHD (1440 x 2560) resolution, class-leading ~577ppi, 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
  • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz and Samsung Pay
  • 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)
  • Active noise cancellation via dedicated mic
  • New generation of 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
  • Built-in wireless charging (Qi/PMA)
  • 2,600mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Pricier than its sibling, with only the curved screen to show for it
  • No water or dust protection
  • No user-replaceable battery
  • No microSD slot
  • No FM radio
  • No stereo speakers

Samsung spun off a whole new Galaxy line, the A (or Alpha) series, to practice making phones with proper metal frame and then got back to the drawing board and came out with the new design language of the Galaxy S6 family. Combining the metal frame with a dual-glass build (front and back) is certainly not the most novel design solution but it's one that works well and it's a first for Samsung's smartphones.

And despite being their first attempt at this design approach, the Galaxy S6 came out borderline perfect - perhaps lacking on novelty, but excelling in implementation. The Galaxy S6 edge however takes it even further for those who want something that much more special. It comes with an off-the-chart novelty factor and is rightfully priced higher than the regular Galaxy S6.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge official images

But is this sort of a difference worth the hefty price premium? A tough question, indeed, unless you reside in one of those markets where the Galaxy S6 edge will be selling with 64GB of storage as a base version, partly making up for the outrageous markup. But even then, you sure are getting a lot more than a mere storage upgrade for the extra money.

Join us on the following pages as we explore the hardware differences between the two and discuss the added value of the curved screen.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge unboxing

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with the same retail package as its flat-screened sibling. The box includes a fast-charge adapter, which Samsung says can load the battery with 4 hours' worth of battery life in just 10 minutes. The same charge time reportedly also gives you 2 hours of HD video playback. There's a detachable microUSB cable that can be used for charging and detached to transfer data from a computer.

There's also a headset with earplugs, a three button remote and flat, tangle-free cable. They look quite EarPod-y. Anyway, the earplugs have protective rubber wraps plus a spare couple. You also get a SIM ejector tool.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge retail package

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is basically the same size as the regular S6. The sloping edges on its sides did not affect its width and made it a hair thicker (0.2mm), not that you'd notice. The _phone_ is also roughly the same size as its Galaxy S5 predecessor, just a fraction narrower and 1mm thinner.

Compared to the Sony Xperia Z3 (which has a 5.2" screen and a similar metal and glass build), the Galaxy S6 edge is a bit shorter and narrower, 20g light too. As a final point of reference, the iPhone 6 (with a 4.7" screen) is a bit shorter and narrower than the S6 edge, but the same thickness and weight.

Design and build quality

Flexible screens on phones hit the mainstream in 2013, but manufacturers struggled to find a compelling use for them. Bendable phones hold some promise, but with the Galaxy S6 edge Samsung had simpler goals - make the _phone_ look better.

The Galaxy Note Edge attempts the use its one curvy bit on the screen as a UI enhancement and some of the ideas worked great. The Galaxy S6 edge has two curvy bits - the left and right sides - though they are treated as part of the same screen.

They are not as curved as the Note Edge's right side either, but they do help side swipes to feel silky smooth. Ever since Android design guidelines started putting options in drawers off either side of the screen these gestures became much more popular. Samsung added even more functionality that works with side-swipes to capitalize on how well these gestures work.

The curved sides of the screen also improve looks. The side bezels are practically the same size, though if you look at the phone at an angle the farther curve fools the eye that the screen reaches the edge. The shape of the screen is unique on the market and subjectively it looks quite good (though some disagree).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The unique design of the Galaxy S6 edge with two curved sides on the screen

The metal frame that is the backbone of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is exposed on the sides. The left and right side are thinner than usual as the curved screen pushes them back. There's still enough room for the Power key on the right and Volume rocker on the left. The SIM slot had to move though.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The metal frame on the side shrinks a bit to make room for the curved screen

The curved design changes how the Galaxy S6 edge sits in the hand. Its back is wider than its front, which feels unusual. The metal rim is about a millimeter wider than the glass and its top edge and it digs into your palm, while providing the necessary grip. It's a comforting feeling and it makes the phones feel thinner than it really is. This feeling is entirely different from what you feel when you hold the vanilla Galaxy S6 in your hand with its smooth and rounded metal frame.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge in the hand

The rest is a familiar story. Samsung incorporated a no-swipe fingerprint sensor in the hardware Home key below the screen. The key itself is taller than before and positioning your finger on it is fairly easy. It helps that the sensor would handle your finger at any angle.

The Home key also doubles as quick launch key for the camera - press it twice in a quick succession and in less than a second the camera is ready to take shots. This works even when the screen is off.

Above the screen is Samsung's new 5MP selfie camera with an f/1.9 lens. It's a good quality camera, though the sensor is a squarish 4:3, unlike the 16:9 widescreen sensor of the back camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Hardware Home key with fingerprint sensor • 5MP selfie camera

Speaking of the back camera, it's worth noting that its lens noticeably sticks out the back. This doesn't affect handling or portability - the majority of the phone is still 7mm thick. Since its centered, it also doesn't make the phone wobble when put on a flat surface.

The Galaxy S6 edge only makes use of a single-LED flash.

Next to the flash is the heart rate monitor, which also measures blood-oxygen saturation (aka SpO2). This is used in conjunction with S Health to grab biometric data, but can also be used to trigger the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The glass back of the Galaxy S6 edge • 16MP main camera and flash/HR monitor assembly

On the front and back side of the smartphone we find two sheets of Gorilla Glass 4. The glass on the back is gently curved around the edges. This makes it flow into the metal rim, which in turn leads into the curved front glass.

Currently, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Green Emerald colors. The color shifts slightly depending on the color of light. The Black Sapphire color, which we have for review, exhibits dark blue hue under bright light so it's not proper black. The Green Emerald color is exclusive to the S6 Edge much like the Topaz Blue color is exclusive to the Galaxy S6.

The bottom of the phone is quite busy. The 3.5mm audio jack is there, as is the loudspeaker. They join the microUSB 2.0 port and the mouthpiece.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

3.5mm audio jack and loudspeaker have moved to the bottom • the mouthpiece and microUSB 2.0 port keep their place

The top of the Galaxy S6 edge welcomes a new component, the nanoSIM slot, which is on the side on the Galaxy S6 but the metal sides are much too thin to host it. The secondary noise cancellation mic is also on top as is the IR blaster.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Secondary mic • IR blaster • nanoSIM card tray

Display

The Super AMOLED screen remains at 5.1" though it's not a straight line diagonal. Still, the curve on the side is fairly minor and the left and right edges of the screen remain usable. Some view the move to QHD resolution (1,440 x 2,560px) as unnecessary and while part of the motivation is marketing, the other part is that you can visually discern the difference.

Super AMOLED displays haven't had issues with perceivable sharpness ever since they reached the 1080p threshold, but with the extra pixels, the display feels even sharper. It's a subtle thing, but it's there.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung continued to improve other characteristics of Super AMOLED displays too. Brightness got a healthy bump - you can get it to around 470nits manually, but if you leave it at auto, the phone can boost its display to an impressive 750nits. That's brighter than many LCDs out there!

That's one traditional strength of LCDs gone and Samsung has nailed the color accuracy too. Viewing angles are not an issue either, it would have been very visible in the curved sections of the display otherwise.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S6 208 473
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 208 473
HTC One M9 0.15 175 1180 0.44 534 1221
Sony Xperia Z3 - - - 0.65 866 1333
Apple iPhone 6 0.17 207 1230 0.61 740 1213
Motorola Moto X (2014) 167 358
Motorola Nexus 6 149 372
Samsung Galaxy S5 274 529


Sunlight legibility is better than ever, a slight improvement over the Note 4 and a decent jump from the Galaxy S5. The Gorilla Glass 4 is laminated to the AMOLED display below it so there's very little reflection. It helps that the display is very bright too.

Note that we did this test with manual settings - that is at 470nits - as it gets consistent results (we can't force the auto mode to max).

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

The curved sides of the display do reflect the light differently though so sometimes there are brighter reflections there. It's not enough to be an issue though.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge features Display modes, which give you three presets that change the white balance and color saturation. You can get more accurate or bolder colors, depending on personal preference.

Also, the display has an optional high-sensitivity mode, which can detect touches even when you're wearing leather gloves. Users in colder regions will appreciate that in the later.

Connectivity

Samsung's Exynos 7420 chipset is paired with an LTE Cat. 6 modem. Theoretical maximums are 300Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink. If you have access to an HSPA network only, you'll get a maximum of 42Mbps and 5.76Mbps respectively.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge supports Wi-Fi ac networks for fast local net. Wi-Fi a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks are also supported, of course.

Then there's Bluetooth 4.1 LE (for smartwatches, sport sensors and such) and apt-X codec (for high-quality audio streaming).

Then there's NFC, which is used for Samsung Pay, which lets the S6 edge replace your credit card. It's also used for pairing with other devices and reading NFC tags as well.

The microUSB 2.0 port on the bottom of the phone supports fast charging and regular USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Samsung's brief flirtation with USB 3.0 won't be missed since most data syncing happens over the Internet these days.

The port does have MHL 3.0 functionality, which allows it to output 2160p video at 30fps, coincidentally the top mode for the camera. The port also supports USB HID devices, like a keyboard and a mouse.

Even if the Galaxy S6 edge is not the video source for your home theater setup, the IR blaster can be used to control your TV, AV receiver and set top box/Blu-ray player. Samsung has preloaded the Peel Smart Remote app, which also features air conditioner support.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with a 2,600mAh Li-Ion battery, the same capacity as the Galaxy S4. Unlike the S4, however, the S6 edge battery is sealed inside. You can use the charger from the retail box to quickly top up the battery - 10 minutes charging for 4 hours of usage says Samsung.

The company has also enabled wireless charging, supporting the two existing standards. Qi has been used in Nexus and Lumia phones and even some McDonald's stores in Europe have charging mats. The other standard, PMA, is featured in certain Starbucks locations and is more popular in the US. The dual-standard support means it will be easier to find a place to top up your battery.

The Galaxy S6 edge Endurance rating came out to 73 hours, in other words you should get three full days of casual usage. With heavy usage you'll be looking for a charger (wired or otherwise) on the second day.

It posted some great times in the individual tests. In the Web browsing test the Galaxy S6 edge actually beat its predecessor by an hour for an impressive 11 hour run. Same with the video playback - a solid achievement considering the sharper screen.

Note that the S6 edge screen is slightly darker (200nits vs 275nits) than the Galaxy S5 at the 50% slider position we use for testing.

Anyway, at 20h the talk time is lower than the Galaxy S5 but it should hardly be a problem. The overall numbers come very close to the Sony Xperia Z3, which has a beefier 3,100mAh battery. It also beats the HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 by quite a margin.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Note that these numbers were achieved with Night Clock and other Edge features turned off. Night Clock takes an extra 3% per 12 hours, which has only a small impact on the total endurance. If you enable the other Edge features, the Endurance rating drops to 54 hours since the screen digitizer is active all the time.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Our testing procedure includes a standby battery endurance test, which is not shown in the scorecard above, but is a part of the overall rating. You can learn more about our standardized routine here.

User interface - the S6 edge has some new tricks in the bag

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and the latest incarnation of TouchWiz. It has virtually identical UI to the Galaxy S6, just adds a few features spanning over the curved display edges. We are going to kick off with the S6 edge exclusive UX goodies first, and then continue with our traditional software checkup. This way you can see what's new and then skip to the camera section right away.

Edge Screen

The Edge display features are turned off by default, so you'll need to go to Settings -> Edge display and set it up. One of the highlighted modes is the so-called Night clock. It shows the time and date on one of the edge strips during the night (or any up to 12 hours interval you choose). You don't need to do anything to wake this strip up - it's always on. You should have in mind that having this always-on clock for 10 hours will eat additional 2-3 % battery as opposed to your normal standby pattern.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Configuring the Edge screen

The edge strip, no matter if the Night clock is active or not, can be awaken with a short swipe and then swipe down gesture and it will light up brightly. If Information Stream is active, you can scroll between the different info strips by swiping up or down. A pull from the right will refresh the content.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Configuring Information Stream

The available info strips are Yahoo weather, Yahoo stocks, Yahoo news, RSS feeds, Yahoo Sport scores, and, of course, missed notifications. You can easily configure the automatic refresh intervals of each feature, turn it off/on and rearrange their order. More strips are available within the Galaxy Apps repository.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Information stream in action

Another interesting edge feature is Edge lighting - when the phone is turned over and a new notification comes in, the strip will light up. If it's a notification from one of your favorite contacts, it will even light up in their specific color. You can even reject a call with a pre-defined message by placing a finger on the heart-rate sensor for 2 seconds. The phone must be lying on its screen for both features.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Edge Lightning

People edge, another proprietary feature, is really cool as well - when you you have missed notifications from one of your favorite contacts, you will get a tab of their respective color on the side of the edge. You just need to drag it to the left to see what it's about.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The People Edge on the lockscreen and on the homescreen

The People Edge works on both the lockscreen and on the homescreen.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

People Edge in action

Finally, you can choose the edge strip position - left or right and it stays fixed for all features. There is no case scenario you can use both edges for notifications.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The most useful feature - the Night clock

User interface

Samsung has been on a mission to simplify its software recently, but there are brand new features too. Most of the new stuff is now available to the Galaxy S5 as well via the recent update to Android Lollipop, but there are still features available only on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.

You can have a look at the user interface in action on the video below:

One thing's for sure, the lockscreen is quite busy. It shows two notifications, any more get collapsed and you only see their icons. You can tap the down arrow to see the full list. If an app gets too pushy, you can hide its notifications from the lockscreen. There is also a weather information for your location and pedometer stats.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The lockscreen shows notifications, but can hide them from prying eyes too

Both a dialer and camera shortcuts are available, but we prefer the other camera shortcut - double-tap the Home key from anywhere in the UI and the camera launches within a second.

Private mode returns and this time the fingerprint reader is much better. After you've trained it, you only need to place your finger for half a second to activate. It's quite lax when it comes to finger positions too, no more struggling to swipe just the right way.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Private mode is best protected with a fingerprint

Private mode creates a secure folder that disappears when the mode is disabled. You can have Private mode automatically disabled every time you lock the phone.

The lockscreen can also use the fingerprint reader as a locking mechanism. It's quicker and more convenient than swiping and more secure than simple patterns and PINs too.

A nice feature allows you to hide the content of the lockscreen notifications or disable them altogether so people can't snoop on your received messages and emails.

Smart Lock disables the secure locking options when a trusted device is connected (Bluetooth smartwatch or car stereo or an NFC sticker) or when the phone is in a trusted location. Unfortunately, that's determined by geo-positioning only, you can' add a trusted Wi-Fi network.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Smart lock disables the secure locking features if a trusted device is nearby or you're home

We're finally past the lockscreen and we arrive to see much improved theming support, which the Galaxy S5 lacks altogether. We only got three preinstalled on the Galaxy S6 edge, but for the first time, you can download more in the Galaxy Apps store, including an Avengers theme (Samsung is the supplier of lots of Avengers movie props). Themes can change the wallpaper and icons, but also some Samsung apps (dialer, contacts, messages) and the notification area.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Extensive theme support

Themes are not just graphical either, a theme can add new ringtones, notification tones, alarm sounds and more.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Avengers theme modifies TouchWiz complete

The homescreen itself is quite normal. You get the optional Briefing pane on the left, which pulls info from a selection of news sources on topics you find interesting. There's an option to change the screen grid between 4x4, 4x5 and 5x5, the smallest one is the default.

The wallpaper now has a subtle parallax effect that we didn't notice at first. Then we did and just felt too similar to the iPhone wallpaper.

The notification area hasn't changed much, but it has lost the view that shows all quick toggles - neither a second pull nor a two-finger pull works. You just get one scrollable row of quick toggles, but now some have text underneath, like the name of the Wi-Fi network you are connected to.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The notification area looks the same but doesn't work the same • changing the brightness

The brightness slider is below that and then the S Finder and Quick connect buttons. One cool feature is that while adjusting the slider, the notification area fades away so you can see the app you were using before.

None of these elements can be disabled, but you can rearrange the quick toggles by tapping the Edit button. This screen shows all quick toggles and you can tap them to enable/disable, but the old way felt more intuitive.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with a page and a half of icons in its app drawer, but several folders conceal the actual number of pre-installed apps. There's a Social folder with Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and more interestingly the Microsoft folder.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Pre-installed apps

Samsung has partnered with Microsoft so you get OneDrive (instead of Dropbox), OneNote and Skype out of the box. These apps cannot be uninstalled, but merely disabled. We'll cover the app package in more detail later.

Multi Window is now part of the app switcher. TouchWiz uses the Lollipop-style 3D rolodex of apps, but next to the X button is a button that opens the app across half the screen. The other half is filled in with a similar rolodex with only apps that support Multi Window.

Not all work with it, but the three social networking apps, the two browsers and several other key apps work just fine.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

App switcher • Multi Window • launching apps into Multi Window

Another way to launch Multi Window is to long press the App switcher key. If the current app supports Multi Window it will shrink to half the screen, the other half will be taken up by the icons of supported apps. If not, you just get the list of apps.

The Setting menu features Quick settings - a selection of the most used options you can use. Below that is the full list, though we prefer using the search function as the extensive features that Samsung has provided can be hard to track down among menus and submenus.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Setting menu makes it easy to navigate the many options it offers

The TouchWiz software on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is silky smooth with no slowdowns. TouchWiz gets a lot of hate over perceived lag, but there is none on the Galaxy S6 edge and it features smooth Lollipop-like animated transitions, which makes the experience even better.

Performance

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge utilizes the same chipset as the standard S6 model - the in-house Exynos 7420. It's the first mobile chipset to be built on a 14nm fabrication process (Snapdragon 810 is on 20nm), which should reduce power usage. That in turn reduces the dreaded thermal throttling that was a major issue in the Exynos vs. Snapdragon debate recently.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Exynos 7420 and Snapdragon 810 are not that different in terms of processor, both use a big.LITTLE setup with four Cortex-A57 cores at 2.1GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.5GHz. The GPU is a Mali-T760 from ARM and it shares 3GB of RAM with the processor.

With the Galaxy S6 edge we also got a retail unit of the Galaxy S6, so the benchmark scores in the charts below are taken all from the retail units of both devices.

The Galaxy S6 edge runs a 64-bit version of Android 5.0.2 and all eight of its cores are 64-bit capable. This is good for the future, but for now 32-bit apps run just fine - in fact, AnTuTu 5 offered both options. Both S6 phones returned equal scores in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes, crushing the Snapdragon opposition (805 for the Nexus 6 and Galaxy Note 4, 810 for the LG G Flex2).

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    70053
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    69396
  • HTC One M9
    51427
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    49803
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    49273
  • LG G Flex2
    47680
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    45660
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    45348
  • LG G3
    42038

The next compound test - BaseMark II 2.0, which gauges CPU, GPU, memory, system and browser performance, puts the Galaxy S6 duo at the top of the chart, on par with the LG G Flex 2, but way ahead of the competition, including the S810-powered HTC One M9.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    1750
  • LG G Flex2
    1726
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    1674
  • HTC One M9
    1365
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    1267
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    1267
  • LG G3
    1189
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    1176
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    1160

Looking at just the CPU performance at GeekBench 3, we see a massive advantage in multicore performance. The Snapdragon 810 runs its CPU cores a little slower (0.1GHz), but that's far too little to account for the difference. Basemark OS 2.0 confirms the multi-core difference, however, it puts individual core performance as similar to the Krait 450 cores in the Snapdragon 805.

GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    5215
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    5095
  • HTC One M9
    3761
  • LG G Flex2
    3604
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    3394
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3285
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3120
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    2970
  • LG G3
    2370

Basemark OS 2.0 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    6306
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    6173
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    6165
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    5977
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    5624
  • LG G Flex2
    5597
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    5557
  • LG G3
    5396
  • HTC One M9
    4688

Basemark OS 2.0 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    27703
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    26799
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    21841
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    21026
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    19237
  • LG G Flex2
    18856
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    18386
  • HTC One M9
    18047
  • LG G3
    16485

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge the same screen as the S6 model, it just puts two curves around the edges. It's a QHD Super AMOLED screen - 1,440 x 2,560px - which is around 80% more pixels than a 1080p screen (like the LG G Flex2 and Moto X have). Offscreen tests normalize resolution at 1080p so you can compare raw performance, while on-screen tests predict real-world gaming performance.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    59
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    59
  • LG G Flex2
    49
  • HTC One M9
    49
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    40
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    38.9
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    27
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    27
  • LG G3
    26

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    24
  • HTC One M9
    23
  • LG G Flex2
    22
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    18.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    12
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    12
  • LG G3
    11

The Mali-T760MP8 (eight-core) is slightly faster in general than the Adreno 430 found in the curved LG phone and even the beefy PowerVR GX6450 in the Apple iPhone 6. Playable framerates at full resolution, however, are no-go for complicated 3D games so we're guessing game makers will stick to 1080p for now.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC One M9
    50
  • LG G Flex2
    48
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    39
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    38
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    28
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    27.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    26
  • LG G3
    20

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC One M9
    24
  • LG G Flex2
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    14
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    12
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    11.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    11
  • LG G3
    7.7

Basemark X considers only off-screen results and quite expectedly puts Galaxy S6 and S6 edge way ahead of the competition.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    27169
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    27046
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    20901
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    20043
  • HTC One M9
    19848
  • LG G Flex2
    19360
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18297
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    12190
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11798
  • LG G3
    10580

For web browsing performance we used the Internet app (stock web browser) as Samsung sprinkles proprietary optimization magic that's not available in Chrome or the vanilla Android browser. The Galaxy S6 edge wins the JavaScript race in Kraken 1.1 with a slim margin, less than we expected from the large lead in CPU performance.

For general web browsing BrowserMark 2.1 puts the Samsung flagship lineup second best, topped only by Apple's iPhone 6 Plus (and far ahead of the rest) despite having to render pages at QHD while the iPhone screen is just 1080p.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    3989
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4154
  • LG G Flex2
    4621
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    4650
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    5181
  • HTC One M9
    5500
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    5968
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    6088
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    6260
  • LG G3
    7632

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3389
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    2718
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    2702
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop
    2232
  • LG G Flex2
    2086
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    2066
  • HTC One M9
    1681
  • Motorola Moto X (2014) Lollipop
    1562
  • LG G3
    1453
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    1447

We also ran AndroBench - a popular storage benchmark, which gauges the read and write performance of sequential and random operations. Samsung promised the new UFC 2.0 storage in Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is 2.7x faster in random read than the one used on the Galaxy S5. We found it to be even better - the Galaxy S6 did 20000+ IOPS (input-output operations per second) at random read compared to 4800 IOPS of the Galaxy S5 on the same test. That's 3.25x times better.

And before you ask, all tested devices were on Android Lollipop. Also all tests were ran with h/w encryption turned off - which is the default setting under Android Lollipop.

Sequential Read, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    321.44
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    311.05
  • LG G3
    239.68
  • HTC One M9
    239.19
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    212.45
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    206.85

Sequential Write, MB/s

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    145.19
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    139.20
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    126.69
  • HTC One M9
    123.97
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    56.31
  • LG G3
    39.53

Random Read, MB/s

MB/s, Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    77.58
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    76.79
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    22.10
  • LG G3
    21.81
  • HTC One M9
    20.27
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    18.79

Random Write, MB/s

MB/s, Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    20.20
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    19.76
  • HTC One M9
    13.93
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    10.71
  • LG G3
    9.42
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    6.91

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (and S6 for that matter) is the fastest mobile phone you can have at the moment and with 64-bit support in place this should remain the case for some time to come. The flagship offers top notch performance for any use case and may not be surpassed in 2015, looking at just the 5" size (obviously the Note 5 is coming and should be a bit faster).

Phonebook and telephony

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a strong reception and good in-call audio. If you run the Adapt sound feature you it can tune the call sound when you use a headset. The in-call equalizer for the phone's earpiece is gone though.

The dialer has a Material Design paintjob. Smart dialing (searching through contacts by using the keypad) and speed dialing (assigning a contact to a number on the keypad) are on board. Video calling is also natively supported, not that many people use it.

Additional tabs in the app show the call log, favorite contacts and a list of all contacts. You can use the separate Phonebook app for that.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Dialer • call log • favorites

The Phonebook is a list of contacts with a search field and an alphabet index. The contact info card has been cleaned up and shows the contact image (you can swipe down to view it fully), below that are the phones and emails with quick buttons to call/send message.

Here you'll also find the latest messages and calls with that contact. The View more toggle displays all the additional info. You can swipe left to call a contact straight from the list, right to send them a message.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The phonebook reminds you the last chat you had with a contact

The built-in call rejection feature lets you block calls from certain numbers or all numbers not in your phonebook. Do not disturb mode can be scheduled on select days and during certain periods of the day. You can set tit to make an exception for certain notifications, including allowing only calls from your favorite contacts.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Blocking spam calls • Do not disturb mode

Following much controversy regarding the loudspeaker performance of the Galaxy S6 in the review comments, we were eager to test its performance on the retail unit we received with the Galaxy S6 edge. We ran our loudspeaker test again on both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S5, as well as on the retail Galaxy S6 edge. This time the Galaxy S6 outed virtually the same results as the last time.

Samsung is sticking to a single loudspeaker with this generation of the Galaxy S flagship, but it has audibly improved in quality. It's not very loud though, overall a bit quieter than the Galaxy S5, but it falls under the Good category with an even better result as the dual-speaker HTC One M9. The much improved speaker quality and wider sound range somewhat makes the Galaxy S6 edge speaker sounds louder than it actually is, especially when compared to some low-quality (but louder) squeaky speakers.

Even though the Galaxy S6 edge score is Good, we you'll hardly miss notifications even in noisier environments.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 67.3 65.7 66.5 Below Average
LG G Flex2 66.5 65.8 70.5 Average
HTC One M9 65.2 64.6 76.1 Average
Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 69.7 66.5 73.5 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 70.7 66.6 78.0 Good
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 72.7 75.7 70.8 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 74.7 73.5 81.6 Excellent


Messaging

By default the Messages app has a clean looking UI, but you can customize font size, backgrounds and speech bubble style. The app shows a row of priority contacts, below that is the list of all conversation threads. You can use pinch zoom to change the font size in a conversation thread.

The Album option collects all photos and videos shared in the given conversation thread. The Attach button shows the most recent photos and videos so you can pick them easily, but below that are additional options for other multimedia.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Messages app handles multimedia attachments per thread

A built-in spam filter weeds out messages from select numbers or containing certain phrases. You can also schedule messages to be automatically sent later (so you don't forget).

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Customizing the look • fighting spam

The Samsung-modified Email app looks almost identical. The top row is a shortcut to show emails only from just priority contacts or you can view a combined inbox if you have multiple accounts added.

The Gmail app also handles multiple accounts - even ones not on Gmail - and adheres more strictly to Material design principles. Add push notifications and we end up using it more often than the Email app.

The Samsung keyboard features a dedicated numbers row. You can tweak the size of the keyboard slightly, making it taller or shorter and if you are okay with a tiny keyboard, you can use the small floating one. You can add text shortcuts (so 'brb' gets replaced with 'be right back') and there's predictive text.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Setting up text shortcuts • teaching predictive text • resizing the keyboard

It can update its database with popular words weekly and learn from your messages and contacts. Swiping can be set to move the text cursor or as an input method.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Samsung keyboard

Gallery

The latest TouchWiz gallery app draws inspiration from Apple's iOS and HTC's Sense. The default view shows photos grouped based on time. Thumbnails are shown on a clean white background and you can change their size with a pinch zoom.

Events uses time and location to group photos and automatically create "Video highlights," a slideshow accompanied with music. You can export that to a video to share on your social network of choice.

Speaking of, the Gallery app can view your Picasa online folders but not Facebook.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Gallery sorts photos and creates Video highlights

The Categories view groups multimedia by type - pictures, videos, slow-mo videos, Virtual shots and so on. The People category groups photos based on the faces in them. There's also a Documents category. You can use the Search shortcut to look for photos based on category, people, time, event, location and so on.

Batch operations are gone, but you can easily move photos to Private mode (this requires activating the mode). Editing tools include simple things like Auto adjust, crop and rotate, but you can also do collages and go into the Photo editor, which is the usual Android editor with more advanced crop and rotate tools, color adjustment, effects and dedicated portrait enhancements (slim face, large eyes, you get the idea).

The Share button allows you to send a photo to a device over DLNA, to a TV using screen mirroring or to a wireless printer. Samsung also has a special feature to send profile photos and high-resolution images to your contacts as a sort of mini social network. For non-Samsung devices, recipients get a link over text message, the link expires after a certain period.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Editing a photo • sharing a photo

Music player

Samsung's TouchWiz music player was one of the most feature-rich apps, but the company has done some work to trim the fat. The app looks very clean now, essentially it has just two screens.

One lets you browse tracks and playlists, with a dropdown menu to switch between views including Folder view. The Music square is gone. The other screen is the Now playing with album art and a few playback controls. You can transfer playback to a Bluetooth or a DLNA device.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The music player interface has been greatly simplified

SoundAlive has gotten rid of the square view too, now it has two dials - one changes the balance between bass and treble, the other between instrumental and vocals. You can tap the Details button for a manual 7-band equalizer. Audiophiles should know 16-bit and 24-bit FLAC audio works out of the box.

Adapt Sound is available to automatically tune the equalizer based on your headphones and your hearing. Additional options include SoundAlive+ (creates a surround sound effect) and Tube Amp. There's also Smart volume to balance the volume between tracks and playback speed if you want to slow down or speed up the playback (useful for audio books we guess).

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The new, simpler SoundAlive • 7-band equalizer • Adapt Sound and other options

Video player

The video player has been simplified too and the DLNA view is gone. You can still send video files to DLNA players or use screen mirroring. Alternative you can beam just the audio over Bluetooth, the Play audio only option is useful for music videos - playback continues, while you use the phone as normal.

The video player supports all kinds of video file types and codecs, up to 4K 2160p encoded with the new H.265/HEVC codec. As usual multi-channel audio (AC-3, DTS) is not supported. Pop up mode puts the video in a small floating window so you can keep watching while using the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Playing videos

There are extensive subtitle settings with adjustable font and text size, text color, edge and background. Multiple presets are available and you can make your own.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Subtitles and other settings

There are built-in video editing options including trimming, video color effects and adding background music (with sliders to control the audio volume from both the video and the background music). A more advanced video editor can be downloaded. It can assemble multiple videos and audio tracks together.

Great audio quality

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge audio output is identical to that of its non-curved sibling. The handset posted excellent scores in the first part of our test, and the stereo crosstalk was the only affected one in the second. The spike was very minor too - impressive overall result.

Overall this is some of the most accurate audio reproduction you can find on the market. Unfortunately for the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, they are facing the HTC One M9, which is the best audio performer of all, so they can't quite claim the title here. Partly that's because the HTC flagship is super loud to the Galaxy S6 edge's above average and partly the reason is that the One M9 has even better stereo with headphones.

Anyway, here go the results so you can do your comparisons.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge +0.03, -0.01 -95.6 92.8 0.0023 0.0078 -95.7
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (headphones) +0.05, -0.02 -92.6 92.5 0.0028 0.044 -76.9
Samsung Galaxy S6 +0.01, -0.04 -95.6 92.8 0.0024 0.0094 -94.5
Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones) +0.02, -0.05 -92.6 91.9 0.0025 0.042 -83.4
HTC One M9 +0.02, -0.06 -94.8 93.0 0.0049 0.026 -93.7
HTC One M9 (headphones attached) +0.03, -0.05 -93.7 92.7 0.0082 0.030 -91.6
Apple iPhone 6 +0.06, -0.02 -94.0 93.9 0.0012 0.0065 -73.4
Apple iPhone 6 (headphones attached) +0.11, -0.06 -93.8 93.8 0.0022 0.099 -65.1
Sony Xperia Z3 +0.02, -0.08 -86.4 86.4 0.014 0.021 -86.6
Sony Xperia Z3 (headphones attached) +0.29, -0.10 -85.7 85.7 0.035 0.064 -50.8

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge frequency response

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Still camera

The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is absolutely the same as on the Galaxy S6 model - it borrows the 16MP Sony IMX240 sensor that the Galaxy Note 4 uses, but puts it behind a lens with a wider, f/1.9 aperture. This lets more light in and makes for much improved bokeh effects. The camera software is highly sophisticated too.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

One of our favorite features is the quick launch - double press the Home key from anywhere in the UI and the camera pops up in less than a second. If you don't like it, you can disable it from the settings.

The UI is pretty simple, most settings are available on the viewfinder. The selection changes as you go between the different shooting modes. You can download new shooting modes from Galaxy Apps store - at the time of the review the new available modes are Sports shot, Sound & Shot, Rear-cam selfie and Beauty face.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Updated, simplified camera UI

The mode that deserves the most attention is Pro mode. It lets you control the focus manually, adjust exposure compensation and ISO, white balance too. You can save the current manual settings into a preset for easy recall later.

The color adjustments are very advanced - you get several presets (like color effects), but you can make your own. There are sliders to boost shadows and reign in highlights, adjust the contrast and saturation, the temperature and tint. With these you can create Instagram-y filters or make the best of the camera's dynamic range.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Pro mode's sliders offer a live preview of your adjustments

In Auto mode casual users can skip tapping the HDR icon altogether. There's an auto HDR option so you don't have to turn it on and off each time.

There's also an automatic night mode that fights handshake in the dark. Several color effects are available with a few more in the download section.

Tracking autofocus automatically follows moving subjects, making sure they stay in focus. This can't be used in for 2160p and the 1080p@60fps videos though.

Selective focus makes a comeback - it snaps two photos and then lets you chose near focus, far focus or everything in focus. The Galaxy S6 camera is quite good at macro shots and creates a great soft focus on its own, so with some experience you don't need this software trickery.

The software guesswork is not particularly accurate, so we tried some macro shots. The wide f/1.9 aperture creates a great lens bokeh in macro shots to begin with. The Selective focus mode lets you soften the background even further, but the quality doesn't do the camera justice.

Virtual shot has been revamped. It now lets you pick an object and rotate the phone around it. After, the phone can use its motion sensors to replay the object, rotating it along with the phone as if it's still in front of the camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Virtual shot • camera settings

Galaxy S6 edge image quality

Samsung not only has changed the lens compared to the Galaxy Note 4, but has also fine-tuned the image processing. As a result the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge photos, and the Galaxy S6's for that matter, look even better when observed at 1:1 magnification.

As we expected the resolved detail is impressively sharp. Noise is kept in check, while processing artifacts from noise reduction are hard to spot, foliage in particular looks great. Software sharpening is moderate too, Samsung has been known to dial it up in the past. White balance is spot on even in tricky conditions and the color saturation has been brought even further down from the already toned down setting in the 2014 generation.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge camera samples

The dynamic range is quite wide and you can improve it further with HDR mode. It's very fast so you can just leave it on auto without slowing down the shot to shot time. The Auto HDR mode has a lighter touch (when needed), brightening shadows and recovering highlights, but the changes might be too small for some. For better results we suggest turning the HDR on manually.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Left: HDR off • Right: HDR on

The difference between the HDR modes can be observed best at sunset, where the HDR on brightens the shadows more than needed, while the Auto mode does the best result.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

HDR off • HDR on • HDR Auto

The sunset samples also managed to impress not only with quality, resolved detail, colors and contrast, but with very low noise levels as well. We also snapped another shot at the same time, to give you a better idea of how impressively the Galaxy S6 edge camera does in low-light conditions (8PM, after sunset). The results are indeed amazing.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Low-light sample

Finally we shot a sample at night and while it isn't great, it is a lot better than most of the phones we've tested so far. Only some Huawei and Lumia models are capable of doing better with manual settings.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

A night sample

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge shoots panoramas with very high resolution - 3,200px tall if you hold the phone upright, 1,800px if you hold it on its side. The software and fast chipset make shooting very simple, you just start panning in one direction.

The resulting images are rich in detail and aside from the moving cars and the ledge that was too close, there are no major stitching artifacts.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Shooting a panorama in portrait and landscape modes

Here is a quick comparison between the Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6 cameras - the two are pretty much the same.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Left: Galaxy S6 edge • Right: Galaxy S6

We also snapped the same sunset samples with the two phones and the results are quite the same.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Left: Galaxy S6 edge • Right: Galaxy S6

The selfie camera can also take HDR photos (good when the sun is at your back) and can do Virtual shot. The wide selfie mode works kind of like a panorama - it stitches three photos for a wider field of view. You get instructions (e.g. tilt phone forward) to keep you on track.

The 5MP selfie camera is of pretty good quality and captures photos with plenty of detail and little noise. Color rendering is comparable to the main camera, slightly less saturated. It's a 4:3 camera though, unlike the 16:9 main camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Selfie • HDR off selfie • HDR on selfie

You can enable Wide selfie to make a photo more suitable for widescreens. The stitching is as good as panoramas shot with the main camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Wide selfie

Finally, Interval shot is a like a photo booth, snapping four shots with a few seconds between each.

Here's the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge in our Photo quality comparison tool, where you can pit it against the Galaxy S6, its predecessor - the Galaxy S5, and the Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge. The Galaxy S6 edge camera is noticeably better than that of the Galaxy S5 and identical with the Galaxy S6. As for the Galaxy Note 4 - it sometimes comes out with the more detailed images, while in other - it's the Galaxy S6 edge.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge in our Photo comparison tool

Video camera

There's no dedicated video mode because most settings work for videos too. Even Pro mode, though you can't adjust the settings during recording and the autofocus will override your setting as soon as the video starts.

Anyway, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, just like the Galaxy S6, tops out at 2160p resolution, but it can also do 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps and 720p video at up to 120fps (that's handled by the Slow Motion mode). The front camera shoots only at 30fps, but goes over 1080p - it maxes out at QHD video to match the phone's screen.

HDR and color effects are available for video, though 2160p disables them, taking pictures while shooting video, the tracking autofocus and the additional software stabilization.

The 2160p videos are shot at the usual 48Mpbs total bitrate, all videos from the Galaxy S6 have 256Kbps/48kHz audio. The videos nail 30fps and a still frame has a good enough quality to pass for an 8MP photo. The videos are sharp, have practically no noise and accurate colors, good dynamic range too.

The 2160p videos can't make use of the digital image stabilization but the optical one is quite good on its own.

Moving on to 1080p at 30fps, we drop to 17Mbps bitrate. The quality remains very high and there's as much detail as possible at this resolution. There's HDR mode at 1080p, which brings in more detail in the shadows and improves the highlights. The HDR effect is barely noticeable though. In this mode both the OIS and the digital image stabilization are available.

Digital stabilizations is available in addition to the optical stabilization. It does a great job at accounting for and removing every shake or stuttering. The 1080p stabilized videos (at 30fps), even though a bit softer, are very impressive - the walking shake has been removed completely.

And here us a 4K video, which relies on the optical stabilization only.

We're not done with 1080p, the Galaxy S6 can go up to 60fps. This takes up more storage (28Mbps bitrate) and causes a slight drop in sharpness, but it's worth it for the smoother motion. 30fps has inherent limitations when shooting fast-moving objects and while 4K UHD TVs are still fairly rare (but quickly growing in popularity), practically all TVs can handle 60fps. Digital image stabilization is not available in this mode.

Finally, in Slow motion mode the camera goes back up to 48Mbps but is now shooting 720p @ 120fps. Videos are actually recorded at 120fps, but you can edit them on the phone - trim beginning and end and choose between half, quarter and eighth playback speed. Here's how it looks when we drop to 30fps (playing at a quarter of real time speed).

As usual, you can check the untouched 2160p@30fps video sample, 1080p@60fps video and a 1080p@30fps video sample straight off the device.

If you want to compare still frames from the videos, our Video quality comparison tool makes that easy. Here's how the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge compares against other 2160p shooters.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 4K in our Video comparison tool

And here's another similar comparison, but this time for the 1080p video.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 1080p in our Video comparison tool

Browser and Chrome

The Internet app is the Android browser modified by Samsung. It supports multiple tabs (including incognito ones) and if you sign into your Samsung account, it will sync open tabs and bookmarks with other devices on that account.

A cool features lets you use your fingerprints to sign into web sites. The first time you enter username and password as normal and then select the option to remember the login using fingerprints. Then when the website asks for a login the phone will prompt you to put your finger on the Home key and a second later the info is filled in and submitted. We found that this doesn't work with all types of login pages, but it should work on most.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Internet app • syncing tabs • singing into web sites using a fingerprint

Chrome comes on all Androids as part of the Play Services package. It can sync tabs too (based on your Google account) and has the data-saving option of compressing pages before they are sent to the device. It will even automatically detect foreign language sites and offer to translate them.

Both the Internet app and Chrome support Multi Window.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Chrome • syncing tabs with other devices • reducing data usage • Multi Window

Other preinstalled apps

Samsung has partnered with Microsoft and offers three preinstalled apps (that you can't uninstall either). There's OneDrive to handle cloud-syncing needs (including photo backup). You get a free 100GB with your phone. There's also OneNote for a more advanced note taking and syncing experience than the Memo app offers and finally Skype.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

OneDrive, OneNote and Skype come preinstalled

There are also WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger and no ChatOn. Samsung has eased off on doing everything itself and with three apps has covered the majority of social networking users. Not that you can't install those apps yourself, but it sends a message that the Galaxy S6 edge is a phone for the hundreds of millions that use those apps.

Smart Manager shows even more collaboration and is a one-stop shop for maintenance of your device. It's divided into four parts. Battery shows estimated battery life remaining/time until charged and will warn you of abnormal battery usage. The Power saving and Ultra power saving modes can be activated from here.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Smart Manager • Battery use • Ultra power saving mode

The Storage section leans on Clean Master to free up some storage by deleting unnecessary files. RAM closes running apps to free up RAM. Other than misbehaving apps, we can't think of a reason to manually close apps on a 3GB device.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Cleaning up the storage • freeing up RAM

The fourth section is Device security. It offers My KNOX, which create separate working spaces for personal and work apps (think BlackBerry's Balance). KNOX Active Protection promises to safeguard you against hacks - it's disabled by default for casual users and enabled for enterprise users.

It slows down performance a bit and adds 1 second to the boot time. What you get is verification that the system apps haven't been tampered with and real-time kernel protection to avoid unauthorized access from apps to the core of the operating system. There's also a McAfee-powered malware scanner on board.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

KNOX can balance work and personal apps, protect you from malware and hacks

S Health has been polished. It can sync your health data with your Samsung Account (optionally via Wi-Fi only). The new UI uses simple cards that count your steps, offer to measure your heart rate, track what you eat and drink, your sleep and various exercises.

The phone has the hardware to do spot measurements of your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation and estimate stress. You can add external sensors for continuous tracking. The app comes with three built-in programs that will train you, building up to a 10K run. It's not all about exercise, S Health can help you eat healthier or make sure you get proper rest.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

S Health tracks your health, exercise and rest

The Voice recorder app has Interview mode, which uses the mic array to suppress sounds from the sides. You can also mute one side of the conversation so only the answers of your interviewee are audible. The other mode is Voice memo, which automatically transcribes the note into text.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Voice memo can record interviews and take down notes

The Peel Smart Remote app uses the IR blaster on the top of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge to control your TV and media setup. It also doubles as a TV Guide so you can see what's on, flip directly to that channel or set a reminder if it airs later. The app can handle TVs, disc players, AV receivers, streaming boxes (Apple TV and Roku) as well as air conditioners.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Remote control and TV guide in one

S Planner is the familiar Samsung replacement for the Google calendar. It defaults to a Month and agenda view, and has a clean Material Design interface. You can add a 7-day weather forecast and multiple calendars.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

S Planner

The My Files app is the built-in file browser. It's beginner friendly with its Category view (e.g. view all photos), but you can browse the whole internal storage). The app also integrates Google Drive so you can seamlessly handle files in the Google cloud.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

My Files handles local and cloud (Google Drive) files

S Voice is still on board, even though it had to relinquish its traditional shortcut. It can handle a wide variety of voice commands - call or text someone, take down memos and calendar notes, check the weather or read the news, answer spoken questions and so on.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

S Voice is still on board

The app has no UI, it just needs an initial training (you say an activation phrase four times). Then from anywhere in the UI you speak the phrase and your command, all you'll see is a small graphical equalizer at the bottom of the screen as you speak. Google Now can do plenty of these things (even if it's not as conversational).

Final words

With the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung was offering a cutting edge device to early adopters - what should have been a prototype became a retail product. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is on a similar path though this time its mass market destiny is not under question.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

If rumored production numbers are to be believed, the company is predicting something like a 3:1 ratio of the number of flat and curved Galaxy S6 units, which will be sold. Early adopters should be happy - if you want something no one else has, the Galaxy S6 edge will gladly deliver.

The Galaxy Note Edge comes close, though asymmetry and beauty don't always mix - a curve on both sides definitely looks better. Outside the night clock, the added software features around the curve of the Galaxy S6 edge are a mixed bags, borderline gimmicky, but perhaps third-party devs will come up with new ideas.

In every other respect, the Galaxy S6 edge was as good as its regular sibling. The shares some unique features like the only 14nm chipset in mass production, which enabled great performance and good battery life. That's on a smaller battery and feeding a sharper, brighter display - one of the best in its class.

Samsung's UFC 2.0 storage offered a worthwhile improvement in speed, though the decision to drop the microSD card slot remains controversial. 32GB is enough for many, but we don't like going backwards in features as the flagship generations progress.

Two other regressions are the sealed battery and the water resistance. Those differ in importance, depending on whether you've ever changed a battery or taken the phone for a swim.

The addition of wireless charging is great though, such a high volume device will help popularize the technology. The Galaxy S6 edge supports two standards, Qi and PMA, which is necessary until a universal standard emerges.

The new software has much improved looks and themes let you personalize it if even the new TouchWiz looks are not up to your liking. The Samsung apps have been simplified while keeping most of their advanced features, though ideally the Microsoft apps could have been uninstallable. The private mode is great and the fingerprint-based site login is very helpful too. The multitasking options are more intuitive than ever and should see increased use.

Key test findings

  • The curved sides improve the look and add marginal improvements to the UI
  • Excellent build quality, premium finish, very good grip, size easily pocketable.
  • Best in-class Quad HD Super AMOLED display with the highest pixel-per-inch density to date. Its contrast ratio, viewing angles, and sunlight legibility are all chart-toppers.
  • Battery life is above average, outperforms Galaxy S5 on browser and video endurance
  • TouchWiz has gotten leaner and more customizable (theme downloads), less features, but also less clutter
  • Excellent overall performance, probably the fastest Android smartphone around; fast storage too
  • The loudspeaker sounds better than the Good rating it got
  • Excellent multimedia package out of the box
  • Solid audio quality
  • 16MP main camera is among the best in terms of resolved detail, noise and sharpness, as well as features, but our test charts show that the Galaxy Note 4 is still ever so slightly better
  • Video quality is excellent both in 2160p and 1080p resolution, but again, the Galaxy Note 4 video feed is marginally sharper

Of course, all the advantages of Galaxy S6 edge also apply to the regular Samsung Galaxy S6. Instead of paying for the curved screen, you can instead put the extra cash (around €150) towards more storage. This will let you record more 2160p videos (1GB of storage is under 3 minutes of video), carry plenty of high-quality multimedia (and don't stream) or play a lot of games.

The thicker metal rim improves the grip though you'll be missing out on the unique design. S6 edge aside, the Galaxy S6 is still the best-looking Galaxy S flagship to date.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge has only half the screen curves, but it has useful software features not available on the Galaxy S6 edge including easier multitasking and handy tools. The Note Edge camera comes quite close to Samsung's latest camera (OIS included), plus you get a larger 5.6" QHD screen, a microSD card slot and a battery that's removable.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The Galaxy Alpha was the first metal-clad challenger from Samsung to target the iPhone, but now the S6 duo takes over. The Galaxy S6 edge in particular has a build that can make iPhone 6 owners jealous. The Apple chipset chews through any game and many games launch on iOS first. The iPhone 6 also has a great fingerprint sensor even if the software doesn't use it as extensively as Samsung's apps.

The 8MP/1080p camera while very good, still lags behind Samsung's latest shooter.

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

Curved sides are one use of flexible OLED displays, another is to arc the whole display and make the entire phone flexible. That's the aptly-named LG G Flex2. It has a 5.5" P-OLED display with 1080p resolution and a 3,000mAh battery, both flexible - to a certain extent.

The G Flex2 has a 13MP camera with OIS and 2160p video, a Snapdragon 810 chipset running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It's back has a rare self-healing coating - and the minor scratches disappear off the back within minutes. Well, if the Galaxy S6 edge appeals to you with its uniqueness, the LG G Flex2 has that in spades.

LG G Flex2

LG G Flex2

If it's the metal build instead, you can try the HTC One M9. It has a new 20.7MP camera with 2160p video, though we found some issues with it in our review (especially in the dark). It's all metal though with a new, attractive dual-tone design and its audio quality with headphones is perfect, plus it has the acclaimed BoomSound stereo speakers.

It too is powered by a Snapdragon 810 chipset though its 5" 1080p screen is an aging part.

HTC One M9

HTC One M9

So far in this generation of flagships the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is the one to beat. Samsung finally realized that perceived value is as important as the cold hard facts of actual system performance. Speaking of, Samsung upgraded basically every component of its top dog while others (HTC, Apple) are still bundling tried and true parts.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge hardware is further ahead of its competition than its predecessors ever have and it has the looks to match its brains too. That would certainly be a rather high ball for the rest of the competition to catch, but eventually, it would be its exorbitant price tag that will make sure it doesn't reach world domination.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge unboxing

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with the same retail package as its flat-screened sibling. The box includes a fast-charge adapter, which Samsung says can load the battery with 4 hours' worth of battery life in just 10 minutes. The same charge time reportedly also gives you 2 hours of HD video playback. There's a detachable microUSB cable that can be used for charging and detached to transfer data from a computer.

There's also a headset with earplugs, a three button remote and flat, tangle-free cable. They look quite EarPod-y. Anyway, the earplugs have protective rubber wraps plus a spare couple. You also get a SIM ejector tool.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge retail package

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is basically the same size as the regular S6. The sloping edges on its sides did not affect its width and made it a hair thicker (0.2mm), not that you'd notice. The phone is also roughly the same size as its Galaxy S5 predecessor, just a fraction narrower and 1mm thinner.

Compared to the Sony Xperia Z3 (which has a 5.2" screen and a similar metal and glass build), the Galaxy S6 edge is a bit shorter and narrower, 20g light too. As a final point of reference, the iPhone 6 (with a 4.7" screen) is a bit shorter and narrower than the S6 edge, but the same thickness and weight.

Design and build quality

Flexible screens on phones hit the mainstream in 2013, but manufacturers struggled to find a compelling use for them. Bendable phones hold some promise, but with the Galaxy S6 edge Samsung had simpler goals - make the phone look better.

The Galaxy Note Edge attempts the use its one curvy bit on the screen as a UI enhancement and some of the ideas worked great. The Galaxy S6 edge has two curvy bits - the left and right sides - though they are treated as part of the same screen.

They are not as curved as the Note Edge's right side either, but they do help side swipes to feel silky smooth. Ever since Android design guidelines started putting options in drawers off either side of the screen these gestures became much more popular. Samsung added even more functionality that works with side-swipes to capitalize on how well these gestures work.

The curved sides of the screen also improve looks. The side bezels are practically the same size, though if you look at the phone at an angle the farther curve fools the eye that the screen reaches the edge. The shape of the screen is unique on the market and subjectively it looks quite good (though some disagree).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The unique design of the Galaxy S6 edge with two curved sides on the screen

The metal frame that is the backbone of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is exposed on the sides. The left and right side are thinner than usual as the curved screen pushes them back. There's still enough room for the Power key on the right and Volume rocker on the left. The SIM slot had to move though.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The metal frame on the side shrinks a bit to make room for the curved screen

The curved design changes how the Galaxy S6 edge sits in the hand. Its back is wider than its front, which feels unusual. The metal rim is about a millimeter wider than the glass and its top edge and it digs into your palm, while providing the necessary grip. It's a comforting feeling and it makes the phones feel thinner than it really is. This feeling is entirely different from what you feel when you hold the vanilla Galaxy S6 in your hand with its smooth and rounded metal frame.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge in the hand

The rest is a familiar story. Samsung incorporated a no-swipe fingerprint sensor in the hardware Home key below the screen. The key itself is taller than before and positioning your finger on it is fairly easy. It helps that the sensor would handle your finger at any angle.

The Home key also doubles as quick launch key for the camera - press it twice in a quick succession and in less than a second the camera is ready to take shots. This works even when the screen is off.

Above the screen is Samsung's new 5MP selfie camera with an f/1.9 lens. It's a good quality camera, though the sensor is a squarish 4:3, unlike the 16:9 widescreen sensor of the back camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Hardware Home key with fingerprint sensor • 5MP selfie camera

Speaking of the back camera, it's worth noting that its lens noticeably sticks out the back. This doesn't affect handling or portability - the majority of the phone is still 7mm thick. Since its centered, it also doesn't make the phone wobble when put on a flat surface.

The Galaxy S6 edge only makes use of a single-LED flash.

Next to the flash is the heart rate monitor, which also measures blood-oxygen saturation (aka SpO2). This is used in conjunction with S Health to grab biometric data, but can also be used to trigger the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The glass back of the Galaxy S6 edge • 16MP main camera and flash/HR monitor assembly

On the front and back side of the smartphone we find two sheets of Gorilla Glass 4. The glass on the back is gently curved around the edges. This makes it flow into the metal rim, which in turn leads into the curved front glass.

Currently, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Green Emerald colors. The color shifts slightly depending on the color of light. The Black Sapphire color, which we have for review, exhibits dark blue hue under bright light so it's not proper black. The Green Emerald color is exclusive to the S6 Edge much like the Topaz Blue color is exclusive to the Galaxy S6.

The bottom of the phone is quite busy. The 3.5mm audio jack is there, as is the loudspeaker. They join the microUSB 2.0 port and the mouthpiece.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

3.5mm audio jack and loudspeaker have moved to the bottom • the mouthpiece and microUSB 2.0 port keep their place

The top of the Galaxy S6 edge welcomes a new component, the nanoSIM slot, which is on the side on the Galaxy S6 but the metal sides are much too thin to host it. The secondary noise cancellation mic is also on top as is the IR blaster.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Secondary mic • IR blaster • nanoSIM card tray

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