Reviewing Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - Bold Design Meets Outstanding Performance
Samsung is one of the most important players on the mobile devices market, having released high-end and top-ranked devices for quite a few years now. Every mobile devices enthusiast on the planet has heard of their Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Whenever a new Galaxy device is released, the world's eyes turn to it. So it's no wonder that earlier this year, when Samsung launched its latest flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S6 edge, everybody wanted to see what the big fuss was about. We got curious and managed to get ahold of this piece of technology and we can safely say, we were quite impressed. If you want to know the whole story behind our statement, read this review and find out:
Hardware Specifications & Packaging
The Galaxy S6 edge is shipped in a compact, bright white cardboard box that bears the Samsung logo and the storage and color version of the device on top and the main features on the bottom, while on the sides, you'll find the manufacturer's safety seals.
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Take out the inner sliding container, break the safety seals on the sides, open it and you will find the smartphone itself, sitting on top of everything else that is inside the package.
Under the device, you will find all the other accessories that come with this smartphone: the charging and data transfer cable, the power-charger (with adaptive fast charging capabilities), the headphones, the SIM card eject pin and the Quick Start Guide, together with the warranty.
You can get the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge in four colors, specifically Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald and White Pearl. Samsung also has available a wide range of accessories such as front and back covers, to further personalize your device.
Now, let's see how big a punch this smartphone packs, in terms of hardware components. At the center of the device is an octa-core 64bit Exynos 7420 CPU, consisting of four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and four Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2.1 GHz. This CPU is a pretty powerful piece of hardware that accounts for the performance of this smartphone, as you'll find out later in the benchmarks section of this review.
As far as graphics are concerned, they are covered by the Mali-T760MP8 GPU, which is also one of the most recent and most powerful GPUs on the market these days.
The Galaxy S6 edge runs on 3 GB of LPDDR4 RAM memory. In terms of storage capacity, you can choose between three versions of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge: the 32 GB, the 64GB and the 128 GB version, depending on how much data you can store on it. There is no support for any additional memory cards, so depending on what version you choose, that's all the storage space you're going to have. The unit we had for testing purposes is the 32GB version.
The display Samsung chose for the Galaxy S6 edge is a Super AMOLED 5.1 inches display scaled at a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, with a pretty high density of 577 ppi and protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 technology. The quality of the display is outstanding, the colors are some of the brightest we've seen on a smartphone and the pictures are very crisp and sharp, offering a lot of detail.
The S6 edge runs on a 2600 mAh Li-Ion non-removable battery. Knowing what kind of performance we're talking about, it might not seem much, but we managed to get a whole day of regular use out of it and still be left with some juice in it in the evening.
On the image capturing front, the Galaxy S6 edge is equipped with a 16 MP back camera, capable of producing images at a resolution of 2988 x 5312 pixels and featuring HDR mode, optical image stabilization, autofocus and an LED flash. The front camera is a much simpler one, namely a 5 MP one able to record 1440p@30fps videos.
For connectivity purposes, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge features a dual-band Wi-Fi adapter supporting 802.11a/b/g/n/ac protocols and offering compatibility for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks, a Bluetooth 4.1 chip featuring A2DP technology, a GPS module, an infrared port, an NFC module and a microUSB 2.0 port capable of turning the device into a USB host. Unfortunately, you'll not find an FM radio receiver on this smartphone.
The physical dimensions of this device are 142.1mm (or 5.59 inch) in Length, 70.1mm (or 2.76 inch) in Width and an impressive 7mm (or 0.28 inch) in Height. It weighs at 132 grams.
If you're looking for more detailed specifications for this device, you can find them on the manufacturer's website: Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Technical Specifications.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is undoubtedly one of the fastest mobile devices right now. The revolutionary octa-core CPU with 2 separate types of cores, the new powerful Mali GPU and the 3GB of RAM memory give it what it needs to run smooth and lightning fast, no matter how you use it and what you have installed on it.
Design & Build Quality
Samsung made a lot of bold decisions when designing the Galaxy S6 edge. Obviously, the most revolutionary aspect of this smartphone is its curved display. Specifically, the display continues down on the left and right sides of the device, getting curved for the last few millimeters. While this looks pretty amazing, it takes a while to get used to. This also applies to the fact that due to this curvature of the display, the edges of the device are not as wide as you're used to from other phones, but instead they're a bit sharper, making the device quite unusual to hold the first few times. After that, it becomes natural and it turns out it's not a problem at all.
The front of the device features the Home button below the large display, which also contains the fingerprint sensor. The design is completed by the SAMSUNG logo on top, below the earpiece, the front camera and sensors. Apart from the eye-catching curved display, the front design is pretty much the one we're used to from the previous Samsung smartphones.
The back of the device is as glossy as the display and holds the back primary camera on the top, together with the LED flash and the bio-sensors (heart-rate, SpO2 and stress level). A quick mention here, the rear camera lens is raised from the back plate of this smartphone and while it rests on its back, the only point of contact with the surface under it, besides the lowest margin of the device, is the camera bezel. This means that in time, this point will become scratched and worn.
The left side features the volume buttons, while the right side is home to the lock button.
On the top side you'll find the infrared port and the SIM card compartment and on the bottom, there's the speaker, the microphone, the microUSB charging and data transfer port and the 3.5mm audio jack.
On the negative side, we have to mention the fact that when we were using the device for more than a few minutes at a time, it got hot pretty fast and became a bit uncomfortable to hold because of this. This is the only downside that we found while testing the ergonomics of this device.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is an impressively ergonomic device, even though it might not seem like it at first glance. The sides might seem too sharp to hold comfortably, but after a while, we got used to it and it stopped feeling unnatural. The buttons are well positioned and feel strongly built. The curved display is a sight to see, the way it continues on the sides of the device also take some time to feel comfortable with, but as time passes, it feels great and starts being actually useful.
The Smartphone Experience On The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
The calls we made and received using this smartphone went as we expected. The sound quality of the conversation is flawless, due in part to the double microphone setup and the noise cancelling technologies of the device.
Should you decide to use the included headphones for making and receiving calls, while the sound quality you'll experience will be just fine, the person on the other end might complain of hissing caused by the wind blowing into the headphones' microphone - we found it isn't that well shielded from this. Other than that, the music quality when using the headphones is great, the sound is clear and free of any distortion. Also on this subject, the loudspeaker is also of great quality, the sound it gives is pretty loud when set to maximum level, while keeping its clarity.
As far as the operating system is concerned, the Galaxy S6 edge comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop preinstalled. It has Samsung's already popular TouchWiz user interface installed on top of it. TouchWiz is the proprietary user interface that Samsung applies to their Android smartphones and tablets which offers additional features to their devices, on top of the standard Android operating system.
As we stated earlier, while using this device the way we normally would, we managed to get a full day of regular use out of it, including making a few calls, some Internet browsing, watching some video clips and sending a few text messages. At the end of the day, we were left with about a quarter of the battery juice, so depending on your usage pattern, you probably won't have any problems getting to the end of the day without having to charge your smartphone in between.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge fulfills its primary role as a phone admirably. While making and receiving calls on it, the sound quality is impeccable, with no distortions whatsoever, even in lower signal conditions.