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The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is the phone Samsung should pit against the Apple iPhone 6. It beats the iPhone in performance and imaging and is the best smartphone Samsung has built till date. If you have the budget, then go for it.
Out of the first 100 people who’ll see this review, at least 50 wouldn’t bother clicking on it, instead flooding the Facebook comments with carefully chosen and 'creative' posts that deride Samsung. Well, Samsung has only itself to blame for that.
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Nevertheless, for those of you who are actually interested in reading this Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review, all we ask is, keep an open mind. I’m not going to go into how important the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are for Samsung, or that the company’s sales are falling and these two devices absolutely have to hit the spot. I’m just going to get right down to it.
Build and Design
To say that the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a looker would be a massive understatement. There’s nothing like it in the market right now. The LG G Flex 2 may be curved, but it really catches your eye only from certain angles. That’s not so with the Galaxy S6 Edge. Whether it looks good or not is subject to personal preference, but if you carry this around with you, people will notice, no question.
I’m not a big fan of the glass on both sides of the device, because it just means there’s that much more to break. Smartphones are usually the strongest on their sides, but that part of this phone is covered by the edge. But then again, you’re going to be extra careful with a device that costs Rs. 58,900 anyway aren’t you?
I won’t say that this is the sturdiest device out there, but it’s as premium as it gets. If Samsung’s goal was to take on the 'premium-ness' of the iPhone, then the S6 Edge is the one to pit against it. Not the Galaxy S6 mind you, the S6 Edge.
You’ll take a while to get used to the completely new feeling that a dual-edge display brings to the table, but you will get used to it.
I wrote in my Moto Turbo review, that a QHD display hardly makes any sense on a 5.2 inch display. So, it shouldn’t make sense on the S6 Edge’s 5.1 inch display either. Somehow though, Samsung makes this display feel and look so much better than anything out there. Yes, I can see Apple fans arguing with me about the benefits of Retina, but really, the Super AMOLED here is without a doubt the best display on a compact smartphone today.
As always, the colours are on the warmer side, but 577 ppi coupled with amazing viewing angles, thanks to the Edge, makes this the best smartphone display today.
While the curve on each side allows for the viewing angles to feel better, the fact that your video and images will also curve along the sides could be a concern for some. It barely makes a difference in the overall experience though, so I won't complain.
No bloatware huh? Well, that part is pretty much true. While there are quite a few pre-installed apps on this phone, it would be wrong to categorise apps like WhatsApp and Microsoft’s OneDrive etc. as bloat. Do I wish I could uninstall what I wanted? I sure do.
I don’t really have a problem with Touchwiz as an UI, but a lot of the things can be seen as useless. Flipboard takes over the screen that is handled by Google Now on the stock launcher, but it is nowhere as seamless. Being a third party app, it can’t be that seamless anyway. It’s not stitched into the launcher, like HTC’s Blinkfeed or Google Now. Hence, swiping over to that screen will stop your phone for a second or two while Flipboard boots up.
Not everything is bad though, the addition of a Theme Store is good. While the Theme Store isn't flush with themes right now, this simply means Samsung has scope for improvement here, with developers or even users coming in with self-made themes.
Many called the edge display on the Galaxy Note Edge a gimmick, but the addition of a separate presented some interesting propositions. Developers could do a lot with that display, in fact, Samsung’s own features for the Note Edge were quite useful as well. You will not realise all of this unless you compare the Note Edge with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge though.
There’s no separate panel here, it’s simply one panel with curved glass, which severely reduces the functionality. There’s not much that you can do with the edge, except some quick calls and different colours for some preset callers. While the Edge adds a lot to the phone’s looks, it doesn’t bring much by way of functionality.
If we ever do a story about ‘X reasons to buy the S6 Edge’, this and the next segment would be at the top of its list. The Exynos 7 octa SoC handles the performance part well, even better than the Moto Turbo. Does the S6 Edge heat up? Yes, it does, and you’ll feel it, especially in the hot summers that we have here.
The phone doesn’t seem to throttle the processor very easily though. Over extended periods of gaming, the S6 Edge doesn’t seem to throttle the processor for at least the first 15 minutes. Even after that, the effects of throttling aren’t as apparent as they would be on most other smartphones. If you’re a big gamer and play high-end games on your phone, you will love the S6 Edge.
The Manhattan and T-Rex tests on GFX Bench heat up the S6 Edge, and if you run the AnTuTu test right after that, you’ll notice a drop in the score. This score will still be above the likes of the Moto Turbo and Nexus 6 though, which is saying something.
Also, when this is done in an air conditioned room, the heating is less and the phone can go on with its best performance for slightly longer.
The only problem with the performance that I can point to is that some apps kept crashing, unless I rebooted the device or manually closed all applications. The issue is of course a RAM management problem, which is software related. This is good news, because it means Samsung or Google can solve it through a software update.
Despite the top of the line performance though, none of the above is the primary reason for buying the Galaxy S6 Edge. What you should buy it for is the 16MP rear camera. Yes, the 5MP front camera is quite nice too, but the rear camera is the true hero of this device.
There’s an image in the gallery below, which is taken from a car moving at 60kph. Without the title on that image, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it is taken in such conditions. That’s how fast the S6 Edge’s camera locks focus. The same can be done using the iPhone 6 though, so what explains the hoopla around this being better than the iPhone?
Well, everything else. The S6 Edge takes brighter images than the iPhone 6 and deals with details better (that comparison is next by the way). In addition, it is as good with the white balance as the iPhone 6. In a recent comparison between the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Xiaomi Mi4i, we noted the similarities in the white balance algorithms.
So, to answer the questions, yes it has a better camera than the iPhone and is the best camera Samsung has produced till date. The camera can become even better in the hands of a pro, who can take advantage of Samsung’s Pro Mode for the camera.
On a 2,600 mAh battery and a QHD display, we never expected the Galaxy S6 Edge to be a battery beast. It passed our tests though. On a normal day’s usage, the S6 Edge lasted us just about the full day. With about an hour of gaming, lots of calls and texts, and boat loads of camera usage, this phone couldn’t last us the entire day, but it did get us through when we curbed the gaming.
In the Geekbench 3 battery test, the S6 Edge lasts over seven hours, while it chalks up a good 12 hours in our own battery test. It’s enough to last you through a normal day’s usage, but not as well as the Moto Turbo, which lasts even longer. It’s better than the iPhone though.
Another thing worth mentioning about the battery is the fast charging aspect. The fast charging here is the fastest that we’ve seen in any smartphone. The S6 Edge charges completely in less than an hour and regains enough juice in 10 minutes of charging to last you for at least two hours.
With the metal and glass design, Samsung let go of its removable back and SD card support. While the former may irk some users, the lack of SD card support doesn’t bother me much. Android’s dismal SD card support anyway doesn’t allow you to do much with it. The bit that you can do, will often require a power user approach to your smartphone.
If you’re not a power user though, 32GB or above should be enough for you. Of the 27GB of usable space, let’s say about 10GB for local music and 5GB for games? That still leaves you with 12GB of space for other apps and stuff.
If Samsung’s goal was to take on the iPhone 6, then this is the phone to pit against it. The Galaxy S6 Edge outperforms the Apple iPhone 6 in both performance and camera departments, which is something no Android phone can boast. If you’re looking for a flagship smartphone to buy, the Galaxy S6 Edge should definitely fit the bill.
What it doesn’t do is offset manufacturers like Xiaomi, who will still enjoy their popularity in the budget segment. While the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a vastly superior smartphone, it is also that much more expensive than the Xiaomi Mi4, OnePlus One or even the Motorola Moto Turbo for that matter.