Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Hands On
Samsung has just announced the Galaxy S6 Edge here at MWC 2015, and it seems that the Korean giant has finally brought a much needed update to Samsungs design language.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge shares the same design language of Galaxy S6 though; the added word to the name implies something more profound. First and foremost, we’re in utter amazement in the complete redirection Samsung has opted to go in for its latest smartphone.
Samsung has sprinkled a subtle premium quality to its smartphones in the form of a metal trim bezel. We’ve seen it in the high-end category with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, as well as in the mid-rangers like the Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3. However, theres an evolutionary design leap with the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge! Gone is the plastic chassis of previous flagships, replaced instead by a body thats constructed from finer materials that give the phone a premium quality. To be exact, the Galaxy S6 edge pays meticulous attention to everything – evident by its aluminum trim bezel and Gorilla Glass 4 front and back surfaces.
Not only is it remarkably attractive, but it’s compact, lightweight, and offers one comfortable feel in the hand. And there’s that sense of substance durability with its design, one that can’t be forgotten just because of its more premium materials. The Galaxy S6 edge will definitely take some getting used to, especially with the curve now on both sides. But the comparatively smaller size of the S6 Edge will make handling the phone much easier, not to mention that the curve’s angle should make the phone less cumbersome than the Note Edge.
The 3.5mm headphone jack, speakers and USB port can all be found at the bottom of the device, which, like the S6, has plastic inserts to let radio waves through. Due to the screen curve on both sides, the power button is moved up top, though the volume rocker is on the left hand side like always. The change in power button placement may take some getting used to, especially because this is a pretty big device. The camera and flash modules have been completely redesigned, but due to the glass back panel, there are a few compromises to be made. The back of the device is completely flat aside from the camera module that protrudes out. This could be a problem when placing the device on a flat surface, especially if you aren’t using a case.
Samsung went all-out on build quality this year; users will have to make a few other compromises with this handset. For starters, the back isn’t replaceable, so you wont be able to switch out the battery when it runs out. Additionally, Samsung didn’t make room for MicroSD card expansion either. These are two main features that normally set Samsung apart from the competition, so Samsung die-hards will likely not take this change very well. Fans of the waterproof design from the GS5 should also note that this doesn’t make a return for the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge.
Samsung isn’t settling on sitting still. Many folks argue that 1080p resolution is more than sufficient for today’s smartphone, but Samsung pushes forward by gracing the Galaxy edge with a defying 5.1-inch quad-HD 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display. Talk about impressive details! This one undoubtedly proves that point because its one of the most detailed around with its pixel density count of 576 ppi. Sticking with the same display technology that the company has popularized, its Super AMOLED screen continues to be vibrant – though, if it’s following after recent things like the Note 4, we can expect its color temperature and reproduction to be top-notch.
The biggest thing separating this model over the standard Galaxy S6 is the curved edges of the display. Whereas the curved edge of the Note 4 is more for function, the edges present here are actually meant to accentuate the aesthetics. In particular, it gives the phone a uniform and seamless look, as the sides wrap around and meet together in the back. As for function, it’s not on the same level as what we get with the Note 4. Instead, the only functionality it has to offer relates to being able to access some quick contacts, notifications, and information from certain apps (think Yahoo’s services). On top of that, when a phone call is received, one side will shine and light up in a specific color that’s associated with a contact.
As is the story with the Galaxy S6, not everyone is going to feel that QHD is necessary for a device with this display size, but then again many felt that way with Full HD and yet today it has certainly become the norm.
When the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge launches as an international model, it’ll be powered under the hood by a brand new 14nm 64-bit based Samsung Exynos octacore chip coupled with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. The result, based on our quick experience checking out the phone, is a far more responsive TouchWiz-running device than ever before. For example, Samsung was especially insistent on how fast the camera can quickly launch thanks in part to this new hardware. To tell you the truth, we find it more fluid than previous Galaxy devices, but its really tough to say if the consistent performance will be retained the more apps and usage the phone receives in the long term.
You’ll also now have the option in choosing between 32/64/128GB of on-board storage, but as mentioned, it is not expandable any further. Although, it’s nice to see Samsung ditch the 16GB baseline option to accommodate for removal of expandable memory. The fingerprint scanner is present on the S6 Edge, though it’s been largely improved since we last saw it on the Galaxy Note 4/Edge, and is now of the touch-based variety. The S6 Edge also has a heart rate monitor, found at its usual spot below the camera module.
The S6 Edge packs a rather small (but still bigger than the Galaxy S6) 2,600mAh battery. While the battery capacity might result in some concerns, especially with it now powering a Quad HD display, the new Exynos processor is said to be quite frugal in its power consumption, so things might actually not be that bad when it comes to battery life. To help make up for lack of a massive battery, the Samsung has added fast charging capabilities, claiming that users can get up to two hours of video playback after only 10 minutes of charging the device and a full charge in about 80 minutes. Furthermore, the S6 Edge supports multiple forms of wireless charging standards (WPC and PMA), which will allow you to use most charging pads.
Samsung’s high-end smartphones are remarkably equipped for taking photos and videos so you won’t be disappointed by what new camera gear in the Galaxy S6 edge is capable of producing. Slapped onto the back is a 16-megapixel camera, which features an f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilization, and an IR Detect White Balance to neutralize shots for a more neutral exposure. Around the front, selfie-snapping purists will be delighted to know that theres a wide-angle 5-megapixel camera.
We can only suspect that the results with the new camera hardware are going to be impressive, but we’ll save our reservations until we can actually snap our own, real-world shots with the smartphone. The camera lens of the phone is more pronounced than ever before. If you thought that the lens stuck out a lot with last year’s Galaxy S5, you’ll be shocked to find out that it protrudes outwards even more with the Galaxy S6 edge. The camera app comes with all the features we’ve come to expect from Samsung devices, along with a revamped HDR mode. The new Auto HDR Mode now automatically turns itself on when the camera thinks it needs it.
The Galaxy S6 Edge is running Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, with Touchwiz on top. Touchwiz, for the most part, looks just about the same from previous generations, with only a few Lollipop-related changes added in. The good news is that the number of pre-installed apps has been cut drastically, meaning less bloat out of the box. There’s also a brand new theme system that will allow you to change up the look a bit if you dont like the default icons and style presented by Samsung’s default experience.
They added several new animations and a cleaner looking font type for its various widgets, which help to soften the tone of the user interface. With this latest incarnation, however, its quite apparent that they’re trying to tone things down, as some of TouchWiz’s previous features, are not activated from the get-go. For example, we’re told that Air View isn’t some that’s enabled – so it merely goes to show that they’re trying to streamline and minimize any complications with the experience.
All told, it’s tough to say how this new TouchWiz experience can separate itself in a positive direction, seeing that TouchWiz in the past has sometimes proven itself to be too features filled and cartoon-like looking. As for the curved edges, unlike the Note Edge, the curves are more about aesthetics and less about special features. However, that’s not to say they don’t add anything to the experience. The edges offer two basic features, with the first being the ability to assign different colors to up to 5 contacts, and you can know who is calling from the glowing edges, even when the phone is placed face down. The edges can also now show you your notifications (calls, texts, and more) even with the case is closed.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will be the first phone to feature Samsung’s new Pay service, which, as you might guess, is an alternative to Apple Pay. Right now, Samsung has completed deals with Visa and MasterCard, but it’s yet to expand that partnership to other major players, such as American Express, Bank of America, or Chase. However, the company reassures that it’s working on it. Easily the most interesting thing about Samsung Pay is the new Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) proprietary technology, which is said to widen Samsung Pay’s compatibility with shopping terminals significantly. In addition to NFC for making contact-less payments through terminals that support near field communications, Samsung Pay will also be able to communicate with traditional magnetic stripe terminal, thanks to MST.
Users will be able to use Samsung Pay to buy various goods in a quick and secure way, plus the whole process is promised to happen rather quickly. For example, should you wish to pay for something using Samsung Pay, you’d simply need to swipe of from the bottom bezel in order to bring up the Samsung Pay app, choose the desired card for the payment, authenticate using the fingerprint sensor, and from there, everything should be done in a matter of seconds. The bad news is that Samsung Pay will not be available to use with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s launch, as the service will be enabled sometime during the summer, first in the Unites States and South Korea, followed by Europe and China a bit later.
Samsung’s tremendous global success in terms of device sales and market share, it has never offered my personal favorite Android hardware. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge actually stand a good chance of earning that distinction this time around, thanks in large part to a design that finally screams ‘premium’ when touched or held. This device is a huge change from the Note Edge and S5, though many will agree that these changes are for the better.
The Galaxy S6 Edge will be available in Black, White, Gold and Green. Samsung hasn’t released pricing details or availability information quite yet, but we’ll be sure to update you when the information surfaces.
Here is your Samsung Galaxy S6 Hands On