Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Review
What entails a flagship smartphone? The question posed here might be a simple one, as most companies put their best showing into one, singular product. To the Korean giant in Samsung, however, the idea of a flagship phone is now spread not to only one device, but surprisingly two instead. This notion of two variants of a flagship phone was first introduced last fall during IFA 2014, where alongside the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung decided to out the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.
Following forth with a similar move, the company decided that it would be beneficial to announce a second version of its flagship smartphone in the Galaxy S6. Rather than sporting one curved edge like the Note Edge last fall, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge favors a uniform approach by sporting a dual curved display – where the left and right sides are subtly curved. No doubt, it’s a strange direction, one that can also be viewed as foreign, but it’s the perfect complement to the line’s totally new redesign.
As we’ve experienced on the Note Edge, the curved area not only adds a unique aesthetic quality, but also a functional tool as well. With the Galaxy S6 edge, though, the benefits of going with a dual-curved display are mostly of aesthetic quality, dwindling the importance of its functional aspect.
The package contains:
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
- Stereo headphones
- Start Guide
- Health & Safety and Warranty Guide
- SIM removal tool
The new, premium design is profound, but the dual-curved display helps to increase its aesthetic appeal.
Alright, we absolutely adore the new direction Samsung has decided to go with the design language of its flagship series! Plastic is out, replaced instead by Gorilla Glass 4 surfaces held together by a slim metal trim bezel lining the entire length of its edges. The result, not surprisingly, is a smartphone that radiates with premium qualities we have never experienced before in a Samsung product.
To be fair, though, this new design change first started with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which eventually became the design footprint for Note 4. With those aforementioned devices, Samsung choose to add a subtle presence of premium in its designs by adding metal trim bezels. However, for the Galaxy S6 line, Samsung went back to the drawing board and delivers something so immaculate and refreshing.
Indeed, the S6 edge is fashioned to look identical to the S6, but there’s something else more that makes its design look superior. What is that you ask? Well, it’s specifically due to the dual-curve display it’s sporting. Unlike the Note 4 Edge, the S6 edge has more of a subtle curve – so it doesn’t slope down as much as the curved edge of the Note Edge. The implementation makes the handset appear deceptively thinner than it is, although, it becomes sharper feeling in the process because of how the metal bezel is trimmed down on those edges.
Picking it up for the first time, there’s that sense of fragileness due to its sleek frame and glass surfaces, but the dual curved nature of the phone exemplifies the aesthetics to a higher degree than the standard S6. As we’ve said, there’s a sharper feel due to this, which makes it sit in a slightly more uncomfortable manner in the hand, compared to the regular S6. Still, swiping across the curved display feels natural – as if our thumbs prefer I more than the usual “flat” ending of a smartphone's screen.
So far, the Galaxy S6 line’s new design language is much better than before, but there were necessary compromises needed in making this phone. We can’t deny that we enjoy its premium feel, but it sheds some of the staple qualities of the S5 before it – like its water resistant construction, expandable microSD card slot, and removable battery.Now, as much as we adore the premium feel of the phone, it’s just a magnet for smudges and fingerprints. Trust us, it’s tough keeping it clean looking. Available in an assortment of colors, it’s mesmerizing how light bounces off its surfaces to give an even more dazzling, shimmering effect. Out of all the colors, the white version manages to maintain a cleaner look, just because fingerprints and smudges are less noticeable.
Looking around the phone, it’s sporting some of the same set of ports and buttons throughout its frame. The separated volume controls are placed on the left edge, the power button on its right, microUSB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, and internal speaker on its bottom, and finally the IR blaster, noise-cancelling mic, and nanoSIM slot placed on its top edge. Distinctively a Galaxy phone, the same home button is present beneath the display – flanked by the Recent Apps and Back capacitive buttons.
Rounding things out, the Galaxy S6 edge is armed with a new 16-megapixel rear camera, which is the only thing in the back that juts out from the rest of the surrounding area – causing it to come in contact with surfaces when it’s laid down. This presents an issue, one that’s exemplified because of the handset’s top-heavy feel, just because if you’re not careful and try to prop the phone against something, there’s still a distant possibility it can fall over and somehow mess with the lens covering the camera. And finally, we find the LED flash and heart rate sensor nearby.
Clearly pushing the envelope, this quad-HD display is not only rich with detail, but it’s the most color accurate AMOLED display to grace a phone to date.
5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) Super AMOLED panel. In all honesty, the decision to go forward with quad-HD resolution was expected – more so when it’s increasingly becoming the resolution of choice amongst Android flagships.
Going with this, you can imagine that this leads to one staggering pixel density, we’re talking about a mark of 577 ppi! That’s mind-blowing to say the least, which leads to a display that’s rich with detail and exceptionally sharp looking. Most folks would be hard-pressed to distinguish how much more detailed this panel is than others with 1080p resolution, especially from a normal distance, but it goes to show that Samsung won’t settle for anything but being class-leading.
Besides its detail superiority, its Super AMOLED panel follows in fashion to the improvements we’ve seen exhibited already by the Note 4 – thus, shedding the inaccuracies of the Galaxy S5 display, replaced by the color accurate AMOLED panels in other more recent Samsung devices. The company’s continued fine tuning of the display technology has given the Galaxy S6 edge, alongside its brother, as having the best Super AMOLED display to date.
Without factoring in its dual-curved nature, one would suspect that this is exactly similar to the standard S6’s Super AMOLED display. Our benchmark tests reveal otherwise, as the S6 edge boasts a color temperature of 6800K, a slightly colder toned panel than the 6550K color temperature of its sibling’s screen. Putting the two next to one another, the slight difference in color temperature is apparent, since the Galaxy S6 edge’s panel appears cooler. It’s not bad quite honestly, especially when it’s close to reaching that ideal reference value of 6500K.
Setting the display to basic mode, as opposed to adaptive, which changes the contrast, color saturation, and other parameters depending on what’s being shown on screen, the Super AMOLED panel is extremely color accurate. It’s revealed through the color gamut chart, as each color gradient closely matches the reference points throughout the chart. Blues look blue, reds look red, and greens appear green – so the result here is a display with very high color accuracy.
Oddly enough, the S6 edge’s maximum brightness output is vastly less than the S6’s radiance when the brightness is manually adjusted to the highest setting. At that mark, the S6 edge achieves an output of only 172 nits, in comparison to the S6’s 332 nit brightness at the same level – albeit, the difference is minimal once it’s set to automatic brightness and high contrast mode jumps in. Only then is it able to closely match its sibling's mark! Specifically, the S6 edge’s Super AMOLED display shines brilliantly at 553 nits, which is oh so close to the 563 nit brightness produced by its brother. In any event, the achievement deserves adulation, mainly because it allows for good visibility when the sun is present – instead of being washed out and unviewable.
When it’s off, we can simply swipe back-and-forth from one of its sides to activate various information tickers, like those that offer stock prices, news, notifications, the time, and more. There are a few that are available out of the box, but the collection can be supplemented by downloading additional ones. Frankly, as much as it’s useful to glance at it, the limited space that’s available to the feature makes it tough to distinguish things if we’re not very close to the phone. However, we do appreciate that the information ticker can automatically be set to turn on for a duration of time at night.
Besides that, the dual-curved edges also provide us instant access to People Edge – a small ribbon that offers us access to up to five favorite contacts. From the lock screen, the convenience factor is there because it’s accessible at a moment’s notice. However, if you opt to have a security lock of some kind, the feature might not be available – that’s unless you enable the lock screen to show all notifications.
Now, there’s something interesting that happens when those chosen “favorite” contacts call us up. When the phone is placed face down, where the display is in contact with the surface, the edges of the phone will light up in a variety of colors to indicate who is calling. On one hand, we appreciate this discrete way of telling us who is calling, but its effectiveness is reduced if the phone isn’t placed on a glass or reflective surface – since the colors won’t be able to bounce off surfaces so much to produce its light show.
At the end of the day, the dual-curved display is here on the Galaxy S6 edge mostly for the aesthetics.