Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung equipped the Galaxy S6 edge with a TouchWiz that is more streamlined than on the S5, plus an enormous cloud storage amount in partnership with Microsoft.
Both handsets sport Samsung's TouchWiz over Android 5.0 Lollipop, but the company has streamlined it further on the Galaxy S6 edge, cleaning out the perplexing variety of options a bit, and introducing a tad less bloat. Another new thing is the inclusion of Microsoft apps out of the box. Microsoft's OneDrive cloud service, for instance, comes preinstalled on the S6 edge, and with it arrive 115 GB of free storage for two years, pretty generous, but you also get Skype and OneNote out of the box, too.
The S6 edge has a dedicated settings category for managing the functionality of the curved display. The sides can glow in a few different colors assigned to individual callers when the phone rings, for instance, or you can adjust the content they show when the phone is locked, like weather, stocks, news, notifications, and so on. Having the interface, apps and media stretched over a curved display seems a bit strange at first, but you eventually get used to it.
As usual, Samsung throws most every functionality imaginable in its TouchWiz interface, such as the Multi-Window regime, the Pop-up View mode, and so on. We also get a useful one-handed mode on both handsets, that can shrink the whole interface left or right, as if you are using a handset with a much smaller screen.
Besides the streamlined TouchWiz and the 115 GB One Drive integration, Galaxy S6 edge has another feature advantage before the S5, and it is called Samsung Pay. This software/hardware combo lets you store all your credit and debit cards in the phone, and authorize payments with the touch fingerprint scanner anywhere magnetic stripe cards are accepted, which is millions of locations worldwide. Samsung Pay will be live in the US in the summer, with a global rollout to follow.
Processor and memory
The new flagship is truly living at the edge of chipset and memory technology, so even the clumsy TouchWiz seems fluid compared to the same interface on the S5.
The Galaxy S6 edge is powered by the company's newest octa-core 64-bit Exynos 7420 SoC with Mali T-760 GPU, built with the latest 14nm production process, making it both fast and frugal. It has four Cortex-A57 cores, clocked at 2.1 GHz maximums, and four 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 cores. These are arranged in a big.LITTLE architecture that kicks in the powerful and power-sapping A57s only when needed.
That processor is already among the fastest mobile chips out there, this side of Nvidia's K1, but it also got paired with 3 GB of the most advanced DDR4 RAM, and 32 GB/64 GB/128 GB of Samsung's newest UFS 2.0 storage type, making the S6 edge truly the best you can currently get in the Android world in terms of speed and horsepower. TouchWiz, which is usually a bit crummy and laggy, has nothing on this combo, and runs like a charm; the same goes for any third-party app you would throw at the S6 edge.
Galaxy S5 runs on a year-old chipset - Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5 GHz - which still runs the interface and apps without much issues. Last year's flagship has 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, plus 16 GB of storage for the basic version, and a microSD slot for more. There are some delays in transitioning and redrawing while flicking the interface around, but nothing too bad. Still, the new Galaxy S6 edge's chipset wipes the floor with the S5's silicon, and it shows in the benchmarks below.
Internet and connectivity
Next to the S5, Galaxy S6 edge comes with all the latest and greatest in connectivity, both on the wired, and on the wireless side.
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S5 and S6 edge with two browsers – its own TouchWiz piece, and Google's Chrome. The browsers on both handsets perform very well while scrolling, panning around, or zooming, but we would give our preference to the TouchWiz renderer – it's not with the prettiest of interfaces, but is faster, and lets you sideload Adobe Flash. Moreover, with the screeching chipset on the S6 edge, this browser just flies in rendering, and offers one of the smoothest browsing experiences we've seen.
The phones flaunt 4G LTE connectivity, with market-dependent bands support, and 42 Mbps HSPA+ radios. Snapdragon used to be LTE king, but the Exynos chipset is now paired with Intel's latest XMM7260 modem, like in the Note 4, which supports up to 30 LTE bands (22 on a single SKU), making the S6 edge a phone ripe for globetrotters. It also offers 300 Mbps LTE Cat. 6 download speeds, while Snapdragon 801 maxes out at 150 Mbps Cat. 4, not that many carriers will supply those speeds anyway.
We get Wi-Fi/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth (4.0 for the S5, 4.1 for the S6), A-GPS, DLNA, and NFC on the phones, so all the basics are here. An infrared sensor for controlling your home electronics is added to the mix with the Galaxy S5 and S6 edge. Both handsets offer MHL ports for wired connectivity, letting you hook them directly, or through an adapter, to a TV. The Galaxy S6 edge, however, is equipped with the next-gen MHL 3.0 standard, which can output 4K video, if you happen to have such a television set handy, and will also charge the phone in the process. On the other hand, the S5 comes with a USB 3.0 standard, while the S6 edge relapses to USB 2.0.