The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a sign that Samsung is prepared to take chances with its phones. Sure the Galaxy S6 is fairly conservative, but this is an option for anyone who wants something a bit different.
As it shares a lot in common with the Samsung Galaxy S6 it’s also an all-round great phone as you’ll see from our first impressions.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is basically the Samsung Galaxy S6 with a more interesting screen, and what a screen it is. First, the bits that are the same on both: You get a 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch, so it’s incredibly sharp, super bright, vibrant and all-round high quality.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 arguably has one of the best screens around and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s display is just as good. Or maybe it’s even better, because it also curves at both edges, adding new features in the process. For example it can display controls and notifications without obscuring the main display.
It can also light up in different colours for different contacts, so you can see who’s calling you even with your phone face down on a table. And of course it looks great and different and new.
Other than that innovative screen the design of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is very similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S6. So it has a metal frame and a glass back as well as a slim 7mm thick build.
It looks great, though perhaps not quite as good as Apple and HTC’s latest flagships. The main issue with it is that it’s not water or dust resistant, which is only really an issue because the Samsung Galaxy S5 is, so it’s a shame to see a feature get removed, but lots of other phones still aren’t, including the HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has 3GB of RAM and a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 processor, with four cores speeding along at 2.1GHz and four slower ones running at 1.5GHz, so it’s as efficient as it is powerful, given that it can switch between the two sets of cores depending on how much power it needs.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge also supports Cat. 6 4G, meaning it can theoretically download things at up to 300Mbps over 4G, which in turn means it’s more than equipped to fully take advantage of the fastest 4G currently available in the UK.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, so not only does it have a high megapixel count to ensure that images are sharp and detailed, but it’s also able to effectively minimise the effects of motion blur and camera shake.
The front-facing camera should be pretty good too, as it’s got a 5 megapixel sensor for sharp selfies and there are numerous shooting modes on offer, such as auto HDR and face detection.
Things look just as promising when it comes to video, as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge can shoot 2160p video at 30fps, 1080p video at 60fps and 720p video at 120fps and there are a number of modes to play with there too, such as dual-video recording.
Other than the curved screen that gives it its name and its stylish build the main feature of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is probably its fingerprint scanner.
This isn’t an entirely new thing, as the Samsung Galaxy S5 had one too, but it’s much improved here as rather than requiring an awkward swipe motion to use you simply place your finger on the home button.
Tying into that there’s the new Samsung Pay service, which is seemingly Samsung’s creatively named answer to Apple Pay, as it allows you to use your phone to make contactless payments, with the fingerprint scanner securing the service.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ships with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which is basically the latest version of Android (Android 5.1 is out now, but it adds very little).
Samsung has put its TouchWiz interface over the top and this is much improved on previous versions, with a slightly nicer, flatter look and more importantly a lot less bloat, making it slicker and easier to navigate.
Battery life, memory and connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 2600 mAh battery, which is a little smaller than we’d have liked to see, but actually slightly bigger than the unit in the standard Galaxy S6. Its actual life remains to be seen, but however long it lasts it shouldn’t take long to charge, as it supports fast charging, which can theoretically give it up to four hours of life from just a 10 minute charge.
Or you can use the built in wireless charging and not even plug it in at all if you invest in a wireless charger.
The Galaxy S6 Edge comes in a choice of 32, 64 or 128GB, so there’s plenty of storage, which is good because one thing it lacks is a microSD card slot. Most previous Samsung phones have one but it seems the company may be moving away from them.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared.