Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Galaxy S6 Edge review: the high-end Samsung revolution

Samsung promised us that its next Galaxy device would be something pretty special. The Korean tech-giant has been suffering from a sales slump following the poor reception of its Galaxy S5 which, despite solid specs, failed to capture the hearts of the masses. Samsung has now brought two Galaxy S series flagships to the table, the Galaxy S6 - a new but familiar approach to the Galaxy series, and the Galaxy S6 Edge - with an all-new curved display. The demand for the Galaxy S6 Edge has been high, but is Samsung's flagship gamble all it's cracked up to be? Find out in our Galaxy S6 Edge review.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge release date is April 10 and the Galaxy S6 Edge price details are as follows (we're only displaying the lowest tariffs and main networks. Cheaper deals may be found with resellers):

UK

Three, £47 p/m (£49 upfront fee) with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB data

EE, £31.99 p/m (£349.99 upfront fee) with 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 500MB data

O2, £52.50 p/m (£9.99 upfront fee) with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB data

Vodafone,  £41 p/m (£149 upfront fee) with 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 500MB data

Off-contract, the Galaxy S6 Edge costs £760 from the official Samsung UK page. However, at trusty Pixmania you can get the S6 Edge for as little as £689.90, which is a pretty big saving. There are other cheap deals out there too, but many are from untrustworthy sites that we wouldn't recommend here.

US

Verizon, $29.16 per-month with a Verizon EDGE subscription, or $299 on a two-year contract, or $699 outright.

U.S. Cellular has zero down and $39.50 per-month as the installment price, or $299 on a two-year contract, or $790 prepaid.

T-Mobile is offering a full retail price of $779.76 prepaid, or zero down at $32.49 a month for 24 months for well-qualified buyers.

AT&T has a regular price of $814.99, or zero down at $27.17 for 30 months with AT&T Next, or $299.99 on a two-year contract.

All Galaxy S6 Edge prices are for the 32 GB black version unless otherwise stated. All information correct at the time of writing.


While these prices are considerably high, it's important to note that Samsung has set the bar for premium smartphones in 2015, with clever innovation, if not starting a revolution. Much like in 2011 when Samsung introduced the term "Phablet" to the market with the Galaxy Note, it's entirely possible that Samsung is beginning a new smartphone trend here.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge design and build quality

The Galaxy S6 Edge is one sleek machine. It houses the glass and metal finish that many have been crying out for from Samsung, and it marks the first time that the manufacturer has used these materials on a high-end smartphone. It's slim, it's sophisticated, and it's surprisingly lightweight.


The side-panels of the Galaxy S6 Edge are incredibly narrow and also flat, making it slightly sharp. After using it for several weeks, we can't say that the design grew on us, the edges still feel uncomfortable when holding the S6 Edge fully in one hand. This appears to be the current price to be pay for a dual-edged screen.


The front camera is placed to the right of the microphone, while the sensors are on the left side.


The keys dedicated to the management of the volume are positioned at the top left of the right edge.


At the top of the Galaxy S6 Edge is IR blaster, pin hole mic, and SIM hatch.


The dedicated volume buttons are located at the top of the left edge, and the lock button is installed just above the middle of the device on the right-hand side. The button placement is well-suited to right or left handers, but your index finger might naturally sit a little higher up than where the this lock/power button can be found, if holding it in your left, and your thumb will be a little higher up when holding it in your right.

It feels slightly awkward to have to slide down to access the power button every time you unlock the phone, but it's not uncomfortable, as such.


The Galaxy S6 Edge is a wonderful machine to look at.


Side view detailing how the top of the device slides around to the side-edge.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge display

The Galaxy S6 Edge has one of the highest resolution displays currently on an Android device, and it’s one of the best we’ve ever seen. The display comes in at 5.1-inches, similar to that of the Galaxy S6, and it's loaded with pixels; picking out the individuals is near-impossible.

The screen technology used is Super AMOLED, which Samsung has been using since the Galaxy S, and it has a QHD (1440 x 2560 pixels) resolution. The Galaxy S5, by comparison, has a Full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) display.


The biggest thing that sets the Galaxy S6 Edge apart from other devices is, of course, the sloping sides of its screen. While these sloping sides do house some additional functionality (more on this later), they also provide the device with a great effect when watching videos. It's not 3D, but it somehow gives videos a more "energetic" feel which isn't apparent on other smartphones.

The S6 Edge houses around 577 pixels per inch. These is an impressive number, and the Edge has an impressive screen tone to match. However, if you find it too garish, it is possible to easily change the contrasts with four options (adaptive, cinema, photography and basic).