Key Features: 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560-resolution screen; Octa-core Exynos 7420 chipset; 2,550mAh non-removable battery; 3GB RAM; Wireless charging; Samsung Pay mobile payments; Android 5.0 L with TouchWiz
What is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge?
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung’s sexiest phone to date. In fact, it’s arguably the most beautiful phone ever made. It makes the standard Galaxy S6 look plain and the iPhone 6 look safe.
The headline feature is, of course, the curved screen. It’s only there for for show, really, but it makes the S6 Edge unique. You could never accuse it of being an “iPhone” clone – an accusation fairly leveled at the standard S6.
The Galaxy S6 Edge isn’t just about the looks. It has a brilliant 16-megapixel camera, an octa-core Exynos processor that’s faster than any other, a better fingerprint scanner and a slicker operating system. Samsung has improved nearly every core part of the phone for the better.
All these improvements come at a price, though, and we’re not just talking about the eye-watering £695 SIM-free price for the 32GB version. In making the S6 Edge more attractive, Samsung has removed features many of its fans have long appreciated, such as the microSD card slot and removable battery. It’s not water resistant like the S5 was and it has a smaller battery, which does impact battery life.
But the benefits outweigh the costs. This is the best phone you can buy right now.
Watch our S6 Edge hands-on video from MWC 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Design
Metal edge; Gorilla Glass 4 rear; 142 x 70 x 7mm; 132g; Home button; Soft keys
There’s a refreshing honesty about the S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge’s design. There’s no attempt to make smooth plastic look like metal, or textured plastic look like leather. No, this time around the edge is made of aluminium alloy that feels just as strong as it looks. The front is covered in Gorilla Glass 4 – the latest version of the popular toughened glass – and so is the back. Nothing feels cheap about the S6 Edge apart from a couple of tiny throwbacks to a bygone era – the ear speaker grille looks like metal-painted plastic and the inside of the SIM tray is plastic.
It’s not just the materials that are top notch, either; it's the way they’re put together. The diamond-cut edging brings a lustre to the metal border that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 5, but thinner and more tasteful. The SIM-card tray sits flush with the top of the phone and looks better integrated than the slightly recessed tray on the HTC One M9.
What’s most amazing is that Samsung has managed to pack a 5.1-inch screen into a body not that much bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. That means you can easily get to all areas of the screen, even with normal-size hands, which is something you can’t on the 5-inch HTC One M9.
The buttons on the Galaxy S6 Edge are also brilliant – firm and with just the right amount of spring. Their location is excellent, with the power button a few inches from the top of the right edge, while the volume ones rest a little higher on the left. You’ll never mistake one for the other – a common complaint made against the One M9.
If there’s one thing we’d change, it’d be the rear camera. It juts out of the back like an unsightly pimple. It’s not quite as ugly as the one on the Galaxy S6, a marginally thinner phone, but it still spoils the otherwise perfect-ten looks of the S6 Edge.
On the plus side, the glass back is surprisingly grippy – much more so than the one on the Sony Xperia Z3. The white version we tested doesn’t have a problem with fingerprint marks, but you might want to keep a cleaning cloth handy if you go for the more colourful options. Some colours, like the gold and green, look a little tacky too.
If there’s a problem with the design, it’s how the edges make the S6 Edge less comfortable to hold than other phones. That’s because the edges taper the wrong way – away from your hand. What little edge there is slopes back into your hand to combat this, but it still has a sharper, pinching sensation compared to other phones. It’s not intolerably bad, but we prefer the iPhone 6’s curved edges and the HTC One M9’s curved rear, which follow the contour of your palm.
We can put up with some idiosyncrasies for a phone this stylish, though, and there a few other foibles you should be aware of.
One is how, at first, it’s all too easy to hit the soft keys accidentally. There’s so little space left for them that you’ll often find yourself pressing the Back or App Switch key by accident. You learn to hold the phone more tentatively over time, but it’s an issue.
Another is the home button, which houses the fingerprint scanner. It isn’t flush with the front of the phone and, like the Galaxy S5 before it, this means that it can be unwittingly pressed while in your pocket. It might sound like a small issue, and as long as you have a lock you shouldn’t be calling any people you don’t want to, but it does turn the screen on and this could have a direct impact on the S6 Edge’s battery life.
Trickier to solve is how the curved screen makes it all too easy for your hand to brush against the edge of the screen, which prevents you from scrolling or hitting a link with your thumb. It takes a moment to realise that the phone hasn’t frozen; it’s just that part of your palm is resting on the edge of the screen. We fear this could become a common problem as brands push edge-to-edge displays.
But so far we’ve found these little irritations to be just that – little. We can forgive them for the general look and build quality of the S6 Edge. They could grow into relationship-ending resentments, but our gut feeling says they won’t.