Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge hands-on and first impressions

by: Lanh NguyenMarch 1, 2015
2.5K

Samsung has just announced their newest curved-screen smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Edge, here at MWC 2015. This device launched alongside its standard-screened counterpart, the Galaxy S6. While the two devices feature very similar specifications, there are some notable changes made with the Edge. What new features does this new phone bring to the table? Are the enhancements merely gimmicks, or are they truly innovations? We’ll find that out, and more, in our hands-on and first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Design and build

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The big news with Samsung’s latest flagship offerings is the move away from the plastic build material to a more premium look and feel. With an aluminum frame and glass back reinforced by Gorilla Glass 4, these devices now offer the high-end quality that many have been wanting for a long time from Samsung. It’s easy to tell that this is still a Samsung device though, as you do have the tactile home button up front, integrated with a fingerprint scanner, and flanked by capacitive back and recent apps keys. The overall aesthetic will remind you of previous generations, only in a more refined body.

Of course, like its namesake, the Note Edge, the Galaxy S6 Edge earns its name from a curved display edge. But unlike its larger sibling, there isn’t just one, but rather both sides of the display feature curved extensions. In terms of handling, the edge will definitely take some getting used to, especially with the curve now on both sides. But the comparatively smaller size of the S6 Edge will make handling the phone much easier, not to mention that the curve’s angle should make the phone less cumbersome than the Note Edge.

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The 3.5mm headphone jack, speakers and USB port can all be found at the bottom of the device, which, like the S6, has plastic inserts to let radio waves through. Due to the screen curve on both sides, the power button is moved up top, though the volume rocker is on the left hand side like always. The change in power button placement may take some getting used to, especially because this is a pretty big device. The camera and flash modules have been completely redesigned, but due to the glass back panel, there are a few compromises to be made. The back of the device is completely flat aside from the camera module that protrudes out. This could be a problem when placing the device on a flat surface, especially if you aren’t using a case.

samsung galaxy s6 edge aa 16

Since Samsung went all-out on build quality this year, users will have to make a few other compromises with this handset. For starters, the back isn’t replaceable, so you won’t be able to switch out the battery when it runs out. Additionally, Samsung didn’t make room for MicroSD card expansion either. These are two main features that normally set Samsung apart from the competition, so Samsung die-hards will likely not take this change very well. Fans of the waterproof design from the GS5 should also note that this doesn’t make a return for the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge.

It’ll be interesting to see how fans react to all of these changes to accommodate the premium build quality, but as far as the look and feel in the hand goes, there’s no denying that it’s a big improvement.

Display

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Save for the edges, things are mostly identical between the S6 and the S6 Edge. When it comes to the display, the Edge also features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in an impressive pixel density of 577ppi. As is always the case with Samsung displays, you get deep blacks, bright and vivid colors, and great contrast, brightness, and viewing angles. If things aren’t to your liking, there are quite a few display modes to choose from to cater the experience to what suits you.

As is the story with the GS6, not everyone is going to feel that QHD is necessary for a device with this display size, but then again many felt that way with Full HD and yet today it has certainly become the norm.

Hardware

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Again like the S6, the Edge iteration also packs an Exynos 7420 processor backed by 3GB of RAM. Samsung flagships are always on the cutting edge when it comes to power, and things are no different this time around. Along with an improved experience on the software side of things, performance should be of no issue for this smartphone. You’ll also now have the option in choosing between 32/64/128GB of on-board storage, but as mentioned, it is not expandable any further. Although, it’s nice to see Samsung ditch the 16GB baseline option to accommodate for removal of expandable memory.

The fingerprint scanner is present on the S6 Edge, though it’s been largely improved since we last saw it on the Galaxy Note 4/Edge, and is now of the touch-based variety. The S6 Edge also has a heart rate monitor, found at its usual spot below the camera module.

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When it comes to the battery, the S6 Edge packs a rather small (but still bigger than the S6) 2,600mAh battery. While the battery capacity might result in some concerns, especially with it now powering a Quad HD display, the new Exynos processor is said to be quite frugal in its power consumption, so things might actually not be that bad when it comes to battery life. To help make up for lack of a massive battery, the  Samsung has added fast charging capabilities, claiming that users can get up to two hours of video playback after only 10 minutes of charging the device and a full charge in about 80 minutes. Furthermore, the S6 Edge supports multiple forms of wireless charging standards (WPC and PMA), which will allow you to use most charging pads.

Camera

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The Galaxy S6 Edge comes with a 16MP rear-facing camera with smart optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 5MP front-facing camera with a 90-degree wide-angle lens, which will be great for all you selfie lovers out there.

A few notable improvements have been made to the camera on the software side of things, including the ability to double tap on your home screen to launch the camera app, claimed to happen in only 0.7 seconds. The rear camera has a new feature called “tracking autofocus”, which tracks moving objects in the frame, such as moving cars or kids. The camera app comes with all the features we’ve come to expect from Samsung devices, along with a revamped HDR mode. The new Auto HDR Mode now automatically turns itself on when the camera thinks it needs it.

Software

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On the software front, the Galaxy S6 Edge is running Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, with Touchwiz on top. Touchwiz, for the most part, looks just about the same from previous generations, with only a few Lollipop-related changes added in. The good news is that the number of pre-installed apps has been cut drastically, meaning less bloat out of the box. There’s also a brand new theme system that will allow you to change up the look a bit if you don’t like the default icons and style presented by Samsung’s default experience.

samsung galaxy s6 edge themes aa 7

As for the curved edges, unlike the Note Edge, the curves are more about aesthetics and less about special features. However, hat’s not to say they don’t add anything to the experience. The edges offer two basic features, with the first being the ability to assign different colors to up to 5 contacts, and you can know who is calling from the glowing edges, even when the phone is placed face down.

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The edges can also now show you your notifications (calls, texts, and more) even with the case is closed.

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Samsung is also launching their new mobile payment platform called Samsung Pay. Due to the company’s recent acquisition of mobile payment platform LoopPay, many features from the LoopPay platform will make their way to Samsung Pay. The payment system incorporates NFC, barcode, and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology that is slated to work with 90% of retailers’ POS systems. It won’t be available until Q3 2015, and will release in the US and Korean markets first. We’ll definitely have our full review up before then, but we’ll be sure to test Samsung Pay in great detail when it becomes available to the masses.

Specifications

Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED
2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
ProcessorExynos 7420
RAM3 GB
Storage32/64/128 GB
Camera16 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera with 90 degree wide angle lens
ConnectivityWiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS + GLONASS
NetworksLTE cat 6 300/50
Battery2,600 mAh
Fast charging
WPC and PMA-compatible wireless charging
SoftwareAndroid 5.0 Lollipop
Dimensions142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0 mm
132 grams
ColorsBlack, white, gold, green

Gallery

 Wrap up

The Galaxy S6 Edge will be available in Black, White, Gold and Green. Samsung hasn’t released pricing details or availability information quite yet, but we’ll be sure to update you when the information surfaces.

So, there you have it, our hands-on and first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge! This device is a huge change from the Note Edge and S5, though many will agree that these changes are for the better. Be sure to stay with us for our full review of both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in the coming weeks. Also, Android Authority will be here at MWC 2015 all week, so we’ll continue to bring you the best coverage from Samsung and all other OEMs attending the trade show.

  • namesib

    No removable battery and microSD = no purchase. I hope they reverse this decision.

  • pytajnik

    this thing is beautiful

    • Guest

      I must say,, sammy has now one beautiful device to offer. Sorry hrc,, brushed metal is not working this time.

  • I like it, but I hate that damn button.

    The battery seems small.

  • Danny

    A disaster in design. Who cares about those curved edges. They failed to bring something new out of the box and simply built a phone on the cutting edge specifications. Unfortunately their “edge” is now curved.

  • okka

    How the hell u guys write this whole article which was just announced a few mins ago…:?

  • Paul Beau

    2600mAh for QHD display? Wut

  • Ruz

    1. Build Quality improved but the design still lacks big time..
    2. Even HTC & LG has jumped to removable battery and microSD… whats wrong with samsung here?

    3. Battery is a disaster since people prefer to buy bigger battery.. they bleed and no we dont like to carry power banks all the time
    4. Honestly i liked S5 camera over other cams.. would prefer s5 cam with OIS
    5. No news on audio DAC or any other improvement here? Highly disappointment
    6. No mention of IR Blaster.. obv fm is no way samsung intends to bring
    7. No snapdragon 810 chip option offered

    • Andrew Hope

      The jury is still out on the 810, that’s why I’m holding fire. It might be better than the Exynos, although an 20nm 810 Snap, will probably not be more efficient and get hotter than the 14nm Exynos. Samsung, gambled on this. Only time will tell if it pays off.

    • Nikolas Manuelides

      ok, I can relax now, there are still some coherent ppl in the smartphone world, specially your first 3 points specially

  • Tiberiu

    “We listened to our customers” Bullshit, everyone is asking for a larger battery. It is very important. The G3 put a few people off because of the quad display and the 3000 mAh battery. This will be extremely low, plus the fact that you can’t have a second battery with you. In 6 months from now you’ll be crying that Samsung mobiles are losing money. Isn’t it obvious what people want?To be honest quad displays are just some numbers on paper and draining the battery out, humanly it is impossible to enjoy it fully.

    • Andrew Hope

      2 things. Amoled displays use less battery than LCD3 or IPS. LG released the G3 with the wrong SOC for the screen, it was first to market with 2K, but way too early. Even the G3 Prime with Snap 805 had trouble coping, Note4 was fine however. I’m gonna withhold judgement until the G4 and Z4 are released, but the S6 Edge could well be my next phone or maybe the Note 5 Edge if it is like this.

  • alfreduran

    Thanks a lot Samsung…but not!

  • dragobb

    this is not a SAMSUNG it’s a freakin iphone 6 !
    1. fingerprint scanner = iphone style
    2. no micro SD = iphone again
    3. even the damn battery is not removable anymore
    4. same old camera as s5
    5. NOTHING NEW it’s the same phone with a different name, and unfortunately it looks exactly like the Iphone 6. They just copied them on this one

    • Mr. Uncensored

      1. Who Cares
      2. You have a 32GB, 64GB,& 128GB Options
      3. It has fast charging.
      4. How is the camera the same, when you haven’t even experience it out for yourself.

      • Dan

        2. increased storage options will be significantly more expensive then a sd card. also will make it harder to transfer storage as it will require a computer
        3. fast charging requires a wall outlet and a charger..what happened to samsungs wall hugger ads. We enjoy the flexibility of changing out our batteries.

    • Ahmed

      You do know that the fingerprint scanner, the non-removeable battery, no micro-SD card were there wayy before iPhones did, right?

      • ThunderJayHawk35

        No he’s just throwin crap at Samsung cause it’s the popular thing to do

    • Anavil Patel

      well shit one company did it now no one else can. everyone stop making products. pretty sure we cant have new phones because Alexander made a phone 50 years ago. apparently according to dragobb if someone does it first it cant be done ever again. Holy shit

      • Dan

        Its more about innovating rather than copying. We want something different and new. If we wanted a iphone we could buy one now and that is the point dragobb is making

        • ive82

          Yea I agree , Samsung has moved closer to apple copying then ever. If I wanted a iPhone I would simply buy an iPhone. Luckily HTC hasn’t abandon the SD card and removable battery. So will start checking that out.

  • maroon1

    I’m only disappointed about the lack of micro-SD, because I already own 32GB micro-SD for my galaxy S3, but now I won’t able to use it if I upgrade to S6

    Just hope that S6 64GB or 128GB version won’t cost much more than the regular version, otherwise I won’t upgrade.

    • 64GB version will be 299.99 more than likely, just buy it on sale after it’s been out for a month or two i always get phones for dirt cheap when its with a cotract.

  • Lucas Barbosa

    I personally think the edge is probably the most beautiful phone ever made. I will get one if the price is right.

    I think they got it straight. No need for sd if you can get 64 or 128gb. Fast charging is very, very useful. I also agree with the camera move. After getting a real camera, I now know that photos will only get better with better lens, so I think the camera bump is ok if it really provides more light in.

    • Julia Williams

      It sure is I agree… The Emerald Green is stunning….

  • Androidin

    Note edge is cool and offers a function with the edge. S6 edge is simply stupid, because the edges are too small to bring use to this gimmick. And the price for 2 useless edges is a bad joke!

  • Mr. Uncensored

    Haters Gonna Hate!!!

  • Ernest

    Copying apple business model.. No sd card, small battery.

  • Andrew Hope

    Samsung for the win this year!

    • mikeku

      lets say you are on a meeting , you have your phone facing down (silent mode), you don’t want to be disturb. You received an important call, the edge of your phone glows red and a message scroll .. “please call your son’s school is urgent…” .. ah there is not function for edge? … only imagination ..

  • David Tchulukhadze

    One of the best designed phone I ever seen. I’m really excited about s6 adge. Everything looks perfect for me. Only two questions: how about battery live and prise????? Will wait users comment.

  • crutchcorn

    I actually really like this. I think that this is the most beautiful and most likely something that I could/would use often

  • Pras

    I bet the price will be ‘fantastic’ but The Edge Series it’s collectable.

  • Ariel Jersey Jr.

    I know the new premium design looks really good but I will miss the removable battery and the micro sd expansion slot. I’m sure the Note 5 will be the same. I think I’m gonna stick with my Note 3 a little longer.

  • mohsinleo05

    I must say,, sammy has now one beautiful device to offer. Sorry hrc,, brushed metal is not working this year.

  • Andrew Hope

    Give me a GPE edition and I might be sold on the Edge. I can’t deal with Touchjunk..period..If I see support on XDA or Cyanogen, then I could also be sold…

  • Adrian

    The gold S6 Edge is downright beautiful. I’m definitely picking one up on April 10th… can’t wait. Samsung has finally got it right with the design package and got rid of that annoying, cheap plastic.

  • Infidel Gastro

    It is a very nice device but if I was to choose between the standard or Edge edition I’d take the standard, The Edge might have something going for it and if it it proves popular then next years Edge will be even better. I’m not an early adopter so I’m quite happy to sit back and wait to see what transpires, I’ll let others be the guinea pigs first and if it’s successful then I’ll wait until it’s mainstream, I.E. on mid range devices as well.

  • Tony

    ok I get keeping the physical home button for the finger print scanner, but must samsung insist on continuing to reverse the positions back and the recent apps key?

  • John Smith

    I think you’re talking about the Note Edge here buddy: “Due to the screen curve on both sides, the power button is moved up top,
    though the volume rocker is on the left hand side like always. The
    change in power button placement may take some getting used to,
    especially because this is a pretty big device” Lol also, there’s a Blue color available as well.

  • Brian Cellery

    Metal Body + Glass Front + Glass Back – SD Card Slot – Removable Battery = iPhone… Anyone else see the problem here…

  • Junaid Ashraf

    are the viewing angles affected in s6 edge due to its curves?

  • personaseria

    is there 2 kind of the gold version? cause in some pic it looks pure gold in others look platinium gold…I have to buy the gold one for a gift but im confused now , can someone explain me if there are 2 versions of the gold one