Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Review – [Verizon Edition]

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When it comes to smartphones, there are really only a few major names that people associate with. Obviously Apple’s iPhone is one and the other is Samsung. Both hold arguably the largest market share of all smartphone sales and with good reason. The iPhone because it’s the only iOS device out there and Samsung because when it comes to Android devices, they seem to have something for everyone thanks in part to their excessively huge product lineup each generation and the fact that they seem to offer some of the best screens available on the Android side of things.

Their newest device this year is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge which is a variant of the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S line has always been quite popular with Android fans and the newest Galaxy S6 Edge hopes to bring something new and “edgy” to aging Galaxy S brand. You see, the new Galaxy S6 Edge features a curved Super AMOLED screen not unlike what is seen on the older Note Edge, except this is a dual edge screen. Not only that, this is the first Galaxy S that ditches the plastic in favor of a more modern metal and glass construction.

Design

SM-G925F_027_Combination-2_Black_SapphireThis year, you really notice just how premium this new Galaxy S6 Edge is. The new metal and glass construction is simply a gorgeous sight to behold and no longer looks like a plastic toy. The premium body finally matches the quality of the Super AMOLED screen and comes closer to the premium look and feel of its closest competitor, the iPhone 6. In fact, the new Galaxy S6 Edge even looks like a more modern iPhone 4 with its chamfered edged border and slick looking glass back. It’s what the iPhone would have looked like if Apple continued on that design theme.

It is a rather beautiful design though Samsung had to ditch a few features to make it work. For starters, this is the first Galaxy S that no longer has access to a removable battery or the ability to use expandable memory cards. Those two used to be major differentiating factors between the Galaxy S line and the iPhone. Now they are gone for the sake of giving the new Galaxy S6 Edge a more premium look and feel. The other change is because the new device is so thin now (and yes, it’s really thin) the battery in it suffers a bit and is a smaller unit, 2,550 mAh battery. Some might not find this a problem, but power users probably will.

SM-G925F_013_L-Front-dynamic_Black_SapphireIf you’re coming from an iPhone 6, you’ll find similar ergonomics here on the Galaxy S6 Edge. The power button is on the right, volume buttons on the left, and the audio jack, charge/sync port, and speakers are on the bottom (just like on an iPhone). It even still features a physical home button on the bottom of the screen. For the most part, it’s very much just like an iPhone aside from the curved front screen and full glass back. The glass back on the Galaxy S6 Edge I do find to be a tad bit more grippy than the full aluminum back on the iPhone 6. Aluminum is very slippery and at least the glass offers some bit of friction when in contact with your skin (that’s of course if it isn’t cold and your hands are not super dry).

The Galaxy S6 Edge also has wireless charging built in, though I’m not able to test out this feature because I don’t own a wireless charging dock.

Other than that, this really is in my opinion, the best looking Galaxy S phone Samsung has ever made. The Galaxy S6 Edge is a beautiful slab of metal and something about the curved screen makes it look so different and unique. I’d definitely recommend choosing this model over the standard Galaxy S6.

Performance

This is an area where the Galaxy S line usually excels at and that’s raw performance. These devices are usually known to perform quite well in the generation they’re released in and the Galaxy S6 Edge seems to be no different. Because I’m an avid gamer, performance is a big factor when choosing my devices. I need something that can handle the most CPU hungry of games and so far, the Galaxy S6 Edge seems to be able handle everything I’ve thrown at it. Games like Brave Frontier, Minecraft, Goat Simulator, all of these ran fine with barely a hiccup. None of this is surprising considering the device is running an Octa-core 64-bit processor.

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The device runs a Octa-core 64-bit Samsung Exynos processor which is a change from the latest gen Qualcom Snapdragon processor Samsung usually employs with their devices. I won’t get into the details but the change comes from the fact that the latest Snapdragon processor overheats and drops drastically in performance. Regardless, the performance on the new Galaxy S6 Edge seems very good when running apps and games, though I did notice a few instances of lag while navigating between apps. Not too sure if that’s from Android, TouchWiz, or from just high CPU usage.

For the most part though, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is very fast and most users will find it speedy enough for their needs.

Camera

One of the most import aspects of a smartphone these days is the camera in my opinion. If you look at social media these days, a majority of posts are photos. We are a society that loves posting photos, but only if those photos are “like” worthy and that means photos that are near flawless. A good smartphone camera must be able to take crisp, clear photos in any situation and that also includes taking low-light photos.

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The rear camera is a 16mp unit which is twice that of the newest iPhone. I have a separate post that you can check out here that shows the quality of the rear camera. Based on my time with the camera so far, it is one of the best shooters around. The images appear bright, clear, and full of detail with a solid range of colors. The images don’t seem washed out like they did in previous Galaxy devices I’ve used and the camera did an excellent job in low light situations without the use of a flash.

SM-G925F_002_Back_Black_SapphireOne neat thing that Samsung did with the Galaxy S6 Edge is the new Quick Launch feature which allows you to jump straight to the camera with just a double click of the home button. You can do this from the lock screen and the home screen as well as when the phone is in sleep mode. You can even launch the camera straight from another app using this method. That means you spend less time searching for the camera icon when you need the camera the most.

The front facing camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge is a 5mp unit which again is more than what you get on the newest iPhone. Again images come out clear and bright but the neat thing I found about the front camera is how wide it is. Samsung claims it is a 120-degree wide angle lens which when compared to my iPhone, is much wider. A problem with taking “selfies” is being able to fit all he people who may want to be in your photo. With a wide angle lens, you’re able to fit more. That means you’ll be able to take a selfie with your whole family maybe instead of just 1 or 2 extra people. Also, being able to snap a selfie photo by running your finger over the rear flash unit is really neat.

The camera software also includes a few neat artistic filters you can use on your photos (with more to download) as well as something called “beauty” mode. Not sure what that is at all as my photos didn’t seem that much different by enabling it.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with the way the new Galaxy S6 Edge handles photos. The Quick Launch feature is very handy, though I would have loved to have seen a dedicated camera button (but to be fair, no one else really has this either except Sony).

A Few Oddities

Though the Galaxy S6 Edge is quite fast, there are instances of lag which I can’t quite get a handle on. Mainly it happens when flipping through the homescreen or when switching between apps. It happens every so often but not often enough where it would be annoying. Hopefully it’s just a software issue and can be addressed via a future update.

SM-G925F_026_Combination-1_Black_SapphireAnother odd thing is just how hot this phone can get at times, especially when running CPU intensive apps and games. I played through maybe 30 minutes of Goat Simulator the other day and the phone go very hot around the metal band. The glass back gets warm, but not like the metal band does. This thing gets very, very hot. If I run Waze in the car while I’m driving and keep the screen on with the app running, it too will get very hot around the metal band. I’m not sure if I’ve ever encountered another phone that got as hot as this did. A quick remedy is to just shut off the app or game you’re using and it’ll get back to a respectable temperature pretty quickly.

Some of you are not going to like that this device drops the swap-able battery and expandable memory options. Speaking of the battery, you’re also probably not going to like that the battery life doesn’t quite seem to be as good as previous devices.

Lastly, I’ll talk about the “Edge” functionality as that’s one of the highlights of the Galaxy S6 Edge. There really is no real use for it yet. Sure being able to see call notifications via different colored lights when the phone is face down is neat, but I rarely have my phone face down. The “Information Stream” for the edge is also kind of interesting, but I can’t get it to work consistently. It’s neat being able to see some information without having to fully turn the screen on, but in the end, it’s just a novelty feature that you aren’t really going to use too much.

Final Thoughts

Despite a few little off things here and there, I really do enjoy the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s the first real Samsung smartphone that is miles ahead in design and quality over the previous models and one that should elevate the status of Samsung devices. If Samsung wants people to believe that they can make high quality devices, than the Galaxy S6 Edge is a very good example as it ticks off all the right features we’re lo0king for in a high end smartphone.

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The use of metal and glass makes the new Galaxy S6 Edge that much more classy and deserving of what Samsung wants it to be. The curved edge screen also adds an aura of sophistication and beauty giving it a look that no other smartphone really has. It makes for a rather interesting talking point amongst friends and strangers. It’s also one of the thinnest phones I’ve ever seen, maybe even a little too thin.

The Galaxy S6 Edge is also fast, reliable (so far), and makes for an excellent camera. Also, I didn’t mention this before, but the Verizon version of the device came with very little garbage-ware. What it did come with I was able to uninstall with the exception of the few Verizon apps included. This was a welcome surprise as I’ve had other Samsung devices filled with preloaded apps that could only be disabled and not removed.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s an excellent Android device and one of the best smartphones Samsung has ever made. It’s also one of the best looking devices out there right now thanks in part to its high quality materials and curvy screen. If you’re on Verizon, you can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge in either White Pearl, Gold Platinum, or Black Sapphire. The unit I have here is in Black Sapphire which isn’t really black at all.  It looks black from some angle but also has a slight hint of dark blue in it. It makes for a rather unique color.

That’s it for now on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Stay tuned as I dig into a bit more of the specifics in future posts. I’m sure most of you will be interested in how well the camera software works and I’ll get into that in another post as well as maybe touching more on the “Edge” specific software.


 

Device provided to us by manufacturer, their PR rep, and/or carrier rep. This does not affect the out come of the review.

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