First unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in March, the Samsung S6 Edge smartphone is intended to battle premium rivals like the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9. Will it succeed? John Kennedy put it through its paces.
Luxurious and distinctive — this is the first Samsung smartphone device – that I’m aware of – that has an all-metal body without a removable battery.
In the appearances stakes it is probably the most beautiful, the most elegant of Samsung smartphones to date and among the current generation of premium smartphone devices gives the iPhone 6 a run for its money and is much ligher and curvier than the One M9 from HTC.
When I first laid eyes on the Samsung S6 at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I was immediately smitten. Firstly, by the shiny kaleidoscope of colours it came in: from black, to white, to gold to a very bewitching racing-car green. And next by the screen quality, how fluid the software seemed, how well the OS ran; it is a lot more elegant than previous incarnations of Samsung devices.
At the Mobile World Congress I sensed the smug satisfaction from the Samsung executives all around me. They had completed a new product build that had no discernable loose strings. The product, from the hardware to the OS and its shiny, sleek exterior, came together as one.
“We have learned from our successes and missteps,” Samsung Mobile’s CEO JK Shin told thousands of attendees at the big reveal of the S6 and the S6 Edge.
Previously I didn’t buy into Samsung’s idea of premium phones, since they were mostly being coated in cheap, flimsy removable plastic. This time they got it right with a phone that feels premium. Or did they?
Look and feel of the Samsung S6 Edge
The only difference between the S6 and the S6 Edge is the curved screen on the Edge. But this adds to the price. According to Samsung the curved glass was created by a process called 3D thermoforming, a process of heating and moulding the glass at a temperature of 800 degrees Celcius.
This creates an immediatley impressive first impression and I have to say I love how the content on the device appears to wrap itself around the curves of the super Amoled screen.
The overall impression is a solid, endurable device that feels good in your hand.
The device comes with a 5.1-inch screen that has an impressive resolution of 577 pixels per inch.
Another appearane change is the use of a single micro USB port and gone is the USB 3.0 connector of the S5. This looks much more elegant but I’m sure some users will miss the USB 3.0 connector for various reasons. Also gone is the old dependable SD card slot, which is a big change.
The device comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB configurations so that’s plenty of data storage for whatever your needs.
The Android operating system on the device is Android 5.1 Lollypop and I have to say I like what Samsung has done with it. Samsung is famed for either over-engineering Android with its own embelishments or not doing enough with it and I have to say rival HTC has always done a better job.
This time Samsung has gotten it right. The Android OS feels elegant, is less cluttered and feels colourful and natural – more a Monet than a Kandinsky.
Features on the Samsung S6 Edge
Samsung has also added new features such as colour themes as well as personalisation themes that are there if you want them but at the same time sit respectfully in the background. Areas of the device have been colour coded, Samsung has enabled one-touch auto reply.
Along with the S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung also revealed the Gear VR, which works with the deivces to bring you Oculus Rift. I tried this in Barcelona too and if I had any doubts about VR, they are long gone.
In terms of camera technology Samsung has managed to squeeze its new real-time HDR feature into the 5MP front-facing camera, a world first for smartphones. The same real-time HDR technology features on the 16MP rear-facing camera too, which Samsung claims provides better lighting and clarity than on the competing iPhone 6.
In terms of battery life, I found the battery to be dependable. A single charge would last me 24 hours and beyond. Unfortunately I didn’t get to test the wireless induction charging capability that Samsung has introduced for the S6 and S6 Edge. Apparently it can be 40pc charged in 10 minutes and can be fully charged in half the time it takes to charge an iPhone 6. However, in fairness, I found the battery could be fully charged using a standard plug within an hour, which is respectable.
Verdict: 4 stars out of 5
Samsung needed to pull something magical out of the hat to compete with the focus on craftsmanship evident in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well as devices from HTC and LG.
The result is perhaps one of the most premium devices on the market and it will give the iPhone 6 a run for its money.
But on the other hand the device is pricey – perhaps too pricey to compete in the realm of devices from Xiaomi and Huawei that are hurting Samsung in markets like China.
But here in Ireland the premium phone will compete in the premium market and the device ranges from €249.99 right up to €749 depending on price plans. The device is available from Vodafone, Meteor, Three and Tesco Mobile.
If you can afford it, the S6 Edge is pretty flawless.
- Excellent battery life
- Beautiful design
- Solid performance
- Powerful camera
- It comes with a hefty price tag
- People will quibble with the loss of an SD card slot
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