REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Will This Smartphone Get Samsung Back On Top?

Written by David Richards     06/04/2015 | 17:48 | Category name i.e.COMMUNICATION

Will Project Zero deliver for Samsung the success that it deserves? This is a Company whose future in the smartphone market was under question after the failure of the Galaxy S5 a smartphone that was a simple evolution of the highly successful Galaxy S4.Apple suffered a similar problem with the iPhone 5S.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Will This Smartphone Get Samsung Back On Top?

Now Samsung is peddling an elegant new smartphone that has been designed from the ground up, hence the name project Zero.

Right now a lot is hanging on the fate of the new Galaxy S6 and S 6 Edge and if the stares I have been getting are anything to go by Samsung has a lot going for it especially among the smartphone curious crowd.

Samsung has been stunningly successful making smartphones in the past but like Nokia, and Blackberry success can evaporate overnight.

Being exposed and totally exposed up against a wall as one is being slowly stripped of any past success can be a sobering factor for any Company, but for some Companies it is the time when they perform best.

Samsung is exposed and a lot is resting on these two new smartphones which are significantly more expensive than prior models.

This premium pricing is itself is a testimony to the conviction that Samsung has in the Galaxy S6 especially their flagship the Galaxy S6 Edge.

For Samsung there is only one smartphone in their sites and that is the new Apple iPhone 6.

But there is a another new kid on the block in the form of the HTC One M9 which is way up there and a worthy competitor the Samsung Galaxy S6, while better than the Apple iPhone 6 the HTC is set to appeal to a very different consumer than the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge if my recent tests are anything to go by.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and HTC One M9 were the big smartphone launches of this year's Mobile World Congress, and represent the next wave of flagships that Samsung and HTC hope will further cement their positions within the increasingly crowded market.

What I found during a recent shopping centre visit in Queensland was that both the new Samsung Galaxy S 6 Edge and the HTC One M9 have pulling power but to totally different audiences, females loved the Edge while males loved the feel of the HTC offering.

This says a lot about the styling and design that both Companies have built around their new smartphones.

 The M9 is the straightforward heir apparent to last year's much-praised M8, while the Edge, which features a dual-sided curved display, is the seriously dressed up sister to the regular Galaxy S6.

The Edge's dual-curved display is 0.1 of an inch larger than the M9's 5-inch 1080p, and is Quad HD with AMOLED 2,560 x 1,440 (577ppi) resolution. This is the best display there is and it's significantly superior on the Edge than the display screen of the Apple iPhone 6.

While the Edge is lighter and feels sensational in the hand one has to get use to holding it because it is slimmer and lighter than other smartphones and when texting with both hands it can easily slip out of your hands.

The Edge's Corning Gorilla glass seriously protects the outside of this device and what Samsung has done is create a very smooth design wrapped around a screen that is super bright.

The high fashion look with the sloping sides and the smooth glass like back is why this device has huge appeal with females and despite the high gloss look I had no problems with finger marks on the screen.

Apart from the new design Samsung has also made some big changes to the functionality of the S6, there is no removable battery or a Micro SD card.

Personally I don't see this as an issue especially as the smartphone users today are taking advantage of cloud based storage such as Drop Box, Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive.

As for the battery I am getting better battery life than the S5 and charging is significantly quicker especially if you use the supplied Samsung charger. New software has speeded the charging process.

The battery in the S6 is also larger and significantly slimmer that prior Galaxy models however the HTC One M9 2840 mAh battery delivers better battery life.

As for built in storage one has the choice of a 32, 64 and 128GB version.

A 32GB version combined with an external cloud storage offering is the ideal cost effective way to go. As an incentive Samsung is giving away for two years 115GB of One Drive storage.  

Where the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge seriously kicks in is when you are watching video. I watched an entire episode of the Netflix show House of Cards at Sydney airport, using the new Sennheiser Bluetooth Momentum headphones the experience was excellent with the new curved screen delivering a better viewing experience.

Watching a video on the Edge makes one realises that the curves are not a marketing gimmick but a seriously smart design move that delivers an excellent user experience when watching a video or looking up contacts.

On the downside we did pick up a problem with several web page where the text went around the curved display cutting off on certain words.

Both the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy 6bEdge handsets had a tendency to warm up after heavy use such when as watching a video.

The Edge's menu screen

The Edge has a TouchWiz interface over an Android Lollipop OS and one big advantage is that there are less annoying Samsung house apps though having said that the device I played with, had the new Milk music streaming app loaded and this is a brilliant new addition for Australian Galaxy owners.  

Milk on Galaxy S6

The service has been available in the US for nearly 12 months but not in Australia. Recently Samsung added a new Web music player.

 

This means that in addition to listening on your Samsung Galaxy smartphone or Samsung tablet, you can now enjoy the catalogue of more than 13 million songs spread out across 200 radio stations on the Web as well.

With Milk Music you can surf stations and genres by turning an interactive dial to navigate between songs. On the Edge, that dial has transformed into a full-screen tuner making navigating across genres and stations simple and fluid using a simple wheel.

The new interface is significantly cleaner than prior Samsung interfaces with the Korean Company getting rid of several unnecessary menus and boxes. Even the settings menu is cleaner and easier to navigate. Aesthetically it is a significant improvement.

Finding key contacts is easy with the new Edge especially when you activate the People Edge which allows you to register five contacts with a choice of blue, green, yellow, orange and purple colour options.

When the Edge is placed face down, the curved sides light up with the appropriate colour of the contact who is calling.

And if you touch the heart rate sensor on the phones rear it rejects the incoming call and triggers the sending of a default reply text, all without having to flip the handset over.

Camera

The camera is a real point of difference between the two handsets, and shouldn't be underestimated in terms of how important it is.

The New Galaxy S6 has the same 16MP camera sensor as the Note 4 however Samsung has significantly improved the lens with the new Edge housing an f/1.9 lens.

 

The 16MP camera shoots pictures in 16:9 natively, It can also handle video up to UHD (4K) resolution at 30 frames per second or 1080p with 60 fps, or you can go for slow-motion capture options.

 

For photos, the standard "Auto" mode handles everything for you nicely, including choosing HDR if the scene requires it. For more advanced users, a new "Pro" mode lets you take control with manual exposure, ISO, white balance, focal length and metering options, giving you every tweak you'd want aside from shutter speed. You can even create and save up to three custom shooting modes with the manual settings you choose.

 

Samsung's camera interface is a lot easier to look at and use than previous versions.

 

In average or dim light theGS6 takes advantage of its f/1.9 lens and OIS to let in more light than any other smartphone camera out there, which means lower ISOs being used and less software processing needed to smooth out shots.

 

In particularly tough situations, like indoors at night with low amounts of light available, the GS6 can take a crisp picture quickly without any blur or long shutter speeds, which is really important for a smartphone camera.

 

 When outdoors in the evening, pictures showed a little bit of grain.

A new Quick Launch feature, triggers camera access in 0.7 seconds when tapping the home button twice, and the speed at which pictures were able to be shot was also a big improvement.

Images are beautifully sharp and defined as this image shot in Surfers Paradise Queensland shows. When blow up building that are 25 kilometres away from where the image was shot are clearly defined.


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Conclusion

Let's ignore outright price for a minute and let's go for a 6GB a month unlimited calls package with Optus at $85 a month.

I say this because at $1,149 outright this is a pricey beast but at $85 a month you are getting one hell of a smartphone that is up there with the best there is.


Not only is it significantly superior to the Apple iPhone 6 it is a device that seriously gives you bragging rights. It looks super cool and feels great in the hand but remember to grip it tightly because I have not dared to do a drop test.


This is an extremely expensive pieces of kit that even Apple designers would say deserves credit and admiration.


Personally I really like the improvements to the master HTML pages the design upgrade makes key information such as settings, contacts, messaging significantly easier to read. The camera is a game changer for smartphones and the device is fast due to the use of a Samsung developed 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor that has four cores that run at 1.5GHz and four at 2.1GHz.It also has 3GB of RAM.


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SPECS

Samsung Galaxy 6 Specs

Screen: 1440 x 2560 Quad-HD Super AMOLED display 577ppi

Dimensions: 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm

Weight: 138g

Processor: 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor. Four cores run at 1.5GHz and four run at 2.1GHz.

RAM: 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM

Storage: 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of UFS 2.0 flash memory

Wireless: LTE category 6 modem (300mbps download), 802.11ac MIMO 620mbps, and Bluetooth 4.1, NFC.

Front camera: 5MP, f/1.9 lens with real-time HDR and wide-angle selfie

Rear camera: 16MP, f/1.9 lens

Battery: Built-in 2550mAh lasting WiFi 12 hours, LTE 11h, video 13h, music 49h. Wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy 6 EDGE Specs

Screen: 1440 x 2660 Quad-HD Super AMOLED display 577ppi

Dimensions: 142 x 70.1 x 70mm

Weight: 132g

Processor: 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor. Four cores run at 1.5GHz and four run at 2.1GHz.

RAM: 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM

Storage: 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of UFS 2.0 flash memory

Wireless: LTE category 6 modem (300mbps download), 802.11ac MIMO 620mbps, and Bluetooth 4.1, NFC.

Front camera: 5MP, f/1.9 lens with real-time HDR and wide-angle selfie

Rear camera: 16MP, f/1.9 lens

Battery: Built-in 2600mAh lasting WiFi 12 hours, LTE 11h, video 13h, music 49h. Wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge Will Be First Samsung Handsets To Get Android Lollipop 5.1

According to sources Samsung has plans to push the Android 5.1 Lollipop update to its handsets inside the second half of 2015, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.

 

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Let's ignore outright price for a minute and let's go for a 6GB a month unlimited calls package with Optus at $85 a month.

I say this because at $1,149 outright this is a pricey beast but at $85 a month you are getting one hell of a smartphone that is up there with the best there is and it is not going to hit the wallet as hard as an outright purchase. 

Not only is it significantly superior to the Apple iPhone 6 it is a device that seriously gives you bragging rights. It looks super cool and feels great in the hand but remember to grip it tightly because I have not dared to do a drop test.

While this is an extremely expensive pieces of kit that even Apple designers would say that it deserves credit and admiration.

Personally I really like the improvements to the master HTML pages the design upgrade makes key information such as settings, contacts, messaging significantly easier to read. 

The camera is a game changer for smartphones and the device is fast due to the use of a Samsung developed 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor that has four cores that run at 1.5GHz and four at 2.1GHz.It also has 3GB of RAM.

 

Cons:

The battery should be bigger but if it was the design of the device would go out the door. Much has been written about the lack of microSD card support and the now-fixed in place battery. But you will quickly realise that neither of these issues impede this device if you are an average user who has a cloud storage account.