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Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge for Sprint

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  81  

Apr 10, 2015, 5:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Here is a look at Samsung's premiere device, the Galaxy S6 Edge. This Android smartphone has a unique curved screen, an excellent build, and an impressive spec sheet. Find out everything there is to know about the Edge in this full report.

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Is It Your Type

The Edge is the more interesting of Samsung's new Galaxy S6 handsets. The phone's display is curved on both sides in a bid to give it an extra bit of appeal over the standard GS6. If you're the type who wants a flagship smartphone and relishes the idea of testing something a little different without taking too much of a risk, the GS6 Edge is here to tempt you with its luscious curves.

Body

The Galaxy S6 Edge is probably the most ambitious smartphone ever from Samsung. Sure the Galaxy Note kicked off phablets in 2010, and the Note Edge was the first to have a functional, curved screen, but the S6 Edge is the first to bring together quality materials, top-notch construction, and specs galore in a phone fit for regular people.

While the S6 Edge and its sibling, the S6, are clearly cut from the same cloth as previous generations of Galaxy S smartphones, they take a dramatic new step forward thanks to the metal and glass design. The Edge trades the cheap-feeling plastic of its predecessors for gorgeous glass that hugs an aluminum frame. The front and back panels are both made from Gorilla Glass 4, but the front has been curved through a process Samsung calls 3D thermal-forming. Essentially, Samsung heated the glass to over 800 degrees and wrapped the glass around a rod to achieve the curved shape. I think it looks great.

The glass panels are fitted tightly to the metal band that forms the outer edges of the phone. The band is thin along the sides to accommodate the curved glass, and thickens at the top and bottom to provide strength and rigidity. Samsung polished the edges of the metallic band to give them some extra sparkle. Matching accents can be found on the home button, earpiece grill, and camera module. The quality is top-notch. Samsung clearly took great care in designing and assembling the S6 Edge. It absolutely goes toe-to-toe with Apple's iPhone and HTC's One in terms of fit and finish.

Body  

You might be fooled into thinking a phone with a curved screen would be smooth when held. It's not. The frame has a distinct and rather sharp edge (ahem) where it meets the curves of the display. These edges are readily felt when you grip the phone and cut into your skin a bit. The standard S6 is somewhat more comfortable to hold thanks to the thicker metal frame. The Edge is thin, however, and relatively light. It doesn't sit deep in your palm, but it's not so wide as to make it unwieldy. Thanks to the smooth — nay, slippery — glass surfaces, the Edge will glide into any pocket or pouch like an eel through water.

From afar, I really appreciate the way light catches the curved edges of the phone. The front face is all glass, save for the physical home button placed below the display. The home button doubles as a fingerprint reader. As per usual, Samsung bestowed the Edge with two capacitive keys (back, multitask) on either side of the home button for help in navigating the user interface. All three buttons work perfectly. The home button has an excellent profile and wonderful travel and feedback. On the white model, which we're testing, the user-facing camera module and sensor array stand out a bit. These disappear on the black model. They are separated by the chrome-accented earpiece. There's a hidden notification light for good measure.

Slim the side edges may be, but that's where you'll find the volume buttons on the left. They are two separate keys, rather than a single toggle. Their profiles, travel, and feedback are excellent. You can apply these same descriptors to the screen lock button, on the right side. I do wish the device had a dedicated camera button. Alas, it doesn't. The bottom edge holds the stereo headphone jack, the micro USB port, and the grill for the speakerphone. I will say I'm rather surprised Samsung didn't make the jump to the USB Type-C connector, which is reversible and faster for data transfers. The top edge of the phone holds the tray for the SIM card and the IR port for interacting with home theater equipment.

The back panel is perfectly flat and smooth glass, save for the camera module, which protrudes noticeably. Samsung placed the flash and heart rate sensor in a separate module to the right of the camera, but they are flush with the surface.

Perhaps the biggest departure for Samsung with respect to the design is the rear panel, which cannot be removed. For years Samsung has teased rivals for their sealed designs and pointed to its own swappable batteries as a benefit. Samsung can no longer make such claims. The Edge is sealed up tight, which means no swapping batteries. It can, however, work with most wireless charging pads thanks to support for multiple wireless charging standards. What's more, it includes rapid charging. These will offset the battery's inaccessible state for some. Further, the Edge doesn't include a memory card tray, though Samsung sells it in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB variants.

Using two glass panels has practical limitations. Anyone who dropped and broke an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s can tell you what a pain in the rear it is to deal with replacing so much broken glass. Samsung is taking a bit of a risk with the double glass design, but Gorilla Glass 4 is supposed to be pretty tough stuff. Consider yourself warned.

Samsung did about as well as it could have in designing and manufacturing the Galaxy S6 Edge. No phone is without compromises, and the Edge certainly has a few, but overall it's an excellent piece of hardware that should please most people.

(It's a shame that U.S. carriers are not initially offering the blue and green colors, which I thought looked spectacular. The white and black models are a bit dull, and the gold is too... well, not for me.)

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Comments

This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.

Zpike

Apr 13, 2015, 3:05 PM

IF

If Samsung seals in the battery and removes the SD card on the Note 5, I'll be looking to LG for my next device.
I've already been keeping an eye on LG regardless of the Note5 and many of my immediate friends and constitutents are as well. We are the same type of people that left HTC when they decidedly thought bagging the options of these two options. We simply...
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Slammer

Apr 10, 2015, 10:09 PM
edited

Disappointed.

---"Some may be put off by the locked-in battery and lack of memory card, but these are acceptable trade-offs to me to gain such an attractive phone."---

Do people not hear what they're saying when comments are made like this?

So being pretty is more important than having flexibility and control over your own device?

It's bad enough we have had to deal with locked down handsets where jailbreaking and rooting has to be performed in order to get the most out of a phone you pay good money for. Now we have to deal with even more control from the industry by just accepting the the notion to eliminate key components?

Samsung creates an ad to promote the new phones and widely distrubutes these ads in mass social media sites. The negat...
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like many have said this before.
"get over it ! "
apple have been doing this since iphone1 with no removable battery and no microSD slot.
and they (apple) "claim" they selling millionS.
...
Slammer said:


It's very concerning that tech sites and its editors have fallen for compromise.

John B.


I agree but the entire industry has been falling for compromise for years. It's called the iPhone.
...
John - Thanks for sharing your opinion. As far as I am concerned, portable battery packs are FAR more convenient to use than actual swappable batteries. They are very inexpensive compared to replacement batteries. The standard 2,200mAh rechargeable ba...
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Unfortunately, you don't represent the majority of consumers. The #1 complaint in the past for Samsung was Design. This is not only published by Samsung, but many other sources and review sites.

Secondly, Cloud isn't perfected yet? Cloud service is...
(continues)
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John - I totally agree with you. I'm hanging onto my Note because of the SD slot and removable battery. The current battery technology we use in cell phones all have limited recharge cycles. Eventually the battery degrades and holds less and less of a...
(continues)
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I have always been a fan of removable battery and memory cards and am sad to see Samsung go away from them. I can't speak so much to why the non removable battery but the non removable memory cards was inevitable. Too many people buy cheap memory ca...
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Atwork87

Apr 13, 2015, 10:53 AM

LG G4

On its way. It kinda makes all my worries moot.
dabbler

Apr 11, 2015, 10:07 PM

Edge case

I wonder how they could design cases for this phone where the edges would still be exposed.
Incipio makes one. I have it on my S6 EDGE right now. Obviously the screen is exposed and it doesn't overlap the edges but it covers all 4 corners of the phone very well and makes holding the phone a lot better too IMO.
 
 
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