Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Taking you to the edge, but it's not as fun as it sounds

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Samsung has launched two flagship smartphones side-by-side. The Galaxy S6 Edge plays second fiddle to the Galaxy S6, with an inflated price tag and eye-catching design.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge boasts the world's first dual curved display, making it unique – but is that enough to prise the cash out of your wallet?

It shares a lot of similarities with its brother, the Galaxy S6: both handsets sport the same punchy octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB internal storage, and an impressive 16MP rear camera.

The curved display will certainly turn heads, but it comes at a cost. Things start at £700 for the SIM-free 32GB model – £100 more than the S6 and £80 more expensive than the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus.

This futuristic smartphone is a looker, and it'll have your friends begging for a chance to play with it, but looks aren't everything and that sky high price tag is going to be difficult to justify.

Love at first sight?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a beautiful device to ogle – the way the screen slopes off either side is a pleasing sight and the sturdy metal frame and toughened Gorilla Glass 4 makes for a handset which feels as supremely solid and premium.

There is the odd flash of iPhone-inspired design here and there, most notably the layout of the various components on its base, but that's not a bad thing.

The power/lock key on the right and volume buttons on the left are well placed and easy to reach, allowing you to hit them without problems - handy, as the glass-metal finish doesn't provide a huge amount of grip.

You'll still find Samsung's famous physical home button below the display, but it's been enhance on the S6 Edge with a more premium feel and solid clicking action. The real magic here though is hidden within the button.

Samsung has totally overhauled its awful fingerprint scanner from the Galaxy S5 to give us a digit reader which is now even better than Touch ID on the iPhone. You no longer have to drag you finger over the key a million times to get it recognised – just place it on and you'll be instantly identified. Lovely.

With a 5.1-inch display the S6 Edge is a relatively easy handset to use in one hand, although the flat back and sharp edges mean it isn't as pleasant to hold than the HTC One M9 or iPhone 6.

Fire up the QHD Super AMOLED display though and your eye will thank you as the bright, vivid display gently wraps round the curved edges for a real visual treat.

Round the back the protruding 16MP camera may not be to everyone's taste (but trust us, it's worth it) and you'll also see the heart rate monitor has returned – giving you the ability to monitor your beats per minute as well as your stress level. No joke.

Taking it to the edge

The curved displays of the Galaxy S6 Edge aren't just for show, as they have a couple of tricks up their sleeves.

When the screen is off, slide your finger up and down the side of the display to wake the Edge Screen. From here you'll be able to see your notifications, latest news headlines, sports scores and Twitter trends without firing up the main display.

The information is pretty limited and in its current form isn't overly useful – especially as sometimes you'll need several attempts to get the S6 Edge to recognise your wakeup swipe.

There is hope for this function though, as a currently sparse download section in the Edge Screen settings is just waiting for developers to come up with clever ways to utilise the sliver of screen.

You can also have the edge of the display act as a bedside clock, displaying the time, date and next alarm between hours you predetermine in the settings.

Disappointingly there's no much functionality to talk of when the display is on – with the Edge screen shortcuts and tools of the Galaxy Note Edge failing to make the jump to the S6 Edge.

What you get instead is the 'People Edge', giving you quick access to your five top contacts, with shortcuts to call, text or email them.

The People Edge is only available from the home screen and app list, which limits its usefulness, but it makes it easier to check notifications from your key contacts.

There's no integration with the likes of Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger though but hopefully these will be added in future software updates.

Put the Galaxy S6 Edge face down and during a meeting it can subtly alert you to a call or message from one of your favourite five with a coloured coded glow from the Edge Screen.

You can even tap the heart rate monitor to dismiss a call and send the person a pre written text, which is pretty nifty.

A camera to make you smile

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge sports the same rear 16MP and front 5MP cameras as the S6, and if you've already read our review of that you'll know just how good the snappers are.

The S6 Edge won't let you down when it comes to snapping a quick pic.

Double tap the home button and the camera app loads up impressively quickly, meaning you're less likely to miss a shot, and the auto mode does a great job of adjusting the settings so you get the best photo.

For those of you who like a bit more control the Pro mode offers up a wide range options for you to play with, while 4K, slow motion and fast motion video is all possible on the S6 Edge.

Feel the power, feel for the battery

Samsung's octa-core processor (yes, eight cores people) and the 3GB of RAM means you have an awesome amount of power at your fingertips – and it shows.

Throw anything at the Galaxy S6 Edge and it'll take it in its stride, no questions asked. That means it's perfect for gaming and movie streaming, as well as multi-tasking.

Films, games and TV shows all look fantastic on the Super AMOLED display, the feature packed music app is intuitive and the infra-red blaster on top of the handset allows you to use the Peel remote app to control your IR devices at home.

The Android Lollipop interface feels slick under finger, and while it has been coated in Samsung's TouchWiz it's a much improved version with less clutter and few pre-installed applications.

All this does take its toll on the battery inside the Galaxy S6 Edge which is smaller than both the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6 as Samsung made design a priority here.

You should be able to see out a full working day on a single charge, but the S6 Edge won't last longer than that so a nightly charge will be essential.

If you are planning a Netflix binger or a few hundreds laps of Real Racing 3 then make sure there's a charger close by as they will eat through the battery.

Don't forget the charger in the box though, as it's fast-charging enabled giving you four hours of use from just 10 minutes of plugged in time – perfect for a quick blast before a big night out.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is an excellent smartphone and perfect for those with money to burn and the desire to turn heads wherever they go.

However, aside from the beautiful design, the S6 Edge doesn't provide anything extra over the Galaxy S6 – which is £100 cheaper. Those of us who are less flush will know to look for the best value.

The Galaxy S6 is the better buy it you're looking for an all-round powerhouse, but if you have the extra money and fancy owning a phone your can wave in the face of your iPhone-owning chums then the Edge has the ability to turn them green with envy.

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