Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 / Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone

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The Android smartphone to beat

Samsung is basically synonymous with Android--possibly more so than even Google in some ways--and it's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones are the flagship Android smartphones to beat.

  • 9.5
  • User Ratings (35 Votes)
    5.4

Specs

The device is 2.78 inches wide, 5.65 inches tall and just over a quart of an inch thick. The Galaxy S6 weighs 4.9 ounces while the S6 Edge is a tad lighter at 4.6 ounces—possibly a result of the wrap-around glass on the sides replacing some of the aluminum frame.

The 5.1-inch Super-AMOLED display has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440—making a market-leading pixel density of 577 PPI. It comes with Android “Lollipop” and has an Exynos 7420 processor which merges a 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 with a 2.1 GHz quad-core Cortex-A57. The Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge has 3GB of RAM and is available with 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of internal storage.

It has a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a complete sensor array, including accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, blood oxygen and heart rate sensor. It also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication.

Form

Both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge feel like they’re well-engineered and solidly constructed. Samsung learned some hard lessons from the relatively tepid response to the Galaxy S5 and took a page (or two) from the Apple playbook when designing the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 is an aluminum alloy frame with Gorilla Glass on front and back. The Galaxy S6 Edge is essentially the exact same device with the obvious exception being that the Edge has a wrap-around display that curves around the sides and comes with a couple extra features that make use of the funky edge glass.

I prefer the Galaxy S6. The additional features of the S6 Edge seem like marginal parlor tricks—novelties that get old quickly. The Galaxy S6 feels better in my hand. I feel like I am much less likely to drop the S6, and if you do drop an S6 Edge that curved display will cost you more to replace—estimates run as high as $260 and according to VentureBeat it’s not covered under warranty.

Function

No complaints in this department with either device. There’s a reason that Samsung dominates the Android smartphone market and why the Galaxy line of devices is the de facto standard for flagship Android devices.

Both the display and the camera are amazing. I’ve come to expect nothing less from Samsung mobile devices. Battery life and app performance were stunning. The bonus on the battery life is that when it does need to recharge it does so quickly with the included fast charger. Samsung claims you can get 4 hours of battery life out of the Galaxy S6 with just 10 minutes on the charger. I found that I could get it to about 50 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. Not too shabby if you need to recharge in a hurry before you hit the road.

One thing I don’t like about Samsung mobile devices is the additional proprietary bloatware. Some of it is useful and I know there are those who love the Samsung apps. I’d just prefer a stock Android experience out of the box with the option to install the Samsung apps I want. I’m not a fan of having additional apps installed by default that I can’t even remove if I want to.

Verdict

When it comes to Android smartphones Samsung is dominant and it’s easy to see why. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have the quality engineering and craftsmanship to go head-to-head with the iPhone 6. Samsung has gone to great lengths to pay attention to detail and provide an exceptional smartphone experience.

The Galaxy S6 Edge is cool, but the things that make it unique just don’t impress me that much. I’d recommend just going with the regular Galaxy S6 if you’re in the market for a new Android smartphone.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

8 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is like the Android iPad Air you always wanted – Mashable | Samsung Galaxy Leather Cases, Accessories, and News

  2. Battery life is appalling, and it’s a commonly held issue with S6 and S6 Edge owners all over.
    I know, I own an Edge phone and, compared to my previous phone, the Nexus 6, the battery life is shockingly bad. Yes, I can charge it in the evening and it’ll get me through to getting home but what if you don’t have access to a charging facility? You have to purposefully limit your use to be sure the phone lasts, and what’s the point in such an awesome phone if you have to limit it’s utility?

    • I didn’t have any issue making it through the day without having to limit my usage. That said, I do know that the Galaxy S6 battery has lower capacity / shorter life than the Galaxy S5 battery and that it can’t be swapped out like its predecessor–so compared to that I can see why some people may be disappointed. Among flagship smartphones, though, the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge have admirable battery life and the fast charging technology (assuming you can find a fast charger handy when you need it) makes a huge difference.

      • No, they don’t have an admirable battery life, and your article is the only one that suggests it does. It’s only 16:45 here and my phone is already at 26%, ridiculous. One can only hope that the eventual release of 6.0 will help with the power management. Right now it’s awful.

  3. I was a Samsung fan, owned the S3 and then just recently retired my Note 3 phone to home WiFi use and upgraded to new phone. This was about 3 weeks ago.

    I’m on Tmobile, no contract, so basically I pay over 2 years the full price of the phone.

    I debated about upgrading to the Note 4, but aside from a 16mp camera, it was basically the same as my Note 3. Wasn’t worth spending the $600+ to get 1 year old technology. The Note 5 of course seemed the logical choice but then the lack of SD card and IR blaster (which I must admit I use all the time) totally killed that idea. 32 gigs of storage on a device that takes 4k video and 16megapixel photos is totally pathetic, and the 64gig model would be just “ok” but now way too expensive. The reality set in that Samsung no longer made a device that I would want to buy.

    The Note 4, in most respects, is more advanced than the Note 5.

    So I looked around and eventually found a phone that would cost me about $250 less than the Note 4 or 5. Had a better camera than the Note 5. Had the same base storage but had a removable battery and support for mico SD cards. And this was the LG G4.

    The Note 5 is $30 a month through tmobile vs $19 for the LG G4.

    My only complaint so far about the phone is the screen sensitivity is not as good as my older Note 3 and the screen’s usable area is actually a bit smaller than the 5.5 inches because of the use of non-hardware buttons. Those graphical buttons take up a significant amount of the bottom portion of the screen making the overall usable diagonal area perhaps more like 5.3 inches. It goes back to 5.5 when viewing photos or a movie or most full screen apps, but still, I don’t like this as much.

    But for $250 cheaper? Totally happy. The camera, to me, is the real killer aspect and also I have to admit I love the “Tap on / tap off” wake screen feature. It now feels weird to press a physical button on my old note 3 to turn it on. LOL.

    Positives:
    • Removable battery (my note 3 lost 1/2 battery life after 1 year of use)
    • SD card support (I have a 64gig card inserted for a total of 96 of storage)
    • Decent sized screen at 5.5 inches (with shortcomings noted above)
    • Super smooth UI and switching or opening apps compared to my Note 3
    • Insane camera, most magazines argue it’s currently the best in a smartphone to date.
    • Significantly cheaper than the current crop of Samsung phones
    • Excellent battery equal to my Note 3 when it was new and in a year when the charge begins to fade will be able to replace. The Note 5 will either have to be shipped back or just deal with it
    • 2560 x 1440 screen res.

    Negatives:
    • screen touch n feel seem heavy. Skips touches occasionally. Not totally sure if it’s my screen protector or just a hardware issue or if I’m so used to a larger screen that I’m skipping letter keys by mistake. I think combination of all.

    • When seen from side, screen is not easy to see as Note’s which can be viewed from most any angle.

  4. I recently updated to the GS6 – I love it. easy interface, intuitive and feels great in my hand – sound and picture are amazing. My battery easily lasts 12-18 hours. Fast charge.

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