Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge User Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Malaysia Review

*This is a review of a loaned product unit from Samsung Malaysia*

NOTE : Brace yourself for another length review. If you’re not into reading this, scroll all the way to the bottom “Conclusion” part of this post to view my YouTube review conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.

 

It’s exactly a month now since the availability of Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge in Malaysia. Those die-hard supporters among you would have already bought the device and is happily using it now.

For those still undecided, no doubt you would like the wait-and-see approach, read more about the smartphone(s), ask around other owners for their opinions, browse online for reviews and comparisons, wait for the lengthy WinnieKepala.com review?? *wink*

See Also : Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Now On Sale in Malaysia

If you’re stalking me on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you’d know that I got my hands on one of this flagship from Samsung. I specifically asked for the Samsung GALAXY S6 edge – the one with the curved screen. Because I think, if you’re gonna buy the new S6, you might as well buy the one with the curved screen, right?

In case you didn’t know, the S6 and S6 edge have almost identical specs. The only difference, is that the S6 edge has dual edge curved screen (design wise) which has additional functions, and costs more than the other.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge_Combination2_Black Sapphire
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

As a refresher, here’s a quick specs overview of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge :-

  • 5.1” dual edge Quad HD Super AMOLED display (2560 x 1440)
  • 2.1 GHz octa-core processor
  • 32 / 64 GB internal storage (no expandable microSD) + 3 GB RAM
  • Upgraded to Android 5.0 “Lollipop” OS (with Samsung TouchWiz UI)
  • 16 megapixel (UHD 4K video recording) rear camera; 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • 7 mm thin, weighing only 132 grams
  • 2,600 mAH non-removable battery (up to 18 hours 3G talktime)
  • Connectivity : 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+ nano SIM, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, Fingerprint scanner, Heart Rate Monitor
  • Available in 4 colours : White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald

For more information and specifications, check out the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Malaysian product page HERE.

I spent a good 2 weeks with the S6 edge, using it as my primary day-to-day device, testing its usage as a normal user would. Now I’m happy to report back this lengthy (what other kind are there with me, right?) user review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.

 

Hardware & Build Quality

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - unboxing
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The white cardboard sleeve on white cardboard box is a departure from the previous wood grain packaging in the Galaxy S5 before this. Everything is cleaner, simpler and designed to be more premium than before. Inside, you get the S6 edge device, 3-pin power adapter with Fast Charging (which has an interesting folded top pin for portable storage), USB to microUSB cable, micro SIM pin, user manual and warranties.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge_Front & Back
Front & Back of the S6 edge, covered in glass

As highlighted, Samsung listened to all the complains of ttheir Galaxy S series being plasticky and cheap. This time, for real, it’s made with glass front and back, just like with the Sony Xperia Z series.

See Also : Sony Xperia Z2 User Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - Ports & Buttons
Ports & buttons around the metal sides

Samsung wants to wow you this time with their much improved build material and design. On top of the glass front and back, the sides are metal all around. Housing the usual ports and buttons – like micro SIM slot at the top, Power On/Off button at the right thumb-accesible height on the right, volume rocker on the left and speaker grill, micro USB charging port and 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs iPhone 6 - bottom design
iPhone 6 (top) vs Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (bottom)
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
“Home” button that’s also a Fingerprint Scanner

Yes, it has been pointed out numerous times that there’s a bit of a copycat design element here. The bottom of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (bottom) is very similar to the iPhone 6 (top). Although minor design flaw have also been pointed out – the S6 edge micro USB port doesn’t quite align vertically with the speaker grill and headphone jack next to it. Nevertheless, I do see the resemblance here. If you’re not paying attention, and you have both these devices on the table side-by-side, it’s quite easy to accidentally pick up the wrong phone.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Samsung. Like you’re not in enough courtroom trouble with Apple already.

The S6 edge has a nice 5.1” dual edge Quad HD Super AMOLED display, with a 2560 x 1440 resolution screen that displays amazing quality images. Like you’d expect any less. Samsung has consistently given us great display tech, and this time, we see a gorgeous screen again. As with precious generation Galaxy S series, the S6 edge has a singular physical “Home” button in the bottom middle of the phone, with 2 capacitive soft buttons for “Multi-tasking” on the left, and “Back” button on the right.

This “Home” button also doubles as a Fingerprint Scanner, similar to iPhone 6 can be configured to scan yoru fingerprint to unlock your device. It’s prompted when you setup your device at the beginning.  In my tests, once configured, in my multiple tries at different angles of my thumb, the Fingerprint Scanner worked really well in recognising my prints to unlock. Good job!

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - in hands
Premium smartphone in my hand

From a hardware perspective, I applaud Samsung for making this a really beautiful phone – design wise, build quality and material.

The 5.1″ screen is actually, in my opinion, a good sized phone. In a market filled with oversized devices and phablets, I still prefer my day-to-day smartphone to fit comfortably in my hand, for single or two thumb typing. Something that’s sleek and fits without being too bulky, good grip and gorgeous.

I think Samsung did well here with the new design for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. If they keep this up, future iterations might look a lot more appealing now.

 

Software & Usability

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung TouchWiz UI

During my review, I was thankful to receive an OTA (Over-The-Air) prompt to update the S6 edge to the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. It still has Samsung TouchWiz UI on top, which makes the phone a lot more usable for first time Android users along with other Samsung add-ons.

S6 edge - Homescreen
S6 edge – Homescreen

The Homescreen is very much like the previous Samsung Galaxy series Android smartphones’ User Interface (UI). The TouchWiz skin is familiar here, with lots of flowy, nature inspired blues. Swipe down to reveal Notification Shade, allows customisation of shoortcut toggles (and there’s a lot of them), App Drawer (grid of dots on homescreen) shows all apps, Multi-tasking view is at a click of the soft, capacitive button (swipe sideways to close running apps).

See Also : Samsung GALAXY S5 User Review

S6 edge - Pre-installed app
Pre-installed Samsung apps

While I have to say, the pre-installed apps (aka Bloatware) are always present with ALL smartphones these days, Samsung did try their best to minimise the annoyance with the S6 edge. Yes, there are handy and good stuff – like when you swipe all the way to the left on the Homescreen will reveal Flipboard (news reading app Samsung partnered with).

Plus, instead of their partnership with Dropbox in the past, this time S6 edge comes with FREE 100 GB of Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage. While I’d prefer to add to my go-to Dropbox cloud storage capacity, 100 GB OneDrive is a lot to offer and it’s interesting to see Samsung in bed with Microsoft instead.

Galaxy App (Samsung’s own App Store) is redundant, as usual, in my opinion, since most people use Google Play Store anyways. But Galaxy Life is their lifestyle membership club kinda deal. You get cool, location specific deals with local shops, retailers, F&B outlets and more. Do activate this and check it often, you do get great deals to redeem here sometimes. 🙂 I hope Samsung Malaysia keep this going.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - rear camera & heart rate monitor
Rear camera & heart rate monitor

Right next to the rear camera, you see the LED flash with a Heart Rate Monitor.

S6 edge - S Health
S Health (also using the Heart Rate Monitor)

Tie this with the pre-installed S Health app, which helps you monitor and track your fitness activities and health. Place your finger on the Heart Rate Monitor to measure your heart rate, input and track your runs or number of steps you took that day and more.

See Also : Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear Fit User Review

S6 edge - Motion & Gesture
Motion & Gesture

Motions and Gestures like Direct Call (lift the phone to your ear to automatically make / answer calls), Smart Alert (auto vibrate for notification when phone is in hand), Mute (flip phone down to mute) and Palm Swipe to Capture (do screenshots by just swiping your hand over the sensor at the top). They’re all enabled by default, which can be easily forgotten if it’s not a feature you use often. In my case, it’s very very rarely used.

Side note : Taking screenshots by pressing the Power On/Off button and Home button simultaneously wasn’t as easy as with previous Samsung smartphones. Many a times, it took multiple tries and longer press to capture screenshots for this review. Whatever you did different, Samsung, I don’t like it. 🙁

S6 edge - Multi window
Multi window

One thing I liked from the Samsung Galaxy Note series was the Multi-Window capability. With the S6 edge, you just swipe in diagonally from the top left of the screen and it automatically shrinks the current app to a mini window. You can activate multi-window with 2 apps side-by-side (more like top-and-bottom) and this is handy when you’re referring to something in one app, while messaging someone about it in another app. I like this multi-window function, even in a small 5.1″ screen of the S6 edge.

 

What’s Special About The Curved Edges?

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge - Curved screen
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge – Curved screen

The biggest selling point of the S6 edge, compared to the other flagship of Samsung Galaxy S6, is the dual edge curved screen. Which means both the sides of the smartphone screen is curved.

The first thing to point out is the aesthetic beauty of a curved screen on a smartphone. Samsung tried this with their Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (I didn’t get to review this, unfortunately) which features additional, non-intrusive notifications and alerts. I thought it was nicely done then, and as with most people, were hoping to see more features coming from Samsung’s curved screens on smartphones.

So, now we have it with the S6 edge flagship. So, what features are built in the curved screen?

S6 edge - Edge screen
Edge screen Settings

Right in the Settings menu, you find the settings for the Edge Screen. Here you can see what you can do with the curved screen of the S6 edge. Although, I find it odd that there’s no on-screen tutorial right at the beginning when you setup the device the first time. Oh well.

As you see, I can pretty much sum up the 4 key features built specifically for the curved screen:-

  • People Edge – set up to 5 speed dials and customise their corresponding colours. Swipe in from top right (in Homescreen) and you can do one-click to call / message these Top 5 contacts. A new way of speed dial, I suppose
  • Edge Lighting – an extension of People Edge. When your phone is flipped face down, when any of these 5 speed dials calls / messages you, you’ll see a glowing light at the edge corresponding to the colours you assigned for each contact
  • Info Screen – Setup a scrolling ticker of info when your screen is on standby. Fom notifications and alerts, news stories, Twitter feeds and more
  • Night Clock – Set based on the time band you customise, you’ll see a faint, grayscale clock on the edge. Handy for when your phone serves as a clock at night, and you wake up in the middle just to glance at the time without turning the screen on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXOa_qNs-a0

For now, these are the only use for the much hyped dual edge curved screen – whcih are gimmicky at best. Other than the fact that curved screens is nice design-wise and a bit of a head turner and conversation starter.

To be honest, in my opinion, these are not great features. Thing is, for this design and minor feature, the S6 edge costs RM 500 more than the usual candybar S6. Not really worth that additional  price tag, in my opinion.

 

Camera & Image Quality

The S6 edge houses a 16 megapixel rear camera that captures UHD 4K video recording, with a 5 megapixel front facing camera.

S6 edge - Camera
Less scary toggles and menu

In Samsung’s Galaxy S series smartphones, considering it’s their flagship phone, I have not been disappointed with the image quality of the pictures. A lot of features, enhancements and technology is placed in the camera functionality and this time is no exception.

The best part, in my opinion, is the way Samsung has cleaned up the interface. In the past, you see all the funky modes and screen selections in a carousel toggle when you click “Mode”. This time round, it’s all hidden another layer in the Settings menu. Which I find it to be better, cleaner and less confusing for the average user. Also, a few modes are on by default, like HDR and Beauty mode to clear up skintone for portrait shots. Good job.

There are Selective Focus option to allow you to take pro-like bokeh images with blurred background, Panorama mode for gorgeous landscapes, and even a new Virtual Shot to take 360 perspective shots of an object. Which unfortunately I didn’t get to try.

S6 edge - Selfie
Even Selfie mode is improved

I like the way Selfie mode is also cleaned up and improved. I take moderate amount of selfies. My  usual annoyance is getting the right grip of the phone on one hand and tapping on the on-screen button without producing a shaky image. Which is why I’m usually a fan of dedicated, physical camera shutter button.

While we don’t have that with the S6 edge, Samsung added the capability to allow you to take selfies with other modes – swiping your finger over the Heart Rate Monitor next to the rear camera to snap (I like this), using Voice Command (say “Take Picture” or some other keywords) to snap a picture. Smile Detection to snap a picture (usually found in Digital Compact Cameras). I like all these, albeit minor, but truly handy additions.

As usual, I was impressed with the image quality from the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.

Here are some sample images, not resized or edited in any way. So, click to view original, enlarged version:-

Or view on Google+ Photos, full album HERE.

As you can see, bright daylight images are awesome, as expected. Even front facing camera selfies do a good job. Beauty mode is permanently on, making my skin looks so smooth and glowing in self portraits. Images in low light is good – better than I expected, really, comparatively to other smartphones I have used. Even in low light, with the flash on, it wasn’t too harsh to wash out the subject, it was nicely balanced and looked good still.

As for Macro shots, I wasn’t too impressed though. Maybe it’s my dog who’s moving around a lot, but it didn’t really capture the fine details of his janggut fur, as I’d like.

Food porn images are always good, which I’m guilty of snapping a lot of such images. I’m always a fan of cameras that make the food look drool-worthy. Thumbs up, Samsung!

 

Battery Life

The S6 edge houses a 2,600 mAH non-removable battery. No doubt to keep the device slim, as they always say.

This is a rather small capacity, in my opinion, for a flagship of today, when other mmanufacturers are packing batteries above 3,000 mAh. And it’s a non-removable one this time round, too. The very first for a flagship for Samsung.

While this is a battery with many first for Samsung, it’s also one that they’ve introduced Fast Charging capabilities. Biggest complain for most smartphone user, is to have a bigger battery capacity built in to their smartphones, because unfortunately, with the improvements of smartphones, battery tech seems to be developing way too slowly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulmAjj0vJVE

 

With Samsung’s new Fast Charging feature, they can’t seem to shout about it enough. I dunno whether it’s built into the phone, they did some innovation with the battery pack itself, or it’s in the external accessories like the 33-pin adapter charger or the micro USB cable, but hey – it works amazingly well to charge the S6 edge really fast!

S6 edge - Battery Life

The battery life on the S6 edge is decent. Not great, but decent. In heavy usage, and I mean, really non-stop checking my phone every few minutes, I get <8 hours of use.

In light usage, just some browsing, some messaging, not much calls, I can squeeze over 1.5 days of battery life with the S6 edge, Which is impressive enough for me to successfully replicate this a couple of times in my review.

In moderate, average usage, you can get a good 12 – 16 hours of use with the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, before you have to plug it in soon.

But fret not, you don’t have to be a slave to the wall plug to get your S6 edge recharged when it’s on low-batt. It seriously takes only a 15-20 mins of charge and you’re good to 40% battery or so to last you the rest of the night. How does Samsung do this? Amazing!

I am very impressed with the Fast Charging capability of the S6 edge. This magic should exist in all smartphones today… like now!!!

The other downside in my review on the battery life, is OVERHEATING.

I don’t know if it’s specific to my review unit, but in my heavy usage tests, when I’m browsing non-stop, or having a really long messaging chat with a friend on WhatsApp or FB Messenger, the phone gets unusually hot. A couple of times, I wasn’t even using it excessively and it heats up. So hot, that I got others around me to double confirm the heat, that I’m not imagining it. So hot, that I worry that there could be some misbehhaving rogue app burning my battery, I kill all running app, and to be safe, restart my phone.

This happened quite regularly in my 2 weeks review, the sudden overheating of the battery, which troubles me. A LOT.

Most of the time, I really wasn’t using any battery draining function or app. Or using it a lot. The battery heats up so much, that sometimes it even refused to open certain app. For eg, it wouldn’t let me swap over to the front facing camera, stating to try again as the battery is overheating. Ya think? And your heating up and won’t let me take a selfie? *sulk*

 

Pricing & Availability

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge review

The Samsung Galaxy S6 (candybar) and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (curved screen) is already ON SALE IN MALAYSIA since 17 April 2015, through a major Consumer Launch event with ourr national hero, Dato Lee Chong Wei. Read my coverage here.

Specifically to this review, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is on sale for a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 3,099 (32 GB) or RM 3,599 (64 GB).

If you’re looking to get your hand on a Telco subsidized device, check out the mobile telco plans:-

  • Maxis plan with device from RM 1,999 + monthly fee from RM 158 / month HERE (Emerald Green available exclusively to Maxis)
  • Celcom plan with device from RM 1,488 + monthly fee from RM 85 / month HERE
  • DiGi plan with device from RM 1,739 + monthly fee from RM 48 / month HERE
  • U Mobile plan with device from RM 1,690 + monthly fee from RM 65 / month HERE

 

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed my time reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. There’s much to like about this 2015 flagship from the top South Korean manufacturer. The flagship packed a much better design and build quality than ever before, with a cleaner User Interface and improvements all around. The world’s first dual edge curved screen is a head turner, for sure, but I can’t say that it’s something that I would happily plonk extra moolah for.

In case this lengthy review was too much for you to read, check out this quick video below, summarizing my review of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.  Including my Top 3 Likes and Dislikes on the S6 edge.

Note : For some reason, the video is not embedding properly on the blogpost. Meanwhile, click HERE to view the video.

 

In conclusion…

If you’re a fan of Samsung smartphones, you will not be disappointed with this year’s flagship. It has much improvement and is the best they have produced yet.

For my money, I would advise you to get the standard Samsung Galaxy S6 instead (RRP of RM 2,599 for the 32 GB version), which is a more acceptable price tag. If money is no issue for you, and you like having yourself a unique phone, then be my guest, go buy this Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. It is a beautifully designed smartphone.

 

For more information, visit Samsung Malaysia website at http://www.samsung.com/my/ or *LIKE* the Samsung Mobile Malaysia Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/samsungmobilemalaysia

 

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