Samsung Galaxy S6 edge review: Double down

GSMArena team, 3 April, 2015.

Display

The Super AMOLED screen remains at 5.1" though it's not a straight line diagonal. Still, the curve on the side is fairly minor and the left and right edges of the screen remain usable. Some view the move to QHD resolution (1,440 x 2,560px) as unnecessary and while part of the motivation is marketing, the other part is that you can visually discern the difference.

Super AMOLED displays haven't had issues with perceivable sharpness ever since they reached the 1080p threshold, but with the extra pixels, the display feels even sharper. It's a subtle thing, but it's there.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung continued to improve other characteristics of Super AMOLED displays too. Brightness got a healthy bump - you can get it to around 470nits manually, but if you leave it at auto, the phone can boost its display to an impressive 750nits. That's brighter than many LCDs out there!

That's one traditional strength of LCDs gone and Samsung has nailed the color accuracy too. Viewing angles are not an issue either, it would have been very visible in the curved sections of the display otherwise.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S6 0 208 0 363
Samsung Galaxy S6 max auto - - 0 619
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 0 208 0 313
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge max auto - - 0 601
HTC One M9 0.15 175 1180 0.44 534 1221
Sony Xperia Z3 - - - 0.65 866 1333
Apple iPhone 6 0.17 207 1230 0.61 740 1213
Motorola Moto X (2014) 0 167 0 358
Motorola Nexus 6 0 149 0 372
Samsung Galaxy S5 0 274 0 529


Sunlight legibility is better than ever, a slight improvement over the Note 4 and a decent jump from the Galaxy S5. The Gorilla Glass 4 is laminated to the AMOLED display below it so there's very little reflection.

As it happens, screen brightness on the Galaxy S6 Edge is slightly lower than on the Galaxy S6. In bright light conditions, both displays can go quite high in overdrive mode - however it's only available in Auto brightness mode.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One M9
    2.334
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Acer Liquid Jade S
    1.734
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Sony Xperia E4
    1.467
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

The curved sides of the display do reflect the light differently though so sometimes there are brighter reflections there. It's not enough to be an issue though.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge features Display modes, which give you three presets that change the white balance and color saturation. You can get more accurate or bolder colors, depending on personal preference.

Also, the display has an optional high-sensitivity mode, which can detect touches even when you're wearing leather gloves. Users in colder regions will appreciate that in the later.

Connectivity

Samsung's Exynos 7420 chipset is paired with an LTE Cat. 6 modem. Theoretical maximums are 300Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink. If you have access to an HSPA network only, you'll get a maximum of 42Mbps and 5.76Mbps respectively.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge supports Wi-Fi ac networks for fast local net. Wi-Fi a/b/g/n at 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks are also supported, of course.

Then there's Bluetooth 4.1 LE (for smartwatches, sport sensors and such) and apt-X codec (for high-quality audio streaming).

Then there's NFC, which is used for Samsung Pay, which lets the S6 edge replace your credit card. It's also used for pairing with other devices and reading NFC tags as well.

The microUSB 2.0 port on the bottom of the phone supports fast charging and regular USB 2.0 transfer speeds. Samsung's brief flirtation with USB 3.0 won't be missed since most data syncing happens over the Internet these days.

The port does have MHL 3.0 functionality, which allows it to output 2160p video at 30fps, coincidentally the top mode for the camera. The port also supports USB HID devices, like a keyboard and a mouse.

Even if the Galaxy S6 edge is not the video source for your home theater setup, the IR blaster can be used to control your TV, AV receiver and set top box/Blu-ray player. Samsung has preloaded the Peel Smart Remote app, which also features air conditioner support.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge comes with a 2,600mAh Li-Ion battery, the same capacity as the Galaxy S4. Unlike the S4, however, the S6 edge battery is sealed inside. You can use the charger from the retail box to quickly top up the battery - 10 minutes charging for 4 hours of usage says Samsung.

The company has also enabled wireless charging, supporting the two existing standards. Qi has been used in Nexus and Lumia phones and even some McDonald's stores in Europe have charging mats. The other standard, PMA, is featured in certain Starbucks locations and is more popular in the US. The dual-standard support means it will be easier to find a place to top up your battery.

The Galaxy S6 edge Endurance rating came out to 73 hours, in other words you should get three full days of casual usage. With heavy usage you'll be looking for a charger (wired or otherwise) on the second day.

It posted some great times in the individual tests. In the Web browsing test the Galaxy S6 edge actually beat its predecessor by an hour for an impressive 11 hour run. Same with the video playback - a solid achievement considering the sharper screen.

Note that the S6 edge screen is slightly darker (200nits vs 275nits) than the Galaxy S5 at the 50% slider position we use for testing.

Anyway, at 20h the talk time is lower than the Galaxy S5 but it should hardly be a problem. The overall numbers come very close to the Sony Xperia Z3, which has a beefier 3,100mAh battery. It also beats the HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 by quite a margin.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Note that these numbers were achieved with Night Clock and other Edge features turned off. Night Clock takes an extra 3% per 12 hours, which has only a small impact on the total endurance. If you enable the other Edge features, the Endurance rating drops to 54 hours since the screen digitizer is active all the time.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Our testing procedure includes a standby battery endurance test, which is not shown in the scorecard above, but is a part of the overall rating. You can learn more about our standardized routine here.