Samsung not only announced the Galaxy S6 at the Mobile World Congress, which we discuss in detail here , but also an extra variant of that phone: the Galaxy S6 Edge. This is almost the same under the hood, but has a different screen that folds over the edges. This makes it a further development of the concept of the Galaxy Note Edge, which we saw last September , with the big difference that the screen now bends on both sides, and the curvature has become more subtle.
Although the amoled screen is curved at the edges, it is otherwise the same screen as in the Galaxy S6: 5.1″ with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, good for a pixel density of 577ppi. The processor is also identical – the new 14nm Exynos Octa – but the battery is a fraction larger at 2600mAh For the rest of the technical specs, we would like to refer you to our preview of the S6, in which we cover everything in detail.
We have already seen the concept of a curved edge with the Note Edge, but the effect is essentially different with the S6 Edge. With the Note, Samsung used the edge as a separate surface, with different content than on the rest of the screen. In this way, for example, the buttons that are normally located at the bottom of the home screen could be displayed in that border. With the S6 Edge, the content of the screen simply continues on both sides, over the edge. If you view a web page, it ‘folds’ around the phone, as it were. Because the edges are small, it probably won’t cause problems with text that becomes difficult to read if it’s on the edges, for example. Almost every web page or app has margin in the margins.
Because the image just continues, working with the S6 Edge takes a bit of getting used to at first. Many apps now use a so-called hamburger menu, where you have to swipe into the screen from the left to open the menu. We expected that such a move on the S6 Edge would work fine, because the edges are curved. But in practice it feels strange, because your thumb has to go around a bend. Perhaps it will get used to in the long run.
The S6 Edge is not just a design statement, Samsung has transferred some functionality from the Note Edge to this device. For example, it is possible – when the screen is off – to swipe back and forth over one of the screen edges. A simple ‘ticker’ then appears containing a clock, the weather forecast, news headlines and notifications. Samsung calls this the ‘information stream’. It’s a nice extra, in our opinion not the killer feature that will convince people.
However, there is also new functionality. For example, the edge can give a subtle glow when the phone is lying face down on the table. Users can associate the color of the glow with specific contacts. For example, during a meeting you will not be disturbed by a vibrating telephone or a ringtone, but you will only see, for example, a green light moving from left to right, a bit like KITT’s red bar in Knight Rider. You can then record by picking up the phone, and by placing your finger on the heart rate sensor on the back of the phone, you can push the call away.
You can also use the bar as a shortcut menu to reach favorite contacts, something Samsung calls the “people edge.” Very thin ‘lips’ are shown in the right edge that you can open by swiping them into the screen. You will then see favorite contacts and information about recent or missed calls.
Although the above features are well worked out, they are peripheral issues if you look at the overall picture. Things that you will probably play with in the beginning, but whether it is functionality that you will really use often in the long term remains the question.
This makes the Edge seem mainly a statement, on a technical level, but also certainly in terms of design. Because the phone looks very unique thanks to the curved screen, a bit futuristic even. We can well imagine that people in the store will be attracted to the S6 Edge.
However, the question is whether those few extra features and that cool appearance are worth the additional price that Samsung asks for it. Because where you have to pay an amount of 699 euros for the 32GB entry-level model of the Galaxy S6, that is no less than 849 euros for the basic variant of the S6 Edge. And that amount rises to 1049 euros for the 128GB variant.
The Galaxy S6 Edge will probably do a lot better than the Note Edge, but with prices like that, it probably won’t rise above niche status.