For a long time, Samsung has been accused of copying Apple and other smartphone manufacturers. Its new flagship, the Galaxy S6 Edge, wants to dispense of this image with something no one else is doing: a screen with curved edges.
The question, though, is whether this is innovation for the sake of innovation, or if it adds something to the smartphone experience.
Specs: 5.1-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen (2560×1440 pixels, 577 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 4 | 1.5GHz Quad-core + 2.1GHz Quad-core Exynos 7420 processors | 3GB RAM | 32GB internal memory, no microSD slot | 16MP rear camera with 4K video recording, 5MP front camera with Full HD video recording | 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.1, Heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner | 2600mah li-ion battery | Android 5.0 Lollipop, TouchWiz UI
Price: Rs. 59,999
Is the Edge Screen really useful?
Honestly, no. Samsung has tried to make it useful, but failed at it. Through the Edge Screen settings of your phone, you can customise it to show you the clock when you’re sleeping, notifications of emails and messages, and add a few contact shortcuts.
However, none of this has any actual application in real life. If your phone is on your bed or night-stand, it is probably below your eye level anyway, so you do not need that night clock while you are sleeping. The Edge notifications work with only the default messaging and email apps, and won’t even display items from Gmail. The contact shortcuts are gimmicky and I never ended up using them after the initial test that they worked fine.
The curved edges also distort images, especially noticeable when playing a game with high frame rates or watching a Full HD movie. Even in direct sunlight, there’s that little reflection on the edges where you cannot clearly see what is happening.
Man, it looks great! Does it feel great?
If looks were all that mattered, the S6 Edge would be the best smartphone around. The curved edges, the metal trimming, the solid glass back—it is a head-turner, it is a conversation starter, it is the phone you flash and have everyone around you noticing it. For once, the ads you see on TV actually live up to the hype.
The compromise is that you need to be ready for a phone that is difficult to handle. The glass back is slippery, and because of the screen’s curved design, the sides of the phone do not offer any grip. I was constantly worried it would fall; when I gripped it tight, the metal trimmings dug into my skin to a point where it got a little uncomfortable when on a long call. It feels like a phone you need to handle tenderly.
Also, the curved edges meant I often accidentally touched the screen or tapped something unintended. I imagine you get accustomed to this with more usage though, we tested the phone only for 10 days.
How is the phone, overall?
The curves aside, the S6 Edge is one of the best Android phones we have used. The screen is sharp and displays colours accurately. The camera is the best we have seen on an Android, and as good as the iPhone 6. The performance is top-notch—everything will run fine on this phone for a couple of years, at least.
Our only issue was with the battery life. The S6 Edge suffers a quicker battery drain than most phones we have used. On average, you can expect about 12-13 hours of regular usage in a day. So in a normal day, you will be charging this phone twice. Even having a wireless charging unit does not make up for that inconvenience, and it is especially unreliable if you are going to be out all day. This is not what you expect from a flagship smartphone, especially not one that costs Rs 59,999.
Is the price worth it?
If you want the best designed Android around, if you want a conversation piece, if you want to make a style statement, the S6 Edge is what you should buy. It’s as simple as that.
If functionality is as important to you as style, if you crave a phone that is going to be your daily driver for the next couple of years, then forget about the S6 Edge. Even the Samsung Galaxy S6 is better (read our review), but in fact, we reckon you will find plenty of phones at half that price which are just as good or even better.
That said, Rs 59,999 is a hefty price tag for a smartphone. But it might actually be value for your money once you crunch the numbers.