Samsung launched two phones positioned on the high end at the last Mobile World Congress. The Galaxy S6 on one side, and the Galaxy S6 Edge on the other. The second has been with me on a daily basis for over a month now, and the time has come to share with you all my impressions about it.
If you drop by here often, then you are no doubt aware that the S6 Edge has received a lot of focus over the past few weeks. This article will only summarize everything that has been mentioned in these articles.
However, if you are interested in a particular topic, you can follow one of these links:
Otherwise, know that you will find at the end of this article a long video reviewing all aspects of the terminal. It lasts a little over an hour but an interactive menu will allow you to easily jump from chapter to chapter.
Before going any further, we will take the time to review the technical characteristics of the Galaxy S6 Edge to refresh your memory. And also because he deserves it.
The terminal is positioned at the top of the basket, with a particularly attractive technical sheet. It thus embeds a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen capable of displaying a QHD-type definition (2560 × 1440), for a pixel density of 575 ppi.
On the processor side, there is an Exynos 7420 SoC coupled with a Mali T760 MP8 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The storage space varies between 32 GB and 128 GB and it is unfortunately not possible to expand it through a micro SD port since the terminal does not have one.
Samsung has taken great care in the photo part by opting for a main sensor of 16 million pixels crowned with stabilized optics capable of opening at f / 1.9. It is also necessary to count on a front camera of 5 million pixels.
Added to the list are 4G, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 and a 2,600 mAh battery with fast charging and wireless charging as a bonus.
If the adventure tempts you, know that the Galaxy S6 Edge is offered at 859 euros for the 32 GB model, at 959 euros for the 64 GB model and at 1,059 euros for the 128 GB model. It is available in black, in white, gold and green and you can go to Samsung site to order.
Packaging, Design and Ergonomics
The terminal box is fairly neutral. No visuals, it is satisfied with the strict minimum and it therefore shows the name of the manufacturer, the name of the model and its variation. There are also some technical characteristics on the back.
Inside and outside the terminal we will find:
- The quick start guide.
- The hands-free kit and its additional earplugs.
- The sync cable.
- The mains unit, compatible with fast charging.
The offer is quite comprehensive. Note also that the supplied headphones are very well made, without doing as well as my Urbeats. Well, after that, it's not the same price either.
The Galaxy S6 Edge doesn't look like its predecessors at all and that's no wonder because it definitely turns its back on plastic. It is actually provided with a metal frame and two tempered glass plates treated with Gorilla Glass 4.
It is both very light and very… airy, with a shell no more than 7 mm thick.
But the charming asset of the terminal is its screen since it covers a good part of the edges of the device, without going as far as the Galaxy Note Edge ( tested here ). Thanks to this peculiarity, the S6 Edge does not look like other terminals on the market, even if its lower border is somewhat reminiscent of one of its competitors.
The screen is very large and occupies about 90% of the surface of the terminal. Below, we will find a physical button acting as a fingerprint reader. Be careful because it has nothing to do with that of the S5 and it will suffice to put your finger on it to activate the identification.
As usual, we will also find a sensitive button on each side. The one on the left will activate multitasking (or windowed mode with a long press) while the one on the right will allow us to return to the previous screen.
The power button is placed on the right edge. For volume control, it will be on the other side.
The headphone jack and the micro USB port are placed on the lower edge, near a grid. Samsung has placed the SIM card door and an infrared port on the top edge. Finally, at the back, we will find the photo module, the flash and the heart rate monitor.
I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I was really won over by the lines of the Galaxy S6 Edge. We immediately feel that we are in the presence of a high-end terminal and that is really a lot of good.
Screen, Power and Autonomy
Samsung has equipped its Galaxy S6 Edge with a Super AMOLED screen offering a diagonal of 5.1 inches and a definition of QHD type, for a pixel density of 575 ppi.
It is therefore technically better than the iPhone 6 (326 ppi) and the Xperia Z3 (423 ppi).
Not everyone needs such a definition, that's a fact, but this choice is not surprising since the S6 and S6 Edge come with a Gear VR. Once in the helmet, their screen will be divided into two distinct areas and the same will apply for the definition of the panel.
AMOLED, for its part, offers a major advantage over competing technologies: it is devoid of backlighting. These tiles therefore consume less energy. However, they also tend to saturate the colors.
What does it mean ? If you are a professional photographer, then it will probably be better to go your way. On the other hand, this is no problem for games or even for movies. And especially not for 4K videos, by the way: the result is just phenomenal.
Now let's move on to raw computing power.
I mentioned it above but the Galaxy S6 Edge is equipped with an Exynos 7420 processor. It is therefore based on a big.LITTLE type architecture with four A53 cores clocked at 1.5 GHz for common tasks and four A57 cores clocked at 2.1 GHz for the most demanding operations.
Behind, we must also count on a GPU Mali T760 MP8 clocked at 700 MHz compatible OpenGL ES 3.1 / 3.0 / 2.0, OpenCL 1.1 and Direct 3D 11.1 with 3 GB of RAM.
On paper, it's rather seller and the same goes for the theory since the terminal exceeds 60,000 points on AnTuTu and 6,210 points on Quadran. The same goes for GeekBench where it obtains 1,499 points in “single core” or 5,128 points in “multi core”.
A real racing animal.
So how does it work in practice? Nothing to say. The terminal is extremely fast and it can run anything.
However, it also consumes a lot of RAM. It never goes below 85% for me. Well, unless you close all applications, of course. There it drops to 75% as a rule.
I know some users have had issues with closing apps. I had no problem on that side for me.
Side autonomy, the situation is much less idyllic, the Galaxy S6 Edge having to be satisfied with a battery of 2600 mAh.
There, he does not work miracles. In normal use, you can last a little more than a day with a single charge, or a day and a half by activating the energy saver.
Even if it means choosing, I would have preferred a slightly thicker phone but with a bigger battery.
However, the terminal has two advantages up its sleeve: it is compatible with fast charging and with wireless recharging. Suddenly, it will suffice to think of putting it on its station when arriving at work or when coming home to be quiet.
The supplied charger, for its part, will give us four hours of autonomy with ten minutes of charging. It doesn't look like much, but it's really handy if something goes wrong.
Photos, Videos and Sounds
The Galaxy S6 Edge that has been entrusted to me has a 16 million pixel IMX220 sensor. Accuracy is important because some versions are equipped with an ISOCELL sensor.
It is a little bigger than normal, it offers a definition of 16 million pixels and it is crowned with stabilized optics capable of opening at f / 1.9. In other words, it's supposed to be able to capture more light than its competitors.
And it really is. The dive is very good in bright light, with good dynamics in the highlights. It does a little worse on shadows, however.
Another point and not the least, its autofocus is extremely responsive and it only needs a moment to focus on the subject.
This is obviously very practical when you want to take a picture of the youngest. I actually did the test with my daughter if you want to know everything.
My mom drove by last weekend with her Lumia 1020 ( tested here ) and the poor guy couldn't keep up, unlike the S6 Edge which was doing like a boss.
It also sets the bar very high for video. It can record footage in HD (1280 × 800), Full HD (1920 × 1080), Full HD at 60 frames per second, QHD (2560 × 1440) and even 4K (3840 × 2140).
No change in the sharpness and the dynamics, they are as good as for the photos.
What about stabilization then? I'm not going to lie to you, he really impressed me. It does as well as the Lumia 930 ( taken in hand here ) which is nevertheless a reference in the field.
But the best asset of the Galaxy S6 Edge is its mobile application. Samsung has effectively opted for a modular architecture and it will be possible to download new filters or new shooting modes on the fly, in a few moments.
The manufacturer has also given us a very convincing “Pro” mode that will give us control over the metering mode, exposure compensation, sensitivity or focusing.
Nothing for the aperture and the speed on the other hand but it will correct the shooting with Android 5.1.
What about the audio part? Not much in fact. The sound is good and the headphones provided have pleasantly surprised me. I had no problem with the calls and there are quite a few options in the settings and it is even possible to simulate a surround effect.
Overlays and Features
Touchwiz has often been criticized in the past and Samsung has therefore made the decision to start from scratch with the new version of the overlay.
It consumes less resources than the previous one and that also means that it offers better performance and increased autonomy. The manufacturer also took the opportunity to clean up the interface a little and to simplify the ergonomics of the tool.
Moreover, if your heart tells you, you can download themes to customize it to your liking.
The functions do not really change. It will still be possible to place two applications side by side on the screen or reduce them in a floating window.
Samsung has also sought to make the most of the curved screen of its smartphone. It will suffice to rub the edge of the device to reveal side panels. Or streams, if you prefer. There are a dozen in all but the list should quickly expand in the weeks and months to come.
As it stands, it will be possible to display the latest notifications received, or even the value of our stock market shares. The same goes for articles published on Yahoo News or for trends on Twitter.
If necessary, the user can also turn his telephone into an alarm clock and display a clock on the edge of the terminal.
It will also find a button placed on the home screen, at the top, on the right. By pulling it to the left, it can bring up a sidebar grouping together five favorite contacts.
Each of them will be associated with a color and the phone will emit a colored glow when placed face down to let us know who is on the end of the line. It will also display a colored bubble in the event of a missed call or received message.
Touchwiz comes with several native applications, and in particular with the new version of S Health. It benefits from a new interface based on a system of customizable cards. It only takes a handful of seconds to register a new activity or even to measure your heart rate.
It will also allow us to track all the foods we eat, and even the number of coffees we drink. If we play the game, we will be able to have full tracking of calories consumed and expended.
I really fell in love with this tool. What's really cool is that it can recognize a lot of different activities and you can use it to record your sit-ups or even your baseball games. The same goes for boxing, bowling, dancing or even hang-gliding.
The gallery is quite clear and I found it well done. The same goes for the video player, messages or even the dialer. However, I did not take the time to stick to S Planner or the mail client.
I'm forgetting a lot of things, it's true, but the video you will find at the end of this article is much more comprehensive.
During its development, the Galaxy S6 Edge was referred to by the code name Project Zero and we immediately understand why when we pick up the phone for the first time.
The terminal has nothing to do with its predecessors. Absolutely nothing. This is truly a premium product and it feels really good.
Nothing to say on the screen or on the computing power either. It can run any application and game with ease and it will probably take a few years for the Exynos 7420 to run out of steam.
It can also replace your old digital compact without any difficulty thanks to its sensor and its optics. So it's true, the mobile application does not yet allow us to take control of openness or speed, but it is still doing with all the honors.
No, of course, the Galaxy S6 Edge sets the bar very high, but it is not without its flaws.
First point and not the least, the terminal does not have a micro SD port and this is really an unforgivable lack given its price positioning. So of course, we can always make up for it with the “cloud” but it is not the same either.
Then there is its autonomy. It is clearly perfectible and it will be necessary to remember to recharge the phone regularly so as not to run dry. Well, in an emergency, we can always activate the ultra energy saving mode, but it will then be necessary to ignore a lot of features.
Otherwise, the overlay packed me quite a bit, even though I've never been a big fan of Touchwiz. I find it clear, responsive and accessible at the same time. I just wish the manufacturer had taken more advantage of the borders of its terminal, but maybe it will with a future update.