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  5. Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: hands-on review

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: hands-on review

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: hands-on review

Samsung has just launched its latest flagship phone at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in two different iterations: a standard version, dubbed the Galaxy S6, and one with a screen with dual curved edges, aka the Galaxy S6 Edge.

We booked in some hands-on time with both at the show for our impressionistic hands on review. Here are our initial thoughts...

Design

samsung galaxy s6 edge people edge

Samsung has most certainly moved on from its plastic looking flagship phones with the Galaxy S6.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge feature a full metal chassis - said to be 50 percent stronger than other phones – and a glass rear.

See the Samsung Galaxy S6 in action in our hands-on video below

The latter is made from Gorilla Glass 4, making it both tough and scratch resistant, plus giving the phones the sort of premium look that fans were crying out for.

samsung galaxy s6 edge side on

The S6 is more compact than the S5, as 2 millimetres have been shaved off the width, and it’s just over a millimetre thinner. It's also seven grams lighter, coming in at 138 grams with the Edge being even lighter at 132g.

All of which is noticeable when placed side by side with the S5. And will be even more evident to long term Galaxy S5 owners.

Hardware and Software

samsung galaxy s6 detail

Samsung has stuck with a 5.1-inch screen in the S6, only it’s increased the resolution to Quad HD/2K. We found the display to be very responsive. And it offers up a decent picture too.

It's also bright and clear, thanks to Samsung's trademark Super AMOLED display tech. And with 77 per cent more pixels than the S5, it really shines.

Watch the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge in action in our hands-on video below

The S6 Edge stands out for its dual curved display.

The sides offer quick and easy access to up to five different contacts, all accessible from wiping in from the edge,with each contact assigned a different colour so you can see at a glance whose trying to get in touch.

When the phone is face-down, the edge of the screen can just about be seen.

It is even possible to respond to calls by tapping on the heart rate monitor, which sends an auto reply to tell the caller that you're busy.

samsung galaxy s6 edge in hand

Much like the Note Edge, the curved sides of the display can also show the likes of notifications and updates when the bulk of the screen is powered down.

All this could come across very gimmicky and dismissed as only included by Samsung as a way to sell in the curved display. But only time will tell if people make use of the features the secondary screen affords them.

The phone still packs a 16-megapixel camera, but work has been done to improve it on a hardware level, such as better OSI integration.

Its menu has been simplified to offer just the most commonly used options on a single screen, which saves you having to scroll down to find the feature you want. Although there is a pro menu for the more adventurous types.

Other improvements are around the camera app, which is now always on standby and is ideal for quick launching and quick picture taking. You can also now track a moving object in a shot.

It’s all change in the front-facing camera department, with the S5’s two-megapixel snapper making way for a 5-megapixel camera with impressive low-light picture capture.

That just shows Samsung has been listing to its audience, and the selfie is a trend that's not going away any time soon.

samsung galaxy s6 wireless charger

Fast charging has been incorporated in the S6 too with built-in wireless charging. Standard charging is said to offer four hours of battery life in just 10 minutes, which Samsung claims is the fastest out there.

We saw elements of this in action, and can confirm it does charge quicksmart. Having wireless charging natively inside the S6 adds it to a very small number of top tier phones supporting the standard.

Powering this all is Samsung's own Exynos 7420 64-bit Octa core processor instead of a Qualcomm chip.

The CPU does appear fast, navigating through the menus, loading and running apps. So perhaps Samsung's decision not to go with Qualcomm won't matter one iota.

There is 3GB of RAM, and 32GB (64 and 128GB options) of internal storage, but no access to a microSD card. This might put off those with lots of data already on a card, as well the growing market of power users.

The fresh take on Samsung's TouchWiz UI feels a lot cleaner and less heavy to use and more like the material design of a vanilla Android Lollipop. The upshot is it's simpler to get to grips with and easier to use.

To this end, we especially liked the use of colour co-coordination, with green assigned for everything to do with dialling, purple for video, and orange for contacts.

It's these little improvements that will be well received by tech reviewers and users alike. We just hope it will come to older Samsung phones some time too.

Conclusion

samsung galaxy s6 and s6 edge

The Galaxy S6 is a substantial design shift away from Samsung phones of old, which cleaved to cheaper looking materials when its competitors all moved on to similar metal designs.

The spec-sheet updates, such as a 2K screen, put it in line with industry trends. But whether they'll be enough to win back lost customers, only time will tell.

What we're more sure of is that S6 Edge is likely to have more niche appeal than the standard S6 and is unlikely to cross over to the mass market.

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