My ZDNet colleague, Matthew Miller, bought and then returned a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. He liked the phone, but in the end, the poor battery life he experienced was a deal-breaker.
That's the same problem Business Insider's Antonio Villas-Boas found after using a Galaxy S6, essentially the same handset but without the curved edge displays, for a month. Villas-Boas learned that one single setting solved his battery life issues, however.
"I switched off Google Now, Google's digital assistant, and my battery life skyrocketed to last me about 36 hours on a single charge with relatively decent usage, including music streaming, but without using Bluetooth or GPS. I charge it every night, but I usually have just under 50% battery left before I go to bed."
That's interesting for a few reasons. First of all, if it addresses the short run-time on a single charge, the setting change provides a reasonable workaround for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners.
Second, there's something else going on with Google Now on these particular handsets: The always listening feature of Google Now stopped working on these two handsets for many people in the middle of April. Google is aware of the problem, publicly noting on April 23 that it is actively working on a solution.
I'm wondering if the two situations are actually related somehow.
The always listening function of Google Now has generally been rock solid across many phones over the past 18 months. Most of those phones run on Qualcomm processors, which natively support the feature at the chip level. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, however, are notably different in that Samsung chose to use its own Exynos processors. Perhaps it's just a coincidence.
Regardless, that always listening feature is sure to use some battery life as would the Google Now service; it runs in the background so it can surface contextual information at the right time and place.
Personally, I find great value in that but if it comes at the cost of a big battery hit on the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, I'd do without it; at least until there's some resolution on getting Google Now to work efficiently on my phone.
My advice if you have a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge? You've got little to lose, so disable Google Now for a day or two and see if your phone's battery life improves. You can always turn Google Now back on. I'd be curious to hear from anyone who gives it a try.