Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge: Everything you need to know

Thinking about picking up one of Samsung's new flagship Android smartphones? Here's everything you need to know about the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Thinking about picking up one of Samsung's new flagship Android smartphones? Here's everything you need to know about the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Tech specs

  • 5.1-inch 2,560×1,440 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 577 ppi
  • Exynos Octacore processor
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32/64/128GB UFS (Universal Flash Storage) 2.0 internal storage
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 16MP f1.9 rear camera with optical image stabilization and live HDR
  • 5MP f1.9 front camera with live HDR
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Category 6 LTE offering up to 300 Mbps down/50 Mbps up data transfer speeds
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 AC with HT80 MIMO, Bluetooth LE, NFC, IR blaster
  • 2,550mAh (S6) and 2,600mAh (S6 edge) batteries
  • Wireless charging, supporting WPC and PMA standards, as well as offering support for Qi-enabled chargers

S6 vs Galaxy S6 Edge: What's the difference?

The Galaxy S6 Edge's curve on the edge of the screen which can be used to present information in cool (gimmicky?) ways. Features such as "Information Stream," "Night Clock," "Edge Lighting," and "People Edge" make use of the curved edge as secondary displays. Some of these features are already present on the Note Edge.

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Samsung

Is this useful to you? Only you can answer that. Personally, I think some interesting stuff might come of this if/when it is ever opened up to third-party developers (assuming there's enough interest in the S6 Edge to attract developer attention).

Other than the fact that the display extends over the edge on the S6 Edge, the two devices share exactly the same display spec. Both feature a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED panel with a screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch.

On the dimensions front, there are some minimal differences between the two handsets:

  • Galaxy S6: 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm (5.64 x 2.77 x 0.27in) and 138g (4.86oz)
  • Galaxy S6 Edge: 142.1 x 70.1 x 7mm (5.59 x 2.76 x 0.27in) and 132g (4.65oz)

The bigger display on the S6 Edge has resulted in Samsung giving it a slightly larger battery:

  • Galaxy S6: 2550mAh
  • Galaxy S6 Edge: 2600mAh

Both are smaller than the 2800mAh battery capacity of the Galaxy S5.

On the processor front, the S6 and the S6 Edge share the same silicon, an Exynos 7420 SoC built using 14-nanometer architecture. It features an octa-core 64-bit (4 x 2.1GHz cores and 4 x 1.5GHz cores) along with a Mali-T760 GPU. Both have 3GB of RAM and come in 32/64/128GB storage options.

On the design front, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be offered in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, and Gold Platinum options, along with a special Blue Topaz for the Galaxy S6, and Green Emerald for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Oh, and there's the price. The S6 Edge will set you back $100 more than a comparable S6.

Construction

With the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung has moved away from plastic to adopt a seamless, full metal and glass construction. The glass comes in the form of the highly durable Gorilla Glass 4, and the glass has been treated with a special reflective material on the inside to give it a highly jeweled finish.

Camera

As well has having a larger f1.9 aperture front and rear camera - which should dramatically help low-light performance - Samsung has worked on making the camera faster to access. Samsung claims that you can launch the camera in 0.7 seconds no matter whether you are using the smartphone or it is locked.

Bloatware

You can remove icons from the user interface (UI) by disabling apps, but the removed app still remain on the flash memory. This means that while you can streamline the UI, the unwanted apps still take up space on the flash memory.

It's a compromise, but it's a step in the right direction, but it's still annoying that Samsung doesn't give users a proper - and permanent - way to delete unwanted apps.

The removable non-removable battery

When it was revealed that Samsung was doing away with the removable battery on its flagship Galaxy S line, some fans were disappointed. However, it turns out Samsung's new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge do have removable batteries after all... well sort of.

The battery is actually removable, as long as you're happy to deal with adhesive, a handful of tiny screws, removing the circuit board, and voiding the warranty.

The procedure is described as being "only for your service provider or an authorized service agent" and makes it crystal clear that if you break anything while carrying out the process yourself, you're on your own.

If you want to try this out, here's how to do it.

Designs

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be offered in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, and Gold Platinum options, along with a special Blue Topaz for the Galaxy S6, and Green Emerald for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Design compromises

Switching from a Galaxy S5 to the S6 means losing some features. These include:

  • Glass replaces plastic
  • No more expandable storage

Durability

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge seem pretty durable, being able to survive crashes, bashes, and the occasional dunk. But push things too hard and like most things, it'll break. As always, remember that your experiences may vary, and if you happen to break your S6 while cracking open some nuts, well, you own both parts.

Wireless charging

Samsung prices for the wireless charging system too high? Fear not! There are alternatives that you can pick up starting at less than $15.

Here are six I suggest you take a look at:

Pricing

The full retails price for a 32GB Galaxy S6 varies between $600 and $685, depending on your carrier, with a 32GB S6 Edge ranging from $700 to $815.

CNET has a complete breakdown of the pricing available here.

Availability

Preorders began on March 27 for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, with Verizon starting preorders April 1. The smartphone will be available April 10 from the carriers and retailers such as Best Buy and Costco.

The bottom line

The upsides:

  • Beautiful construction
  • Powerful hardware
  • Broad support for wireless chargers
  • Dramatically improved camera hardware
  • Improved fingerprint reader (a touch reader as opposed to the awkward-to-use swipe system)
  • Less pre-installed bloatware

The downsides:

  • Expensive
  • Wireless charging pad is an extra purchase
  • No microSD card slot for expansion
  • 3GB of RAM and not 4GB
  • Battery has less capacity than is present in the current S5

See also: