Not everything was rosy, however. Their premium designs didn’t leave much room for large batteries, and Samsung decided it would make up for that by offering wireless and fast charging. There was no microSD slot either, limiting users to 32GB and 64GB of storage (the 128GB model was extremely hard to get), depending on which variant they managed to get their hands on. But other than these limitations, the S6 and S6 edge were at the top of the game and a welcome departure from Samsung’s pre-2015 smartphones.
With the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung improved on everything it introduced with the S6 and S6 edge, including putting in larger batteries and adding features like fast wireless charging to the mix. Then came the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge – these phones brought back the microSD slot, had really big batteries (at least the S7 edge did) and cameras with amazing low-light capabilities, and were also water resistant. If there was ever a thing called a perfect smartphone, you could argue the S7 and S7 edge came closest to the definition.
The Galaxy Note 7 is now official, but it has been burning up and orders here in India have been delayed, so I decided to switch to a Galaxy S6 edge (one I borrowed from my friend) to see how the device fares a year and a half after it went on sale. The S7, S7 edge and Note 7 might be newer, but even today the S6 lineup’s hardware can be considered very high-end, and I was interested in seeing just how hard or easy it is to live with the S6 edge after being used to the excellent Galaxy S7 edge.
Just a few minutes into using the device, I realized how amateurish the Galaxy S6 edge’s design is compared to the S7 edge. While the 5.1-inch screen felt more comfortable in the hand, the sharp edges around the phone are an eyesore and also cut into your hands when you’re using the phone with two hands. The particular unit that I used also has its metal rim somewhat separating from the front glass (as you can see in the picture below). It’s not surprising to see these problems though, as the S6 and S6 edge were the first time Samsung produced such premium smartphone bodies on a large scale.
The Super AMOLED display is still excellent though, even if it is not as accurate as the one on the S7 and S7 edge (the default screen mode is a bit too blue, and Basic mode is yellower than it should be). The rear camera doesn’t offer the same level of picture quality in low-light conditions, but otherwise it takes great pictures with high detail; the front camera has pretty much the same performance as the one on the S7 lineup, which wasn’t a surprise as the S7′s front camera only has the benefit of a wider aperture (f/1.7 vs f/1.9 on the S6).
What about software performance? The S6 edge is still extremely capable, and except for a few stutters here and there, the phone handles everything with aplomb. Well, given I factory reset the phone before using it, the stutters shouldn’t really be there and I’m not sure how it continues to perform for those who have been using the device for more than a year. Still, given how optimized Samsung’s software has become, I’m sure most people are still happy with the phone’s performance. It’s also nice to see Samsung keeping feature parity across all of its flagships. A feature or two might be missing, but for the most part the Galaxy S6 edge has everything the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge offer.
Naturally, the battery life on the S6 edge isn’t great. In fact, it seems to have degraded even further after all this time, and I had trouble getting through to the end of the work day without reaching for the charger at least once. Thankfully the battery charges quickly as it has a rather small capacity, but that’s not saying a lot considering how often it needs to be charged. Samsung has recently said that time constraints made the company think of where it could make some sacrifices, and it’s clear the battery shouldn’t have been part of the specs that got compromised.
There are a few other points I should note. The Galaxy S6 lineup was the last to feature an IR blaster. I didn’t use it once in my short time with the device, but given the feature can come in quite handy sometimes, Samsung might as well have stuck with it. Also, the Galaxy S6 edge’s loudspeaker sounds better than the S7 and S7 edge’s, since it isn’t surrounded by a waterproofing membrane and hence produces clearer, louder sound. Last but not the least, the Edge screen features are on par with what you have on the S7 edge. But like the IR blaster, I never used any of these Edge features. Not because they are bad, but because they aren’t something I need.
There was a time when Samsung phones offered the best hardware in the Android market but ran software that became slow and laggy after a couple of months of usage. They also didn’t feel worth their price tags, and it seemed Samsung was continuing to make its phone designs worse with each passing year. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge were a breath of fresh air, and from my time using the latter a year and a half later, I have to say Samsung did a stellar job, all things considered.
Battery life is pretty much the only problem with the S6 edge, in addition to the fact that most folks have probably run out of storage. All other aspects have held up really well. Okay, so the build quality feels rather amateurish compared to the Galaxy S7 edge, but that’s only because Samsung was dipping its toes in what were uncharted waters for its smartphone division. The Galaxy S6 edge has become quite affordable these days, and for anyone unconcerned with having to charge the phone’s battery too often, it’s actually still a great 5.1-inch smartphone to buy.