Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide

Home > Android Phone Reviews > Samsung Galaxy S6 & Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge


Samsung Galaxy S6 & Galaxy S6 Edge

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: all major carriers
Manufacturer: Samsung
Editor's Choice

What's Hot: Stunning new designs made of metal and glass. Superb displays, fast, decent battery life, as ever lots of features.

What's Not: Battery isn't removable, no microSD card slot. Edge display looks great but doesn't add significant functionality.


Reviewed March 31, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

It's a brave new world where reviewers and high-end hardware lovers will no longer lament or mock the latest Samsung Galaxy's plasticky looks. Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the curved-sided Galaxy S6 Edge are class acts with Gorilla Glass 4 front and back and a matte aluminum (real metal not the faux stuff) frame. Samsung has finally found a design to match their compelling plethora of top specs and high tech features. Granted, the more traditionally designed GS 6 looks an awful lot like the iPhone 6 from the bottom, sides and even front, but it's changed things up enough to have its own personality. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge on the other hand is certainly unique and futuristic looking with glass that curves around the left and right sides. It's a beauty, and that set of curves will cost an additional $100 over the standard GS6. You're paying for the looks here since the side display doesn't add much functional value, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge's useful edge display.

The chic unibody design comes at a cost that Apple, Sony and HTC have already faced: there's no way to incorporate a removable back so the battery is sealed inside. Those of you who love swapping in a spare battery will have to switch to external micro USB charging packs when on the go. Samsung also axed the microSD card slot (HTC and Sony managed to preserve it, so what gives Samsung?). As a consolation, you can order the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with 32, 64 or 128 gigs of storage. Of course a 128 gig GS6 Edge is a frightening $960, a price that could get you a top-notch Intel Core i5 Ultrabook. Since all 4 major US carriers now offer payment plans, they're hoping that the high retail price won't scare you away.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The Galaxy S6 siblings run on the Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core CPU with 3 gigs of RAM and your choice of internal storage. We don't usually see the Exynos variant of Samsung phones here in the US where the Qualcomm Snapdragon line owned the LTE chipset market but recent anti-trust grumblings against Qualcomm may have opened up LTE technology to other chip makers like Samsung. For those of you who aren't wildly geeky: smartphones use a SoC (system on chip) architecture where the CPU, graphics and LTE wireless radio are combined in one package. Clearly Samsung can optimize the handset better if it makes the hardware and can customize the OS, and it's paid off here.

The phone has dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and fast CAT 6 LTE 4G (multi-spectrum, 300 Mbps). It will be available on all major and several smaller carriers, and different model variants will support different cellular voice and data bands. It has an AV remote control, heart rate monitor, 5MP front camera, rear 16MP camera with OIS, and a much improved fingerprint scanner. Unlike older Galaxy models and PC laptops where you swiped your finger over the scanner and prayed, this one works like the iPhone 6: rest your finger on the home button and press down. It works 99% of the time, just like the iPhone!

A Super AMOLED Display that's Super

The 2015 Galaxy S6 models have striking 2560 x 1440, 577 PPI Super AMOLED displays (that's the same resolution as the Note 4 display). Arguably, when pixel density moves from the 400's to the 500's as with the S6 from the Samsung Galaxy S5, only those of you with microscope eyes will readily perceive the difference, but Android is always about specs wars. That said, the S6 and S6 Edge have the best looking AMOLED displays on the market: they're very bright (particularly on auto-brightness), have good color fidelity, superb saturation and deep blacks. They're supremely sharp and you won't see any of that AMOLED color fringing on text. The curved model has an infinity pool look that's stunning. Yes, light can refract at the apex of each curve, but that's the nature of glass and light. There's no distortion or problem of any sort here and the phone ignores your palms when you're holding the phone, so you won't accidentally tap on something.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Feeling Edgy

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the side display (or displays in the case of the GS 6 Edge) aren't addressed as separate display panels. That allows you to select either side as your edge display, but it also means that there's nothing truly autonomous of the main display going on here. The side display can display a list of your favorite contacts (grab the tiny tab on the side of the display and pull toward the center to reveal the contacts strip so you can quickly contact someone via voice or messaging). The side will glow with the color of the contact who's calling (you assign a color to each favorite contact) and the phone can vibrate when you pick it up if you've missed a call. The remaining edge panels come into play when the phone is sleeping and the display is off. You'll have to swipe back and forth along the length of the edge to bring up the edge panels: stock ticker, missed calls and message notifications, sports scores and RSS feeds. It can act as a bedside clock for up to 12 hours per day based on a schedule that you set. There's no app launcher as with the Galaxy Note Edge (one of our favorite uses of the edge display), nor does the side edge offer a spot for app menus or controls like the Note Edge. Honestly, you're paying for the curved glass look with the GS 6 Edge rather than improved functionality.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Brightness on both the GS6 and GS6 Edge can reach 600 nits, but only with auto-brightness enabled. If you're using manual brightness as I tend to do since auto-brightness sets the display dimmer than I like for indoor use, then you'll get just under 300 nits of brightness. Clearly, Samsung wants to prevent undue battery drain by mandating auto-brightness for max brightness, and that 600 nit mode does look a bit distorted, since contrast and brightness are overwrought. It works fine to combat bright direct sunlight, but you wouldn't want to use it indoors or in heavy shade, so we can understand by Samsung prevents you from manually driving the display in that mode all the time.

Performance and Horsepower

Samsung's Exynos CPUs have been strong performers, but charging speeds and runtimes have sometimes fallen short of competing Snapdragon CPUs. The 14nm Exynos 7420, like the new 20nm Snapdragon 810, is an 8 core, 64 bit CPU. Also like the Snapdragon and recent NVIDIA Tegra CPUs, it uses a big.LITTLE architecture with 4 low power cores to handle less demanding tasks and 4 high power cores to handle more CPU intensive tasks like gaming and rendering rich web pages. Thus a maximum of 4 cores can be active at one time, and it uses the same ARM Cortex A53 + Cortex A57 core architecture as the 810. Samsung runs the chips at a wee bit faster clock speed and the A57 cores are clocked at 2.1 GHz while the A53s are clocked at 1.5 GHz. The S6 models have Mali T-760 MP8 graphics, which benchmarks well and plays games wonderfully. Is the Exynos 7420 fast? Yes! It surpasses the Snapdragon 810 in some benchmarks, and honestly both are much faster than necessary for most tasks. If the Galaxy S6 feels slower or faster than the HTC One M9 or even the Nexus 6, it's more likely due to OS and software optimization rather than the CPU.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The speed improvements don't stop with the CPU and GPU though. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge use fast UFS 2.0 storage and LPDDR4 RAM. UFS 2.0 is nearly 3 times faster than the eMMC storage used in most smartphones to date. That translates into faster game load times (since games tend to load lots of graphics and sound bytes) and faster video capture times, which is important when you have 4K video recording on board.


  Quadrant 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test (lower is better)
Samsung Galaxy S6 33,355 21,160 61,873 420 (webkit)/1025 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy S5 23,643 18,329 35,357 398
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 34,422 24,397 64,059 349 (Webkit)/692 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 34,631 24,463 63,086 351 (Webkit)/688 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24,327 19,667 46,912 425
HTC One M9 33,733 22,168 53,582 852
LG G4 23,730 18,655 46,043 760
LG G Flex 2 26,390 22,644 49,344 730
LG G3 24,385 18,708 36,525 425
Nexus 6 13,595 23,520 49,961 795
Motorola Droid Turbo 22,709 20,735 48,332 795
Moto X (2nd gen) 22,170 19,924 44,340 776
HTC One M8 24,527 20,896 36,087 776
Sony Xperia Z3 21589 16,135 35,008 837
Nexus 5 8808 17,828 27,017 718
LG G2 19,762 9803 (extreme) 32,990 823
Samsung Galaxy S4 12,276 11,601 24,776 826

Geekbench 3: 1454/4619

Deals and Shopping:


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Video Review


Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge vs. iPhone 6 Comparison


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge vs. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Comparison


We've established that the hardware, from chipset to RAM and storage are very fast. But that can all slow like molasses running down a frosty mug if the OS and software aren't clean and optimized. TouchWiz used to be a pig, and a gaudy looking one at that. With the Samsung Galaxy S5's release last year, Samsung started seriously tuning TouchWiz for speed, so it didn't sap the life out of the GS5. The build on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge is very well tuned for speed and we never once saw our release firmware T-Mobile unit falter or bog down. Now this is Android, and that means you'll see occasional minor lag here and there on any phone, even a Nexus, but switching from my Nexus 6 (latest, greatest hardware and of course a clean OS with no added UI overlays) I didn't once feel that the Galaxy S6 Edge was any slower.

Is TouchWiz prettier? Yes, it's less cartoonish and cleaner looking and it certainly matches Android 5 Lollipop's Material Design UI better than the sometimes similar looking LG UI on the new LG G Flex 2. It's still a heavy skin over Android and it will certainly look familiar to Samsung users upgrading from an older Galaxy handset. I'm still not a fan of Samsung's icons, though they're less squared off and a little closer to stock Android, but that begs the question--why change something Android and app developers do so well? The settings menu, which was simply frightful on other recent Android handsets is more manageable now too.


The front 5MP camera is unusually high resolution, and as you might suspect, it takes much clearer and more colorful selfies. You'll look better in Skype video calls too, and video is clear enough that you'll want to make sure you've flossed before jumping on that vid call.

Rear camera resolution remains the same as the Galaxy S5 at 16 megapixels, but photo quality and focus times in low light (the GS5's weakness) are very good now. This is one of the best camera phones on the market and it doesn't fall behind the iPhone 6 Plus. Images are a bit warmer on the Galaxy S6 compared to the iPhone, and that's fine with me because human flesh tones are more pleasing. Samsung has added OIS (optical image stabilization) to reduce blur and jitter from hand shake, though this isn't active if you're shooting 4K or 1080p @ 60 fps video. It does a good job with 1080p @ 30fps and our video looked noticeably less shaky. OIS also allows you to take sharper photos in low light since the camera can use slower shutter speeds.

Camera software features are similar to previous Galaxy S models, though the many modes have been simplified--the important ones are here like background defocus and panorama. You can use your voice to start capture, and you can double-press the home button to launch the camera. When taking selfies, you can use the heart rate monitor on the back (under the flash) as a shutter button--very convenient and clever.

Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 2,550 mAh battery and the Galaxy S6 Edge has a 2,600 mAh battery and both are sealed inside. The phones support both Qi and PMA wireless charging (it's unusual to see both standards supported by one phone). Samsung's developed their own quick charge technology and they include a quick charger in the box that can top up a battery up to 40% in 30 minutes. The Galaxy gets warm when using the quick charger, and the back gets hot if it's charging while you're using data (streaming video or downloading updates and apps) or gaming. It's not unusual for a fast phone to get uncomfortably warm or hot on the back when gaming and charging simultaneously, but it's certainly worth noting. Also note that wireless charging doesn't use quick charging, which is true of all Qi and PMA phones.

Given past performance, our hopes weren't high for the Exynos and battery life, but the Galaxy S6 and Edge actually managed to match our Galaxy S5 runtimes (and the GS5 was no slouch). As usual, gaming and heavy use of the GPS will drain the battery more quickly than web browsing or streaming music, but in a mix of real world use where we limited gaming to 30 minutes, streamed a 45 minute Netflix episode (Amazon's Prime video player isn't compatible with the GS6, we hope an update will fix this soon), browsed the web frequently, handled emails and checked in to social networks, the battery lasted until bedtime.


Samsung has done a stupendous job here: the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are premium devices that look and feel the part. I know some of you will lament the loss of the removable battery and microSD card, not to mention water resistance, but given the popularity of attractive unibody phones (cough, cough, iPhone), this is the right move for Samsung to grab a big share of the 2015-2016 smartphone market. TouchWiz is lighter and better looking, the phone is wickedly fast and the Super AMOLED displays are stunning. If you opt for the more expensive Galaxy S6 Edge, you'll get a unique and extremely attractive phone; just don't expect the edge display to do anything terribly important. Yes the thin metal strips on the Edge model dig into your palm a bit more but it's not that uncomfortable, and there's always the standard GS 6 for those who value ergonomics over aesthetics an want to save $100 too. Either way, you're getting one of the best Android phones currently available on the market.

Price: varies by carrier, on average started at $670 for 32 gig GS6 and $770 for S6 Edge. Each storage increment adds $100


Related Reviews:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

Nexus 5X Review

HTC One M9 Review

HTC One A9 Review

LG G4 Review

LG G Flex 2 Review

iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus Review

iPhone 6 Review

iPhone 6 Plus Review

Moto X Pure Edition Review


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge



Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge



Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Above: the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.



Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge



blog comments powered by Disqus


Display: 5.1" Super AMOLED display. Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (577 PPI). Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: 2560 mAh (GS6) / 2600 mAh (GS6 Edge) Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 2.1 GHz Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core CPU with Mali T-760 graphics. 3 gigs LPDDR4 RAM. 32/64/128 gigs UFS 2.0 internal storage.

Size: Samsung Galaxy S6: 5.64 x 2.77 x 0.27 inches. Weight: 4.87 ounces. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: 5.59 x 2.76 x 0.27 inches. 4.65 ounces.

Phone: AT&T and T-Mobile: GSM quad band world phone with EDGE 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. Sprint and Verizon: CDMA dual band digital with 3G EV-DO Rev. a and 4G LTE.

Camera: 5MP front camera and rear 16MP camera with OIS and 4K video recording.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1.

Software: Android OS 5.0.2 Lollipop with Samsung TouchWiz UI and apps.

Expansion: USB host (requires micro USB to USB OTG host adapter).


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers
Camera Reviews

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map