The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is more or less exactly what it sounds like: A Galaxy S6, with curved sides. It’s different and innovative without being too different or innovative, but it’s still one of the most visually striking devices Samsung has crafted to date. We were able to get our hands on the flagship variant shortly after its Mobile World Congress unveiling in Barcelona this week.
The important thing to note here is that the curvature of featured on the Galaxy S6 Edge’s Gorilla Glass 4 display is not the same as the bend of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. In this case, the screen isn’t rounded as severely, and the effect is on both sides, rather than just the right. The display itself has the same QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution and 5.1-inch size of the normal Samsung Galaxy S6 otherwise, which means that it shares the same impressive (and insane) pixel density of 577 ppi.
Regardless of how weird the rounded sides may look at first blush, there’s no doubt that they make the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge much more interesting to both hold and behold than its Galaxy S6 sibling. Even considering all the strides that device has made, this is the phone you’d reach for if given the choice. As was the case with the original Note Edge and LG G Flex 2, it’s an impressive technical achievement, and evokes the kind of curious excitement that only interesting new tech can provide.
The rounded edges also provide a certain level of practical value, although it’s far less capable than what Samsung went for with the Galaxy Note Edge. Favorite contacts can be dragged to the right side of the screen for quick access, while notifications from those contacts will cause the side to flash a particular color when the device is face down. General alerts for texts, emails, and missed calls will show up over there as well. Have we all have survived so far without this kind of functionality? Yes. Will anyone actually use it from now on? Sure, but most probably won’t. Samsung is banking on how the curves look this time around, not how they work.
The obvious question when using a phone like this is whether or not those curves actually make using, or simply holding, the device uncomfortable. Thankfully, we didn’t feel much of any problems during our demo time — the screen itself is mostly flat, and the slopes don’t extend all the way down to the back of the device, giving you enough room to grip. The power key and volume rocker are still in their familiar spots on the right side, although a few things like the nano-SIM slot have been rearranged to better accommodate the different design. And again, other than the visual changes and small software tweaks, the S6 Edge is virtually the same phone as the regular S6, meaning it should be equally fast and responsive (and possibly just as troubling when it comes to battery life).
Samsung should be praised for making something elegant out of a weird idea like this. Although the Galaxy S6 Edge isn’t significantly different than its more traditional brother, the engineering ingenuity behind the concept is admirable. It looks like the kind of phone you’ll want to show off to your friends.
The major issue here might be its price tag – this thing is going to cost a few hundred dollars more than the standard S6, and without many practical additions in functionality, it may be difficult to justify paying that much for a couple of rounded edges, however attractive they may be. So what we’ve got here is something of a status symbol, a piece of machinery that may be difficult to purchase, but is plenty easy to admire.