The curved display isn't only an aesthetic affectation, either. Navigating around the S6 and the Edge side-by-side in real life produces more lifelike icons and images than when viewing them on the flat S6 display.
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Alas, this doesn't translate well in a photo. The concave Galaxy Round , which is sold only in South Korea, had some of this effect, too. When reviewing that phone, the screen's deeper bend occasionally caused a parallax problem, one that the S6 Edge seems to avoid since most of its surface is flat.
Think of the S6 Edge's sidebar, called the Edge screen, as a specialized communications hub. If you're familiar with this region on the Note Edge -- the phablet that offered a similar wraparound screen, albeit on only one side -- it's time to reflash that image. Gone is the always-on strip of interface for launching apps and sometimes viewing alerts.
Here, the optional Edge screen slides out from the left or right when you want it, but otherwise remains hidden from view.
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You can even disable it. The only downside here is that if you want to open the Edge screen, you have to first locate and then slide out a thin gray tab in the upper third of your display, which is easy to miss. Mostly, you'll use the Edge screen to view notifications for email, texts, missed calls and app activity you'll customize this in the settings.
These notices flash on the sidebar strip without you having to check on them. Yes, it can be a little redundant alongside the notification shade up top, but you'll be able to read more of the message on the Edge display, which I do find convenient. The Edge screen also serves as a color-coded hub for five of your favorite contacts. Select one, and you can fast-track a call or message. If you miss an Edge-friend's correspondence, a slim tab in their designated color appears on the side of the display to alert you, like a personalized sticky note.
Slide that tab open to start the process of calling or texting them back. There's one other very specific activity. Say you have the phone upside-down on the table during dinner. If one of your five besties calls or texts, the edge of the phone will glow with their associated color.
If you can't pick up the phone, you can press a sensor near the camera module to send a preprogrammed message. Although Samsung has shed most of the Note Edge's original functionality, it did carry over two features to the S6 Edge. We were also impressed with the performance of the Galaxy S6 Edge with the Android interface effortlessly slick under finger and while the improved TouchWiz interface may not be to everyone's taste, it's certainly better than previous iterations.
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The camera on the rear of the Galaxy S6 Edge is also worth writing home about, as it's capable of taking some stunning shots without any effort on your behalf. All the good points about the S6 Edge can be applied to its brother, the Galaxy S6, as apart from screen design the two handsets are identical. And as the S6 is a good deal cheaper than the Edge, it's difficult to really make a case for the added cost.
Sure the design is lovely, but in the hand the S6 Edge can get uncomfortable and the lack of a microSD slot and removable battery will be an instant turn off for some of the Samsung faithful. You'll struggle to see out a whole day with moderate usage, and that's a real shame. If you're a heavy user you'll be dashing for a charger mid-afternoon. For all the fanfare of the edge screens, the functionality Samsung has provided to show off its latest innovation is disappointingly limited. A few feeds on the lock screen and the People Edge quick links on the home screen hardly cry out as must-have features.
There's scope for more to be added in the future, but at the moment they're not overly useful. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is one of those phones that sets a line in the sand for smartphones. Finally, there's a revamped version of the Information Stream sidebar, which can be accessed by quickly swiping up and down on the right hand edge when the screen's turned off. Here you can see vertical notifications, such as missed calls or unread emails, Yahoo news items, what's trending on Twitter, or even your own RSS feed.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review: Once the best Android phone
It works well enough, but its cramped size means it's not particularly easy to read and you don't get much information before the text starts disappearing off the end of the bar. Admittedly, none of these features are really worth paying extra for, but I'm pleased nevertheless to see Samsung's making a concerted effort to integrate the curves more intelligently into the phone's overall design. Even if this wasn't the case, though, I can't deny that the curves really do make the S6 Edge one stylish-looking handset. Compared to the door stop design of its Note-branded cousin, the S6 Edge is as slick as they come, making it something you really want to own and show off, regardless of whether the curves actually do anything useful.
Fortunately for the S6 Edge, it does succeed in making the phone more practical, even if some of its features aren't quite as good as they could be. For another take on the utility of the new S6 Edge features read our sister publication Know Your Mobile's review of the handset.
Either way, you certainly won't be disappointed with the S6 Edge's 5. Combined with the curved edges, the screen really pops out at you, making whatever you're doing that much more involving. I certainly noticed how sharp the screen was, and the colours were equally excellent. The screen's contrast levels were also off the charts, providing plenty of detail on our test films and photos. Colours look punchy and I had no trouble using it in direct sunlight.
Even better, this extra brightness is only available in Auto mode, which will help prevent unwanted power drain when moving from outside to indoors. Continues on Page 2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review.