The Galaxy S6 Edge’s chipset is the same as the one in the regular Galaxy S6, and it’s just as effortlessly fast and powerful as a result. As a refresher, it uses Samsung’s own Exynos 7430, which comes with four Cortex-A53 power-saving cores running at 1.5 GHz and four Cortex-A57 high-performance cores running at 2.1 GHz. Alongside that is a Mali-T760MP8 graphic processor, with 3 GB of RAM onboard as well. It all makes the Galaxy S6 Edge one of the most capable Android phones to date, strong enough to run anything you throw at it with ease—and without any significant overheating problems after extended use.
As far as storage goes, the phone comes with 32, 64 or 128 GB of space, with each one costing $100 more than the tier before it. More excitingly, it uses the fast “Universal Flash Storage” that’s similar to what Samsung installs in its SSDs—according to the company, that makes the phone more than twice as fast at reading data than the flash you get in most other phones. Considering how speedy the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are in practice, we’d say there’s at least some truth to that. As mentioned earlier, Samsung has blocked microSD support in part so those performance gains can’t be compromised. That’s inconvenient for those who were hoping to load up on games and music, but ultimately 32 GB should still be enough room for most people’s needs.
One of the few areas where the Galaxy S6 Edge’s spec sheet differs from that of the Galaxy S6 is in its battery. There, the rounded model comes with a slightly larger 2600 mAh pack, compared to the 2500 mAh unit in the Galaxy S6. In reality, there isn’t a notable difference between the two: The S6 Edge can last a few minutes longer on average, but in the context of the larger flagship market, it’s still average. You can expect close to a day and a half of juice in your first few weeks with average use, and that’ll be more than fine for most. How well the pack holds up over time will be something to watch, though, considering it’s both non-removable and dealing with a super high-res display.
The Galaxy S6 Edge runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out of the box, underneath the latest variation of the Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Again, almost everything we said about it for the Galaxy S6 goes for it on the Galaxy S6 Edge as well: It’s still too thick, but it’s taken worthwhile strides in making its bloat less distracting. It’s as manageable as it’s ever been.
The one difference is that the S6 Edge has a few functions that utilize the screen’s curvature, all of which are turned off by default. The most sensible of the bunch is “People Edge,” which lets you drag on one side the screen and pull open a color-coded hub for any five of your contacts. Click on one of their icons and it’ll show you a quick menu for contacting them through text, email, a call, and the like. This does save time if you find yourself frequently talking to the same people, although it doesn’t necessarily need a curved screen to work.
The things that do need a rounded screen are less practical. One called “Information stream” displays previously set information—notifications, Tweets, news headlines, RSS feeds, stocks, etc.—on one display edge while the rest of the phone is in stand-by mode. That could be worthwhile, but to get the most out of it you have to go through the cumbersome process of swiping through the thin edges if you want to see new information. The bulk of the phone remains in stand-by as you do that, but swiping a notification from the edge to the main screen displays it in full on the latter.
Finally, there’s the “Night clock” option, which, as its name suggests, displays the time on an edge while the rest of the phone is in sleep mode. This is simple enough, but since the clock is only visible when the phone is face up, it’s another thing that could be had on standard-shaped screens too.
The Galaxy S6 Edge’s 16-megapixel rear camera is exactly the same as the one on the regular Galaxy S6, and, again, our thoughts on it haven’t changed. In short, it’s the best camera on an Android device today, and in some cases surpasses the latest iPhone sensor. It’s simply excellent in both daytime and low-light settings.