Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Night At The Museum - InformationWeek

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3/29/2015
12:06 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Night At The Museum

We took our review model for a whirl at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It's a great mobile phone, weighed down by unwanted apps.
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(Image: Thomas Claburn)

(Image: Thomas Claburn)

Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge is a lovely, powerful smartphone. Sweetened with Android 5.0 Lollipop, it's a pleasure to use.

Samsung sent me a review model and I took the device with me for a test drive to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on March 26 to try out the camera, one of the major selling points for the S6 line.

After I return my reviewer's version of the Galaxy S6 Edge, I may just buy one for Android mobile app development, once it becomes available in the US on April 10. (For more about the technical specifications, see Eric Zeman's review.)

If I do end up buying an S6 Edge, I doubt that I'll employ it as my primary phone, however. I've been using an Apple iPhone 6 for the past few months and have been happy with it. The Galaxy S6 Edge is certainly comparable to the iPhone 6, but I don't see a compelling reason to switch.

I've only had a day to play around with it, so what follows is my initial impression. I consider myself a user of both iOS and Android, for those who accept such heresy.

The Galaxy S6 Edge is beautifully crafted and comes in a variety of colors. Its curved screen makes it appear as if it offers more physical screen space than the iPhone 6. But in practice, only the flat portion of the screen is usable for touch interaction, making the input area essentially the same. Still, the curve creates a pleasant sense of depth.

Aesthetics have to be accompanied by usability and there I find the Galaxy S6 Edge falls short. These are minor quibbles, because only small differences set the S6 Edge and the iPhone 6 apart.

I found the swipe required to access the camera from the lock screen to be easier on the iPhone 6 than on the S6 Edge. On the iPhone, your thumb doesn't have to travel very far to access the camera; on the S6 Edge, your thumb has to travel further, requiring more deliberate effort to traverse the required swipe distance. It's not exactly a hardship, but UI refinements are measured in millimeters.

Also, the amount of time it takes the screen to return to sleep mode after pressing the Home button – 6 seconds for the S6 compared to 9 seconds for the iPhone 6 – is just a bit too short. I often found the S6 dropping back into sleep mode before I had the opportunity to interact.

My biggest complaint is that there's too much software on the S6 that I didn't ask for. When I swipe left from the home screen, there's an ad for T-Mobile TV and the ABC show Once Upon A Time. Not wanted. Swipe left again and there's Flipboard. The Facebook app, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp have all been pre-loaded, as have Microsoft OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype. Lookout's security app also comes pre-installed. After tapping on one of its notifications, I was presented with a screen to sign up for the company's paid subscription service.

If I want your software, I'll download it. I'm willing to accept Google's default apps because of its role in Android, and Samsung's apps because Samsung made the phone. Apps from other companies shouldn't be there.

Aside from my visceral dislike of uninvited marketing, I enjoyed my time with the S6 Edge.

On the following pages, you'll see unboxing photos taken with my iPhone 6. The remainder were taken with the S6 Edge. Though I did include one scene taken by both devices, this isn't meant to be a photographic quality comparison – these images were not taken under controlled conditions or with consistent settings. And they've been resized by our content management system, which alters image quality.

That said, I present to you Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge and a night at the museum.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 1:44:23 PM
Re: Crapware/bloatware/ spam... whatever you call it, it's become a dealbreaker for me.
@progman200, When the note 2 came out I said "who'd want such a huge phone".  I predicted it to fail in the market as it being to cumbersome for a phone.  Well was I wrong or what?  What changed me?  I started watching lots of stuff on my phone (a Nexus) since I had no tablet as I started using the Xfinity TV Go and other mobile video apps.  With the Note 4 you kind of don't need a tablet and its easier to carry than a tablet.  Add to this my aging eye sight where I now require reading glasses. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with size though.  The Nexus 6 is even bigger.  Both are on the border line of being that "too cumbersome" for phone usage.
progman2000
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50%
progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 1:17:00 PM
Re: Crapware/bloatware/ spam... whatever you call it, it's become a dealbreaker for me.
Note 4 huh?  I have been considering upgrading my Note 2 - how does the Note 4 compare size-wise?
DDURBIN1
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50%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 12:24:02 PM
Features of slight
I've got a Note 4 which shares many functions and features with the S6.  The swipe for camera on the lock screen is exactly one inch.  Holding the phone in my right hand its a piece of cake to use my right thumb to open the camera function.

No getting away from bloat ware.  Apparently the author is okay with the bloat on Apple iPhones as he accepts them because they are from Apple?

Setting up my wife's iPhone 6, I dropped it on first touch taking it out of the box.  Luckily it was on a thick carpeted floor.  It's very slippery when dry.

I'm not happy with mini-USB connector for chargers but its not Android's or Samsung's fault.  I'd rather have a standard connector than a proprietary one every day of the week.

Low light pictures are a challenge for most smartphone except the Sony Z4 or HTC M9.

Personally I love both phones.  The iPhone 6's UI is easier to learn and use for my wife.  However once the Android UI is learned,  I prefer it.

 
DDURBIN1
50%
50%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 12:05:55 PM
Re: Crapware/bloatware/ spam... whatever you call it, it's become a dealbreaker for me.
Sorry there are none unless you are interest in a WinPhone.  The best Android smartphone on the market with replaceable battery and SD card is the Note 4 except you'll need that check book.  Motorola may also have some choices in their older models with prices that won't break the bank but their specs fall short.
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 11:56:33 AM
Re: Crapware/bloatware/ spam... whatever you call it, it's become a dealbreaker for me.
I'm not impressed with either the i6 or the S6. Is there anything comparable that might still have a removable battery or sd card slot, and wouldn't cost a month's salary?
jhumphries483
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jhumphries483,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2015 | 11:28:28 AM
Re: Swiping camera icon?
Me new to iphone and too was tryin to get rid of all these apps I dont use - now I get it create a junk folder and dump them all into it - nice thanks sir
DDURBIN1
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50%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 10:31:14 AM
Re: Crapware/bloatware/ spam... whatever you call it, it's become a dealbreaker for me.
Bloatware is a fact of life, the Apple 6+ comes with bloatware as well.  The only smartphone sans bloatware is a Nexus but I'm not sure how long this will last.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 6:08:32 PM
Boxing Day vs. unboxing day
I guess I thought Tom was a Francophile. Then on slide 2 he comes up with a pun on Dec. 26 in England, which of course is Boxing Day. Why do they call it that? It's the day you box up the gifts you don't want and send them back to the store.                  
Thomas Claburn
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50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 4:31:03 PM
Re: Where's the specs?
Eric Zeman wrote about the specs so I didn't. There's a link to on the first slide...
asksqn
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50%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2015 | 3:56:42 PM
Where's the specs?
Nice review but what about the specs -how much memory? is it expandable? To what size does it expand? Ports on the phone? Not info included in the review to be very practical. 
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