Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Review

Design and Build Quality

We'll get one thing out of the way immediately: Yes, the Galaxy S6 looks a lot like the iPhone 6. Samsung has been in a tough spot with design. Folks wanted the company to be unique, and it tried with the S5. But in pleasing those who demanded a removable battery, it utilized a plastic back that was largely viewed as cheap and flimsy. The S5 looked nothing like an iPhone, but it didn't look noticeably better than an iPhone. The S6 probably goes a bit far in the opposite direction, with the speaker grill along the bottom being particularly close to its Apple counterpart.

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That said, there's no denying that the phone is gorgeous, and the S6 Edge even more so in our opinion. The rear of the phone is sleek and stylish, and it looks far classier than the S5. You won't find a cheap plastic shell here, but that also means that the removable battery is history, as is the microSD expansion slot. Furthermore, the S6 and S6 Edge lose one of the S5's most unique features: a waterproof exterior. That's right -- you don't want to drop either S6 in water, as it won't come out unharmed as the S5 would. So, there's compromise here, but Samsung feels that it's making the smart move by choosing class and style over utility.

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Considering that there's a 128GB option for those who like to horde apps, music, videos, and photos, we don't really have a problem with the microSD card being omitted. Overall, the phone just feels exceptionally solid. It's light yet rigid, elegant yet bold. The rear, as is becoming the norm, is home to a camera sensor that juts out rather than sitting flush. But we'd argue that the bulge is worthwhile -- we'll cover camera specifics on a future page, but suffice it to say the camera on the latest Galaxies is awesome. Beside the camera is a flash arrangement that doubles as a heart rate sensor; in select apps, like S Health, you're asked to tap your finger on the sensor for it to register.

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The edges of the S6 are metallic, and fairly standard. The edges of the S6 Edge are... well, unique. We didn't find a lot of reason to spend the extra cash on the Galaxy Note Edge when we reviewed it back in December, and honestly, the extra $100 for the S6 Edge is tough to justify. Given that both phones have a 5.1-inch screen with the exact same resolution, you don't even gain extra pixels on the S6 Edge. The reality is that it's the same screen, but it's formed a bit differently. It's nifty to toss a perpetual clock on one of the edges, but the real magic is in how the S6 Edge looks and feels. Those curved edges lead to a form factor that's just easier to hold, and especially easier to use one-handed. Plus, it just looks awesome. We'd encourage you to handle both the S6 and S6 Edge to see which fits your personality better; it really does come down to preference, as both phones are stunning in their own right.

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Speaking of the display, it's a Super AMOLED panel with a 2560x1440 resolution. That's 577ppi, which is excellent. The screen pops, colors are luscious without being over saturated, and it's remarkably responsive to touch and gestures. It may well be the most beautiful smartphone display available right now. It feels as if we say that every quarter or so as display technology takes another massive leap forward, but we certainly won't complain with progress.

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The Galaxy S6 is also great to handle. The 5.1-inch screen keeps this phone from veering into phablet territory, and it's quite useable with just one hand. Granted, there's a lot of slick edges, so it's easy to let slip if you aren't careful. For as beautiful as the S6 and S6 are, we can't help but recommend a case. These are just too beautiful to let them come into contact with concrete.

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One final nugget on design: Samsung's typical Home button is here, and the fingerprint sensor has been vastly improved. It more or less works just like the Touch ID sensor does on the iPhone, which is to say that it works reliably enough to use it as an unlocking tool without thinking twice. The prior iteration was finicky at best, but the new version is robust and reliable with the latest software updates installed on the phones.

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