Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Top 10 First Impressions

When I got this phone yesterday, I was flooded by comments from people both online and in real life that I was finally going to understand why Android is so much greater than iOS. I would argue that considering that since my first smartphone (Samsun Galaxy S), I have owned 5 iPhones and 4 Android phones. I prefer the iPhone, but it’s much closer than I bet it is for just about anyone else.

Last year I spent the majority of my time with the HTC One M8. When my time with that phone was done, I was so excited to switch back to the iPhone. Android had certainly grown, but it wasn’t as good as iOS, and it wasn’t a good fit for me. Now, almost a year later, I am trying out Android again, this time in the Lollipop generation.

The story is still about the same. I will definitely be keeping my iPhone at the end of this trial, but I’m going to use this month to live in Android to really understand the platform. I write a lot about this stuff, and I want to make sure my knowledge of Android is based on how it is today, not how I remember it being years ago. Basically, I’m doing it so I don’t get called an idiot for not understanding Android… I’m sure I still will…

Without further ado, here are my top 10 loves and hates about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge after about 48 hours of use.

What I Love

  1. The camera is breathtaking. Images are sharp and videos are pristine. It’s just as fast as the iPhone at launching and the added resolution is great.
  2. The screen is beautiful! Try as I might, I really can’t see a difference between this and my iPhone (iPhone is 401ppi vs. S6’s 577ppi). The colors are bold and beautiful though.
  3. Double-tapping the home button to launch the camera (even when the screen is off) is super convenient.
  4. As a piece of hardware, it is quite striking. The curved edges looks better than they feel (more on this below) and the back glass panel gives me warm memories of my iPhone 4.
  5. OK Google is a powerful tool. Siri is good, but this is great!
  6. Samsung’s enhancements to Android are more toned down than ever. You can still tell it’s a Samsung phone, but I don’t find it insufferable as I did previous editions of TouchWiz.
  7. Samsung’s Theme Store is a nice way to do away with that Samsung look on your phone. The themes available can change how just about every aspect of the operating system looks, and they’re a lot of fun to play around with.
  8. The 5.1 inch screen may be my ideal smartphone size. For my hands, this just feels great (I felt the same way about the 5.0″ HTC One M8).
  9. Setting default apps for the camera, email, web browser, and moe are all amazing. Come on, Apple!
  10. Ultra Power Saving Mode is great to have in a pinch. This turns off basically everything besides calls and texts. I had this on my M8 and it was nice then your phone just needs to make is a little longer than it normally would.
  11. Quick and wireless charging. I wasn’t able to try this out since I’m not investing in the hardware for a trial phone, but I would absolutely be on board with these if I was going to use this phone full time.

What I Hate

  1. Battery Life is much worse (made it just over 8 hours on my first day…). Comparing it to a “phablet” like the iPhone 6 Plus may not be totally fair, but my iPhone wipes the floor with this so far. And no, the solution shouldn’t be to turn things like bluetooth, NFC, WiFI, and other services on and off as I need them. The phone should manage that for me without me thinking about it.
  2. Fingerprint reader works about 20% of the time. It’s horrendous. I may have to learn how to use it, but my iPhone worked 99% of the time right from the start.
  3. Your fingerprint backup password must be 8+ characters with at least 1 number. I wouldn’t mind this if I wasn’t entering it all the time.
  4. Scrolling is choppy in all apps. Android scrolls faster than iOS, but the animations stutter like crazy. Scrolling my Twitter timeline on both phones side by side was shocking.
  5. Speaking of Twitter, there is simply not a good Twitter app for Android. I tried Twitter, Fenix, and Falcon Pro, and none of them come close to the experience of any of the popular Twitter apps on iOS. God help you if you want to share links from Twitter to anywhere else, because it’s nearly impossible.
  6. It’s so hard to pick up this phone without touching something you don’t want. Since the screen is on the sides of the phone and the capacitive navigation buttons are on the bottom, you can really only pick this phone up from the top if the screen is on.
  7. The camera bump is intense. If you are bothered by the bump on the back of the iPhone 6, you’re going to lose your mind when you see how much this phone rocks when laying on a table.
  8. Lag is surprisingly noticeable for a phone with such crazy specs. Despite being 3x the phone on paper than my iPhone 6 Plus, it feels no faster and actually performs slower in many situations.
  9. All of the Edge-specific features are completely stupid. Even the light for notifications doesn’t work well because you can’t see it if you are sitting at your desk and are looking down on it. If you put your phone face down at eye level, then you’ll enjoy that feature. Also, swiping the side of the screen to see notifications is far clunkier than just tapping the home button and seeing them on the regular screen.
  10. Share sheet icons move around from app to app. It seems like the order is based on usage on a per-app basis. Muscle memory won’t get you far here.