For years, a smartphone's main selling points were faster processors and better screens. But we're knee deep in diminishing returns these days, and some makers are using out-of-the-box thinking to draw our eye. None more so than Samsung—and the new S6 Edge is the evidence.
The Galaxy S6 Edge is basically just a Galaxy S6 with a special curved screen that cascades—like a waterfall, or a Salvador Dali painting—down both sides of the phone, giving you access to all sorts of little helpful widgets without taking up your entire screen. It's the same idea as the Galaxy Note Edge, only with two edges instead of one.
And those two edges make for a really cool new look. I'll admit that I like the normal S6 slightly more, but a quick poll of my Gizmodo colleagues placed me squarely in the minority.
But there's a difference between selling the future and just obfuscating it with cool-looking gimmicks. Is this a gimmick like the original Edge? I'm going to go out on a limb and say future phones might actually work like this.
You'd think holding this thing would be an accidental touch nightmare, but that's surprisingly not the case. In fact, it may even be slightly more comfortable than the "normal" S6, precisely because of the curved edges. Samsung still brings over the the low-power alarm clock that lights up on the edge of the device, so you can set the phone down on your bed side table or your cat while you sleep and see the time with even reaching for your phone. That's my kind of lazy!
That's not to say every phone will look like the S6 Edge in 2016 and beyond. It could very well remain a niche Samsung idea, but it's one that proves it has the right to exist. On the Note 4 Edge, the idea still seemed a little half-baked. With only the right edge having a screen, the phone felt oddly asymmetrical and prejudiced against lefties. But with the dipped edges on both sides, those problems are now gone. Samsung also adds a few new tricks, like Quick Contacts (below), to help make use of those curved edges.
Contacts that you speak with often can be given a specific colour. When your phone is laying flat on a table and someone calls, the idea is that you'll be able to see the colour, know exactly who's calling, and determine whether you should go outside and answer that important call from your boss or just stay in the bar and scream drunkenly at your friend. Also, if you're busy or one beer past forming coherent sentences, you can double tap the heart rate sensor near on the Edge's lens and it will send a pre-determined text message of your choosing.
Still, other than a few tiny differences (a 2600mAh battery compared to a 2550, a few grams lighter, and coming in an alternative emerald colour), you're pretty much looking at the standard S6, which you can read all about right....here.
Photos and GIFs by Michael Hession