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Hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy S6, GS6 edge

Al Sacco | March 3, 2015
Today, Samsung officially announced its two latest smartphones, the Galaxy S6 (GS6) and Galaxy S6 edge, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I couldn't make the trip to Spain for the company's big fête, but I did meet with Samsung last week in New York City, where it detailed both new devices and gave me hands-on time with them.

Today, Samsung officially announced its two latest smartphones, the Galaxy S6 (GS6) and Galaxy S6 edge, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I couldn't make the trip to Spain for the company's big fête, but I did meet with Samsung last week in New York City, where it detailed both new devices and gave me hands-on time with them.

I do not yet have review devices, so this is not a full evaluation of either the GS6 or the GS6 edge. Instead, I'm sharing my thoughts on the two smartphones after spending an hour with them — and peppering various Samsung designers, product managers and PR people with questions.

All of the observations in this article apply to both the GS6 and the GS6 edge, unless otherwise noted, because curved display aside, both devices are "completely the same on the inside," according to Philip Berne, Samsung's marketing manager of technical media.

 Hands On With the Galaxy S6, GS6 edge

One of the first things you notice when you pick up either the GS6 or the GS6 edge is the frame. Samsung caught a lot of heat for using mostly plastic to build the Galaxy S5, and the company responded to that criticism by building the next Galaxy S devices with higher-quality materials, including a new brushed-aluminum frame, what Berne referred to as an "aircraft chassis."

Both devices feel very solid in hand, and the frames have a lot to do with that. Unlike the Galaxy S5 frame, there are no ridges; the GS6 and GS6 edge frames are smooth and solid, and they look and feel much better than the ridged, plastic frame on the GS5.

The new Galaxy phones also have large Corning Gorilla Glass 4 panels on both the front displays and rear sides, which is a nice touch. Samsung used a reflective coating underneath the rear glass panel that catches light and creates a shiny, glimmer effect that's quite cool.

Both devices are available in what Samsung describes as "white pearl," "black sapphire" and "gold platinum" color options. Each model also comes in an exclusive color. The S6 is available in "blue topaz," while the S6 edge comes in "green emerald." The gold, blue and green versions are particularly good-looking, and the reflective coating on the rear side of these colorful devices will catch your eye.

The Galaxy S6 devices are Samsung's best-looking phones ever, in my opinion, and the green emerald GS6 edge is particularly attractive, if slightly feminine.

I also really like the size of the two devices. They're just slightly bigger overall than my iPhone 6, though the displays are notably larger at 5.1 inches, compared to the iPhone 6's 4.7-inch screen. The two devices are also more than a millimeter thinner than the GS5, which is not insignificant when you consider that's more than 12 percent thinner than the GS5's 8mm thickness. The new GS6 (138g) and GS6 edge (132g) are also significantly lighter than the GS5 (145g). In comparison, the iPhone 6 is just slightly thinner than the GS6 edge and a bit thicker than GS6, though the difference is negligible. It's also lighter at 129g.

 

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