Galaxy S6 edge an impressive enterprise phone — with one big exception

This enterprise-oriented Samsung Galaxy edge review looks at the strengths and shortcomings of the hottest new Android phone from a business perspective. Hint: It has a glaring Achilles heel.

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What you won't like about the Galaxy S6 edge: Battery, bugs, (potential) breaks 

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a glaring Achilles heel: battery life. The first day I setup my phone, I noticed that the 2,600mAh battery seemed to drain significantly faster than it should. So I turned my screen brightness way down. I turned off wireless radios I wasn't using. I signed out of applications that I don't use frequently to make sure they weren't constantly updating and sucking power. The issue remained, and I haven't made it through a full day of heavy use with my GS6 edge during the nearly two months I've had the device.

For context, I have all of the same apps and service set up on my iPhone 6 (and more) as I do my GS6 edge, and as a test, I purposely streamed music and played the occasional game on the iPhone while avoiding these apps on the GS6 edge. I did my best to use the phones equally other than that, and the Samsung phone still died before the iPhone. I also don't think the iPhone 6 has great battery life, at least when compared to, say, the BlackBerry Passport — which admittedly has a larger battery pack — so that also speaks to the poor GS6 edge battery.

samsung galaxy s6 edge bottom rear Brian Sacco

It's worth noting that my iPhone is on AT&T and my GS6 edge is a T-Mobile device; however, I get solid coverage on both networks in the areas I frequent, and I use Wi-Fi at home and in my office, where I spend most of my time, so the network shouldn't have a significant impact on battery life.

I asked Samsung about the battery issue, and it says it hasn't received any other similar complaints. It suggested that my problem could be related to the preproduction review unit it gave me. I can't be sure of either of these things, but the GS6 edge I'm using sure doesn't impress when it comes to battery life. 

The GS6 edge has a number of power-saving modes, and you can use special Adaptive Fast Charging (AFC) cords to power up a device quicker than with a standard USB cord. (It takes about two hours to fully charge a dead device using an AFC charger, which ships with the GS6 edge.) The features are valuable, but they simply aren't enough to make up for the lack of reasonable battery life overall.

I'm also disappointed that the GS6 edge doesn't have a removable battery (which would help assuage some of my concerns about battery life) or a swappable memory card. Past generations of Galaxy S phones had both of these things, as does the relatively new Galaxy Note 4. Samsung says it used fixed a battery and memory to make for a slimmer device profile, among other things, and though it achieved that goal, I'm not sure it was worth the tradeoff.

samsung galaxy s6 edge top front Brian Sacco

The new Galaxy S phones both run the latest version of Android, v5.0, or "Lollipop." Unfortunately, the software experience is quite buggy. For example, one of my most used applications simply doesn't work at all (a banking app) even though Google Play thinks it's compatible with the GS6 edge. Many apps run so poorly on the GS6 edge that I've come to just avoid them.

Even Samsung's own My KNOX app, which lets you separate work and personal data on your device, crashes every time I try to access its "More" settings menu. I also found a bug that lights up the rear camera flash every time you touch it (or if it's in your pocket) if you sign in and use the Google Fit app, which puts even more strain on the battery.

Some of these issues will likely be resolved with future software updates, but for now, it's tough for me to rely solely on the GS6 edge due to what seems like a bug infestation. New users will likely seek assistance from IT when they encounter a bug that hinders their work (or their tweeting), and that could translate into an unwelcome burden on support staff.

You can use the GS6 edge fingerprint reader to unlock the phone, access KNOX containers, and authenticate purchases using the PayPal app, but other than that, its functionality is limited. Samsung plans to roll out its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, later this month, and developers could build apps that use the finger scanner, but for now it doesn't do very much.

[Related: 4 things you need to know about Samsung Pay]

The most notable things about the GS6 edge are obviously its curved edges. However, the curves are more gimmick than anything else, and their value is mostly aesthetic. The GS6 edge is slick and sleek, and the curved sides have a lot to do with that, but they don't offer much business value.

Appearance aside, business users could potentially appreciate the edge notifications, and some of the "People edge" features. The People edge lets you pick five frequent contacts and then assign specific colors to each. The edge lights up when the GS6 is placed facedown and you receive a notification from one of your designated five contacts. You can quickly send or reply to messages from those contacts by dragging your finger inward from the curved edge, when the device is awake. (You need to wake and unlock it to read or send messages, though you can see color-coded notifications when the GS6 edge is locked.) Another feature lets you send preset messages without lifting up your facedown device by tapping the rear-facing camera lens, which is kind of cool, but also limited.

Those curved edges do not come for free, and you pay at least $100 more for the GS6 edge than the standard GS6. More specifically, the black, AT&T 32GB GS6 costs $815 without a contract; the black 64GB version goes for $915; and the black 128GB AT&T GS6 edge costs $1,015 off contract. (The GS6 phones also come in cool new colors, but you'll pay even more for them.) Of course, organizations that purchase bulk orders will likely receive some sort of discount, but the GS6 edge will still cost more than the GS6.

After using the GS6 edge for almost two months, I find that the curved edges are more trouble than they're worth. I have fairly large hands, and the sides of my palm and my fingers kind of curl around the phone when I hold it one-handed. In other words, my hand is always "half touching" the display, and it sometimes triggers unwanted actions, such as randomly closing apps or scrolling through screens when I don't want to.

Both GS6 phones also feel very delicate, especially the GS6 edge. I haven't dropped either of my devices, so I haven't really done any "real world drop tests," but Samsung tells me it didn't see any difference in durability between the two phones during its testing. Still, GS6 edge just feels more delicate than its brother. 

It is, however, much easier to find durable glass screen protectors for the GS6 than it is for the GS6 edge, and I guarantee it's significantly more expensive to replace a cracked display on the GS6, which probably won't go over well in many IT shops.

To sum that all up …

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