Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Sure it looks cool, but it's difficult to justify

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

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The rear facing camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is excellent. It's one of the best cameras I've had the pleasure of using on a smartphone.

You'll find the same cameras here that you get on the Galaxy S6, with a 16MP rear facing snapper and a 5MP option up front.

That's not much of an upgrade on paper over the 16MP/2MP offering on the Galaxy S5, and the HTC One M9 and Sony Xperia Z3 can boast more megapixels with 20.7MP shooters.

Don't let that put you off though, as coupled with that QHD display and some seriously speedy processing the camera on the Galaxy S6 Edge is a joy to use.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

The image quality specialists over at DXO Mark agree, giving it a score of 86, which was enough for it to top the charts. It's since been beaten by the Sony Xperia Z5 with a score of 87, but it's still sitting at the number 2 spot.

Being able to launch the camera from anywhere on the handset by just double clicking the home button is a useful feature, and the fact it loads the camera almost instantly means you're much less likely to miss a shot.

It's noticeably quicker to start up than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and you get crisper, more detailed images too versus Apple's 8MP sensors.

Samsung has worked on its camera app, making it less cluttered and easier to use - and it's a welcome change as previous iterations just threw in features left, right and center and they got in the way of actually taking a picture.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

The app now has a handful of modes including auto, pro, selective focus, panorama, virtual shot, slow motion and fast motion.

Most of the time I stuck with auto, as the Galaxy S6 Edge does an excellent job at recognizing your surroundings and adapting the settings to get you the best image.

Pro mode opens up various options such as white balance, exposure and contrast if you want to fine tune your shot, while panorama supports both vertical and horizontal sweeps giving you more freedom.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Selective focus allows you to choose the point of focus of an image after you've snapped it. You only get a choice of three; near, far or all, but it's a clever effect and worth playing around with when you get a chance.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Virtual shot is more of a gimmicky feature, but also kind of cool. Select an object you want a 3D view of, and then move the S6 Edge around it. The phone will capture a series of images and stitch them together into a GIF.

You can then look round the object by tilting your phone left and right. It's fun to show off, but the quality is pretty low and it can be a hassle capturing the shot in the first place.

The S6 Edge can record 4K video using its rear camera, and 2K video on the front, but if you select to record slow or fast motion you'll only be able to capture footage in 1280 x 720.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

Back to snapping photos and as well as loading up impressively quickly the Galaxy S6 Edge also has a slick shutter speed.

The camera lens is in a good location on the rear of the handset and I rarely found my fingers wandering into shot - something that happens a lot with iPhones.

If you're having trouble reaching the onscreen shutter key you can use the volume buttons on the side to snap a picture - something which comes in especially handy when using the front facing snapper for a cheeky selfie. There's even a beauty mode to make your skin look perfect/fake.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

The S6 Edge performs best outside in daylight, with a high level of detail captured and even the 4x digital zoom doesn't degrade quality as much as I was expecting.

Indoors the S6 Edge is a strong performer and while low light is still a work in progress for all smartphone cameras, there is an noticeable improvement in this area over the 2014 line up.

There is a LED flash on the rear, but as with many smartphones it tends to dominate the shot and over exposure your subject so try and avoid using it.

You can check out some of the lovely pictures I was able to take with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge on the next page.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.