The Galaxy S6 edge: Here's what that crazy curved display can do

As the name implies, the big selling point for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (and that "edge" indeed is lowercase, boys and girls) is, in fact, the edge. Or, rather, the edges. Both of them, sloping down from the top of the phone into the thin metal band that is the side of the phone.

But is it merely form? Or is there actually some function to the edge?

The answer, of course, is both. Here's what all you can do with those curved parts of the Samsung Galaxy 6 edge.

READ NOW: Here's what that S6 edge display can do

Edge lighting

Edge lighting

Let's be perfectly clear: We don't really advocate placing your phone face-down. It's just not a great idea, especially when you have a slippery fish like the GS6. Don't leave your phone face-down.

But if you do leave your phone face-down, you can do some fun things with the GS6 edge. You see, getting a call while you're talking face to face with someone can be annoying. So the idea here is that you'll leave your phone face-down (did we mention you really shouldn't do that?) and then the active edge (as in one of the edges) glows if and when someone's calling. Of course if you've left vibration on the you're now in full-on disco inferno mode, both glowing and vibrating.

If the person calling is one of the five you've added to the People edge (we'll cover that in the next bit), you'll see a different color for each. Of course then you'll have to remember who's assigned to each one.

People edge

This is where you can pick five of your pals and add them to a sort of quick-dial tab that lives on the edge of your home screen and lock screen. You pick the person from your contacts and assign them one of eight colors. These five fine folks then live behind the tab. Pull it and you see faces. (Not at all unlike Facebook's Chat Heads, only this is much better done.) Tap a face and you have option to call, text or email that contact. (The email and SMS icons are extremely similar, though, which is a little annoying until your force yourself to remember which is which.) If you miss a call or email or text from one of the five, you'll see a tab in their color anchored on the screen. And you can choose which notification you want to be notified about should you miss said notification from that favorite friend. (Again, that's a missed call, text message or email.)

It's a good idea and the implementation is pretty great. But that tab also feels like it's a world away up there toward the top of the screen, and we're just not using the People edge anywhere near as much as we thought we might. And that's a shame.

Information Stream

Information stream on GS6

One of the earliest features of this curved edge display on the Note 4 edge was to present information of varying kinds. And that continues on the Galaxy S6 edge with a number of options. (Five, to be exact.) They are:

  • Briefing feed: Your usual notifications like missed calls and texts. You can pick and choose which apps can feed into this.
  • Yahoo news: News. From Yahoo.
  • Twitter trends: See what really important thing is happening right this very second on Twitter.
  • Yahoo finance: Financial information. From Yahoo. (You tell it what you want to know.)
  • Yahoo sports: Sports scores. From Yahoo. (You pick the teams.)

You also can download a few others from Samsung's app store, if you really want to.

The fun part of the Information Stream is this: When the phone's asleep (ie the screen is dark), swipe back and forth on the edge once to get the Information Stream to appear. It's cool, but kind of awkward.

Night Clock

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The most useful part of the edge display has to be the Night Clock. As the name implies, it's a clock that appears at night. On the edge of the phone. So basically you just have to crack one eye open and see how little sleep you got since the last time you cracked one eye open to see how little sleep you got since the last time you cracked one eye open to see ...

You get the idea.

You set the start and stop time, with a maximum of 12 hours. If you don't have a full-size clock on your nightstand, it really is a neat little trick.

Left or right?

Left or right

And now for the all-important question: On which side do you edge? Left? Or right? You can swap easily in the settings, but it would be nice to be able to set the clock on one side and the People Edge on another. For now, however, they're one and the same.

So choose wisely. Left? Or right?

Phil Nickinson
  • ok, so I didn't get the hype around this... but now that I've seen it. This tech is pretty cool.
  • Nope. I still don't think the very small number of things the edge does is worth distorting all your other non Samsung apps. People just like it because it's pretty. Which is fine. Just call it what it is Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like the way it looks of course, but also like how it feels when swiping from the edge of the screen, very smooth. The distortion is so small at the edges I never notice it.
  • I don't have any distortion on the edges of mine. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1
  • I'm not going to say that you haven't used the edge because it is quite possible that the screen does distort some of the applications you use. However with the apps that I use the only thing that I will say looks a tad bit goofy is the RDP client that I use, everything else the edge usually is just in the margin and therefore doesn't really matter.
    It is just simply really pretty though, i'm not going to say that the edge screen has an actual use case because it really doesn't. I'm just not sure what apps people are actually having an issue with.
  • I went with the normal 6 because it was less of a slippery fish than it's curvy sister phone. These uses seem more novelty than actually useful (so far, at least). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why is the word "novelty" when it applies to Samsung, thrown around like it's a bad thing?
  • Because they are experts at creating features which you play with a few times for the novelty but don't offer much lasting value and you forget about them or just disable them. they tend to bog down the system. Their's nothing wrong with new things, but they should be legitimately useful. I don't kiagree that all of the things listed here meet that discription, but some like the side lighting for calls does to me
  • I've been using the edge features for about a month now and have really enjoyed them. I can't see myself not using them any time in the foreseeable future. For me, at least, these "novelties" represent an improvement in user experience. I'd say the only way to know for sure is to live with the device for a few weeks and see how you feel about it. Funny how so many people who don't even own the device are so eager to offer their irrelevant opinion on the subject
  • I think this curved display will have a great use in the future once it matures. I personally didn't see the value in paying an extra hundred dollars for what is being offered, especially when I found it difficult to hold without dropping. Maybe the S7 edge will bring a deeper curve or additional functionality that will turn this new feature into something more practical. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have the NOTE Edge and I love it. At lease, when I receive a notification it shows on the edge, not in the middle of the main screen.
  • No doubt if Apple had come out with this it would have been called innovative by the iFans. Posted via my Motorola Startac
  • Some features are more useful than others. I use the night clock almost religiously. I only wish you could use all day instead of only 12 hours without having to switch the times. I use the people edge alot too but it needs to be accessible from any screen and you need to be able to text directly from the contact you slide out The notification edge I use when I have it on its wireless charger. Now that I have a case for my edge I am using the edge glow feature more often. Especially when having dinner with the wife and kids or in situations where it is rude to check your phone. The edge while being beautiful and kind of useful isn't a necessity but in all actuality neither are smartphones.
  • Nothing! Posted via the Android Central App
  • So you can only use one edge? I guess that answers the "how do you hold it" question, but still seems...stupid.
  • Dude....are you ignoring Jerry? He called you 3 times. Lol Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • I have a friend who uses the edge to get information discretely during meetings. He said that with the edge he can distract himself and no one notices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But don't do that.
  • I was considering the standard S6, but the edge features seem useful. It will be interesting to see Samsung add more uses to the edge. Posted via AC App on HTC One
  • You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.
  • You're gonna like the way you look... I guarantee it Posted via the Android Central App
  • But is it $100 more than the S6 useful, I don't think so
  • I held both for the first time today. I thought the edge seemed the nicest I couldn't care less for the features it brings but it just seemed the immersive to look at. Posted via Sony xperia z2
  • And that's the beauty of the edge it really doesn't matter if there more are less functional . The thing is drop dead beautiful and it fills so good in the hand . This is one phone I'd hate to put a case on . My local bb said there selling almost the same amount of both phones nobody saw that coming not even Samsung Posted via the Android Central App
  • Must be a prior Apple user... it is not bright to choose form over function on something such as technology. Cool, you might wow someone for a minute when they see it for the first time, but you're the one that has to use it daily. And if that means that you drop it more often, well then... I really don't know what to tell ya. It's your money, I guess if you feel the need to show it off then so be it.
  • Going Edge over non edge isn't picking form over function. The edge ADDS function.
    People that drop $900 phones need a case. I have S6 edge, no case. Treat it like a $900 pocket computer that makes calls and you won't drop it. I haven't used a case on any phone in the last 5 years for more than a minute before it gets thrown in the useless case pile. The edge is an awesome phone and I didn't pick the edge because "my friends thinks it's cool" anyone that picks a device for that reason needs to grow up.
    And what difference does it make if someone was a prior iPhone user? does that somehow categorize them into an idiot or something ?
  • Guess that is why top clothes don't sell. Because they r too pretty. Ofc looks ISNA big one m8 and g5 are similar to the Expedia and plus one stat wise but how many of ur buds bought one
  • You can say that about the new HTC One M9 which lets face it, is very disappointing. Posted via the Sailfish iMore app
  • I agree with you. I love my edge and ireally didn't want to put a case on it either but between the metal getting dinged up and glass back getting scratched within the first 2 weeks. I really had no other choice. So I went with the dual bumper obliq case and couldn't be happier.especially since I can change out the colors on the bumper
  • How much usable space do you have? Thinking about getting 32 GB edge variant. Posted via Android Central App
  • After I set up my gs6 with my own apps . I had about 25 gig left not bad I can live with that . And that's after adding 400 songs Posted via the Android Central App
  • Seems like a novelty for me, I like the night clock but that's about the extent of it. Certainly looks nice but considering the many battery complaints its not a phone for me.
  • I'll go with the center over left or right... I know I know, I'm a wild and crazy guy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I really like the night clock feature. I keep it on my night stand and when I wake up in the middle of the night, I don't have to turn on the bright screen. I also like the my people feature however, after years of telling people to text instead of calling, this feature isn't being used
  • The night clock is a feature I use all the time with my note edge . Now my edge can do so much more than the s6 edge . But the s6 looks better almost to the point I'm thinking about returning my regular s6 for a gold edge and pay that ouch!!! $130 more Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm a bit upset that the S6 edge doesn't have the same functionality that the Note 4 edge has but I still like it. I also wanted the gold but got the Black because VZW didn't have it in stock. By the time the Gold comes out, my 2 weeks would be over and would have to buy it in full. Ahh first world problems lol
  • I use an alarm clock app on my GN4 that is very dim on a solid black background that is like a screensaver moving the digital clock around the screen. Quick glance towards my nightstand for the time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is why I say they need to have a text box morph out of the contact when you hit the text button
  • That's actually not a bad idea. That would be a pretty cool feature
  • Always have my fone face down, bc it's cased the F up Posted via the Android Central App
  • #4 is a nice way to burn in that amoled screen lol
  • And ... What else?. Really, the only "crazy" on these edges is the sexy look and nothing else, these functions are ridiculous and totally expendable.
  • in your opinion. People who actually own it find them useful. People thought the finger print reader on iPhone was ridiculous until they realized it wasn't.
    If you don't like the S6 edge, why are you clicking and commenting on it?
  • I'm a Note Edge owner. Am I the only one who sees no difference in function of the edge screen beside the people screen? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gimmick
  • says someone who doesn't own one.
  • I go left side at night... Right side during the day. I'm a flip-flopper Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice write-up. Seems to be a nice phone and unique feature. I'll admit, I definitely wanted to buy a Note Edge after playing with one. If they didn't cost so much, I'd give it a go. Posted via the Android Central App
  • All of thsese features seem useless. 1) Edge Lighting: I glance at my Pebble and know exactly who is calling/texting. No remembering color assignments. 2) People Edge: Same amount of pushes to go to favorites in contacts, or make a shortcut to favorite contact on home screen. 3)
    a. Briefing Feed: you have to open the phone to reply to any of these notifications, so what's the point?
    b) Yahoo News: what am I, watching Fox News but just reading the ticker at the bottom? I'm waiting for the news to scroll by when I could just be reading it much quicker on the app?
    c) Twitter Trends: See "b" above.
    d) Yahoo Finance: See "b" and "c" above.
    e) Yahoo Sports: See "b", "c", and "d" above, plus I can get scores on my Pebble without getting my phone out and staring at the edge. 4) Night Clock: I created a Tasker profile that if my phone is on AC power, the orientation is face up, the screen is off, and the proximity sensor (my hand is placed over the phone), it says the current time out loud. Way better that squinting at a smallish edge display in the middle of the night if you wake up. 5) Left or Right: whoops, I laid my phone down the wrong way, I gotta pick it up and turn it around so my edge will be mega-useful. I just don't see someone holding their phone and staring at the edge when you could just turn the screen on. You would be doing it just because you could, not because it brings any real convienence.
  • +way overpriced.
  • Sad how people can't think outside-of-the-box. When I see this edge, I think of what innovative apps can be developed to make the phone better. I happen to be a developer myself (unfortunately not a java developer yet) and I already have at least 5 ideas that can be integrated into the edge of this phone to make it more useful. Hopefully someday Android Developers will catch on too. I feel optimistic about this. Since I'm a web developer I can start experimenting by creating features to display on the edge of the Chrome browser.
  • people only look thru their narrow minds and instantly call everything a gimmick. Everyone that says its a gimmick doesn't own one, doesn't want one, but still felt the need to come here and comment on something "they're not interested in" ... Why ?
  • Well, what are some ideas? I'm open to actual useful ideas, but so far I haven't seen or heard of any. A ruler may be useful.
  • One idea is integrating a side tab-like organizer calendar. I am always opening my calendar app to look at appointments. If I had multiple category tabs on the edge of the phone at all times it would be very useful for me. My other idea is an integrated nutrition interface but of course I can't share all the details.
  • Ok that's not bad. I do believe 3rd party developers can come up with better and more useful ideas than these baked in one's. Also, once it's rooted I'm sure there will the option of using both edges at the same time with different functions simultaneously.
  • nothing I see that's useful to me personally. I prefer the S6 to the edge simply cause of the light it let's in and the slightly wider display. no doubt it looks cool, and certainly wouldn't criticize anyone that chooses to spend the extra $100 for the aesthetics Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol I bought it because the look, not afraid to admit that .I do use these features, but if I'm being honest with myself it's not why I bought it Posted via the Android Central App
  • They should make more apps for the edge...
  • Just wanted to say. Android Central. I honestly HATE these 1 thru X articles? Why can you not just make a one page article anymore?
    5 times the ads? is that the reason? This is a tech site, 95% of your readers have an ad block installed anyways.
  • I don't care what no one says, I love this phone. I don't have one but I played with one and I love how the screen pops. I don't care how pratical the edge is, you're paying for the curved display and the unique look of the phone. I think this reviewer had something negative to add to every edge feature almost is if he telling me it's totally useless therefore adding wood to the fire to give the haters a head start. I mean who doesn't pay extra money for stuff just because it looks better than something cheaper with the same functions.
  • I'll gladly pay the extra for the sleek gorgeous design. Samsung gets killed for not changing shape and now they do its a crime because it may cause u to drop it more. Well at least I've never shattered a galaxy screen but I've had to replace two iPads and 4 iPhone screens. Give me a break. It will be fine
  • The only thing I don't like is the way the picture curves away when watching a video. I'd like it more if u could turn the edges off so the picture is just on the flat part. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • I like the looks of it. Not sure if it would be for me. I've always used a 3rd party SMS app that I really don't want to depart with for the stock Messenger. I believe I would need to use stock for the People edge to work? One thing I think would be cool for this phone would be a curved tempered glass screen protector for the front and a flat one for the back. I don't like cases, but I like some protection. Maybe tempered glass and just a bumper? Nice looking phone though...
  • I'm gonna wait for the one that comes out with the curved top and bottom edges. ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Holy crap I think you're onto something here! Holding my edge right now and trying to picture the back also curved in my hand exactly like the front is... I think that would be a perfect fit. Or not. I sure would like to see something like that though Posted via the Android Central App
  • When I was trading in my M9 for the S6, I was thinking about whether or not to get the S6 edge. Ultimately, I couldn't justify spending the extra $100 for the edge screen. Spec wise, the S6 and S6 edge are the same. So I went with the S6.
  • The way the lock opens on swiping give a unique experience to the user.
  • Don't really see the point of the edge for the cost? So you can see who's calling you screen face down by different colours? And a clock on the side for opening one eye in the night to see what time? All gimmicks of no real use? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Its a phone that shout' different, stand out among the crowd. Just do it, Nike hehe
  • I really like my new edge. The only disappointment I have is the lack of apps. I've seen pic's of what must be the note edge that shows the more common links like your contact's or messaging and Web along the edge. But can't do that on the s6 edge. And the one app they do have looks awful.
  • Have you tried this app? Its third party and i think you can use it with any phone, but it integrates pretty nicely
  • Im really enjoying this phone. the display is beautiful. I downloaded a third party retractable app drawer to add more functionality to the edge and to make the home screen as uncluttered as possible. I upgraded from an HTC one so the curve being on the front of the phone has me picking it up backwards all the time. the face down features of the phone or the night clock are features ill never use. my boyfriend got the S6 standard with more memory for the same price but with 100gb of cloud storage i don't really feel jipped out.