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Samsung has come a long way since their very first Galaxy smartphone launched back in 2009. Now heading into its sixth generation, the newest Galaxy S6 edge is exponentially more powerful in every way, and now better than ever suited to serve the needs of those within the design community. While the Galaxy has been long associated with fast(er) processors and larger screens every new version, Samsung’s new flagship stands out as the culmination of the company’s goal to execute a more cohesive aesthetic and tactile design philosophy inspired by nature, a phone shaped more by material experience rather than hardware specs one-upsmanship.
Constructed entirely of metal and glass – an important migration away from the lightweight plastics which characterized previous – the Galaxy S6 edge is Samsung’s boldest and most sophisticated design yet, merging the premium materials of metal and glass first explored in their Galaxy Alpha device alongside the curved dual-edged display of the Galaxy Note edge. The combination of premium material with ergonomically pleasing curves adorning each side results in a design which invites tactile investigation; even while the phone is turned off or in standby mode, the sculpturally curved edges reflect ambient light, accentuating the device’s hallmark feature. In combination the form and choices in material should appease those who appreciate design detailing perceptively through the sense of touch as much as visually – a designer’s trait.
Knowing users, especially those within the design industry, carry their device everywhere Samsung turned to using lightweight and strong 6013 aluminum for the bezel. This is the same alloy used to manufacture mountain bikes and aircraft fuselages, so durability is factored. Samsung claims this specific grade of aluminum is 50% stronger and 20% more scratch and dent resistant than the 6063 aluminum used by other manufacturers, ideal for designers who depend on their phone as an extension of their laptop. These same “my phone is my life” users should find the fast charging capabilities impressive, bringing battery levels up to 50% in just 30 minutes, with the option to avoid cords and cables completely with integrated wireless charging.
On a related note, it’s interesting the perimeter edges of the device sits slightly higher than the glass screen surface; this is intentional, allowing the metal edges to be the first point of contact if/when the device is dropped, decreasing the chances of a cracked screen.
And about that curvilinear glass screen: it’s a spacious span of transparent Gorilla Glass 4 covering both the front and back of the phone’s 2560×1440 pixels per inch Super AMOLED display, plenty of screen to showcase a portfolio of work, review color palettes, or watch video when working with a client or project team members.
The liquidity of form extends into a functional equivalent: swipe from the edge (user customizable for left or right preferences) and a flowing graphical wave appears to present the People Edge, a shortcut for five favorite contacts. When flipped over the screen glows along its visible edges for call notification, with assigned colors glowing if one of chosen favorite contacts is the caller. Multi-taskers who find themselves regularly checking emails while reviewing project notes will quickly come to rely upon the Galaxy S6’s Multi Window feature, which allows users to keep different app windows open side by side. No more closing and opening between apps to review/reference project details.
And perhaps most importantly for designers on a daily basis is the phone’s camera. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s 16MP rear-facing and 5MP front-facing cameras have been fine tuned to launch fast with a double tap of the home screen, with Auto-HDR capturing the fine details and color gamut in almost any light, something designers will appreciate when out and about collecting samples of texture, color, and material.
It’s too early to guess whether curved screens and the accompanying functionality evolves into a new standard, but it’s commendable to see a manufacturer exploring form, function, and materials beyond established norms while improving on the features designers and others regularly depend upon for work and play, whether it be battery life, multi-tasking, or great digital photography.
Samsung Galaxy will be hosting a state-of-the-art interactive performance with a popular band performing with a custom synth Android app controlling multiple Samsung Galaxy S6 edge handsets simultaneously during the live performance. Stay tuned for more on this exciting event!