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Galaxy S6 vs. Galaxy S6 Edge: What Should You Buy?

The decision to buy the S6 or S6 Edge really comes down to two things: how much you like the design of the Edge and how much extra you’re willing to pay for it. Practically speaking, the S6 is the better deal, as you get the same great 5.1-inch quad HD screen, fast octa-core processor and 16-megapixel camera that outshoots the iPhone 6 for $100 less. But if you want the best-looking phone on the market - and you wouldn’t mind some extra battery life to go along with it - the S6 Edge is the smartphone I’d choose.

Here's what you need to know before you buy.

Design

While both the S6 and S6 Edge are made of glass and metal, only the S6 Edge has a dual-curved display. The look is futuristic and stunning, making the S6 appear flat and a little boring by comparison. The regular S6 is just as solid and has a premium feel, but it doesn't grab your attention like the Edge.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide)

Although it's not by a lot, the S6 Edge is thinner and lighter than the regular S6. The Edge weighs 4.7 ounces and is 0.26 inches thick, while the S6 is 4.9 ounces and 0.28 inches.

The one downside to the S6 Edge's curved display is that you can sometimes accidentally press the screen because there's less of a bezel.

Winner: Galaxy S6 Edge. It's just sexier.

Features

The S6 Edge offers just a few features to take advantage of its curved screen. For instance, from the home screen you can slide your finger in from the edge to see your favorite contacts, each of which is assigned a color. If you happen to place the Edge upside down on a table, you'll see the Edge display glow that hue when one of those contacts dials you.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Credit: Cherlynn Low

(Image credit: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Credit: Cherlynn Low)

One of the features I like most about the S6 Edge is that the curved screen doubles as a clock when the rest of the display is off. And it's dim enough to keep by your bedside without being distracting.

Less impressive is the Edge screen's news ticker function, which scrolls headlines and scores from Yahoo, as well as the latest Twitter trends. It's not worth the effort.

Winner: Galaxy S6. The curved screen on the Edge doesn't do enough.

Battery Life

Samsung managed to cram a larger capacity battery in the Galaxy S6 Edge (2,600 mAh) than the S6 (2,550 mAh). On our battery test, which surfs the Web over LTE at 100 nits of screen brightness, the S6 Edge lasted 8 hours and 57 minutes on T-Mobile, versus 8:32 for the S6. That's nearly a half hour longer.

On Verizon's LTE network, the S6 Edge lasted 7:58, compared with 7:37 for the S6. 

Winner: Galaxy S6 Edge. Every extra drop of juice is welcome.

Price and Value

Galaxy S6/S6 Edge Pricing Compared


AT&TSprint*VerizonT-Mobile
Contract Price$199/$299$199/$299$199/$299N/A
Installment Plan$22.84/$27.17$27/$32$24.99/$29.16$28.33/$32.49
Full Price$684.99/$814.99$648/$768$599/$699$679.92/$779.76

*with Easy Pay

The $100 price delta between the S6 and S6 Edge is nothing to sneeze at. On Verizon, for example, you'll pay $199 on a two-year contract for the S6 versus $299 for the Edge. The full prices of the phones are $599 and $699, respectively, on Verizon network, but the delta grows to $130 on AT&T. 

However, the premium doesn't seem as painful when you opt for a monthly installment plan, which all the major carriers offer. On Verizon, it's the difference between $24.99 and $29.16 per month, or $4.17 per month. T-Mobile customers would pay $28.33 per month for the S6 and $32.49 for the Edge, or a difference of $4.16.

Winner: Galaxy S6. If you're paying $100 extra up front, the premium doesn't seem worth it, but it's easier to justify when broken up in monthly installments.

Bottom Line: S6 Edge Has the Edge

If you look at our round-by-round results, the S6 Edge and S6 split with two rounds apiece. However, the S6 Edge still wins in my book. It offers a better design and longer battery life in a thinner and lighter form. Even though the Edge doesn’t do much with its curved display and costs at least $100 more, to me it’s worth the premium, because it lasts longer on a charge and looks better doing it.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Credit: Jeremy Lips

(Image credit: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge | Credit: Jeremy Lips)

Follow Mark Spoonauer at @mspoonauer. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.