The edge screen works in different ways when the display is turned on and when it's dark. When the device is awake, the edge screen serves as the "People edge," and it shows notification information for a designated set of five contacts. You assign a specific color to each person, and a corresponding colored tab appears on your edge screen whenever you receive notifications from that person.
The tabs appear on top of each other if you receive notifications from more than one of your People edge contacts. And you can quickly initiate new conversations or place calls to People edge contacts by sliding a finger inward from the edge of the screen and tapping their profile icons.
When the GS6 edge is asleep, the edge screen serves a number of purposes. You can turn on "edge lighting" so the edge screen glows when you receive calls or notifications, if your phone is placed facedown on a surface. If you use the "People edge" features, the screen glows the corresponding color when you receive calls or alerts from any of those contacts. You can also enable or disable edge screen notifications for calls, email or text messages, so you only see specific alerts.
The GS6 edge "information stream" shows up when you slide a finger back and forth across your edge screen, while the display is asleep. The customizable edge screen shows the date, time, weather information, battery status and a variety of feeds, from sources including Yahoo and Twitter. (The selection of available feeds is limited at this point, but it will presumably increase as more developers build support for the new feature into their apps.) You can also choose to see missed calls and messages in your information stream.
Finally, a "Night clock" lets you pick set a specific time period during which the date and time appear and stay on your edge screen, so you can use your phone as a bedside clock without having to wake it to see the date and time.
You can also disable any and all of the edge screen features, so you can pick and choose which ones to use.
Do the curved Galaxy S 6 edge sides change the user experience?
The curved sides on the Galaxy S 6 edge take some getting used to, mainly because they're so different and because they make the device feel somewhat slippery. The curved glass is smooth and slick, so it's easy to lose your grip on the phone. Of course, a case could resolve this issue, and I strongly recommending using one, because the GS6 edge looks and feels delicate. I do not have a case for my GS6 edge yet, so I can't comment on how one might modify or impede the use of the curved edges.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.