Faced with iffy reviews of its flagship Galaxy S5 and declining profits Samsung launched Project Zero..the design of a new smartphone from scratch. The result is the Samsung Galaxy S6, a classy phone that Samsung hopes will take it back to the top of the smartphone heap when it launches in less than two weeks.
The Galaxy S6 is unquestionably Samsung..all the design cues are there but the plastic is gone..replaced by a sharp looking monolith of metal and glass. It has a premium look and feel to it with metal edges wrapping the almost bezel free screen and the good looking glass back. The switches are where you expect to find them but the speaker is moves to the bottom next to the USB port with the headphone port on the other side. It has also slimmed down to a nice 6.8mm thick.
All this svelte design comes at a price..gone are two Samsung staple selling points: extra storage is no more and the removable battery is also gone plus the Galaxy S6 is also no longer water resistant. While Samsung may concede a couple of marketing points it should be noted that its major competitor the Apple iPhone 6 doesn’t have these features either. Samsung also managed to cram a beautiful 5.1″ screen in a package 143.4×70.5×6.8mm which only a hair larger and 9 grams heavier than the iPhone 6.
That is the same 5.1-inch that came in the S5 but with a boost in resolution to Quad HD, resulting in an impressive pixel density of 577 ppi. The benefits of Super AMOLED are common knowledge, with its deep blacks and vivid colors that are Samsung’s signature. If the saturation is too much, you can tone it down as far as you like.
Like all the current flagship phones the Galaxy S6 is a powerhouse under the hood. Take a look at these specs:
- Processor: 64-bit Exynos, 14nm process
- RAM: 3GB LPDDR4
- Storage: 32/64/128GB using UFS 2.0 tech – no microSD
- Camera: 16MP, f1.9, Smart OIS, HDR (rear); 5MP, f1.9, HDR (front)
- Battery: 2550mAh
All this power means that the bright 1440×2560 screen is driven smoothly, gestures are enacted instantly and apps open in a flash. The screen is a tad on the sensitive side due to the high pixel density…it takes a bit of getting used to. Multitasking is seamless and even huge numbers of apps running in the background don’t seem to affect performance.
Videos and Games are a delight, running with nary a stutter. Moving the speaker from the back was a good idea..while not as good as front firing speakers the audio from this speaker is surprisingly good..plenty of volume and it appears to be centered on the sound stage.
Like all Samsung phones the Galaxy S6 is loaded with hardware and software features…some useful some not so..Samsung will allow you to disable some features such as S Voice so you can use the much more effective Google Search. Fingerprint scanning now works..you just touch it instead of sliding your finger. It’s not quite as good as the iPhone 6 but now it works just about every time.
Samsung’s TouchWiz interface is a bit old fashioned and déclassé for such a luxurious phone. As well I don’t like Flipboard as the default right swipe on the home screen..fortunately both issues are easily fixed by installing the Google Now Launcher leaving me free to use the FlipBoard app when I want to.
The Galaxy S6’s camera is impressive. Samsung has installed an excellent 16Mp snapper on the rear paired with an LED flash, and a 5Mp camera on the front for some pretty good selfies, both with a very fast f/1.9 aperture.
The rear-facing camera has optical image stabilisation and some good auto-focusing features, including tracking and selective focus. There’s also auto real-time HDR (this applies to the front-facing camera, too), as well as low light video capabilities, slow motion, fast motion, IR Detect White Balance and more. Most of these features are hidden in the Auto mode which is great for most people. If you like to get your hands dirty the pro mode gives you lots of control. I especially like the manual focus that allows you to take advantage of the depth of field of that fast f1.9 lens
Access to the camera is quick from any screen by simply double tapping the Home button and the volume control buttons can be used to take pictures. You will be very happy with the results under any lighting conditions.
Videos are just as impressive at 1080p HD.
This time Samsung got it right. This is a good looking well built smartphone that feels good in the hand, has a great screen and takes terrific pictures..what else do you want in a smartphone? Samsung was under the gun here and the result is certainly the best phone the Korean giant has ever produced and arguably the best Android phone you can buy.
All this doesn’t come cheap though…$750 without a plan, $250 with a 2 year contract. The Samsung Galaxy S6 will be available April 10 at most Canadian Carriers and is also available for pre-order now. Check your Carrier ‘s web sites.