The Galaxy S5 was not last year’s standout flagship by any means. A lot of Samsung’s aficionados were left nonplussed by the fact that a company as technically qualified as Samsung, hadn’t expunged the opportunities (read: negatives) of the mediocre Galaxy S4.
To most, the Galaxy S5 seemed “more of the same”.
The year passed and Samsung saw sales wither away. It didn’t help that it’s biggest nemesis, Apple introduced its completely new pair of iPhone 6’s.
Clobbered out of people’s recall, Samsung needed to do something drastic. And it did.
The Galaxy S6 is a pleasant change to the direction in which the Galaxy series is headed. The transition from a plastic body to a glass-and-metal trimmed design is a huge change for Samsung.
An extremely powerful processor, a screen that’s very pleasing to the eye and a responsive camera are just some of the features that make the Galaxy S6 a truly brilliant smartphone.
The Galaxy S6 finally feels like a phone that justifies it’s cost, and gives the Galaxy S series a much needed uplift.
The Galaxy S6 boasts a 5.1 inch QHD Super AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 4 and a pixel density of 577 ppi.
If that sounds like a mouthful, here’s a simpler interpretation: This is one of the best screens available on smartphones right now.
It is vibrant, bright and produces clear blacks and natural whites. Colours are rich and at the right brightness levels it can pretty much seem infinitely clear.
We’ve tested it strenuously and we found the display more than up for any task – games, videos, late night reading, outdoor usage et al. The only gripe we can find to document, is that at times the screen (being an AMOLED creature) is over-saturated and sometimes overly sharp. That said, Samsung has definitely been working at making it truer-to-life (earlier phones were infamous for being unrepresentative of reality – be it images or videos).
The new screen looks good from every viewing angle, making it perfect for viewing videos and photos. Despite its large screen, the Galaxy S6 is slimmer than the Galaxy S5!
When Samsung decided to completely redesign the exterior of their Galaxy smartphones, it was bound to be an challenging endeavour… considering the fact that they (Samsung) would need to throw away almost the entire book of design they’d be reading so far. And they seem to have done well with the long-arm throw.
The Galaxy S6 boasts of a radical change in terms of Samsung’s design ethos. Gone is the tacky, flexible plastic; the flimsy plasticky buttons, the chromed-plastic bevel et al. Replaced by the evergreen glass-and-metal trimmed design.
The Galaxy S6 is intuitively designed and has a premium feel to it. But the design upgrade comes with a few drawbacks: No microSD card slot and no user replaceable battery.
The microSD card slot is something that Samsung could have and probably should have included in the Galaxy S6 package. Although the removable battery was something that had to be sacrificed if Samsung had to go for a sleek unibody design.
The power key and volume rocker sit on either sides to avoid accidental key presses. The speakers are placed at the bottom of the device, which doesn’t feel like the best location possible, but not too many manufacturers experiment with the above-and-below-the-screen layout for speakers.
The glass body has it’s own share of cons. Although beautiful to feel and hold in the hand, the glass back tends make the device a little slippery at times and it predictably attracts fingerprints.
There’s another consideration though – basic etymology of Samsung’s new design seems to point towards the iPhone’s mould! And we’re not sure how many Samsung aficionados would appreciate the lookalike reaction the S6 would normally garner.
It’s hard to find the kind of specs the Galaxy S6 offers, in one package. The QHD screen and the improved design are a pure treat. Along with this comes the 64-bit octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM – both of which make the Galaxy S6 perceptibly faster and more responsive than the Galaxy S5.
The streamlined look and feel of TouchWiz is a major factor to the Galaxy S6’s smooth interface; yet its still not really justifying its bloat nor providing any great utility.
Samsung’s move to the Exynos 7420 processor instead of retaining the Snapdragon 810 processor was a very wise move since the Exynos setup features a physically smaller chipset (without sacrificing processing power) apart from being energy efficient.
Considering the fact that most flagships these days are trying to minimize the size of every chip possible, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the S6 features a Nano-SIM. The casualty of this optimisation, though is the microSD card slot, which has been given the boot.
Fortunately, you get as many as three internal memory options; 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. And that for most users, proves to be fine in real life. Just choose wisely, with a view to your future usage.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a smaller battery as compared to the Galaxy S5, down from 2800mAh to 2550mAh. And this may be the only major blemish on the S6. The battery seldom lasts an entire day of heavy usage, which means that you’ll have to charge the device midway through your day for some extra juice.
You can also use the two power saving modes Samsung has provided: The Standard power saving mode, which restricts background data and app usage, and the Ultra Power Saving mode, which limits the phone’s usage to upto 6 core apps selected by the user. The second mode drives up the standby time by days.
To help further, Samsung’s canny idea of including the futuristic wireless charger and enabling Fast Charging comes to save the day. The S6 charges really fast with the compatible fast charger, one of which is provided in the box. It can charge upto 35% in 10-15 minutes, which is highly impressive!
That’s not all. The S6 can be charged using practically any wireless charger available today. Though its best to use the one designed by Samsung exclusively for the S6, it’s just too cool! Though it can take upto 2 hours of wireless charging to charge your S6 to 70% from a critical condition, this is a failsafe backup if you don’t have your wall charger with you.
The Galaxy S6 is Bluetooth v4.1 enabled and has NFC capabilities. It also features an infrared port which is a nice touch.
The technical superiority of the Galaxy S6 is visible with the way it handles extremely graphic-intensive games such as Real Racing 3 or Asphalt 8. The Galaxy S6 is a powerhouse that can handle pretty much anything that is thrown it’s way, for now atleast!
Despite the constant criticism TouchWiz has been facing over the past couple of years, Samsung has chosen to retain its age old Android overlay. Nothing much has been changed from a design point of view, but the overlay has been cleaned up a lot. The menus, for instance, have been toned down drastically. As a result of Google’s Material design being incorporated into TouchWiz, the icons also have a flattened look to them.
A big (and positive) change in the latest iteration of TouchWiz is the loss of Samsung’s under-achieving personal assistant, S Voice’s pride of perch at the home button. If you keep the home button pressed, you’ll now be taken straight to the Camera app, in about 0.7 seconds, as reported by Samsung.
The TouchWiz UI is somewhat more intuitive and responsive than previous versions of Samsung’s Android overlay. The dialer, for one, has been improved drastically. The Contacts tab has been polished and the unnecessary options and tabs have been removed, giving you a clutter-free experience. The Quick settings page is also designed in a way that makes full use of the screen space available, unlike before.
All in all, Samsung have worked hard on redesigning TouchWiz to make it simplistic and easy to look at and it’s a welcome change! But having lived with the S6 for a while, I must say, I wouldn’t miss TouchWiz were Samsung to do away with it altogether. And that’s a very clear assessment of it’s redundancy.
The camera has always been a major selling point of Samsung’s smartphones and that hasn’t changed with the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy S6 makes use of the Sony Exmor RS IMX240 sensor, which is the same sensor used in the Galaxy Note 4 and sports a 16 megapixel rear camera with an impressive f/1.9 mm aperture. This helps improve low light photography, consequently, the camera does a good job of capturing a wide variety of subjects in all lighting conditions.
Auto HDR mode and Optical Image Stabilization make a return from the Galaxy S5 and the OIS makes it easier to take on-the-go photographs.
The camera app is very responsive and takes under a second to launch. The phone manages to focus fast enough, so blurry photographs are not a frequent sight on the Galaxy S6.
The 5 megapixel front camera too, does the job for selfies, and the photo quality indeed is superb for a smartphone’s camera. To help further, there are pre-set modes such as Wide Selfie and Beauty shot that accentuate the output.
Given the changing landscape of apps, and folks’ propensity to create and share videos from their phones, Samsung’s worked on that front too. The Galaxy S6 can capture videos upto 2160p at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. Samsung has thrown in fast and slow video modes in its camera app. So you can now make cool time-lapse videos as slow as 240fps. If this wasn’t enough, Samsung now lets you choose the speed with which this slowdown happens! This means, you can go really really slow if you want to.
When it comes to graphic capabilities, this phone outshines all others, due to Samsung now using their own Exynos processor, that uses super fast and efficient 14mm nano technology.
Graphic intensive games like Temple Run 2 and Subway Surfer run without any lag whatsoever, as expected from a flagship. Even heavier games like the latest in the Asphalt series: Asphault 8 Airborne run without any stutters, thanks to the class leading 64-bit octa-core processor on the phone.
Listening to music and playing movies on this device is a gratifying experience. The video player opens most file formats, so chances are that you won’t even need third party apps like VLC Player.
The Super AMOLED 5.1 inch screen makes for excellent media consumption and media has to be viewed on the phone to experience how rocking this device is… It’s easy to say that the display is the best in the market!
Transferring your existing media like photos and movies to this device is a dream. Just connect it to your computer with its mini USB cable and you can copy and paste stuff from your computer onto it. You also have the option to download and use Samsung Smart Switch for transferring all your important data from your old phone.
The Phone excels in its media streaming capability, both over 4G and WiFi networks.
With three storage options 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB, the amount of media you can keep on the Galaxy S6 is significant. Add cloud storage solutions like Google Drive (15 GB free) to that, and your singing!
Personal and business emails are easy to set up and usually just need the username and password to be entered. Manual setting up of POP 3 and IMAP accounts are possible as well. The phone supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync accounts, so there is not much more to ask for when it comes to being connected to your business or work.
With Samsung Knox you can create two areas on your phone, one for business use and one for personal use, thus creating a totally secure workspace. Knox provides military grade protection against malware for enterprises. IT managers can now integrate and manage the Galaxy S6 by simply switching it on, thanks to the Smart Manager app on the smartphone.