Review by Sunetra Chakravati,5/28/2015 2:41:12 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Simplified UI | Amazing screen | wireless charging | Payment capabilities | premium looks | good camera
Not waterproof | no microSD card slot | no replaceable battery | over-sensitive power button
By Sunetra Chakravarti
Samsung's showstopper duos recieved the kind of unveiling that's usually reserved for Hollywood blockbuster premieres. The Korean giant had pulled out all stops, making it an event to remember. And remember we did- for all the right reasons.
In their latest advert starring James Corden, there is a line- 'Image is everything' and that one sentence summed up Samsung's philosophy and thinking behind sculpting the Galaxy S6 (see here on Samsung's official site). They had obviously thought- as long as you get the looks right, even at the expense of losing some pretty amazing features, customers and critics will lap it all up.
Absolutely spot-on. Very often phones are too small (for watching moving images on tap) or too big for those with not the largest of mitts, but Samsung have gotten it completely right with their new flagship.
At a mere 5mm longer than the iPhone 6 and a 5.1" display and the thinnest of bezels, it is lightweight at 132 grams and our review sample was a dark blue/almost black version. Owing to the glass back, the colour shimmers gently when it catches light giving it a far more premium look than the Galaxy S5 could have ever hoped for.
A lot of glass on a phone makes me very nervous. I would take hardy and practical over a glass encased phone any day, unless of course the glass is Gorilla Glass 4. Samsung have not taken any chances. The Galaxy S5 was all faux metal and leather-look plastic, but along their new no expenses spared route to smartphone greatness, it is plastic begone. It does catch ALL the fingerprints but I wasnt that bothered.
The metal on the sides is aluminium which is etched, chiseled and crafted to give it a look which makes it an iPhone 6 doppleganger. The only fly in the ointment is the camera lens that juts out of the back- a little too far out than we would have liked.
The home button has stayed the same- a metal ringed pill shape at the bottom middle of the phone. With Samsung Pay making a long-awaited debut, the fingerprint sensor on the button comes into its own. Vastly improved since its last outing, the sensor works without faltering and just placing your finger on it does the job instead of having to swipe your finger across the top.
Gone are the days of over-crowded, crammed to the gills UI. Samsung have taken all the criticism on board and made it very very simple. How-to tutorials greet every new aspect of the phone that you launch and to be fair, you will not really need them. That is how simplified it is.
But that's not the most striking thing about the new-look UI. It is the colour scheme and colour coding that is associated with different areas. The colour coding is so ingrained into the UI that you can assign colours to your contacts list so they glow differently when people ring or text you.
Multi-window mode is still there but the difference here is that you can now launch it from the Home screen and resize them enough to the extent they can end up being just bubbles on the screen.
The rejig works and flies, but only because Material Design on Android 5.0 provides a solid framework for it.
The primary camera packs a 16 megapixels while the front-facing one is a 5-MP jobber.
A wide-angle lens on the secondary camera helps make taking selfies a dream. The lens allows vast swathes of light in, making you feel prettier and allowing you to take groufies without having to squeeze into the frame.
As for features, like all other flagships, there is a beautify tool to get rid of all blemishes, your chin pointier, eyes bigger and turn your skin complexion the sort of alabaster that would give Edward Cullen a run for his Vampire money.
A very important addition, phone cameras are almost always used around frentic activities- whether it is your 4-year-old scoring a goal in the park, or in the pub after one too many. To not find hundreds of fuzzy, unfocussed and blurry pictures on your phone the morning after is always a bummer, but not with the S6. On the primary camera, the aperture is down to f1.9 from the f2.2 of the Galaxy S5 and packs optical image stabilisation. Auto HDR also makes an appearance here, so the white balance on your pictures is automatically adjusted.
Videos are another aspect that the Galaxy S6 excels at. You get a choice of three resolutions to play with while shooting: 3,840x2,160; 2,560x1,440 and 1080p with the last one being the default.
Video playback including media consumption is fabulous too. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have the best resolution with a 577pixel per inch ratio. So tightly packed are they that individual ones are not discernable. Fluid with a sort of crystalline quality that makes you want to keep watching and viewing pictures, videos and streaming content- Netflix and NowTV are laughing with this one!
With a lot written about Qualcomm's new processors, especially their propensity to overheat, Samsung clearly wanted no surprises or product recalls, or in fact anything written about their flagship duo that was even mildly critical- so they stuck their own processor on their phones. Their octa-core Exynos processor does not disappoint. Dont worry, it isn't going to be all eight cores firing along at the same time, it is basically two sandwiches: a quad core 2.1 GHz one and a quad core 1.5GHz application.
It is usually the 1.5GHz processor that does all the grunt work with the 2.1GHz one stepping in when the going-ons demand it. Video playback while texting is my favourite way of checking if a phone will pass muster for our readers, so that's what we did for this Samsung Galaxy S6 Review. The good news? There was not so much as a stutter or lag from the Galaxy S6 during the week I spent with it.
I used the LG G4 with the Snapdragon 808 processor and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and I could not find any perceptible difference between them.
Samsung went back to the drawing board when it came to the S6 range. They stripped everything away from the Galaxy S5 including its type of processor, its plastic body and its stuttery, laggy and over-stuffed UI. When they did so, they also took away some of the most exciting features of the Galaxy range: its IP67 rating, the expandable memory slot and its replacable battery but when did, they also bestowed it with features that the paying public were bound to find irresistable- supermodel looks, the best display of all the flagships out there, in a size that would please everyone.
And it did. If you are an Android lover- this is the one for you.
The Galaxy S6 handset in Black Sapphire was supplied to us by Three UK