The Samsung Galaxy S6 is out and has already turned many heads. Samsung has made some dramatic changes with the release of their newest flagship smartphone. The question is, are these changes for the better, or worse? We’ll let you be the judge…after you read our judgments here.
There were a lot of rumors before the release of the Samsung Galaxy S6, and now we finally get to see them come to fruition. As we are sure you have heard by now, Samsung completely redesigned their flagship smartphone and has implemented changes based on some of their harshest of feedback. The company has done away with the plastic body, and has incorporated a glass front and back with an aluminum alloy frame. Pictures of the GS6 truly do not give it justice; the glass body and aluminum frame sets the phone apart from any other device Samsung has created up to this point.
Samsung has also changed the position of the loud-speaker, headphone jack, and power button. The loudspeaker, and headphone jack are not placed on the top of the phone, as with Galaxies of the past. When looking at the bottom of the GS6, it can easily be mistaken for the iPhone 6. The only difference is the loud-speaker has two rows of holes and a micro USB port. Another interesting change is the new position of the power button. The power button sits lower on the phone than its predecessors. If you have been a Samsung Galaxy owner in the past, you will notice a dramatic difference, and at times you almost forget where the power button is. Don’t worry, after a week or two you will get used to the new location. I even found that the new location is a better, as I am no longer accidentally hitting the power button while holding the phone sideways watching videos.
While the glass back gives the GS6 a sleek and stylish look I found it difficult to hold at times. The glass back is slick and I felt that I had to take extra caution when holding the device. While I never dropped the device I never felt safe typing or using the device with only one had. For those of you who will be using a case with the GS6, this will not be a problem you will often run into.
The biggest issue I have regarding the re-design is the camera. (See image right/above) Similar to the grumbles surrounding the iPhone 6 Plus, a primary complaint I heard from others is, “I really don’t like how much the camera sticks out.” As smartphone users, we have become accustomed to our phones cameras sitting farther from the body, especially if you have owned a Samsung Galaxy phone in the past. However, the GS6 sticks out much further than its predecessors. However, most individuals put a case on their phone. For such individuals, this no longer becomes an issue as almost any case will be flush with the camera, and the issue become resolved.
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with the design of the Samsung Galaxy S6. Those who have disliked the plastic look and feel of past Samsung phones will really enjoy the changes.
Hardware and Display
As expected, Samsung has packed the GS6 with loads of hardware. Samsung changed things up a bit by ditching the Qualcomm Snapdragon and going with their own Exynos 7 Octa 7420 chipset. This 8-core 64-bit processor might seem a bit like overkill, especially when you know it’s in a smartphone. On that note, you can truly see a difference in its processing power and speed when running intense games, applications, or multitasking. (More on benchmarking below.)
Samsung decided to do away with storage expansion, which was a major selling point for Samsung in the past; this change took many users by surprise. You can get the GS6 with your choice of 32, 64, and 128GB hard drives. Yes, there is no 16GB model which Samsung probably did away with due to opting out of the storage expansion option. The GS6 also comes with 3GB of RAM, which might be a little disappointing for those who were hoping to see 4GB in the GS6 although it is an improvement from the GS5 which only had 2GB of RAM.
Here is a full list of specs for the Samusng Galaxy S6:
|Operating System||Android 5.0 TouchWiz UI|
|Dimensions||5.65 x 2.78 x .027 inches|
|Physical Screen Size||5.1 inches|
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels|
|Pixel Density||577 ppi|
|Rear Camera||16 megapixels|
|Front Camera||5 megapixels|
|Camcorder||3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|System Chip||Exynos 7 Octa 7420|
|Processor||8-core 2100 MHz 64-bit|
|Graphics Processor||Mali-T760 MP8|
|System Memory||3072 MB (3GB)|
|Built-in Storage||Up to 128 GB|
|3G Talk Time||17 hours|
Looking at the hardware in the GS6 is impressive, but what is even more impressive are its benchmarks. When performing a benchmark test using AnTuTU, the GS6 performed better than expected and blew away the competition. This you can see below in the benchmark test results.
The display of the GS6 is spectacular. With a pixel density of 577 ppi and 4K resolution, the GS6 has the best display on the market. (At least at the time of launch) The colors on the display are bright and vivid, even in bright sunlight. I found myself setting the brightness on lower settings while inside; the higher settings were simply too bright, although the brightness did come in handy in the Arizona Sun!
Samsung has always impressed users when it comes to the hardware they put into their devices, and the GS6 is no exception. As the GS6 does not have a removable back panel like past Samsung phones, we no longer have the luxury of adding an external SD card, or larger battery. At first I thought that Samsung was making a big mistake, but the more I thought about it, I don’t feel it will hurt Samsung in the long run. With the improved battery life and charging time, the need to add a larger batter or replace the battery has been eradicated in recent years. Not being able to add an external SD card hurts a little bit more, however, it will be hard to fill up a 128 GB hard drive if you’re buying the highest capacity model. Unless you store large amounts of movies, videos, and songs on your phone, you will not run into any issues. And for those that do hold large media files on their phone, there are a number of free cloud options available. (It’s always good to keep your head in the cloud.)
Samsung has removed a number of motions and gestures that we have become accustomed to seeing with the S4 and S5. This means no more Smart Pause or Tilt Zoom–very few of us actually got those motions and gestures to work consistently! Samsung whittled the list of motion and gestures down to 4, which are:
Direct Call – Call the contact whose call log, message, or contact details are currently on the screen by bringing the device close to you ear.
Smart Alert – Your device will vibrate when you pick up it up to notify you about missed calls and messages.
Mute – To mute incoming calls and alarms, place your hand on the screen or turn the device over.
Palm swipe to capture – Capture the screen by swiping the edge of your hand across it, from side to side, keeping in contact with he screen.
Samsung did not introduce any new features or gestures, but rather removed the motion and gestures that most users hardly used. Being a Samsung Galaxy S owner since the Galaxy S3, I can say that I used Smart Pause and Tilt Zoom only a small handful of times; most of which were to show off the fancy hardware to wanting iPhone fanboys.
There are a number of other features that Samsung did add which really make the GS6 more convenient and user-friendly. The first, and probably most anticipated, feature is the finger print scanner. Rather than swiping your finger down the bottom of the screen, Samsung has taken a page out of Apple’s playbook and integrated the fingerprint scanner on the home button. This change makes unlocking your phone via the finger print scanner much easier. After comparing the GS6 and iPhone 6’s finger print scanner, their performance was perceivable identical. If I had to choose one over the other, I would have to go with the iPhone, only because the home button has a slight indent, which makes the fingerprint scanner feel more natural.
Another feature I found very helpful is the ability to create folders for your apps under the your app icon. While we are used to being able to create folders on the home page, Samsung now allows you to stay more organized by letting you create folders where you list of apps are stored. This makes navigating to different apps that you don’t use all that often faster and easier. Along with the ability to create folders in new places, Samsung has also created the ability for you to uninstall applications right from the app list. In the past, users could only uninstall apps from the settings menu, but now users can simply select the edit button on the upper right of the app list, and then press on the small red minus sign on the top right of each app. Even more astounding, you can now uninstall apps that come pre-installed on your phone. (Holy frajebakish! That just happened…) While not all apps can be uninstalled (for example, the calendar and camera), there are a number of apps that you can uninstall; i.e. bloatware.
Samsung made some great improvements removing its unpopular features. Not only did this clean up the Touch Wiz (Samsung’s UI), but this also helped make it run extremely smooth from a performance perspective. There will be a number of users who will be a little disappointed in losing out on some cool features/gimmicks of the past, like air view (allows you to hover your finger over pictures and texts to enlarge them), but don’t be discouraged as these changes have improved the overall user experience.
Camera and Video
The Camera of the Samsung Galaxy S6 will please the beginner and the expert. For those who will use the GS6 as point and shoot camera, its out of the box setup yet basic settings can be easily understood. With its 16 megapixel camera, optical image stabilization, and back-illuminated sensor (BSI), you will be able to get a great picture without having to change any settings. Now for the photographer who is always tinkering with different settings to capture the perfect picture, you will be pleased with the amount of settings you are able to change. With the pro mode enabled, you are able to change white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation. When you add the ability to change a number of settings to the hardware Samsung has packed into the GS6, it will be hard to find a smartphone currently on the market that can take a better picture.
Many were excited with the slow motion capabilities of the iPhone 6, and many Samsung owners hoped Samsung would incorporate that feature in the GS6. You are in luck, because the GS6 comes equipped with a slow motion feature. However, it is only 120 frames-per-second at a max resolution of 720P. This is disappointingly enough only half of the 240 FPS that the iPhone 6 can achieve. The front camcorder shoots 3840×2160 (4K) video at 30 frames per second and features optical image stabilization, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR), continuous autofocus, picture-taking during video recording, video light, and video calling.
Keep in mind that I am not a professional photographer, but when looking at the hardware, software, and settings that users can change, I don’t believe you will be disappointed with the camera/camcorder on the Samsung Galaxy S6.
Here are a few pictures we took outside in “auto mode”. These pictures do not have any filters in them it was a basic point and shoot.
Samsung needed to make a splash with the Samsung Galaxy S6, especially after Apple dominated sales with the release of the iPhone 6. After using the GS6 for a little over a month, I can say I was surprisingly pleased with the changes Samsung has made. Samsung did a marvelous job improving on their overall design.
Samsung also did a great job of making the phone more user-friendly by removing a number of features that were rarely used and cumbersome, making the UI more user-friendly. When you add the octa-core 64-bit processor to the mix, you will find that the GS6 is extremely fluid and faster than expected.
I have yet to find myself saying ‘I wish the GS6 had this,’ or ‘Why haven’t they done away with that,’ which is great. But no phone is perfect (not even the Samsung Galaxy S6) and Samsung will have some items to improve on when they release the Samsung Galaxy S7. While the design of the GS6 is a major improvement, I would like to see Samsung use more real-estate. If Samsung can make the physical phone size smaller, while maintaining the screen size, those who continually complain about the size of Samsung’s phone might be a little happier. Overall, I’m extremely please with this device. You can view the device on Amazon here.
For those of you who have had the opportunity to get your hands on the Samsung Galaxy S6, let us know what you think. Do you like the changes Samsung has made? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.