Samsung has finally taken the wraps off its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones. The Korean company had been working on these devices for over a year under the Project Zero. Unveiled on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the new devices are packed with what consumers have been asking for. It has a premium metal and glass design, a simplified user interface, a new mobile payments system and an added support for wireless charging.
After the debacle of the Galaxy S5, will the new flagship smartphones help Samsung revive its fortunes? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, let’s take a detailed look at what the new phones have to offer:
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: design
The new phones don’t feel cheap. Samsung said that the latest Galaxy S smartphones have a slim body made from the aircraft-grade metal, a huge leap from the cheap plastic and fake leather that disappointed users of the Galaxy S5. Specifically, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models sport a Corning Gorilla glass body and metal frame.
Samsung claims that the aircraft-grade metal used in its new smartphones is 50% stronger than the materials rivals use. Taking a dig at the iPhone 6, the Korean electronics giant said the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge don’t bend. Samsung touts that the S6 Edge has the “world’s first curved display on both sides.” The phones will be available in Black Sapphire, White Pearl, Blue Topaz, and Gold Platinum color options.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: display
Both phones feature a 5.1-inch display, unchanged from last year’s model. However, Samsung has bumped up the resolution from 1080 x 1980 to 1440 x 2560 pixels. Samsung says that the new phones’ display is 25% brighter than the Galaxy S5 display, and offers far better outdoor visibility.
The biggest difference between the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge is that the latter’s display is curved on both sides of the phone. The edge portion in the S6 Edge works as a secondary screen where you can launch apps or new notifications. It also lets you add your favorite contacts to the secondary screen for quick access.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: processor
Samsung chose its own processor over Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 810. The new phones use Samsung’s 64-bit 2.1GHz Exynos 7 processor. It is based on 14nm FinFET technology, which improves the chip’s performance. Exynos 7 promises 35% performance than the Galaxy S5, and 30% less power consumption.
Samsung is also moving away from the LPDDR3 RAM to LPDDR4 RAM, which helps increase the running memory by 80%. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both feature 3GB RAM. The Korean company is offering these devices in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: camera
Both devices have a 16-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The camera has a new f1.9 lens that improves low-light performance along with Optical Image Stabilization. Samsung has also made some improvements to the camera app. A new real-time HDR feature automatically turns on HDR whenever necessary.
Samsung claims the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge take just 0.7 seconds to launch the camera app from the home screen. What’s more, now you can double tap the home button to launch the camera app from any screen, even when the phone is turned off. There is also an infrared-based white balance feature. It uses the smartphone’s heart rate sensor to determine whether you are taking pictures indoors or outdoors, and adjusts the white balance accordingly.
Both phones deliver built-in wireless charging support using PMA and WPC wireless charging standards. The Korean company will be selling its own charging pads, but the new phones will be compatible with many other chargers as well. The new devices also feature Adaptive Fast Charging technology that speeds up the charging process. Using the quick charging adapter, users can get up to 50% charge in 30 minutes.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: user interface
Samsung has dramatically simplified the user interface to match the new phones’ physical design. Both new models run the Korean company’s TouchWiz over Android Lollipop OS. But the refreshed TouchWiz has far fewer preloaded apps. Samsung says it has streamlined the features by up to 40%.
Last month, Samsung acquired LoopPay to launch its own mobile payment system that rivals Apple Pay. However, the feature won’t be available on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge right at launch. Samsung will launch its payment system in the second half of this year in the U.S. and South Korea by releasing a software update.
The system uses Magnetic Secure Transmission technology, which transfers the information stored on your credit card’s magnetic stripe to a store’s payment terminal. It requires a fingerprint scan and uses a tokenization system, eliminating the need to store your credit card information.
Some uncomfortable tradeoffs
Samsung has removed many of the features that compelled a large number of iPhone fans to switch to Galaxy devices. The new S6 devices are completely sealed, so you won’t be able to remove the battery. There is no microSD slot. Samsung has also done away with the waterproofing technology.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: availability and price
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will hit the stores on April 10th. But the devices may arrive in different markets on different dates. April 10th is the first day the new Galaxy smartphones will go on sale. In the U.S., the phones will arrive on all major carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. Samsung is yet to decide on the prices.