Samsung Galaxy S6 Review
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Almost hard to imagine it, the first-generation Samsung Galaxy S came into light back in the summer of 2010. Back then, the competition in the smartphone market was largely dominated by the iPhone. Over in the Android space, there were a few notable Android devices making some noise as well, such as the HTC EVO 4G, Sony Xperia X10, and Motorola DROID to name a few, but for Sammy, the launch of the original Galaxy S ushered in a new era for the Korean company – one that eventually spurred on iterative devices that proved to be more and more impressive.
Subsequently, it was the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S III that transformed the company into what it is presently – a force to be reckoned with, and one that also pushes hard for innovation. That phone sparked successive phones that kept on rolling the momentum forward, as both the Galaxy S4 and S5 proved to be hits amongst consumers. Through it all, Samsung’s flagship line didn’t deviate much from the distinct design language first employed by the original.
Surprise came during Mobile World Congress 2015, when Samsung officially unveiled its latest flagship smartphone – the totally redesigned Samsung Galaxy S6. Looking at what’s been happening in the mobile space the last year, you can say that tough competition from Apple and the various Chinese companies have whittled away at Sammy’s bottom line. Well, the Samsung Galaxy S6 aims to squash those concerns, since it’s probably the biggest shakeup in the series. Already, Samsung has been able to stir up plenty of attention with its flagship – giving rise to notion that it’s going recapture the top spot once again!
The package contains:
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
- Stereo headphones
- Start Guide
- Health & Safety and Warranty Guide
- SIM removal tool
A stark change, the new Galaxy S6 impresses on so many levels with its premium design.
What a departure! For a long time there, the Galaxy S line has always been tepid in terms of design – so it wasn’t really known for that. Of course, the decision to go with plastic constructed devices has its benefits, such as contributing to a lighter frame, but generally speaking, it lacks the premium qualities we’d want to find in a flagship smartphone. Well folks, Samsung goes 180-degrees, opting to grace the Galaxy S6 with a significantly improved design – one that finally brings in some high-quality components to give it a true high-end look and feel!
To be fair, though, this new design change first started with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which eventually became the design footprint for the Note 4. With those aforementioned devices, Samsung chose to add a subtle presence of premium in its designs by adding metal trim bezels. However, for the Galaxy S6, Samsung went back to the drawing board to try and deliver something immaculate and refreshing. Yes, the same metal trim bezel is back, but now it’s accompanied with glass surfaces to give it a snazzier appearance. Specifically, it’s Gorilla Glass 4 sandwiched together by that metal trim bezel – culminating to a device that’s just flat out gorgeous!
As much as we would like to say that the design is an original one, there are characteristics that draw comparisons to the iPhone 6’s design. From a profile view, the metal trim bezel, along with the arrangement of some of its ports and buttons, closely matches the styling of the iPhone 6. So it begs the question: does this new design draw inspiration from Apple’s pride and joy? That’s questionable, of course, but at the end of the day, we can agree that this is the best-designed smartphone Samsung has produced.
So far, the Galaxy S6’s new design is a breathtaking marvel, but in comparison to Sammy’s previous efforts, there were necessary compromises needed in making this phone. We can’t deny that we totally enjoy its premium feel, but it sheds some of the staple qualities of the S5 before it – like its water resistant construction, expandable microSD card slot, and removable battery. Only Samsung knows the real reason to why those things have been done away with the Galaxy S6. In comparison, the Sony Xperia Z3, which also sports a metal frame and glass surfaces, manages to keep its water resistance property and a microSD card slot... though it is a decidedly bigger phone.
In terms of its feel and comfort, the Galaxy S6 is narrower, skinnier, and lighter than its predecessor – going to show that they’re able to chip away at some things to continue making it compact. Its metal frame not only adds strength to the phone’s construction, the subtle rounded cut of it makes it feel pretty good in the hand, though it is a bit top heavy. Now, as much as we adore the premium feel of the phone, it’s just a fingerprint magnet for smudges and fingerprints. Trust us, it’s tough keeping it clean looking. Available in an assortment of colors, it’s mesmerizing how light bounces off its surfaces. Out of all the colors, the white version manages to maintain a cleaner look, just because fingerprints and smudges are less noticeable.
Looking around the phone, it’s sporting some of the same set of ports and buttons throughout its frame. The separated volume controls are placed on the left edge, the power button and SIM slot on its right, microUSB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, and internal speaker on its bottom, and finally the IR blaster and noise-cancelling mic placed on its top edge. Distinctively a Galaxy phone, the same home button is present beneath the display – flanked by the Recent Apps and Back capacitive buttons.
Rounding things out, the Galaxy S6 is armed with a new 16-megapixel rear camera, which is the only thing in the back that juts out from the rest of the surrounding area – causing it to come in contact with surfaces when it’s laid down. This presents an issue - one that’s exemplified because of the handset’s top-heavy feel, just because if you’re not careful and try to prop the phone against something, there’s still a distant possibility it can fall over and somehow mess with the lens covering the camera. And finally, we find the LED flash and heart rate sensor nearby.
Clearly pushing the envelope, this quad-HD display is not only rich with detail, but it’s the most color accurate AMOLED display to grace a phone to date.
5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) Super AMOLED panel. In all honesty, the decision to go forward with quad-HD resolution was expected – more so when it’s increasingly becoming the resolution of choice amongst Android flagships.
Going with this, you can imagine that this leads to one staggering pixel density, we’re talking about a mark of 577 ppi! That’s mind-blowing to say the least, which leads to a display that’s rich with detail and exceptionally sharp looking. Most folks would be hard-pressed to distinguish how much more detailed this panel is than others with 1080p resolution, especially from a normal distance, but it goes to show that Samsung won’t settle for anything but being class-leading.
Besides its detail superiority, its Super AMOLED panel follows in fashion to the improvements we’ve seen exhibited already by the Note 4 – thus, shedding the inaccuracies of the Galaxy S5 display, replaced by the color accurate AMOLED panels in other more recent Samsung devices. The company’s continued fine tuning of the display technology has given the Galaxy S6 the best Super AMOLED display to date. For one, its produces a color temperature of 6550K, reaching very close to that ideal reference value of 6500K – so it’s close to hitting that perfect spot of being neither too warm or cold.
Setting the display to basic mode, as opposed to adaptive, which changes the contrast, color saturation, and other parameters depending on what’s being shown on screen, the Super AMOLED panel is extremely color accurate. It’s revealed through the color gamut chart (seen below), as each color gradient matches the reference points throughout the chart. Blues look blue, reds look red, and greens appear green – so the result here is a display with very high color accuracy.
Besting its other Galaxy brethren, we’re exposed to the brightest Super AMOLED display to date. Once known to be a poor performer under sunny conditions, Sammy has incrementally improved its display technology with each iterative device – all culminating to the result found with the S6. Emitting a pretty adequate 563 nit brightness, there’s no issue trying to visualize the screen when the sun is around. In fact, when it’s set to automatic brightness, this Super AMOLED panel reverts to its high contrast mode, which has become a standard function of recent Galaxy smartphones as well, easily eclipsing the brightness of the S5. In that mode, the display loses much of its color accuracy, but becomes way more visible.
There’s a reason why we have flagship devices, they’re supposed to be the best of the best. Thus far, the vast majority of flagships have taken the quad-HD plunge – and the Galaxy S6 goes the same way! However, most of the quad-HD screens we’ve seen have been around the 5.5-inch and up mark, but Samsung has somehow squished it into a screen that measures in at 5.1-inches. All told, it’s a beautiful-looking display that perfectly complements its new aesthetics.
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