Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Samsung really does care about its smartphones' performance among other things, so it’s no surprise that the Galaxy S6 & S6 edge are total camera champs. They both boast the same 16-megapixel Sony IMX240 sensor used in the Galaxy Note 4’s excellent camera, but Samsung wired an even wider f/1.9 aperture lens to it. This means the sensor draws in more light, which proves most useful for low light photography, among other usage scenarios. Additionally, this camera offers optical image stabilization, BSI, LED flash, and infrared white balance to best adjust the shot for the given lighting conditions.
Of note is that the camera app is extremely fast to launch on both devices – you can call it up by double-pressing the home button at any time, which takes less than a second to get running. The reason why the camera app is so quick to start is because it never gets cleared from the system memory, so it's always running in the background. With 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM in tow, it's safe to say this presents no problems.
Staying true to itself, Samsung retained TouchWiz's new design principles in the S6 & S6 edge's camera interface – it too has become refreshingly clean and minimalist. Most of it is dominated by the viewfinder, only to be flanked on the sides by its on-screen shutter key, mode change, and various settings/effects icons. Camera modes have been broken down to auto, selective focus, panorama, slow motion, fast motion, virtual shot, and pro. The latter gives full manual control – letting you adjust parameters for ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, and now focus as well. Best of all, you can save the settings for use later on. Aside from that, there are plenty of downloadable ones through the Galaxy App Store to further enhance the camera experience.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge's cameras make fantastic photos. The devices substitute for a practical point and shoot camera and come up with really impressive photos - especially taken in daylight, in automatic mode. Details are heavily emphasized, although not overly sharpened as one might be righteously afraid. Dynamic range decently – to the point that it casts a neutral exposure with most shots. Dynamic range is handled well, and the use of HDR mode adds a touch to shadows and highlights to reveal details that would otherwise be lost. Color reproduction is quite natural looking, so it’s neither too warm, nor too cold.
Outdoors and decent lighting is one thing, but smartphone cameras are unreliable for meeting the demands of low light photography. With the wider f/1.9 aperture lens, Samsung aimed to squash those concerns as well. And with optical image stabilization as part of the package, the GS6 & S6 edge are solid performers in this difficult department. Although there is a certain degree of diminished quality, details are still defined in night-time shots, and the white balance setting is adequate. The smartphones don’t exhibit too much noise either.
Where macro shots (close-ups) are concerned, the S6 & S6 edge are great at giving focus to the subject in the foreground, while softening the background in the process. But by using selective focus mode, the bokeh or out of focus effect is subsequently intensified. This leads to the ability to have the focus set to the foreground or background post shot, and frankly, the results are quite good!
The Galaxy S6 & S6 edge introduce a new mode as well - Virtual Shot. It offers a new experience in the form of a 360-degree capture. We find it more gimmicky than anything else, but feel free to have fun with it! By the way, the panoramic mode doesn't disappoint either, since the final production is at a very high resolution, and the software does a great job with stitching things together for a complete panoramic shot – there's minimal distortion or artifacting evident.
We have good things to say to those favoring video capture as well, because neither the Samsung Galaxy S6 nor the S6 edge disappoint in their abilities to record. Not only is there a wide degree of shooting modes, such a UHD, QHD, 1080p at 60 FPS, 1080p at 30 FPS, and 720p at 120 FPS to name a few, but the results from each are very good. The UHD video mode, in particular, records such an ample amount of detail that the digital zoom offered by the camera proves effective enough. Other qualities include smooth auto-focus, minimal artifacting when panning, gradual exposure adjustment, and clear audio recording.
In 1080p recording scenarios, we still can’t complain. 1080p at 60 FPS gives video that “extra” level of motion, but details become rather soft for some reason. The 1080p recording at 30 FPS gives much sharper visuals.
Overall, there are no differences between the Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge's photographic performance. Both are excellent photo-making and video recording machines, especially in daylight conditions. And while there's a tangible level of diminished quality in low light situations, the two handle better than the majority of smartphones right now. Great job, Samsung!
Although the TouchWiz music player that comes as an alternative to Google Music Player doesn't look as dazzling as say, the new Sense 7.0 music player, the toned down approach definitely gives it that nice streamlined feel.
Of course, visuals alone aren't enough. The S6 edge pounds out 75.4 dB of power through the speaker on its bottom edge, which is higher than the 73.7 dB reach of the Galaxy S6. However, both speakers exhibit the same characteristics - strong in tone, but lacking bite and punch, making for a thin and subdued sound. That's the deal with most tiny smartphone speakers anyway, and it seems Samsung is okay with leaving HTC at the forefront of smartphone boomboxing for another year.
If you do your music listening with a pair of headphones, the 3.5mm jack on the GS6 outputs 0.544 V of power, while the one on the S6 edge is just a little less powerful at 0.536 V. You probably won't notice a significant difference, unless you have a pair of coveted “golden ears”.
When it comes to multimedia editing and consumption, photo retouching tools are diverse through the Gallery app, even though there’s nothing exclusive or unique about the tools at our disposal. Watching videos, though? Both the GS6 & GS6 edge are seriously impressive at that. When the display is set to adaptive mode, it’ll automatically adjust the color saturation of videos to make them even juicier, while the Pop Up Play option still lets you have a video continue playing in its own window. Great stuff!