5.1 inch QUAD HD screen
Excellent 16 megapixel camera
Gorilla Glass 4 screen & rear panel
Metal framed case
Premium build quality
Android v5 Lollipop
Samsung Galaxy S6 Review
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha was the first metalclad smartphone that Galaxy fans had been waiting for. Now finally, Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 gets the metal treatment
Introduced April 2015
by Jim Monroe
The Galaxy S5 was expected to be a vast improvement over the S4 and in many ways it was. The big let down though was that like it's predecessor it didn't feel like a premium, flagship handset.
We have all been clamouring for a premium smartphone from Samsung that actually feels premium. Until now the Korean giants have resisted, and we have had to put up with their superb bright and brilliant screens and great specs shovelled into an often less than inspiring plastic casing. Samsung loved plastic, and hoped that we would too.
But now the HTC One M9 has become the third Android smartphone in the One series to come with a full one piece aluminium casing, something had to give, especially with Samsung reporting poorer than expected sales of the S5.
Finally, a premium quality Samsung flagship
We had a taster with the midrange metal framed Galaxy Alpha, and more recently the A series range of handsets including the A3, A5 and A7 also sporting an attractive solid metal framework. So it was time for the new flagship Galaxy S6 to step up to the mark.
The result is the best looking, highest quality phone that Samsung have ever made. It looks superb, with the curved metal frame of the Galaxy S6 sandwiched between two sheets of glass, front and back, while the rounded edges make it very comfortable to hold as well as completing the premium look and feel we have yearned for.
There is no doubt that Apple affecionados are going to cry foul here, because there is no getting away from the similarity between the way the two phones are built, from the unibody metal casing and glass panels right down to the slightly protruding camera lens. But Samsung have taken things a step further.
Glass panelled premium case
The new, higher strength Gorilla Glass 4 screen is slightly rounded at the edges so your finger isn't brushing against the edge of the frame when you swipe left and right. Not only does it look good, it feels good too and makes the screen a pleasure to use, so much so that you might have trouble putting it down.
It isn't as pronounced as the sloping edges of the excellent Nokia Lumia 930 but the effect is the same; you can swipe away all day without catching the edge of the frame. It really adds to the premium feel with a similar curved edge on the glass covered back.
Stunning Quad HD screen
Beneath the glass lies one of the best screens you will ever see, even in years to come. Why? Because this Quad HD screen reaches beyond the level where the eye can detect individual pixels, and the colours, brightness and contrast are incredibly accurate.
The astonishing 577 pixels per inch of the 5.1 inch Super AMOLED screen is an incredible 250 MORE pixels per inch than the iPhone 6 offers, and is still 175 pixels better than the iPhone 6 Plus. Colours are bright and text almost jumps out at you, so sharp is the display. But the real beauty of the screen is you can view your quad HD videos in pin sharp detail, while your photos will look sharper than you could previously imagine possible.
This is as premium as it gets, and the looks are enhanced still further by the fact that the screen almost reaches horizontally across the frame and almost touches each edge, with the bezel measuring just 1.5mm.
Fingerprint sensor security
Below the screen Samsung's signature physical Home button is retained, but like the iPhone 6 it doubles as a fingerprint sensor with which you and you alone can unlock the phone. It's also PayPal certified as well as including Samsung Pay, which is Visa and Mastercard certified.
This allows you to pay for goods by identifying yourself using the sensor. It's a far better solution than typing in your card details every time you want to buy something and more and more manufacturers will probably start to employ similar technology.
Much better 16MP camera
The camera combination is 16 megapixels on the back and 5 megapixels for your selfies. Both cameras feature an f1.9 lens which will help produce excellent razor sharp photos even in low light. The in-camera controls now include text labels to help you recognise all the on-screen icons. We haven't always been impressed by Samsung's cameras but this is a big improvement.
It still doesn't better the 20 megapixel offerings in the Sony Xperia Z3 or the Nokia Lumia 930 and we're not just talking about the number of pixels - the end quality of both the Nokia and Sony smartphones is better. Where the S6 scores is by offering you the ability to view your photos and videos on that superb QHD screen.
As mentioned earlier, the camera lens protrudes from the rear panel, which won't be to everybody's taste but it is necessary to house the optical image stabilisation's workings, and, well if it's good enough for Apple...
Octa-core processor - endless power
Most phones now have as much power as you are ever going to need, but Samsung have decided they need more than most. As a result you get octa-core processing (yes, that 8 cores) with a 1.5 GHz quad core and a 2.1 GHz quad core processor combining to power Samsung's own Exynos 7420 chipset, which will run Android Lollipop 64bit.
This clever arrangement runs only one core for basic use and ramps up the power when needed. Samsung have also added 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is claimed to be around 90% faster than the basic RAM memory offered in previous models. The result is instantaneous response to your commands, with only the speed of web pages and apps themselves offering any noticeable barrier to speed.
Wireless charging and Quick Charge
Powering all this is a slightly surprising 2550 mAh battery. Since it is non-removable you might have expected something a little larger, but the inclusion of wireless charging makes it easy to top up the juice if needed while the standard charger can put back enough power for up to 4 hours' use with just a 10 minute charge using Quick Charge 2.
In a break with tradition (and fruit fans will point out it's now definitely copying Apple's philosophy if nothing else), as well as the absence of a removable battery on the Galaxy S6, there is no longer a memory card slot, a caveat of the move to a unibody design. Most observers would argue that it had to be done.
The outgoing S5 was effectively the only flagship handset from any mainstream manufacturer with a plastic body. Given that it is what they have been criticised for most in recent years, it's difficult to argue against the move to metal even if it means you can't replace a battery or add a memory card.
The result is the smallest memory size available is now doubled to 32GB, and there are also 64 and 128GB variants. The S6 also comes in four colours, black, white, blue and gold.
The conclusion is as clear as the glass panels. The penny has finally dropped with Samsung, who claim that they have dropped 40% of previous features (read "gimmicks") to produce the S6. They have produced what we have been waiting for, and concetrated on quality rather than quantity.
The result is the Samsung Galaxy S6 is one of the most stunning phones produced to date and can finally sit proudly alongside the Sony Xperia Z3 and the HTC One M9, and yes, the iPhone 6.
The only problem is will it be trumped instantly by it's stablemate, released at the same time - the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - or will the price hump of the S6 Edge be just too high to be acceptable?
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