The HTC One M9 launched as expected earlier this afternoon, and now we turn our attention to today’s other major flagship smartphone launch, the Samsung Galaxy S6.
Indeed, we’ve not one but two new handsets to digest, namely the Samsung Galaxy S6, and the “world’s first dual curve smartphone”, the Galaxy S6 edge. Has going back to the drawing board with “Project Zero” paid off, or are we still very much on a downward spiral?
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge design
As widely rumoured, and recently teased by Samsung, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are comprised of premium materials including metal trims and glass rears.
Fears of smashing are somewhat allayed with the presence of Gorilla Glass 4, while Samsung claims the metal is 50% stronger than on rival phones, and ultimately “won’t bend” – a jibe clearly aimed at the iPhone 6; remember the short-lived “bendgate” fad?
Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge colours are as rumoured, namely Gold Platinum, White Pearl, Black Sapphire, and Green Emerald. Tasty.
Gone, however, is the IP67-certified resistance to dust and water that was found on the Galaxy S5. Might we see a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active at some point?
Samsung largely spoke about the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge as one phone, since most of the features are shared. I'll adopt the same tactic going forward here, but I’ll go into more detail about the latter shortly. UPDATE: check out Samsung Galaxy S6 edge: pointless but good-looking?
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge display
Samsung’s display technology ranks among the best in the industry, and indeed it says the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge have the “best screens you’ve ever seen on a smartphone”.
Specifically, a QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution on a 5.1in display yields 577PPI (pixels per inch); that’s 77% more pixels than on the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge software
In addition to the overhauled design and eye-melting displays, the other headline change on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge is watered-down TouchWiz.
For years Samsung has struggled with the age-old dilemma of throwing in bells and whistles in order to make its wares stand out vs. plain old performance, but thankfully it seems to realise that the latter is infinitely more important.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge promise a “light interface with no lag”; it’s “insanely responsive” and intuitive, with icons replaced by simple text (where appropriate), and colour coding for related functionality (green means phone, purple indicates video, orange for contacts).
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge processor and RAM
Samsung seems particularly proud of its 64-bit, 14nm processor, as it’s smaller yet more powerful than previous efforts, and easier on the battery, ultimately yielding 20% faster performance and 35% more energy efficiency compared to the Galaxy Note 4.
Paired with a full 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, it’s fair to say the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galxay S6 edge are hella powerful.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge storage
Neither the Samsung Galaxy S6 nor Galaxy S6 edge have microSD slots, but with a choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB internal storage, there’s plenty to play with.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge battery
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge both have 2,600mAh batteries (EDIT: the S6 is actually 2,550mAh, sorry!), which is likely aimed at keeping the devices super-thin. Indeed, at 7.5mm, Samsung’s new flagships are 2.1mm thinner than the HTC One M9.
This will likely prove divisive, with some (hi!) preferring the peace of mind that comes with a meatier battery, but there’s wireless charging to ease the pain somewhat, while Samsung boasts that a 10-minute charge will yield an impressive 4 hours of battery life.
In further fast-charge boasts, Samsung says the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge can be fully charged in half the time it takes to juice up the iPhone 6. Ouch.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge camera
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge rear camera rocks a 16MP F1.9 lens, and for the first time ever the series welcomes optical image stabilisation (OIS).
On the front, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge have a 5MP front camera with F1.9 lens letting in 60% more light than on the Galaxy S5, and world’s first real-time HDR.
Samsung seems pretty happy with Galaxy S6 low-light performance, sharing pictures and video at the launch event showing significantly clearer results than on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge camera is also super-fast, since it's always on standby, and available with a quick double tap of the Home Button. You should be up and running and ready to snap in less than a second.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge: Samsung Pay
Samsung is making no bones about its answer to Apple Pay, with the uniquely named (ahem) Samsung Pay. It launches this summer in the US and South Korea, and Samsung claims it’ll be ready to rock with “more merchants than any other offering” i.e. Apple Pay.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge security
Samsung was seriously keen to stress that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are ultra-secure, thanks to Samsung Knox, and with Android tipped to dominate business before long, its new flagships are in fact “ready for business” right now.
Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge availability and price
Desperate to get your hands on Samsung’s new wares? April 10 is the date to mark in your diary as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge release date. That’s in 20 countries, presumably including the UK.
Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge prices haven’t been announced just yet, though a leak earlier today, purportedly from Samsung’s own site, suggested a starting price – starting price – of £700.
Thoughts? Has Samsung raised the bar for flagship smartphones? And what about that price? Are you prepared to throw almost £1,000 at a spanking new smartphone? Let us know below.