Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge initial impressions
Alongside the HTC One M9 that was announced at MWC 2015, Samsung unveiled its newest flagship too. Well, two actually. The Galaxy S6 now comes with a more edgy companion, the Galaxy S6 Edge. Samsung is looking to build on the "Edge" brand not only by releasing a second Edge product, but by releasing a product which has the curved display on both sides of the display, as opposed to a single edge on the Note Edge. It even comes with a modified feature set, different from what the Note Edge offers. Both the S6 and S6 Edge represent the largest shift in design language Samsung has ever taken with its products since the Galaxy S3 back in 2012. Not only that, but two features of the Galaxy brand which have long been fan favourites were removed by Samsung as well, meaning the S6 and S6 Edge are not only huge departures from Samsung's previous products in terms of appearance, but functionality as well. Read on to see what I think about Samsung's latest flagship(s).
No more cheap plastic
Perhaps the most obvious improvement of the S6/Edge over previous Galaxy devices is the use of better materials for building the body. No more cheap flimsy plastics or fake metal bands here. Instead we have a phone built of glass and metal, reminiscent of the old iPhone 4/4s and Nexus 4. Durability will be another discussion but as far as build quality goes, this is definitely going to be better than previous Galaxy S models.
Larger internal storage options
Smartphones with 8GB of storage have been relegated to entry-level territory, and we are slowly relegating 16GB models from flagship to mid-range devices now. The S6/Edge were announced with three storage options. Starting at 32GB, followed by 64GB and lastly 128GB. Pricing might be unjustifiably high at the moment, but over time the market will rectify that.
Built-in wireless charging
Wireless charging has become one of my favourite features of the Nexus 5. The only time I connect my phone to a USB cable is when I'm flashing factory images. I always place my phone on my wireless charger whenever it needs to charge, and that convenience is something many S6/Edge owners will now be able to enjoy without needing to buy a separate accessory like previous Galaxy owners.
|Samsung is even selling its own wireless charging pad for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.|
Addition of OIS
Samsung's smartphone cameras are arguably the best in the market. And now with OIS the S6/Edge will be able to further strengthen than claim.
Better fingerprint scanner
The fingerprint scanner on previous Galaxy models was extremely clunky. You had to swipe your finger over it to use it. Samsung ditched that mechanism and followed Apple's lead by making the fingerprint scanner in the S6/Edge a touch-only model. Maybe now people will actually enjoy using it.
That glass back
While the glass back is a welcomed replacement for the flimsy removable plastic backs of previous models, it doesn't come without compromise. It's a massive fingerprint magnet, and of course being glass, you now have to worry about not only breaking the front, but also the back of your phone if you drop it. Between breaking and fingerprints, owners will probably feel forced to buy a case for their S6/Edge.
|That's a lot of grease. Image|
No more removable battery
This was never a problem for users of other brands of smartphones, but for loyal Samsung fans, this is like a kick in the teeth. For years Samsung fans have enjoyed being able to replace their batteries in emergency situations. Now? They'll just have to carry around a powerbank like the rest of us. This sure does make Samsung's "Wall Huggers" commercial seem a little awkward now doesn't it?
No more expandable storage
This isn't as big an issue as it could've been, since Samsung released 64GB and 128GB models. But like the previous point, it's long been a fan favourite among Samsung fans and they probably feel let down by this exclusion. Now they have to accept that other OEMs offer phones with removable storage, while Samsung's newest flagship doesn't.
If you read my initial impressions on the HTC One M9, you'd remember how I listed the 1080p display as a positive point. So you can understand why I'm listing down the 2K display of the S6/Edge as a negative point. I still don't see the benefit of a 2K display in a smartphone, especially one the size of the S6/Edge. In a larger device, like the Note 4 or the Nexus 6, it might have some merit. But in anything smaller? That's really gone beyond the point of diminishing returns in my opinion.
Most specs in our phones have improved over time. Screen resolution, processor speed, RAM, camera resolution, and battery capacity as examples. But for some reason, the battery in the Galaxy S6/Edge is smaller than what was in the Galaxy S5. 250 mAh smaller to be exact. The addition of wireless charging is good, but a larger battery would also have been very welcomed. With a 2K display, that battery likely won't last as long as many would hope.
Samsung has been struggling quite a bit in the market lately. The mobile division recorded a 64 percent drop in fourth-quarter operating profit, while the company as a whole suffered a fifth consecutive quarterly operating loss. As the mobile division is reported to be responsible for about two-thirds of the company's revenue, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge needed to be two of Samsung's biggest hits in a long time. Some stuff was improved, some stuff was added, others were removed, but ultimately it seems like everything is balanced out. Die-hard Samsung fans might not like the loss of replaceable batteries and expandable storage, but as a whole I feel like these two phones definitely have the potential to help Samsung get back on track.