Samsung has officially launched two new flagship Android phones: the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. The two devices are essentially the same, apart from the presence of a three-sided display on the edge. The phones will be available in Q2.
The S6 and S6 Edge are part of a double whammy that Samsung hopes will turn round the company’s fortunes after a difficult 2014.
The Galaxy S5 was something of a misstep, poorly received by critics and selling in considerably lower numbers than Samsung had expected.
If this was the complacency that is common among market leaders, then the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge show what a manufacturer can do when it needs to step up its game. With the likes of the HTC One M9 also launched, the competition is hotting up.
The two new devices sport a radically improved design and build quality. They are by far the most attractive devices that Samsung has ever produced. With extensive use of glass and metal, the devices also finally feel like the expensive products they are.
Which is not to say that the changes do not come without compromises. In a move that is likely to upset long-time Samsung fans neither of the phones have replaceable batteries or microSD card slots.
Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge specs
- OS: Android 5.0 with Samsung overlay
- Processor: Exynos octacore, 4 x 2.1GHz and 4 x 1.5GHz, 64-bit
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- Screen size: 5.1-inch
- Display resolution: QHD 2560×1440, 577ppi
- Dimensions: 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm (S6), 142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0mm (S6 Edge)
- Weight: 138g (S6), 132g (S6 Edge)
- Rear camera: 16MP with OIS, f/1.9
- Front camera: 5MP, f/1.9
- Battery: 2550mAh (S6), 2600mAh (S6 Edge)
Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S5
There’s virtually no comparison between this year’s flagship Samsung and last year’s.
The S5 was the most modest of updates, with the same tired design and outdated build quality, and the over-fussy software that Samsung’s devices had become infamous for.
The S6 fixes almost everything.
It’s not just the new look, although that does gives the handsets instant appeal. But there’s improvements everywhere else, too.
The software has 40% fewer features. The cameras use a fast f/1.9 aperture with optical image stabilisation, which should ensure excellent lowlight shooting. The camera also launches in under a second, and includes motion tracking so that it can stay focussed on a single moving object.
Wireless charging is built in, as is NFC for wireless payments through Samsung Pay (to be launched later in the summer), as well as a fingerprint scanner for security.
Unlike Samsung’s previous effort at a fingerprint scanner, this one does not require the user to swipe their finger across it. Instead, just like the Apple approach, the device unlocks simply pressing a thumb on the home button.
Galaxy S6 price
Pricing for the S6 and S6 Edge has not yet been set. It’s safe to say that these are premium handsets and will be priced accordingly. Expect to pay in the $900/£600 region SIM-free, or on contracts around £35 per month in the UK. The price will also depend on the storage size chosen.
It’s looking likely that both versions of the model will be widely available. In the UK Vodafone, Three and EE have all indicated that they will be carrying the Galaxy S6 Edge as well as its more traditional sister.
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge release date
Samsung has announced that the devices will go on sale from 10th April.
Multiple colour options will be available. These are White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz and Green Emerald.