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Samsung Galaxy S 6 Preview

Galaxy S 6: Design

Launched almost one-year ago, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 failed to impress consumers, reviewers, and even some Galaxy fans. Lacking in both innovative hardware and design, it failed to differentiate itself from other flagship phones such as HTC’s One (M8), LG’s G3, or Sony’s Z3. With sputtering sales—40 percent fewer than the Galaxy S4 in the first three months after release according to the Wall Street Journal—and plummeting profits in its mobile division—down 64% year-over-year in Q4 2014—Samsung needed to shift its focus from better marketing to better design.

We got our first glimpse of this transition last August with the release of the Galaxy Alpha, an attractive smartphone with an aluminum frame and a distinct departure from Samsung’s previous all-plastic offerings. The Note 4 soon followed with a metal frame of its own, retaining the removable plastic back which has become a staple of the Galaxy brand. Even more recently, Samsung added the A3 and A5 to the Galaxy family sporting a similar metal and plastic build for the low- to mid-tier markets. With the announcement of the Galaxy S 6 today at Mobile World Congress 2015, the transition seems to be complete.

The Galaxy S 6 bifurcates into two different models, the S 6 and S 6 edge, each emphasizing design and premium materials, along with a return to hardware innovation. Common Galaxy design elements like the pill shaped home button and square rear camera bump are now housed in an all-new, lightly-textured aluminum frame sandwiched between two sheets of Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The aluminum edges are chamfered and polished with matching polished accents around the home button and rear camera and flash modules. Samsung’s use of both matte and gloss finishes combine to create an elegant and modern design. Devoid of plastic, the S 6 feels solid in hand, but is slipperier and will attract more fingerprints than the soft-touch plastic back on the S5 or Note 4.

Like the S5, the two new S 6s come in a variety of colors. Black Sapphire, White Pearl, and Gold Platinum are common to both models, while Blue Topaz and Green Emerald are exclusive to the S 6 and S 6 edge, respectively. All of the colors look very classy, have a high-gloss finish, and some have metallic flecks. It's a little surprising not to see a dark red color, but the blue and green choices offer some variety.

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Full-Size Images: [S 6 edge colors - back], [S 6 edge colors - front], [S 6 colors]

The control and port layout is pretty standard. The power button and SIM card tray are located a little more than half way up the right side, and two individual volume buttons are situated near the top-left side; The slight offset should help reduce inadvertent button presses, a problem on the iPhone 6. On the bottom is a microUSB 2.0 port (so long USB 3.0) and the headphone jack. The lone speaker moves from the back of the phone to the bottom, in a similar position to the iPhone 6, and now sounds 1.5 times louder than the speaker on the S5, according to Samsung.

Both S 6 models feature a 5.1-inch SAMOLED screen, the same size as the S5, but with a higher QHD resolution, which Samsung also used in the LTE-A variant of the S5 last year, giving the S 6 a pixel density of 577 PPI. The display brightness has also been boosted to 600 nits according to Samsung, although the method used to arrive at this value wasn’t specified.

Unsurprisingly, both S 6s are very similar in size to the S5, with the new design coming in about 2mm narrower and just over 1mm thinner. Weight has also been reduced by 7g for the S 6 and 13g for the S 6 edge.

  • Eddie Riggs
    Still using a Samsung Stratosphere. Even replaced it with another Stratosphere when the original one failed after 2 years of use. This S4, S5, and now this S6 doesn't really do anything that I need that my Stratosphere wont do. I'm sure it's a fast phone that can tell your heart rate and what the barometric pressure is in your general vicinity, but basically these phones are just becoming a way for the govt. to collect data in places where they couldn't get to before. Seriously! Who is using the barometer in a cell phone? Unless you have disposable income and just like to throw money away on every one of the latest gadgets to come out, buying the latest phone every year is pointless. So for those of you who can't wait to get the S6 so that your friends will be envious, you wont have to wait much longer! Oh yeah!
    Reply
  • Mr_Underhill_
    non-replaceable batter + no sd card = not for me.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    Wow.. that intro tho. I use the S5 as my daily and its fantastic. Sounds like someone is just a little bias. Every review I read showed the S5 being par or better than most phones.

    Have fun with your fixed battery and no SD card support. Meanwhile im sitting here with a battery I can replace in a year or two if it craps along with a cheep 128GB removable storage.

    I think the S6 is also lacking in the looks department along with a smaller battery.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    non-replaceable batter + no sd card = not for me.

    I generally agree about the battery, but when I think about it, I've made that a priority for my past three Samsung phones, which have lasted me six years, and not once have I had any battery issues. So, I guess it might be time to accept that it's fine.

    But SD card, I agree. They're offering 128GB phones, which is a step in the right direction, but not if it costs an arm and a leg.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    15397764 said:
    I generally agree about the battery, but when I think about it, I've made that a priority for my past three Samsung phones, which have lasted me six years, and not once have I had any battery issues. So, I guess it might be time to accept that it's fine.

    But SD card, I agree. They're offering 128GB phones, which is a step in the right direction, but not if it costs an arm and a leg.

    I've seen a lot of friends having their batteries die on them in one or two years, so it is a big deal. Weather conditions affect *a lot* the batteries: humidity and heat. It's a risky thing they didn't make it as usual, but I can also understand they want to simplify things a bit. Same goes for the SD card slot. If the 128GB version is not stupid expensive, it won't be a deal breaker for me at least. I'm still debating on battery though, but just like you, I haven't had any issues with mine (S2 from 2010 and still working). My GF had a lot of issues with hers and her already dead Note 1. So far so good with the Note 3 for her.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • microFarads
    In my family we have 4 Samsungs: four S3 and one S4. All had their batteries dead and exchanged after 1 and a half years average. All have full capacity SD cards. We liked them all even though the S3 is damn slow and poor camera. I waited for the S6. we were Samsung loyals, but no more. We are looking for another brand. Pity...
    Reply
  • microFarads
    Correction: We have 5 Samsungs
    Reply
  • Durandul
    I think they really missed an opportunity to wait and go with USB type C. That coupled with no expandable storage and a non removable battery, seems like a waste.
    Reply
  • danawesome89
    In response to the criticism of the s5:
    "Lacking in both innovative hardware and design, it failed to differentiate itself from other flagship phones"

    Actually, it DID have a differentiating feature- it had a removable battery and SD card support. Those were the ONLY reasons my wife bought one over the similarly specced and priced competition. The s6 has removed these standout features.
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    15397640 said:
    non-replaceable batter + no sd card = not for me.

    It's one thing that the battery is non-replaceable. But it's another when the battery is also worse than in the last generation, AND the phone has a higher-res screen that will draw more power on its own as well as force the GPU to consume more power to render all those pixels. Samsung made a huge mistake here, destroying battery life and leaving no option for people to band-aid it with a battery upgrade.
    Reply