Most Controversial: Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge
Although we didn't give it an official award, Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge couldn't escape our scrutiny. Perhaps placing form over function, the sleek, all-metal and -glass construction of its latest flagship phones are like no other Galaxys Samsung has ever produced.
Inside the shimmering exterior, Samsung packed in some serious technology, including an Exynos 7420 SoC built on the latest 14nm FinFET process with four of the fastest 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 CPUs we've seen (along with four lower power A53 cores). The speedy SoC is paired with 3GB of high-bandwidth LPDDR4 RAM and up to 128GB of internal UFS 2.0 NAND.
All of the latest wireless capabilities are also onboard, including 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi with speeds up to 620Mbps, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, NFC, IrLED, and a LTE Cat 6 modem. There's even built-in wireless charging, covering both the WPC (Qi) and PMA standards.
The fingerprint scanner has been upgraded from a swipe-style to a more user-friendly touch capacitive sensor, which pairs nicely with Samsung Pay, a wireless payment solution supporting both NFC and Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). Both cameras are vastly improved, and the Android Lollipop-based OS is more refined and easier to use.
With such a long list of enhancements, you might be wondering why it didn't win a Best of Show award. Although the technology inside the new S6 models is certainly impressive (and might not be matched by any other phone this year), Samsung sacrificed the very features that attracted people to the Galaxy brand — namely, a removable battery and microSD card support (IP67 dust and water resistance is another casualty of the new design).
Will the radical new look of the S6 and S6 Edge attract new buyers to the Galaxy brand as Samsung hopes, or will its betrayal of the Galaxy faithful backfire? It's going to take a while for this controversy to be resolved.