Preview: Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung has have unveiled their 2015 flagship smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new Samsung S6 and S6 Edge are sure to be among the most popular phones of 2015 – but are they worth getting excited about?

What’s new?

Samsung have been criticised for their stagnating and uninspired design of the Galaxy range since the release of the S4 in 2013 – so it’s a relief to see they have finally listened. Most apparent on the rear, they have clearly focused on creating a sophisticated, premium and refined-looking device. It’s more compact too, being 2mm shorter and 1mm narrower than the S5.

With a new camera module, re-positioned speaker/flash/heart rate monitor and a larger home button (with improved finger print recognition) – it’s a fundamental, and much appreciated, improvement over it’s predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, on the right in the image, goes even further featuring a duel-edge curved display, affording it a subtle Salvador Dali melting-clock aesthetic.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Features - Camera

This new design offers more than just a cosmetic upgrade; It slims down and loses weight too. At just 6.8mm thin (7mm for Edge) and weighing 138g (132g for Edge) – the new looks will make it even easier to handle.

Gorilla Glass 4 now protects the front and back, ensuring a more shatter-proof and scratch-resistant device. This protects the upgraded 5.1″ Super AMOLED display now sporting a 2560×1440 resolution – that’s a ludicrous 577 pixels-per-inch!

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Screen

Inside, we see a significant change from Snapdragon processors to Samsung’s own 14nm Octa-Core Exynos 7420 processor. Early benchmarks indicate a serious step up from the previous generation of smartphones, scoring around 70,000 in the AnTuTu benchmark – this is a significant improvement over 2014 devices.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - AnTuTu benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark: (Left to Right) LG G3, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4

The new processor is paired with 3GB of DDR4 RAM. DDR4 promises better performance and significant power-savings. However, could battery life be the S6’s Achilles heel? With a non-removable, smaller capacity (2550 mAh) battery powering more powerful components – especially that QHD screen – it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about battery life.

Thankfully, the smaller and more efficient 14nm Exynos processor and more energy-efficient DDR4 RAM may help the S6 last more than a day. In addition, wireless and new super-fast charging technologies allow the S6 to gain 4 hours of life from just 10 minutes of charging – or up to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.

The improvements don’t stop there – 16 megapixel rear and 5 megapixel front cameras use a smaller (better) F1.9 aperture lens. This, In concert with a new Exmor IMX240 sensor (as featured in the superb Galaxy Note 4) should mean the S6 and S6 Edge performs well even in low-light.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Camera

But wait, there’s more! Quick launch, Optical Image Stabilisation (rear camera only), real-time HDR and IR white balance technologies could help produce one of the best cameras we have ever seen on a smart phone. Genuinely exciting stuff!

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs S6 Edge.

As it says on the tin, the main difference between the S6 and the S6 Edge are the two curved edges that create a seemingly edge-less display. Although they don’t offer as much functionality as seen on the Galaxy Note Edge, they can produce coloured notifications (for example if the phone is facing down) and offer quick access to a list of your favourite contacts, this is being called the ‘People edge’.

Aside from that – the battery is increased by 50 mAH (up to 2,600) and the storage options start at 64GB and 128GB (as opposed to 32, 64 and 128GB on the S6). This, presumably, will help Samsung convince consumers to pay the inevitable price premium for the Edge.

It’s Never A Perfect World.

Unfortunately, compromises have been made. Samsung has headed the calls of many to improve the design and aesthetic of the Galaxy range, but will now face criticism similar to Apple with regard to prioritising form over function – discarding the removable-battery, water resistance and micro-SD card slot to accommodate a more premium design will be considered a step in the right direction by some, but others will see it as a sacrifice of their feature-rich niche for a (arguably) cosmetic improvement.

The S6 and S6 Edge are due for release on April 10th with prices yet to be confirmed – both flagship products will sell at the top end of the market, but expect the S6 Edge to cost even more.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Front and Back

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