• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

After the relatively disappointing Galaxy S5 Samsung had a lot of work ahead of it. A year to create a truly brilliant flagship or risk losing its position as the dominant Android smartphone maker. With the Galaxy S6 it’s clear the company took its task seriously.

A new high end design, a more refrained interface, major improvements to most of the key components and some thoughtful new features are what we’ve got and to do this the company has even taken some risks in removing things that fans know and love about the brand.

So has it got the balance right and delivered the definitive handset of 2015 or does Samsung need to go back to the drawing board one more time?

Design

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

 

 Traditionally we’re used to slating Samsung for the design of its phones, but that’s not something we can do here, because with the Galaxy S6 the company has finally created a handset that looks as premium as it is.

It’s long overdue but it was worth the wait, as with its metal frame and shiny glass back it’s light-years from the Band-Aid design of the Galaxy S5.

And yet in some ways it’s not. It looks supremely premium, but it still looks like a Samsung phone and viewed front-on you could almost mistake it for an earlier Samsung handset, so the company didn’t totally start from scratch here, but it got the materials right this time.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

At just 6.8mm thick it’s stupendously slim too, a decision which may have come at the cost of battery life, but which undeniably looks good.

The Galaxy S6 still exists in the shadow of the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9 from an appearance perspective and disappointingly the water and dust resistance featured on the Galaxy S5 is absent here, but outside of HTC’s and Apple’s camps it’s certainly one of the best looking phones around and a night and day improvement over the S5.

Screen

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

 

 

The screen has had a big boost too. Not in size, as it’s 5.1 inches, just like the Samsung Galaxy S5, and not in display tech either, as both phones use bright and vibrant Super AMOLED to glorious effect, but in resolution, as while the Galaxy S5 has a 1080p screen, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 1440 x 2560 QHD one, giving it a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch.

The effect is ludicrously crisp images, which combined with Samsung’s already impressive Super AMOLED tech makes it probably the best smartphone screen around, while its 5.1-inch size strikes a great balance between immersion and ease of use.

Power

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was always going to be powerful. Samsung tends to pack its flagships full of the best tech and fastest processors around and the Galaxy S6 is no exception.

The actual choice of tech was slightly surprising though, as rather than the Snapdragon 810, which rivals like the HTC One M9 are using, Samsung equipped it with an own-brand Exynos processor. That will have saved it some money, but don’t think it’s skimping on power, because its 64-bit octa-core chip is supremely fast.

Four cores are clocked at 2.1GHz and the other four at 1.5GHz so it can switch between them as needed and it’s backed up by 3GB of RAM.

In real terms that makes the Samsung Galaxy S6 just about the most powerful phone around and it’s easily able to blast through any task, app or game. It does get a little hot at times, but not to the extent that it’s uncomfortable to hold.

It’s also equipped with blazing fast Cat 6. LTE, allowing it to download over 4G at up to 300Mbps.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

Samsung has long been making some of the best smartphone cameras around and the Galaxy S6 is its best yet.

Its 16 megapixel snapper allows for detail-packed photos and with the help of optical image stabilisation it’s adept even in low light or when snapping movement.

It’s speedy too, as it focuses fast and you can launch the camera with a double tap of the home button, even when the screen is off, so you’ll never miss a moment.

Round the front there’s a more than capable 5 megapixel selfie-snapper, which thanks to HDR is actually pretty impressive in low light too and it’s a wide angle lens so you can fit big groups in a shot.

The S6 will snap adeptly on auto mode, but if you like to tweak your settings there’s plenty here to play with and it’s also a strong video camera, as it can shoot in up to 2160p at 30fps.

Interface

Along with the design of its phones the other area which tends to go in for criticism on Samsung handsets is the interface, as Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay is one of the more bloated and intrusive manufacturer skins.

Thankfully it seems Samsung has listened to the complaints as with the Galaxy S6 it’s a big step in the right direction. Many stock apps- Samsung’s and Google’s alike, can now be disabled and hidden and the interface itself is cleaner and more streamlined, with less popups and fewer taps required to do things.

It’s still a long way from stock Android, but it’s no longer the negative point it once was and with a built in Theme Store you can also customise the look and feel more to your liking. Underneath all that you get Android Lollipop, so it’s running the latest version of Google’s OS.

Features

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

The Galaxy S6 wouldn’t be a Samsung flagship if it didn’t have some extra features. The good news though is that most of them are genuinely useful.

First up there’s the fingerprint scanner. This isn’t new but it is improved, as rather than having to swipe across it as you did on older handsets you can now just rest your finger on it, making it faster and easier to use. It’s far more accurate now too, getting a reading almost every time.

As well as keeping your phone secure the fingerprint scanner can also be used to authorise PayPal payments and with Samsung Pay launching it could quickly become a powerful rival to Apple Pay.

The Galaxy S6 also sees the return of the heart rate monitor, which isn’t really any better or worse than it ever was. It works fairly well, but having to hold your finger against the back of the phone will never be as easy as just getting an automatic reading from a wearable.

Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

Now we’re coming on to some less than stellar aspects of the Samsung Galaxy S6, the biggest one being its battery, because at 2550 mAh it’s anything but big for a phone of this size and spec. The good news it its performance isn’t terrible, but it’s not great either.

With moderate mixed use you’ll get a day out of it, so most people won’t be searching for a charger mid-way through work, but you will undoubtedly have to charge it almost every night.

There is an Ultra Power Saving mode which can help it last longer, but it does so by heavily limiting what you can do on the phone, so it’s not an ideal solution and unlike the Galaxy S5 you can’t remove the battery, so there’s no opportunity to swap it out for a spare.

On the plus side it supports both wireless charging and fast charging, the latter of which can get you up to four hours of juice after just a ten minute charge.

You can get 32, 64 or 128GB of built in storage with your Galaxy S6, which is a good selection of sizes and in fact 32GB will probably suit most people just fine. But if you think you might want more it’s worth stumping up the cash for a larger model, as there’s no microSD card slot, so you can’t add to it later.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared as you’d expect from an Android flagship.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

 

Is the Samsung Galaxy S6 a perfect phone? No, not even close. Its disappointing battery life is the biggest issue it faces, while the lack of a microSD card slot and the removal of water and dust resistance are disappointing too.

But it is a very, very good phone and it’s the phone Samsung needed to make. It’s actually incredible how different and how much better this is than the Samsung Galaxy S5 given there was only a year between them.

The screen, power and camera have all been improved, that’s not surprising, but the design has been completely overhauled from ugly plastic to stylish metal and glass, the fingerprint scanner has gone from tacked on gimmick to genuinely useful and Samsung has even had a long hard look at its TouchWiz interface, delivering the cleanest and best version of that yet.

With a better battery this would be a five star phone as it certainly ticks every other major box and then some, but even as things stand it’s very close. If you’re a Samsung fan you won’t be disappointed and if you’re not this might be the phone to convert you. The Galaxy S6 is flawed, but it’s a flawed masterpiece.

Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions : 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm

Weight: 138g

Screen size: 5.1” (1440 x 2560)

Screen Resolution: 1440 x 2560 display resolution

Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 577

Processor: 2.1GHz octa-core application processor

RAM: 3GB

On-board Memory: 32, 64, 128GB

Camera: 16MP (rear) 2160p@30fps, (5 megapixel front-facing)

Operating system: Android 5.0.2

Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes

Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes

Battery capacity: 2550mAh

Colours: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz

Launch Date: April 10th
Price: £599.99

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