Samsung Galaxy S6 Review Scoring Summary
| Style & Handling
|+ Premium build
||– Disappointing battery life
|+ Brilliant camera
||– No microSD card slot
|+ Lots of power
||– No water or dust resistance
Verdict: In removing features from the S5 the Galaxy S6 falls short of being a perfect phone, but with great specs and an even better design it sure gets close.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Review and Specification
No phone announcement outside of an iPhone launch generates as much excitement as a new Samsung flagship, but while the Galaxy S5 arguably didn’t live up to the hype the Galaxy S6 is a phone which almost can’t fail to.
It’s not just more powerful, but has a much better design, improved features and even a better interface. It’s not a perfect phone though, with some small cracks holding it back.
When you think of Samsung phones you’d be forgiven for thinking of plastic, since that’s long been the main aspect of their design, but the Galaxy S6 could change your perception, as there’s very little plastic in sight.
Instead you get a metal frame and a glass back, a little like Sony’s Xperia flagships, but with a slimmer, less angular design. In fact at 6.8mm thick it’s almost too thin and if a thicker design could have led to a larger battery we’d have taken it.
But regardless the Galaxy S6 is undeniably a beautiful phone, unique enough that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything else and gorgeous enough that people will want to look at it and hold it.
If there’s a disappointment it’s that it’s not water or dust resistant, which probably isn’t a big deal for most people but it’s a feature that the Samsung Galaxy S5 had and there are certainly times when it could come in handy.
Can a screen be too sharp? With the Galaxy S6 Samsung seems to want to find out, as its 5.1-inch size combined with its 1440 x 2560 QHD resolution leads to an unreasonably crisp 577 pixels per inch.
That’s no bad thing, at worst you could accuse it of being unnecessary, but coupled with the bright and rich visuals made possible by the Super AMOLED display tech it’s hard not to be impressed. The contrast is brilliant, the colours are maybe not totally natural but they’re the closest Super AMOLED has ever managed and images almost pop from the screen in crystal clear clarity.
A 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 processor and 3GB of RAM means the Samsung Galaxy S6 doesn’t need to worry about being underpowered. In fact benchmark results suggest it even edges out ahead of its Snapdragon 810 powered rivals.
It gets a little hot when playing HD games or doing other demanding tasks, but that’s the only real trade-off you get for all this power.
It’s super-speedy on the internet too, with Cat. 6 LTE support, theoretically allowing for 4G download speeds of up to 300MBps. Good luck getting that in England, but it does mean it’s future proofed.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 makes a very good argument for ditching your compact camera and using a smartphone for all your snaps instead. It’s got a 16 megapixel sensor with optical image stabilisation, so it can take sharp, detailed photos and even capture movement and darker scenes without much trouble.
The front-facing camera is no slouch either, with its 5 megapixel sensor, auto HDR and wide-angle lens. Plus Samsung has given more knowledgeable users a whole lot of power, as you can tweak various camera settings.
More into video? No problem, because the Galaxy S6 is great at that too, with footage recorded in up to 2160p at 30fps.
Samsung should be applauded for the work it’s done on its TouchWiz interface, seemingly accepting that not everyone wants to use its pre-installed apps by allowing you to disable them and ensuring the whole thing is more intuitive, with clear descriptors and colour coded icons, while popups and unnecessary layers have been minimised, so it’s far cleaner and more minimal.
It’s still not the most attractive overlay for our money, but even that can be helped by making use of the Theme Store to change the colours and icons and underneath all that there’s Google’s slick and reliable Android Lollipop running the show.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is lighter on new features than some past Samsung flagships, but instead of packing it to the rafters with new things Samsung has focused on improving what’s already there.
The result of that is a fingerprint scanner that’s gone from slightly frustrating and arguably a gimmick as it was on the Galaxy S5 to a genuinely slick and useful feature. No longer do you have to slide your finger awkwardly across it hoping it will get an accurate reading. Instead you just place your finger on it and an accurate reading is all but guaranteed.
This gives you a superbly convenient way to secure your phone and can also be used for authorising PayPal payments. It’s set to get even more useful too as it will work with Samsung’s impending Samsung Pay service, allowing you to make contactless payments with your phone.
That’s perhaps the biggest feature of the Galaxy S6, but it also has a heart rate monitor, just like the Galaxy S5, allowing you keep track of your heart rate wherever you are, which could be useful for health and fitness fans, just be aware that the readings aren’t accurate enough to be used medically.
Battery Life, Memory and Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 2550 mAh battery, which is actually a smaller size than the Galaxy S5, as that phone has a 2800 mAh unit. Sadly, despite an efficient processor the Galaxy S6’s battery life is inferior to the S5’s and just pretty average overall. It should last a day between charges unless you’re a really heavy user, but not much more.
However it supports fast charging, so you won’t have to keep it plugged in for long, as it can deliver up to four hours of use on just a ten minute charge. Or you can make use of its built in wireless charging and not plug it in at all, though that will juice it a lot slower.
Memory is another slight disappointment as while there’s a decent amount built in, with a choice of 32GB, 64GB or even 128GB, there’s no microSD card slot, so whatever you buy is what you’ll be stuck with for the next two years or however long it is until you get a new phone.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared, so there’s a full house of support.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a remarkable handset. Samsung has finally shown that it can make a beautiful phone, but it hasn’t done so at the expense of everything else. With oodles of power, a superb camera, a retina searing screen, a great fingerprint scanner, an improved interface and fast charging the Galaxy S6 is easily the best phone Samsung has ever made (other than arguably the S6 Edge).
But in removing the microSD card slot, stripping away the water and dust proofing and shrinking the battery it’s actually a worse phone than the Galaxy S5 in a few ways. The only really major one of those is the battery life and the only people we wouldn’t recommend it to are those who need their phone to last a long time between charges.
It’s a shame that one issue holds the Galaxy S6 back, but even with it the phone is still absolutely fantastic.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Specification
|Dimensions : 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mmWeight: 138gScreen 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
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