The Samsung Galaxy S6 has been out for a while now and have been making waves all over the internet, and hate it or love it, whether you’re an Android fan boy or an Apple fan boy, you only have to spent 30 minutes with the Galaxy S6 to realise how awesome it is. It seems that Samsung finally made an all round device that will put them back in the smartphone race. It feels great in hand, its snappy, you get wireless charging and fast charging, and in most cases the battery will last just about a day.
Around the device you get your power button on the right, and your volume rockers on the left side, and they all feel naturally placed unlike LG G4’s buttons which are placed on the back. On the front is your home button with fingerprint sensor for locking/unlocking device and can also be double tapped to activate your camera should you see an opportunity to take a quick shot on the move. The double tap function is great, however don’t be alarmed if you find butt pics in your gallery from accidentally activating the camera, or if you device feels abnormally hot/warm, chances are you’ve had your camera on all the while.
Up top, you have your sensors, indicator light for notifications and your 5 MP shooter with F1.9 aperture, it captures great low light image and it’s wide enough to capture you and your friends. Let’s not forget the earpiece right in between them and the IR blaster right on top of the S6. Next to the IR blaster is your secondary microphone for clearer voice and at the bottom are your microUSB port, 3.5mm headphone port and speaker grille which is not the loudest but decent.
On the back is a large surface area made of glass and a protruding 16MP f/1.9 camera with phase detect autofocus and OIS; next to it you will find the dual LED flash to assist in lowlight situation. The glass used is gorilla glass 4, strong and slippery. The Galaxy S6 is available in White Pearl (this review unit), Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz, and Black Sapphire. The darker variations shows fingerprint more than its lighter counterparts. Generally it feels nice to hold as it’s only 6.8mm thick and light at just 138g, even with its 5.1in display, it still feels compact in hand and you only have to use the iPhone 6 Plus for a while and come back to the S6 to really see how compact it is, you certainly don’t need to operate it with two hands.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a Quad HD Super AMOLED display at 1,440 x 2,560 and a pixel density of 576ppi, and without boring you about colour gamut and sRGB amongst other technical term, our job is to put it to real world test and see if it fits the kind of every day use you would encounter. The colour reproduction is great, the colours are sharp and not over saturated, movies and pictures looks excellent, thanks to its great contrast levels and to top it off, when using it in direct sunlight or even low light, it adjusts itself very well so you’re never straining your eyes to read a book or send a text. To achieve the same level of dynamic display, you would have to jailbreak your iPhone to make it adjust properly to your surround lighting without blinding you.
The display is truly stunning and highly noticeable when moving away from the S6 to use other devices. Turning it up to its full brightest level is even more impressive, however it takes its toll on the battery. All in all, a joy to look at!
Performance ( Processor, software and battery life)
The Galaxy S6 features Samsung’s own Exynos 7420 SoC; it’s an Octa-core processor with big.LITTLE + HMP solution combination that allows one set of quad-core CPUs clocked at 2.1GHz and the other at 1.5GHz to run efficiently; it uses different combinations to ensure your applications, processes and multitasking is seamless. In the graphics department, it uses a Mali-T760 GPU which is also very responsive and delivers a console-like performance whether you are playing games, reading books or just admiring its display. To help multitasking and boost speed, it has 3GB of RAM and storage option includes 32GB, 64Gb or 128GB with no microSD expansion slot- this is the first time Samsung have omitted this feature, perhaps following in Apple’s footstep.
Putting the processor through benchmarking applications, we saw single and multi-core deliver a Geekbench 3 score around 1,480 and 5,280, knocking off most of the other Android flagship devices on the market today, in fact, it only falls behind the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus by a margin in the single-core test and but out shining them both in the multi-core test. In the real world, it is much faster than the iPhones and even with Android, there were less crashes when playing graphic and processor intensive games. The iPhone 6 Plus for example, crashed at least 5 times playing Mortal Kombat X, in comparison to the S6 crashing almost zero times playing Asphalt. In the Korean markets, you can even download a screen-recording app to capture your games with audio and video just like you can on the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 today.
Samsung’s Exynos 7420 is is built on a 14nm FinFET process technology, which other chip makers are still behind on and giving Samsung the upper hand when it comes to performance and efficiency of the Galaxy S6. Even with a small 2,600mAh battery, it still provides a great deal of efficiency. Samsung Memory also had a hand in the performance of the Galaxy S6, as it features their latest UFC memory chip which combines the power of SSD with eMMC to give a snappy access to the memory when reading and writing data. In the real world, you will notice its benefits when opening your gallery to view pictures, you will notice that you instantly see your thumbnails with quicker access to your data.
Samsung Galaxy S6: camera, audio and call quality
Seeing is believing! Both the front and rear cameras perform very well, whether in good lighting or lowlight conditions. It can record videos in 4K although for only 5 minutes at a time to prevent you from filling up your storage space very quickly. You have HDR mode for stills and video mode, effects for adding filters and if you dig into the settings you can change the picture size, video size, and some other settings. The main thing here is that you can record UHD ( 3840 x 2160)at 60FPS, although you will not have access to HDR, Video effects, Video stabilisation, taking pictures while recording and tracking AF. Other resolutions includes, QHD( 2560 x 1440), FHD (60FPS), FHD at lower/standard FPS, HD (720p) and VGA.
You can also change mode from Auto to Pro (for changing white balance, ISO, exposure and manually focusing, selective focus (for bokeh effects), Panorama, Slow motion, Fast motion, Virtual shot, Animated GIF ( you will need to download module), Read-cam selfie ( you will also need to download module) and many others available to download from Samsun app store such as food mode, sports and more. What’s missing on the Galaxy S6 is the ability to shoot in RAW mode like the LG4, then it would be complete.
The Galaxy S6 is beautiful, it feels good to hold in hand, the performance is excellent with no lags and surprisingly a TouchWiz software that isn’t bloated with unnecessary applications. Good use of Android Lollipop, something Huawei didn’t do well with the P8 and the camera performance is excellent especially in low light. The downsides are the battery life and cost per storage; the battery life will just about last you a day, although if you carry your fast charger with you, you can quickly fire it back up and as you go up to its 64GB and 128GB variants, it becomes more expensive to buy and it could be Samsung’s way of showing its premium side. If you take pictures a lot, you will soon fill up the memory before you know it.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is available on Three UK, check their pricing and see which one suits your needs. They offer ‘Feel at home’ package that means you can use your data allowance, calls and text in various countries at no extra cost, so you can spam your friends and family with holiday pictures as much as you like.