Last October we gave our thoughts on how Samsung could make the Galaxy S6 the best smartphone of all time. So now that the Galaxy S6 has officially launched at MWC 2015, does it live up to expectations or has Samsung disappointed once again?
Factor one: Design
We were hoping for a metallic finish and Samsung has delivered, but the Galaxy S6 also sports a glass rear in place of the usual plastic. It’s durable enough to withstand a large drop apparently, although we’re a little surprised at how much the Galaxy S6 resembles Sony’s Xperia Z3. As well as the glass surfaces, Samsung has slapped a very familiar curved silver edging on the Galaxy S6, so it almost looks like a sibling to Sony’s flagship.
However, while Sony uses fingerprint-resistive oils to keep its glass back and front relatively smudge-free, the Galaxy S6 appears to shun such finishes. As a result, the Galaxy S6 demo units we played with were coated in grime in mere seconds, which made our hands-on photos look truly splendid.
Verdict: Almost there, but the surprising similarity to Sony’s Xperia Z3 and fingerprint smudging are rather disappointing.
Factor two: Awesome tech
Although the Galaxy S6 doesn’t rock a Snapdragon 810 processor as predicted, possibly due to those rumoured overheating issues, Samsung’s own Exynos processor is said to be even more of a beast, tearing through anything thrown its way. And we’re chuffed to get the super-sharp Quad HD screen and impressive camera tech that we longed for, including a front-facing camera boasting HDR.
And if you want gimmicky tech for the hell of it, the Galaxy S6 Edge delivers in spades. We’re glad that this is an additional model alongside the standard flagship, as it’s more expensive and doesn’t add much (if anything) to the everyday experience – at least from our half-hour play time so far.
Verdict: A clear win, with the Galaxy S6 packing some of the most interesting tech out of any new flagship.
Factor three: The fingerprint scanner no longer makes us want to hurl puppies at walls
Another win for Sammy. The Galaxy S6 rocks an all-new scanner that mimics Apple’s Touch ID effort. Instead of swiping your digit across the home key, a motion which on the Galaxy S5 almost always led to some kind of error message, the Galaxy S6 lets you simply press your fingertip to the scanner. It’s definitely a lot more accurate, which removes all of the frustration of the earlier effort.
Verdict: We’re actually looking forward to giving the Galaxy S6 the finger (har har). Win.
Factor four: Everything to everyone
Samsung has again made sure that the Galaxy S6 has a broad range of appeal. It’s an entertainment machine, a business device (thanks to Knox and the usual security features) and soon should be every consumer’s dream once Samsung Pay rolls out.
Our personal wish-list included a couple of extra features, such as something for gamers to get excited about, and while those never transpired, we’re still happy with the all-round lovability of the Galaxy S6. It’s a phone that pretty much everyone will enjoy, and in our limited play time certainly seems to be an all-round hero.
Verdict: While our personal wants were missed, the Galaxy S6 still has mass appeal in all segments. Victoire.
Factor five: Battery life, a.k.a the one-step win
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 can charge in uber-quick time, giving you four hours of use after just ten minutes at the plug and charging to 100 per cent in just 80 minutes. It also sports wireless charging, but not quite the at-a-distance effort we were really hoping for.
Still, given the quick charging capabilities, we’ll chalk this as another win for the Koreans.
Verdict: Although the Galaxy S6 won’t quite charge inside your pocket (wishful thinking more than anything else, although hopefully this tech is just on the horizon), it will power up in very little time, giving it an advantage over the competition. Win.
Factor six: Don’t throw in every last idea, plus twelve kitchen sinks – unless they’re well implemented
At last, Samsung has listened to criticism from its last few phones and stopped ploughing a million pointless features into its phones. So your Galaxy S6 won’t automatically recognise when you’re taking a dump and remind you to wipe. Nor will it monitor how often you scratch your nuts and then direct you to the nearest Boots for a topical cream.
Instead you have a streamlined, satisfying-to-use interface that’s easy to get on with. Good on yer, Sammy.
Verdict: Colour us surprised, but another victory for Samsung.
Five out of six for Samsung, with the smudgey, familiar design the only setback in what otherwise looks like a fantastic phone. Looks like the Korean giant really does listen to feedback, removing most of the irritants present on the Galaxy S5 and adding in some truly useful features to make this a smart all-round portable pal.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S6 review.