The long-anticipated Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge were the highlight of Samsung's Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress today. The new phones are all glass and metal, come in a handful of colors, and honestly they look gorgeous, especially the Edge variant.
New for 2015 is a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display operating at 2,560 by 1,440 (577ppi), Gorilla Glass 4 is used on the front and back, Samsung's own octacore Exynos 64-bit SoC, 3GB of RAM, and storage options ranging from 32GB to 128GB of internal memory, but no microSD slot this time.
Samsung is using an internal battery for the first time on the Galaxy S, but adding support for both Qi and PMA wireless charging, as well as fast USB charging, it sounds like a sensible tradeoff.
'Design with purpose' was the motto used by Samsung to announce their new Galaxy flagship phones, and it kind of shows.
According to Samsung, the S6 will gain 4 hours of usage time out of a 10 minute charge and going from zero to 100% battery charge takes half the time when compared to the iPhone 6. According to reports, the battery capacity has been decreased from 2,800 mAh in the S5 to 2,550/2,600 on the standard S6 and Edge variant, something to look out for when we review the handset since Lollipop rarely presents big battery life gains.
The 16-megapixel rear camera adds optical image stabilization, real-time HDR and infrared white balance, which according to Samsung vastly improves shots in many situations including low light. The 'always on standby' camera is a software feature that means app launches almost instantly. The front-facing selfie camera has been boosted to 5MP and a 120 degree wide angle.
'Design with purpose' was the motto used by Samsung to announce their new Galaxy flagship phones, and it kind of shows. Unlike the gimmicky Galaxy S5 release that packed half-baked features (health monitoring, fingerprint reader that didn't work well), the company appears to be doing a 360 by building a more solid and well conceived phone with useful features like wireless charging, an improved camera on both hardware and software, and the curved display – ok, that may turn out to be a gimmick, but we won't know for sure until we test it in full. For now the S6 Edge does look like a more svelte and stylish version of the same Galaxy phone.
The S6 Edge's screen slopes down on both sides but unlike the Note Edge smartphone that we reviewed a few months ago, the edges don't function as a separate panel if you don't want, so it's perceived like a fluid curved design.
Two other noteworthy features: the Galaxy S6 fingerprint reader no longer requires a swipe and we assume by now Samsung will have figured it out so it's an actual usable aspect of the handset. Also as anticipated, 'Samsung Pay' is the company's take on mobile payments. After the acquisition of LoopPay that doesn't require merchants to upgrade their checkout devices. The magnetic induction technology it uses can simply be tapped against the strip reader already found in most stores.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will launch on April 10th around the world and on all major US carriers with 32/64/128GB storage options. Pricing is not yet official, but we woudn't be surprised if the S6 goes for $650 off-contract / $200 on contract, while the S6 Edge will likely set you back an extra $100 - 150.