Samsung Galaxy S6 to be the best
Yes, there are still a few elements that prevent the phone from being perfect but to jump to this point of the crappy plasticity dressed of the Galaxy S5 is a fine feat, truly impressive.
Samsung didn’t take this task lightly, starting almost completely from scratch and replacing key members of the design team to ensure it created a state-of-the-art phone.
Junebe the S6 is a little too similar to its rivals (looks stunningly like the iPhone on the bottom) but at least there’s the Galaxy S6 Edge for those who want a truly unique device.
The iPhone has a different pricing structure in the UK, in that the 16GB option is £539 (obviously lacking storage), the same price as the S6 for 64GB, but only £699 for the 128GB model. In the US, it’s always $50 cheaper. Samsung could change this match-up at any time with the expected Galaxy S6 at a cheaper price.
Samsung has gone a little thicker on the design of the Galaxy S6, removing the usual plastic covers that adorned previous models and finally stepping into the metal world for its flagships.
It dallied with a more premium design since the Galaxy Alpha came out in the middle of last year. But with a higher price tag and lower spec, that model doesn’t really catch on, even though it feels really premium.
So this time Samsung took it a step further by adding an all-metal band for the tough glass and making a phone that couldn’t be further from the Galaxy S5.
That’s not to say the brand hasn’t kept some of its design heritage there – after all, Samsung is a company that’s big on tradition. The front of the phone harks back to the Galaxy S4 days, with its round, bland fascia combined with the candy home button.
The biggest shame is that I couldn’t fully review any of the tinted variants instead of ‘White Pearl’ which you can see above.
Other colors have a gem-like sheen, reflecting light in a luxurious way. White is just a bit dull, and looks like an even older device.
The reason for sending reviewers the white version first is pretty self-explanatory though: it’s a fingerprint magnet. I know I’ve said that before about other devices, but it’s never been more true than the Galaxy S6.
The back of the phone will only become marked and smudged within seconds of handling it, so the silver car-like white chassis on the S6 serves to hide those ugly smudges.
In the hands of the Galaxy S6 is a very good device to hold, with the 5.1-inch screen taking up most of the front. It’s compact yet elegant, with a distinctly premium quality feel when you hold it.
That said, it doesn’t feel like the most expensive on the market – whatever reason Samsung is giving for charging this high premium, it doesn’t come through in design – but it doesn’t feel like a device that can be named in the same breath as the HTC One M9. and the iPhone 6 in terms of build quality.
The metal bands around the sides are divided by strips of plastic to allow the antenna and other radios to make their connection – and if it looks familiar, well, it’s a very similar design to the one used on the iPhone 6.
These strips are needed as metal is very inefficient to let the phone signal through, and Samsung is not alone in including them. However, with the windshield and rear I was surprised to see them make an appearance.
Combined with the fact the bottom of the phone, where the speaker and headphone jacks live, looks almost identical to what Apple does, this seems to be a risky line Samsung treads on.
The general layout of this phone is well designed though. The volume buttons on the left and the power button on the right are perfectly positioned, and the home button has been massively upgraded to provide very solid clicks.
Which may not sound important, but that wasn’t the case with previous Galaxy phones so I’m glad to see Samsung finally stepping up.
The back of the phone results in one less aesthetic element though, with the camera protruding quite significantly from the back of the Galaxy S6.
The reason is obvious: to allow for a higher power optical system and you’ll see in the camera section that it’s very, very valuable.
But don’t let the above make you think this is anything but a great phone design. It doesn’t get there with the best – the HTC One M9’s craftsmanship puts it head and shoulders ahead of the Galaxy S6 in terms of feel in hand – but Samsung has finally offered what we’ve been craving for years, and it’s done well.
Samsung has always had brilliant display technology, and again, that’s the case with the Samsung Galaxy S6. The Super AMOLED display offers clear, crisp whites against pure blacks, meaning even dark scenes are shown off perfectly.
The 5.1-inch display now packs more pixels than ever before – 1440 x 2560 in fact, which matches the Galaxy Note 4 but with a higher PPI than 577 – meaning you’re looking at the sharpest display on the market.
The level of QHD screens was started by LG last year with the G3, but as it’s based on LCD technology it leaves the screen a bit dark and power hungry, as each pixel caused a heavier strain on the battery.
Then the Google Nexus 6 came along, and that really impressed me with the bigger screen. Although the wider display still looks great, and when the Note 4 came along with the same resolution, the bar was set.
Watching some optimized videos does look nicer, and held side by side the screen is definitely sharper than a normal Full HD screen.
But we’re past the point of needing any more sharpness on our phones, and even 720p resolution doesn’t look terrible (a good point made by Matthew Hanson in his work on the myths of screen resolution) so I’m wondering why Samsung bothered here.
The screen on the Galaxy S6 is great. It still has all the real benefits of a Super AMOLED, as I already mentioned, with very strong outdoor visibility.