Hands On Reviews

Published on May 3rd, 2015 | by Gary Johnson

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Samsung Galaxy S6 early review, upgrading from S3

I have been reviewing various different handsets for the last few years while my daily unit has been the Samsung Galaxy S3. Obviously this device is a bit long in the tooth now and while I have had the chance to review much better hardware finances have not allowed me to get something newer. Now though after much thought I am the proud owner of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and today we are looking at an early review of the device.

If you still own the Galaxy S3 and use it daily you will be aware of the many problems the device began to receive after being updated to Android Jelly Bean, and then missing out on KitKat. Now after looking at the Note 4 and deciding it was slightly too large for me personally I got the S6.

Samsung has been a leader in sales in terms of Android devices, but the company has come under fire for the build quality and software experience of their flagship devices from some quarters. Last year there were some disappointment in the S5, and while it was a great handset it didn’t really offer much more than the previous model except for waterproofing and some other minor additions.

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Following on from the Alpha range of handsets the Galaxy S6 features an aluminium form factor, which has a stronger form of aluminium found on other smartphones including the iPhone 6 and is found on aircraft fuselages, cars, and mountain bikes among other things. When you pick the device up it feels much nicer and solid than other Galaxy handsets, and we also have Gorilla Glass 4 on the back and front of the smartphone.

This new design does come with some drawbacks though as it is now a unibody design meaning the days of the owner taking the back off to replace the battery and insert a microSD card are now over. The S6 is thinner and narrower than last year’s model with dimensions coming in at 143.4mm x 70.5mm x 6.8 mm compared to 142mm x 72.5mm x 8.1 mm.

The look of the smartphone still holds the traditional Galaxy phone design while the power button is on the right side just above the nano SIM card tray and on the other side is the two volume buttons. At the bottom is the Home button in between capacitive buttons for Back and Recent Apps. There is also the IR blaster on the top along with the front facing camera, while around the back we have the rear lens with Dual LED flash and heart rate sensor.

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One thing I have noticed in the brief time I have been using the phone, is that it does feel slippery in the hand, but luckily I have some cases for the S6 which will also be reviewed in due course. To recap on the Galaxy S6 specs we have a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 providing 577ppi pixel density, which is powered by Samsungs own Octa core Exynos 7420 processor that has four cores running at 2.1GHz, and four at 1.5Ghz.

There is also a Mali-T760MP8 GPU, 3GB of RAM, 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture, OIS, and 4K video capture. On the front we have a 5-megapixel shooter also with f/1.9 aperture, and again there is a Fingerprint Sensor that has been improved over last year’s offering as it just needs the user to place their finger on the Home Button. This is set up by placing a finger on the area a number of times so the handset can read it, and you can store up to 4 different fingerprints to unlock the device.

To date the S6 is the fastest and most responsive handset that I have used and for the display Samsung has managed to improve the colour reproduction and clarity with images looking pretty stunning.

While there is no longer the option of adding a microSD card Samsung has provided its own UFS 2.0 storage that promises quicker data read/write speeds by 2.7 times over the S5. The speaker has been improved but it still can’t match the HTC BoomSound experience, but one notable addition this year is wireless charging built in. Users of older Galaxy devices have had to purchase a separate rear cover to be able to wirelessly charge their handset but now the S6 supports both Qi and PMA straight out of the box.

There is also the ability to charge up the S6 in less time thanks to Quick Charging, and a compatible charger is supplied with the handset that is promised to provide an extra 4 hours of use from only ten minutes of being plugged in from 0% battery. It will charge to 50% in only 30 minutes or fully charged in around 90 minutes.

Samsung TouchWiz has often been criticised especially from Android purists but with the Galaxy S6 the company has toned things down somewhat, and is running alongside Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. I have not had chance to use the camera that much yet but the fact the S6 now comes with Optical Image Stabilization is a welcome boost.

It also performs much better in low light conditions thanks to the aperture of f/1.9 on both cameras, and the software should have something for everyone including an Auto mode, HDR Auto along with a Pro mode. Users can adjust the exposure, white balance, ISO, and much more while many other features can be downloaded free to the device from the Samsung Apps Store.

Things have come a long way in the smartphone world in the last few years and Samsung hasn’t always got things right in the Galaxy S range of handsets, but it seems the Galaxy S6 has finally delivered the build quality that a lot of Android fans have been crying out for. It will also be interesting to see what the company does with the Galaxy Note 5 in a few months time as this could take things even further.

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About the Author

has a background in engineering and passion for motorcycles, gadgets, and home cinema. In his early years, his obsession for Hi-Fi technology would see him creating the perfect setup with a good ear for sound quality. He also has a love for smartphones and loves spending time with his family.



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