Samsung's next-generation Galaxy S6 smartphones, which include giant leaps in style, design, components and features from earlier models, have finally arrived after months of rumors about how Samsung would fight off Apple's latest iPhone 6 devices.
The new Galaxy models, a standard Galaxy S6 and a much flashier and more sculptured Galaxy S6 Edge that features a bright display which wraps around both sides of the handset, were unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, on March 1 during a special "Samsung Galaxy Unpacked" event a day before MWC opens officially.
Our first impressions, after seeing and handling the new Galaxy models up close at a special press preview briefing in New York City last week, is that these Galaxy smartphones appear to hit the mark when it comes to taking on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus around the world.
The improvements in the new S6 smartphones over the previous Galaxy S5 model are many, from a chassis made of aircraft-grade aluminum to a higher resolution 5.1-inch, quad HD Super AMOLED display (2,560-by-1,440 resolution for the S6 versus 1,920-by-1,080 for the S5) that has about 80 percent more pixels (577 pixels per inch) than the S5. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 is used on both the front display and rear panel of the phones.
Both new Galaxy S6 models also include Samsung's latest 14nm technology, 64- bit Exynos 7 processors, which have eight cores and use less power while providing higher performance than previous chips made with 20nm manufacturing processes. Full specifications and clock speeds for the new processors were not available at press time. Android 5.0 Lollipop is running on both devices.
Both the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge also include new LPDDR4 flash RAM and nonexpandable UFS 2.0 flash storage that will be available in three capacities—32GB, 64GB and 128GB. The new S6 phones differ from the old S5 and previous versions by omitting micro SD memory card slots due to space constraints as the new devices are thinner.
Like the previous Galaxy S5, the new S6 models offer a 16-megapixel rear camera, but the latest versions add Smart Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 1.9 f lens and automatic real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing for improved picture quality in low light and other conditions, according to Samsung. The 5MP front camera of the new Galaxies is also improved, with a 1.9 f lens, HDR, new white balance detection for improved images and other improvements that let users get better "selfies" when using the camera. Fast-tracking auto-focus is also now featured on the new S6 models.
Faster access to the cameras is also a benefit of the new S6 models thanks to a new "fast launch" feature that lets users capture a photograph as quickly as hitting the home button twice. The new Galaxy versions are always on camera standby mode, making faster use of the cameras possible at the spur of the moment. That's a far cry from the previous Galaxy S4 and S5 models.
Improved and faster charging, as well as wireless charging capabilities, is also built into the newest Galaxy S6 phones, with a fast charging mode that allows users to charge the battery to 50 percent in just 20 minute using a corded charger. The wireless charging system works with WPC or PMA wireless charging systems and can provide a 50 percent device charge in about 30 minutes.
The Galaxy S6 includes a 2,550mAh nonremovable battery, while the S6 Edge includes a 2,600mAh nonremovable battery. Audio quality is also improved over the earlier S5 model, with a speaker that provides sound that is up to 1.5 times louder than the previous-generation audio system in the older devices.