Samsung's Try for an iPhone Clone Succeeds Too Well With Galaxy S6

REVIEW: Samsung designed its Galaxy S6 smartphone to be more like the Apple iPhone 6. Unfortunately, that included some of the iPhone's disadvantages.

Galaxy S6 Review

In its effort to go Apple one better, Samsung appears to have gone to a great deal of trouble to make its new Galaxy S6 smartphone a lot like the iPhone 6, presumably to appeal to the same audience.

To outdo the iPhone, the S6 has a camera with twice as much resolution at 16 megapixels and a higher-resolution screen that's slightly larger while keeping the case about the same size.

Unfortunately, Samsung also emulated Apple in its lack of a slot for expandable memory and in its lack of a removable battery. Unlike Apple, the S6 supports Samsung's KNOX mobile security system that can be used to protect corporate data, and it will work with the BlackBerry management software that the two companies are developing together.

As in recent iPhones, the Galaxy S6 comes with a fingerprint sensor built into the home button below the screen. There are minor differences in this approach, however. With the iPhone, you must enter a security code after powering up the phone before it will accept your fingerprint.

With the S6, you can use your fingerprint without first entering the numeric code. In addition, the Samsung device will let you assign a password using alphanumeric and special characters, rather than restricting you to numbers.

Samsung ships the S6 with Android 5.0, and the user interface is a pretty standard version of Android. This means that in addition to typing in information, there's also voice recognition that seems to work as well as any of these voice assistants on phones these days, which means it's not bad as long as your standards aren't too high. But it's at least as good as Siri or Cortana—and in some ways better—since it seems to be able to answer questions about more topics.

The S6 includes a 2,550mAH lithium-ion battery that Samsung claims will last for 13 days in standby and 20 hours in actual use. My experience with this phone told me that those estimates were very optimistic.

I rarely got the phone to last through the workday without a recharge, and in fact, it had substantially less endurance than an iPhone 6 under identical conditions. However, Samsung does make a number of battery-saving features available through the Settings app.

I looked at the Galaxy S6 from Verizon Wireless, which means that it works on that company's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network. This phone will support Verizon's XLTE service, which provides twice the bandwidth in areas where that service is available. The Verizon version of the Galaxy S6 is a true world phone, so it also supports GSM networks when it's outside the United States.

Samsung makes a number of Microsoft services available on the S6 such as OneDrive, but those aren't included on Verizon's version of the phone.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...