The wait is over for Samsung faithfuls with the unveiling of the latest Galaxy smartphone, the S6. This year’s version focuses on an improved design and materials, an advanced camera and better battery life. Also, this time there’s not one but two versions to choose between – the Galaxy S6, and the Galaxy S6 Edge. We’re here in Barcelona at Samsung’s Unpacked 2015 event to see the latest models first hand.
The Galaxy S6 Edge sports a world-first design that uses a curved screen to wrap around both its right and left-hand edges. The idea behind this feature is to display information during times when the screen is not visible, such as when it’s off, or facing screen-side down.
Samsung has introduced two key modes for the curved edges – ‘People Stream’ and ‘Information Stream.’ People Stream lets you assign specific colours to up to 5 people so when they call or text, the edge of the screen will pulse and glow in that particular colour. You can then reject the call by tapping on the heart rate sensor, or view a message by swiping from the edge inwards.
The Information Stream feature shows information such as the weather, time, battery level or other app notifications along the phone’s edge so you can read it without turning on the screen or opening a phone case front cover.
While there are some built-in features, we’re told that the system is open to developers who will undoubtedly come up with some innovative ways to make use of the side displays.
The Galaxy S6 has clearly spent some time getting a makeover, with a new design created from the ground up that firmly lands it in iPhone 6 territory. Gone is the overly plastic feel of the GS5 edges and rear cover; the Galaxy S6 wears gorilla glass 4 on both its front and back, and is clad in aircraft-grade aluminium, which stretches around the edges.
Samsung has also followed Apple’s lead by positioning the headphone jack at the bottom edge, and the speaker grille is also quite similar in appearance to the iPhone 6.
Both phones come with translucent “jewel-like” colour choices including Topaz Blue, Back Sapphire, White Pearl, Gold Platinum, and the S6 Edge also gains an exclusive Emerald Green option.
While this can’t be said for some of Samsung’s previous phones, the colours are subtle and not too over the top, and even seem to change colour slightly in different lighting conditions.