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.
Compared to one another, the S6 is 0.2mm thinner than the S6 Edge, while the Edge is about half a millimetre narrower and just over a millimetre taller. Oddly, the S6 Edge is also lighter by 6 grams.
Both models of the S6 have a 5.1 inches screen, running at Quad HD resolution, and using Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology. The net result is an incredibly sharp and detailed picture, vibrant colours and high-visibility for outdoor conditions with a 600cd/m2 brighness rating. Considering its 577 pixels per inch (ppi) screen density, there’s really nothing else on the market that can best it.
The S6 comes with advanced cameras, on both the front and back. The rear 16 megapixel camera can be brought to life in just 1.7 seconds from a double click of the home button, and has a new F1.9 aperture that is 34% larger than the F2.2 version on the S5, meaning greater light sensitivity and better pics taken in dark environments.
The rear camera also includes Tracking Auto-Focus and Real-time HDR (High Dynamic Range).
The front camera is also improved at 5 megapixels, and has the new F1.9 aperture, which is 60 precent larger than the F2.4 version in the S5, and gains HDR.