Is the Samsung Galaxy S6 About to Become the Coolest Android Phone Ever?

Gauging what a smartphone is going to look like before it's released is sort of like solving one of those toss-up puzzles on Wheel of Fortune – the answer gets clearer the longer you wait.

samsung
Credit: CC 3.0\Wikimedia\Köf3

Gauging what a smartphone is going to look like before its released is sort of like solving one of those toss-up puzzles on Wheel of Fortune – the answer gets clearer the longer you wait.

And the Samsung Galaxy S6 – probably the most-hyped smartphone being made by a company besides Apple – is no exception. While its release at the upcoming Mobile World Congress may yet provide a surprise or two, it seems fairly obvious that the Galaxy S6 will be a slick, metallic powerhouse of a device.

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So as the tech press prepares to act surprised at the March 1 roll-out in Barcelona, here’s a broad overview of what we’re expecting.

The basics

Well, for one thing, everyone’s pretty convinced that Samsung is finally hopping onto the premium-construction bandwagon, leaving behind a legacy of flimsy-feeling, plasticky phones that it nevertheless defended stalwartly for a long time. The metal and glass vs. plastic debate appears to be more or less settled in favor of the former – which is probably for the best, despite the fact that the materials themselves were never really the issue – with Samsung’s apparent switch to metal construction.

It will also either have one or two rounded screen edges, a la the Galaxy Note Edge, for additional coolness, say the rumor mongers.

samsung phone CC 2.0\Wikimedia\Maurizio Pesce

The material design is really the biggest news, certainly, but it’s far from all that is, if not known, generally suspected about the Galaxy S6. Built-in wireless charging, that works across multiple standards, said PCWorld, could also be in the cards, though the battery may actually be smaller than that of the earlier Galaxy S5, according to pics obtained by PhoneArena.

It’s tough to imagine reasons for Samsung not to include a fingerprint scanner, though the tireless SamMobile blog suggests that the company may have come up with some improvements for:

The screen

The rumors have generally come to rest on a 5.1”, QHD display, which is 2560x1440 pixels for those of you keeping score at home. That’s good for a pixel density of 587 ppi, a substantial improvement on the already kind of excessive 432 ppi on the Galaxy S5. The smaller battery, combined with the additional pixels on the screen, have provoked some worries about battery life, but others note that the processor (more on that in a moment) is designed with plenty of energy saving features.

Internals

The latest Exynos 7420 (shown at the top of this story), manufactured in-house by Samsung, looks like it will power at least some of the Galaxy S6s sold around the world. Reports conflict, however, on whether the company will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 in some units, with rumors circulating of overheating issues in those chips.

The Galaxy S6 will also pack 3GB of RAM, feature 32GB of storage (expandable via SD card), and use the Mali-T760 graphics processor, according to information compiled by the estimable GSMArena.

Software

The really good news, for Android purists, is that there’s a lot of scuttlebutt to suggest that Samsung is taking a more hands-off approach to the operating system than it has in the past. The Galaxy S6 will likely run some variant of Android Lollipop, and the TouchWiz UI – Samsung’s own modifications to stock Android – will have less of a presence, if the rumors are to be believed. Having had Lollipop on my daily driver for some time now, I can attest that this is a good thing.

Samsung Pay is another notable feature being bandied around the Internet’s various mobile rumor mills. It’s doubtless an attempt to compete with Apple Pay, because heaven knows that’s taking the world by storm.

Camera

Rumors indicate that Samsung has gone characteristically big in this area, with a 20MP main shooter featuring optical image stabilization and, no doubt, a host of impressive features that few people will consistently use. The face camera will be 5MP and have 1080p video recording capability – 2160p for the main unit – according to GSMArena.

Summary

It’s gonna be good, everyone seems to agree. The Verge even declined to mock Samsung’s hype clips for the Galaxy S6, which is a positive change for a company that has produced embarrassingly overblown events like this one in the service of hyping the brand:

Heck, they’re not even throwing a standalone event for it, choosing instead to launch at MWC. The impression, about a week before the official debut of the Galaxy S6, is that Samsung has learned some important lessons, and it’ll be exciting to see how accurate that impression is.

This story, "Is the Samsung Galaxy S6 About to Become the Coolest Android Phone Ever?" was originally published by Network World.

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