Using a mixture of metal and glass, Samsung Electronics has found its smartphone mojo again with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge, but the new, more premium design has a few drawbacks.
After many teasers and leaks, Samsung finally launched its two new flagship smartphones on Sunday evening at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s no surprise that the vendor worked hard to drum up advance publicity, because it badly needs a hit.
The biggest change with the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge is Samsung’s choice of materials. The regular S6 trades the plastic of previous models for a metal frame and glass on the back. The edge model doesn’t have exactly the same frame, since the screen curves around both edges of the device.
The design isn’t particularly original, but Samsung has succeeded in building two more premium-looking smartphones that are on par with the iPhone 6 and the HTC One.
However, this new level of luxury also comes with a few drawbacks: neither of the models are water resistant, have a microSD card slot or a user-replaceable battery. These changes will surely disappoint some fans of the company’s previous Galaxy S models.
The rest of the hardware has also been upgraded, and both models have essentially the same specifications. They include a Samsung-designed octa-core processor, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage and 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
The screen size has remained unchanged from the Galaxy S5 at 5.1 inches, but the resolution has been increased to 1440 by 2560 pixels (also known as QHD). The need for that many pixels on a screen that small is questionable. Other QHD screens, like the ones on Google’s Nexus 6 and Samsung’s own Galaxy Note 4, are markedly larger.
There is a 5-megapixel camera on the front and a 16-megapixel camera on the back. Samsung has improved optical image stabilization, HDR (High Dynamic Range) functionality and low-light capabilities. Also, a new quick-launch feature lets users directly access the camera from any screen by simply double-clicking the home key button.
Samsung has also integrated wireless charging; previously you had to buy a special case to get that. The implementation works with any wireless pad that supports WPC and PMA standards.
Charging time has been shortened: you can now get 4 hours of use after 10 minutes of charging time when plugged into a wall outlet, according to Samsung.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge will be available globally starting from April 10. The company didn’t announce any pricing.