The flagship or do we dare say the bread and butter for Samsung mobile division is the Galaxy range with “premium” being the operative word attached to the series. So when the brand announced early this year that the Galaxy S6 will be build from ground up with the best of materials, they were not kidding. Not one but two variants of the popular series were introduced back in May with S6 looking a grade up from the S5 but looking much slimmer and the sleek glass backing, but the icing was of course the Edge, first seen on the Note, the S6 Edge is amazingly gorgeous. Having not seen anything like this before we were not surprised when friends were telling that the stock for the Edge was out and they have to wait for the new batch.
There has been plenty of news around the phone even before the launch and a torrent after, having reviewed the units we discovered nuances that makes the S6 almost perfect except for the inherent issues plaguing most smartphones from Samsung, heat and battery lifespan. Here’s our full hands on take after about 1 month in our care and were pried away by those sadist.
Glass And Metal
For the build of the S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has shunned the plastic present on the previous S series of smartphones, opting to use both glass and metal on the S6 and S6 Edge instead. The outer band of the phone is metal while the 2 sides of the phone, front and back, is covered with Gorilla Glass 4. In our hands, this phone is extremely smooth to the touch. The drawback? If you own either the darker-coloured or the gold handsets, that glass doubles as a fingerprint magnet.
Keeping The Doctor Away
The one constant remark that comes up whenever we showed off the S6 is that the device looks like an iPhone 6. There is no shaking the fact that when you put an iPhone 6 and the S6 side by side, you’ll start noticing similarities between the two of them. The shape and size of the phone is almost identical, so is the placement of the speaker, audio jack and the charging port. However, the design decision that made the S6 so Apple-ish is the fully sealed back, meaning you can’t pry it open even if you wanted to.
However, for the S6 Edge, at one glance, anyone can tell it is an Edge. There is nothing to compare it to other than the Note 4 Edge, which is also one of Samsung’s.
With both the S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has completely forgone the Qualcomm Snapdragons in favour of its own chip, the Exynos 7420. This eight-core chip comes with four 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 cores and four 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 cores. Samsung claims that this chip runs cooler than the Snapdragon, but we’ll get to that later. Also present on both phones is the Super AMOLED screen, which is a given since Samsung has slapped on this screen on almost all of their devices and promoted the thing to the moon anyway. The only difference between the S6 and the Edge is the curved glass on its sides.
Licking The Lollipop
So how do they both perform? Well, throughout our use of the phones, they have never once crashed, stuttered or failed in anyway. Both the S6 and S6 Edge run on Android 5.0.4 with the signature Touchwiz UI that comes with all Samsung smartphones. One thing worthy of note, is that the bloatware that is found on the previous S series have been significantly reduced. The fingerprint scanner has also been improved on both handsets as it is now much more sensitive, although enrolling a fingerprint is rather finicky.
There were times however, when the notification icons on the top bar of the Edge didn’t disappear after clearing all the notifications. Hopefully this will be fixed during the next software update.
Another stellar part of the S6 and S6 Edge is the camera. Now, even if you are not a camera expert, but when you’ve used as many Android smartphones and rely on their cameras as heavily as we do, you’ll notice the difference in quality between them. The phones’ camera is on a league of its own as far as camera is concerned, being able to produce clear, crisp photos on its 16MP rear camera with near minimum effort. Even videos recorded at low-light areas are crisp and clear.
Now that we’ve talked about the good parts of the S6 and S6 Edge, it’s time to consume the vegetables. The Samsung S6 and S6 Edge suffer from a relatively low battery life. On a normal day’s use, they should be able to last you a full day before needing a recharge. During event days though, both the phones guzzle energy like the engine on a Ferrari.
Over the course of three hours with GPS use, Facebook and Twitter use, as well as camera use, the battery gets drained to 20% levels. If you utilise your phone heavily over the day, carry a power bank around; you’ll need it.
Thankfully, other than the reliance on power banks, both the S6 and S6 Edge offers fast-charging so if you have access to any power points, you can just charge them in a flash. During our tests, it takes about 10 minutes to have a few hours of medium usage, just like Samsung claimed.
Another gripe we have with the S6 is the heat that the phone generates. Light usage of the S6 is enough to raise the temperature of the phone rather noticeably. If you’re playing games or using the GPS on the phone for too many hours at one go, the back of the phone gets so hot, it’s actually uncomfortable to hold in your hand. Surprisingly, the S6 Edge did not generate as much heat as the S6, even though it is thinner and of identical specs.
Is the Samsung S6 an improvement over the previous entries? Most definitely. Is the Samsung S6 Edge worth getting? Oh, yes. Both phones have done some major changes to their design while trimming down the fat to make them run smoother. If you are in the market for a flagship Android smartphone, and you have the cash to spare, then both phones are quite possibly the top of the crop right now.
Price : RM 2,599 (S6), RM3,099 (S6 edge)
Dimensions : 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm (S6), 142.1 x 70.1 x 7 mm (S6 edge)
Weight : 138 g (S6), 132 g (S6 edge)
CPU : Exynos 7420
Graphics : Mali-T760 MP8
Memory : 3GB LPDDR4
Display : 5.1” 2560 x 1440 Quad HD Super AMOLED touchscreen (S6), 5.1” 2560 x 1440 Quad HD Super AMOLED touchscreen with curved edges (s6 edge)
Camera : 16MP Sony Exmor RS Rear Camera, 5MP Front Camera
Storage : 32GB
Operating : Android 5.0.2 “Lollipop” with Touchwiz
Battery : 2,550 mAh (s6), 2,660 mAh (s6edge)
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 22087
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Maxed Out
GFXBench Manhattan 927.8
GFXBench Manhattan 1080p 1524
GFXBench T-Rex 2089
GFXBench T-Rex 1080p 3098
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 21150
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Maxed Out
GFXBench Manhattan 976.3
GFXBench Manhattan 1080p 1606
GFXBench T-Rex 2181
GFXBench T-Rex 1080p 3256
Verdict The Galaxy S series is back in all its glory!
Total 9.2 (s6) 9.4 (edge)