Sunday, March 8, 2015

This is the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and it's awesome!

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge were both announced earlier this week at MWC 2015 and from the looks of it Samsung is finally changing their nasty habit. Well, that is what my first impressions of the two new handsets Samsung announced during the biggest mobile trade show of the year. Out is the gimmicky plastic and so called 'non premium' build quality and in is the new unibody design made of premium elements like glass and aluminum which wraps the device.

Introduction

First thing to get down is the two variants, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. They are similarly named and their internals and overall build is relatively identical to one another, it's just the Galaxy S6 edge is like the Galaxy Note edge but has a curved display on both sides opposed to only on one side on the latter. This move by Samsung came to no surprise as the rumors mills and trusted sources cited Samsung's plan to release such a device along with their flagship Galaxy S6. Given the big push for the edge variant, Samsung must've experienced some degree of success with the Note Edge or not they would not be that confident in releasing yet another curved screen device or maybe they just want to claim the title of being first but either way the new Galaxy S6 edge is near identical to the mainstream Galaxy S6.

Hardware

Speaking of similarities, both the edge and normal variants have identical hardware specifications. They are both powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 810 the industry's first 14nm silicone which is Samsung's 64-bit Exynos Octa core processor. Also, the device is bundled up with 3GB of LPDDR4 memory which also a first for a mobile device and usually at this point i would say the Galaxy S6 come with 16GB of expandable storage but not this time; inturn, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge will come in 3 storage options (32/64/128GB) and due to the unibody nature of the device, Samsung did not include a microSD card slot for expansion (not to mention the non-removable battery too).
I don't know why Samsung could not do it because the Galaxy A series which also features a unibody design had space for a microSD cards slot. On the front of the device, Samsung continues their tradition in forwarding the industry with the 5.1" QHD AMOLED display which is the most pixel dense display out right now at 576PPI. Well, you can't round off a flagship device without a good camera. It seems that Samsung is highly touting the both the front and rear facing cameras on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. On the back, there is a 16MP camera with OIS and on the selfie side of things (see what i just did =p), there is a 5MP wide angle lens camera to aid in the self-portraits.

The commonality on both camera modules is that they have a large f1.9 aperture which in theory will help the camera perform better in poor lighting conditions. Additionally, besides featuring a non-removable battery, the two Galaxy S6 edge variant has wireless charging built right into the device (no special case required). This is something Microsoft/Nokia has been pushing quite extensively in the recent years but yes, you'll still need a wireless charging plate to make this all happen. But something unique about Samsung's solution is that it will work on both Qi and PMA which means that the Galaxy S6 will work on virtually any wireless charging plate out there. Other specifications can be referenced from the chart below.
Samsung

Software

Along with Samsung's ambition to regain customer trust with their devices, the physical hardware is just half of the equation. The other half is the software which ships with the device. TouchWiz has been with Samsung devices way back in the Symbian days and the latest iteration on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge doesn't look too different from the one found on the Galaxy Note Edge. Yes, Samsung did tone down on the bloatware (pre-installed apps) and when you turn on your brand new Galaxy S6, you'll only see a couple Samsung branded apps.

TheVerge
In addition to that, Microsoft apps namely OneDrive, OneNote and Skype will also be preloaded onto the device Inturn, customers will be able to enjoy 115GB (not sure what the number means) of OneDrive storage for 2 years. As a whole, the amount of apps on the Galaxy S6 at stock is as least as it gets and this will most likely ease the non-expandable storage fiasco. All of this is running atop Android 5.0 Lollipop and Samsung hasn't completely altered the stock Lollipop elements like the card based multitasking but they did theme it to their preference.
"OneDrive replaces Dropbox for 2 year's worth of cloud storage"
Speaking of themes, like on the HTC One M9, the Galaxy S6 will feature a theme-ing engine which will allow users to tweak the entire interface with either pre-loaded themes or a custom one. With this release Samsung did not introduce any radically new software enhancements, rather they improved on what was available. Take for example the multitasking, it now works similarly to how the snapping feature on Windows 10 works. No longer is there a sidebar to pull out multi-window capable apps, all you have to do is click on an icon located on the header of the application on the multitasking view and you'll be on your way to using two apps at a time.

Another thing Samsung is improving with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is the speed of the camera. Firstly, the interface is now simpler than ever before and wherever you are on the phone whether it's playing a game or chatting on WhatsApp, all you have to do to activate the camera to capture the moment it to double tap the home button and viola. Samsung claims that this gesture has a response time of 0.6s and early hands on does not the speed of the camera launching to be true.
CNET
Finally, there is Samsung Pay, sounds familiar eh? Well Samsung Pay is indeed a mobile payment system which is decidedly ready to challenge both Apple Pay and the upcoming Android Pay standards. Compared to Apple Pay which works on quite a range of iOS devices, Samsung Pay currently only works on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Saying that it currently works is a mistake because the service is not even out yet and Samsung say that the service will go live this Summer in Korea and the US. The special thing about Samsung pay is that it's able to pay through not only NFC readers but also the standard magnetic strips on visa/mastercard systems making it able to transaction through 90% of outlets.
"Samsung Pay is coming this Summer to Korea and US"
The story with Samsung pay is that it Is not only a software kind of thing, the service is made possible with the fingerprint sensor on the home button of the two new devices. Unlike on the Galaxy S5, Samsung has tweaked the software to make scanning/inputting your fingerprint as easy as on the iPhone like literally, no all you have to do is put your finger on the home button and that's it. No more doing that perfect vertical swipe to unlock your phone, a welcome change.

Accessories

AndroidCentral
With every major release of a device, Samsung Is always keen on offering accessories to enrich the experience towards the device. As usual, there are a multitude of original cases for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge which comes in various different colors to suit the device. Back 2013, Samsung introduced the S View cover case with the Galaxy S4 and this year with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, the company is yet again introducing another type of case. Dubbed the clear view cover, the idea behind it is like the Dot view cover with the HTC One M8/M9 but the differences are that the clear view cover features a clear front which is capable of running commands like previewing the time.

Besides featuring a bevy of different cases, Samsung is also offering a wireless charging plate as one of the main accessories alongside the two new device. This is not the first time Samsung is offering customers a wireless charging plate to buy but it is the first time the company is bundling the device with part of the wireless charging solution. No special case is required to enable wireless charging for the Galaxy S6, all you have to do is just put it on a wireless charging plate and you're on your way to a full charge.

TheVerge
That's about it for accessories, well if your were expecting for a new Android wear or Tizen smartwatch, Samsung didn't announce anything other than the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. But despite that, they did squeeze in another accessory which is not something new but a revision which is made for the two new flagship devices. The Gear VR explorer edition is just a VR headset made to fit the Galaxy S6 and it's curved brother. As for functionality, much is still the same as on the Gear VR launched with the Galaxy Note 4 during IFA 2014.
"Samsung is making Virtual Reality mainstream"

Design

Referred as 'project zero' internally, Samsung reportedly rebuilt the Galaxy S6 from the ground up. As I mentioned earlier the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge's design comprises of premium materials like glass an aluminum. Basically, the design is similar that of the iPhone 4/4S with sandwiched glass between an aluminum frame but Samsung has managed to keep the overall device pretty slim and compact. The Galaxy S6 is just 6.8mm and the Galaxy S6 edge at 7.0mm.
"The Galaxy S6 is only 6.8mm thick"
With the flimsy plastic and 'glam' design from the Galaxy S5 gone, the premium feeling Galaxy S6 thrives with a one of a kind glass back which is undoubtedly a fingerprint magnet. But that's not the point, Samsung didn't just glued a colored glass onto the back of the device. Depending on the lighting and the way you look at the device, the back shines out a different color giving that majestic glass look.

Other details to the design includes the color coded glass fronts and the protruding camera module is also colored respective to the device color. The aluminum frame of the device is contoured on the sides for a better grip and Samsung has moved the earphone jack to the bottom to join both the bottom firing speakers and the microUSB port.

Wrap-up

As a whole, both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are two distinct devices. Whether that extra edge over the standard S6 is worth the price premium Samsung plans to charge, well, that's your call. Personally I think that the design isn't the most original one out there but it is still clearly a Samsung with gentle curves around the device. Also I don't think the choice to remove the microSD card slot was such a good idea, well both Apple and Google have been doing this like forever but for longtime Samsung users the change might come as a blow. Depending on the reception, Samsung might very well bring back the expandable storage on next year's Galaxy S7.

Also the decision to take away the IP rating on the Galaxy S6 is a bit of a mixed reaction for me, it's not like it's impossible to make glass and aluminum water resistant, Sony did it with the entire Xperia Z lineup. Again, I think that in the coming months Samsung is bound to release a Galaxy S6 Active which intros IP certification on to the Galaxy S6 and we'll be like 'why didn't Samsung do that in the first place'.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge will be facing competition from both HTC and LG later this year and for it seems that the devices are off to a un-innovative start in terms of radical changes. The Galaxy S6 will be available in 20 countries on April 10 and global expansion will continue throughout the month. Pricing of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge is yet to be released but early reports show it being about the same as the iPhone 6 for the standard Galaxy S6.

What do you think of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge, will you be willing to pay the extra dollar to play around with the extra software features on the curved screen or you outright prefer the HTC One M9's design or you're waiting for either the LG G4 of Xperia Z4? Tell us in the comments section below or tweet to us @TTOT9.