Sunday, April 26, 2015

7 days with Samsung's premium android experience, the Galaxy S6

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When you're talking about Android, the first thing that comes to mind is Samsung and I am sure everyone is familiar with Samsung's massive lineup of Galaxy devices. Over the years, Samsung has built up their name in the mobile space with their army of Android powered devices which literally come in every shape and size. But this year, Samsung is turning over the leaf and changing the way they manufacture their smartphones.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are one of the first smartphones Samsung announced this year. Unveiled at MWC 2015, Samsung took the limelight from basically everyone at the show. Reports say that Samsung designers went back to the drawing board with the Galaxy S6 and the results is a uniquely different Samsung phone, a smartphone which introduces a lot of firsts for the company.

So, like many out there, I managed to get my hands on the Galaxy S6 and here is what I think of the device after playing around with it for a week. Don't be mistaken, this isn't my full review of the device; That will be coming in a couple of weeks' time.
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All the reviews I have read and watched about the Galaxy S6 praised the build quality and rigidity of the device compared to any other Samsung smartphone out there. For the most part, I agree with that and after a week's worth of use, the best way I can describe the Galaxy S6 is that it has this solid and dense feel. If you've ever held an iPhone 4/4s, that's what it feels like but the Galaxy S6 forsay feels a lot more heavier in the hand.

The size of the Galaxy S6 is an oddity to me, coming from using a big Galaxy Note and a small Lumia 630; the Galaxy S6 is in a weird position, it's not that big that I can play an immersive game and it's not that small that I can use the device fully with one hand. Well, this is just from my point of view, I have never used a mid-size device for an extended period of time. Maybe a little time and I'll get used to it.
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Speaking of size, the centerpiece of the Galaxy S6 which everyone just loves is the 5.1" AMOLED display which features a pixel-y 1440 X 2560 resolution. That equates to the display having 577 pixels for every square inch. Colors on the screen speak for themselves and I enjoyed every bit of the display, especially when playing games.

In terms of overall performance, the Exynos processor didn't let down Samsung's name and TouchWiz was quite smooth but I did notice some friction in the software and that could well be a problem that lies with Android Lollipop. Games and the usual set of social applications ran pretty well without a hitch and the device was quite cool most of the time.

The word around the street about TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 is that Samsung has lightened up the UI and pre-installed only the most essential applications. One thing that I noticed is that Microsoft apps are pre-installed on the Galaxy S6 and besides that, there are also several social apps (eg. Facebook, instagram) in the app drawer but turns out, they are just placeholder icons as the apps themselves are not installed on the device yet.
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As to the physique of TouchWiz, it still looks a lot like the TouchWiz I know from previous Galaxy devices. The cartoon-ish icons with punchy colors are there and so is some random Samsung feature here and there. Possibly, the only thing I can recognize from Android Lollipop is the multitasking view, beyond that it's all in Samsung mind.
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Finally, it's camera performance. Samsung talked a lot about how amazing the optically stabilized 16MP f1.9 on the Galaxy S6 is and in reality, the camera does live up to it's name. Shots came out crisp and the beautiful display adds to the clarity and saturation of the image.
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The camera interface was simple and one feature which I kept on the whole time was HDR. I am not much of a camera person to notice difference between HDR and no HDR but Samsung's real-time HDR on the Galaxy S6 is real cool. The HDR effect not only shows up in real time on the viewfinder but the images also saves instantly even in burst mode.
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sample image from the Galaxy S6's 16MP OIS camera. (click for original)
A little while up, I mentioned that the Galaxy S6 was cool most of the time even during games but in my experience, the Galaxy S6 heats up real fast when using the camera. The part of the phone which heats up the most is on the top sides of the device and clicking the shutter button seemingly makes the device even hotter, maybe it has something to do with the HDR feature?
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The week's over now and these are just some of the key takeaways from my experience with the Samsung Galaxy S6. There's still a lot more to explore on this device especially the settings menu and expect to read my full review of the device in the coming weeks where I'll give my definitive point of view towards the best Samsung phone ever made.