Last year I bought a Galaxy S5. It was a spur of the moment thing. I sold it a couple of weeks later. This year I pre ordered a Galaxy S6. I’m expecting better things this time around. I’ve enjoyed my Z3 Compact but I am looking forward to something new. Honestly, I just saw Samsung’s YouTube video explaining the features of the Galaxy S6’s camera and I wanted it.
Here’s what I think of the phone after 2 days of use.
Ive been using the factory preset “Adaptive display” in the Screen mode section of the Display settings. The first thing I noticed was how white seemed to be truer than on previous AMOLED displays. Even compared to an LCD it looks less bluish. It still looks a little cold but maybe thats me. Again, I’m not sure if it’s me knowing how many pixels there are but everything seems sharper than I’ve ever seen. At any rate, to my eyes, this display looks better than anything that came before it.
If you have cause to view anything from an angle, like if your phone is an arm’s length away on a desk, you don’t have to worry. Text is legible and colour shift is minimal. Contrast as usual is ridiculous a visual feast for my eyes! Colours seem true to life or minutely over punchy depending how you set the Screen mode. The main thing on any phone is the display and this one is awesome.
Samsung have gone with an industrial design flavour that looks sharp, handsome, minimal and distinctively Samsung. Well, the bottom of the phone housing the ports and speaker are inspired by the iPhone 6, let’s be honest. But otherwise it’s a Samsung look, especially on the front. I have the Sapphire Black model and I think it’s gorgeous. Depending on the angle you’re viewing from it looks either black or navy blue to my eyes. It is eye catching and will win many hearts I suspect.
Aluminium (not aloomanum) is used for the chassis and the latest spec Gorilla glass 4 adorns the front and rear. That will concern some breakage conscious folk I imagine but it’s the trade off made here for good looks. Folks that like a reassuring solid feel in the hand won’t be disappointed. Gone is the creaky bendy plastic. Also gone is the sub par fit and finish. This phone is precision engineered. Mine has not even a fraction of a millimetre of gap and is a watershed moment for Samsung.
This is a fantastic camera. It has everything you want in a slim, always available pocket friendly gadget to capture those precious memories as well as the random, everyday stuff. It launches quickly and it’s fast lens and shutter mean you can capture in a hurry if you need to. Object tracking auto focus allows you to capture your fast moving child, pet or hyperactive friend too. Outdoors in natural light or indoors in artificial light, the camera produces bright, sharp and colourful results. Did I also mention the selfie camera is awesome? Well it is!
As things get darker, the camera still does a great job. I’ve included some pictures I took at night last night. While other Android phones can produce similar results, the Galaxy S6 produces them in a fraction of the time. It seemed at least twice as fast as my Xperia Z3 Compact and a whole lot sharper if you pixel peep, resulting in better shadow detail. It does this by combining clever algorithms, a powerful dedicated image processor and optical image stabilisation. Yes, a big unwieldy camera can do better, but that’s not the point. This is a 6.8mm slim smartphone.
Galaxy S6 Night Shots vs Xperia Z3 Compact
Galaxy S6 Random Pics
Galaxy S6 Selfie!
And because it’s a 6.8mm phone there isn’t much room for a 3000mAh or bigger battery. This one is 2550mAh and it got me through to dinner with about 15% of it’s charge remaining. My Z3 Compact would usually be at about 60% battery with the same usage. But then the Z3 Compact spanks every other non phablet phone out there for battery life anyway.
In use with the display on the phone seems quite efficient. In standby it seems to lose charge a little quicker than it should. These are not conclusive figures. Our full review will have figures taken over an extended period of time and will be a better indicator of what to expect long term. I think I can say though, this isn’t that killer battery life phone that you may be looking for.
Samsung are listening. They haven’t addressed all my concerns but some important areas of improvement have been identified and worked on to my satisfaction. Firstly, the gallery is no longer laggy. Hurray! It’s responsive and renders quickly. Secondly, Samsung has made the home screens more configurable. Yes, you can edit the dock icons! That drove me nuts last year.
Also, much to my delight, there are screen grid options that are available with just a pinch on one of those screens. If you already have an S6 and you don’t have impaired vision do yourself a favour and change that 4×4 grid to a 5×5. You can now drag and drop straight onto home screens (duh!) rather than that convoluted nonsense that was previously inflicted upon us mere mortals.
The bloops and bleeps are gone and so is the ridiculous, overbearing menu structure. Thankfully, Samsung have let Lollipop have it’s way to a good extent in the setout of the menus. Samsung’s colourful skin, previously known as TouchWiz is still a bit too much jade and other bright blues, greens and oranges for my taste but it’s not hard to navigate which is the main point I think.
One problem. Pictures in the Gallery don’t rotate until you press a button and then you can’t change the orientation after that. This is not good enough. It is a poor user experience and should be changed. Thankfully the Google Photos app is a good replacement that lets you change orientation to your heart’s content!
Samsung has done good work here optimising Android to it’s in house built Exynos 7420 SoC. Apps open and close quickly, navigation happens smoothly without frame drops (except the play store, as always) and I find it a pleasure to use. Camera operations are the fastest I’ve ever experienced on a phone too. Remember the ridiculous delays with the home button and the power button they are gone! There have been no black screens (so far) and I’ve not seen any application hang except on one occasion with Facebook I’m putting that one down to the app itself for now.
There’s gotta be a serious load of power on board this thing to be running a 2560×1440 display constantly at 60fps. I remember when I used to marvel at that resolution on a 27in Dell Ultrasharp monitor. By way of comparison, I use an app to transcode jpegs to pngs. The Galaxy S6 does 16MP images in less than half the time it takes my Snapdragon 801 toting Z3 Compact to 8MP images. That’s some serious speed.
So, in short, I’m impressed. Almost all of the negative experiences that disappointed me about the Galaxy S5 (it was a long list) have been turned into positive ones on the Galaxy S6. There’s a little more work to do on the aesthetics of the software and the longevity of the battery but this one is a keeper. Like all my phones, I expect it to last at least 6 months before I replace it.