GPU Performance

As previously discussed, on the GPU Samsung has added two additional shader cores to the Mali T760 for additional performance in addition to a clock speed bump from 700 to 772 MHz maximum. To evaluate the effects of this we look at GFXBench which is generally accepted as a pure GPU benchmark.

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

From the results the Mali T760MP8 GPU of the Exynos 7420 performs admirably in comparison to the Adreno 430 of the Snapdragon 810. We see a 10% lead over the Adreno 430 in Manhattan, growing to 20% in T-Rex. Qualcomm hinted that the Adreno 430 is more strongly improved in ALU performance over the Adreno 420, which would explain why the gap isn't as significant this generation. A 700 MHz clock on the Adreno 430 would likely equal to T760 in this case, but I suspect the power consumption of such a clock would be untenable. The Galaxy S6 does fall behind on the on-screen benchmarks due to the 1440p display compared to the 1080p display of the One M9, but rendering at a lower resolution would avoid most of these problems in real games.


As previously discussed, the Galaxy S6 line introduces a newer generation of AMOLED displays, which is said to increase maximum luminance to 600 nits. Samsung claims that this was achieved with the use of new materials, which is likely necessary in order to sustain power efficiency improvements. It doesn't seem that AMOLED is uniquely suited to high resolution, but rather that Samsung Display Corp. is managing to dramatically improve how they make AMOLED displays with every year that offset power consumption increases from higher resolution displays. To find out how Samsung did, we use SpectraCal's CalMAN 5 Ultimate, in addition to X-Rite's i1Pro2 Basic to characterize displays as accurately as possible.

Display - Max Brightness

From the results Samsung's claims of a 600 nit display are valid in this case, which is a 100% APL white display. It's important to note that achieving this requires the use of auto-brightness, and that manual brightness is limited to a much lower brightness to reduce power usage, here the S6 sees similar maximum brightness as the S5. The S6 edge disappointingly only achieves 272 nits in this mode, a rather low value. I saw color balance shift dramatically in auto-boost mode, which suggests that this operating mode is likely less efficient than manual brightness. As an explanation, we've seen that colors are controlled in AMOLED by voltage while brightness is controlled by PWM (pulse width modulation). As with most recent AMOLED displays, there's no DC bias to the pixels so the contrast really is infinite instead of just a very large number when displaying black.

Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 edge

Display - White Point

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

Moving on to grayscale, we can see that Samsung has done a pretty good job of controlling the white point and gamma across the saturation sweep, even if green is slightly dominant in both displays. We can also see that there is variation across displays as the S6 edge is closer to neutral while the S6 sample tends a bit warmer.

Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 Edge

Display - Saturation Accuracy

In the saturation sweep, both displays do an incredible job. I really don't have anything else to say here, because there's really no way to improve on the level of calibration Samsung has done on this display. Unless Samsung calibrates every single display in production, which is wildly impractical and effectively impossible to do, this is as good as it gets for a mass-produced device. Improving past this point will also be incredibly difficult to perceive, which means there's no real reason to go any further.

Galaxy S6

Galaxy S6 edge

Display - GMB Accuracy

In the Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker, we can get an idea for overall color accuracy, which paints a picture similar to the saturation test. The only real problem I've noticed with these displays are the viewing angles, which can produce color shifting when the display is tilted. This is a bit of an issue on the edge variant as I can see that the edges of the display appear somewhat green when viewed head on, but otherwise there are no real issues to be seen here. Overall, this is probably the best display anyone will be able to get in a smartphone right now. This level of progress is amazing from Samsung, given just how bad things were with the Galaxy S' AMOLED display, even as recent as the display of the Galaxy S4. With the Galaxy S5 review, I said that I wouldn't be surprised to see AMOLED equal, if not exceed LCD within a year or two, and Samsung has managed to finally hit that mark.

Introduction and System Performance Initial Thoughts
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  • Bluetooth - Sunday, March 29, 2015 - link

    Actually the battery and memory leaks have not been fixed in 5.1 ( Hopefully they will be fixed soon or before the one year release birthday of Lollipop.
  • Kidster3001 - Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - link

    I got 4 to 5 days of battery life on Nexus 6 with 5.0.1. It dropped to 1 day if I left wifi on all the time. With 5.1 I don't see much difference.
  • Frenetic Pony - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Impressed? The CPU benchmarks aren't any big thing over the S5, the screen (as has been stated many times) has a useless resolution upgrade, the phone has lost the removable battery and SD card slot, and if you wanted a unibody design odds are you bought a G3/M8/Iphone a while ago and are happy with it.

    This phone seems like a step sideways with no new features to speak of, then again so does the HTC M9.
  • robertkoa - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    You have a point in terms of raw specs...
    If you took an S5 with 3 Gigs of faster RAM and streamlined Touchwiz- you might be here i Benchmarks but....
    In the Future I' d like to see scaleable screen Res. So you could go from 1080p to 2 HD in Settings depending on needs....
  • josephnero - Friday, March 27, 2015 - link

    and also it isn't waterproof anymore.check these battery resaults
  • wolrah - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    How in the world is it that bad? My S4 is closing in on two years old and still easily gets me through an entire day most days. I'm not running any silly battery life hacks, all radios are fully enabled all the time and the only "Battery Saver" functionality I use is the Lollipop standard one that prompts at 15% charge. I unplug at around 9 AM when I head down to my office and my phone generally doesn't see power again until I go to bed unless I need to drive to a customer site, in which case it gets a mere 500mA "USB" charge from my car that isn't even enough to maintain charge while using GPS.

    As much as I theoretically love the idea of a replaceable battery, I've had it on my last three phones and never actually used the capability. Expandable memory on the other hand I've used on every single phone I've ever had, so that's my big problem with the S6. Until we see phones where 128GB is the small storage option I won't give up on the MicroSD slot.
  • bernstein - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    easy. battery wear fluctuates wildly, at least when measuring after >600 rechcharge cycles. his obviously is eol, while you got lucky... fyi i have not seen many smartphone batteries last more than three years, since people tend to sell/hand-down older flagship phones battery replacements on those are fairly common. a bit more expensive with non-removal batteries but even at $90 its still a bargain to freshen up a two year old flagship...
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    When I sold my 1½ year old S4 I couldn't tell the difference in battery life from when it was new. You're one of those typical trolls by any chance, who's actually never held a Samsung phone? The fact that you clearly had were so eager to get firsties with this comment makes me pretty suspicious. Prepared FUD?
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Sorry, not "you", the OP... :D
  • cknobman - Friday, March 27, 2015 - link

    LOL "mine works fine therefore you're a liar!!"

    Love that line of immature rationality. Yes we actually own Samsung devices (GS3, GS4) and yes the batteries do go bad.

    Apparently you have no clue how Lithium-ion battery technology works. Go look it up and do some research before you blindly call people trolls.

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