Samsung Galaxy S 6 and S 6 Edge: Previewby Joshua Ho on March 26, 2015 9:00 AM EST
With the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Samsung claimed that they wanted to completely rethink how they designed and made smartphones. On the surface, it seems that Samsung has delivered on this promise as the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are unlikely any other Galaxy S phone they have made previously. There is no removable battery, no microSD slot, or even a removable back cover. I would’ve liked to see a microSD slot, but I personally wouldn’t be affected by being limited to 32GB of internal storage. The removable battery issue is a bit concerning for me though, as it’s likely that disassembling this phone to replace the battery will require extensive use of a heat gun to loosen glue that may not adhere properly when reassembled. The materials are now aluminum and glass, which dramatically affect in-hand feel. I definitely like the move to the aluminum and glass design for the improved look and feel of the phone, but the use of the glass back is a bit annoying as the phones have a tendency to slide off pretty much any table. The edge variant of the phone also feels quite sharp in the hand and almost too thin to hold, but this is generally quite subjective.
Outside of design, there is a lot to talk about in the SoC and display. The Exynos 7420 SoC appears to be class-leading in performance, although there is the obvious question of power consumption that still has to be answered. Samsung’s first 14LPE SoC seems promising, although we’ve yet to validate whether big.LITTLE is more efficient than when we last tested it in the Exynos 5433. The GPU is generally quite close to the Adreno 430, with about a 10-20% advantage in performance depending upon the workload, although at the same clock speed it probably wouldn’t have any advantage. The 1440p display can also reduce performance compared to a 1080p display.
Speaking of displays, Samsung has integrated an incredible display into both versions of the Galaxy S6. I’m really blown away at how far AMOLED has come in the past few years, as the Galaxy S6 is one of the best displays we’ve tested for luminance and overall color accuracy. The only real problems I can see are color shifts with viewing angles, and white point tending to be a bit green depending upon the unit we’re looking at. There are some edge-specific issues, namely uneven luminance and odd color shifting towards green hues on white at the edge of the display. Other than this, the display of the Galaxy S6 is relatively perfect with its dark, inky blacks and amazing color.
Obviously an SoC and display aren’t the only issues to discuss in a smartphone, but given the limited time that we’ve had with the device this was all that could be tested. We hope to have our full review for both devices completed in the near future, and to be able to provide the full picture of the Galaxy S6 line at that time. Pre-orders for the US Galaxy S6 variants will begin on March 27th, and the phone will go on sale on April 10th throughout the US with 32, 64, and 128 GB SKUs in Black Sapphire, White Pearl, and Gold Platinum. The S6 edge and S6 will be available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular, but on Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS only the S6 will be available.