After months of waiting and dozens of leaks, we finally have our hands on the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S6. For those who liked complaining about the Samsung trend of using too much plastic, you’ll be glad to know it’s entirely gone. Instead, we have a smartphone made entirely of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and metal. It feels reassuringly sturdy in hand.
Of course, that comes with a trade-off. There’s no more removable battery, but the 2,550mAh battery inside should prove efficient enough to keep your phone going for a day.
The metal frame around the edge has a slight curve, and on the bottom edge there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and a speaker grille. It's very similar to another phone currently on the market. On the right edge is the power button with a SIM tray beneath it. The volume buttons are situated on the edge.
The front is dominated by a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display boasting a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and a pixel density of 577ppi, almost double that magic 300ppi number people cared so much about a few years ago. Along with the screen we have the familiar home key and capacitive back and multitasking buttons.
On the top is an impressive-sounding 5-megapixel f/1.9 front facing camera and an IR blaster to use the Galaxy S6 as a remote control.
Around back is Samsung’s new 16-megapixel camera which it claims is better than the iPhone 6 Plus at low light performance. It comes with the capability of shooting 4K video and has real-time HDR to help even out light levels, as well as optical image stabilization to help keep the images blur-free.
Powering the device is not a Snapdragon chip. Instead, Samsung has opted for its own Exynos 7420 processor that's made up of two quad-core chips: one is 1.5GHz and the other is clocked at 2.1GHz. With that comes 3GB of RAM and three options for internal storage: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.
We also have the usual fingerprint sensor on the front and heart-rate/blood oxygen sensor on the back.
On the software side, the Galaxy S6 is running Android 5.0 Lollipop and, as you’d expect, Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. It’s not the heaviest skinning from Samsung that I’ve seen, but it’s not that much different to what’s currently running on the Galaxy Note 4.
Size-wise, the phone fits nicely in the hand, which isn’t surprising given its slender 6.8mm thickness. It's roughly the same thickness as an iPhone 6.
The big talking point for me is that there’s a lot here that you wouldn’t expect from a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. There’s no removable battery or back cover, no expandable storage and no plastic. It feels more premium, but I’m not sure the trade-offs are going to be worth it for people who are fans of the previous models.
That said, there’s no denying that this is a beautiful, thin and solid phone with a touch of class that we haven’t seen before in the Galaxy S line.