Samsung’s Galaxy models have been their flagship smartphones for several years now, and the company has recently unveiled its latest and greatest iteration – the Galaxy S6. The new phone expands on previous models by offering several versions. Samsung also makes the S6 Edge, a model which features curved screens in place of the bezels on either side of the phone, as well as the S6 Edge+ which brings a larger 5.7-inch screen to the standard phone’s 5.1 inches.
Australians have had since October 2015 to experience Samsung’s latest and potentially greatest smartphone, so here’s the big question: Do they think it’s any good? We surveyed hundreds of Aussies across the country about their experiences with the new Samsung Galaxy S6 – so how did it go?
The S6 is another top-notch effort from Samsung, with the company departing from the removable cases and batteries of previous models in favour of a unibody design similar to other high-end phones. Samsung has gone for an all-metal body rather than plastic in an attempt to enhance the quality and durability of their flagship phone – a move which has also become standard with other manufacturers. The phone comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB varieties, ensuring you’re unlikely to be short on space
All three versions of the S6 are powered by Samsung’s own octa-core Exynos processor, which packs some serious computing power to go with the high-resolution AMOLED display – one which packs a faintly ridiculous 577 pixels per inch (ppi), a resolution so high it’s impossible to distinguish individual pixels with the naked eye. AMOLED displays are a hallmark of Samsung phones, a focus that’s clearly paying off with several of our survey respondents commenting on the excellent colour and clarity of the S6’s screen.
As is becoming more common on top-end phones, the S6 includes such advanced features as a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button, as well as a heart rate sensor to enable a suite of exercise-monitoring apps.
Also impressing on the hardware front is the S6’s camera. With a 16MP main camera capable of shooting 4K UHD video and a 5MP front camera, the S6 trumps the latest iPhone for resolution. A new software feature that allows you to launch the camera with a quick double-tap also allows you to capture moments quickly. A handful of our survey respondents were full of praise for the camera, but one did feel it was a retrograde step compared to the camera on Samsung’s previous S4.
The Galaxy S6 runs on Samsung’s modified version of Android, to which it adds a number of built-in apps and overlays it with a custom UI known as TouchWiz. This interface has received criticism from media outlets and customers in previous models, but it seems Samsung has greatly improved the software’s useability and reduced its intrusiveness – the Aussies we talked to often commented on how easy to use and feature-laden their S6 was.
The phone’s built-in features include support for all of Samsung’s Gear smartwatches, as well as apps such as Milk Music, S Health, SportsFlow, HERE Maps and a variety of system-level applications such as Car Mode, SideSync and more. The inclusion of all this is divisive – many customers love all of the additional features, but others dislike the fact that they take up so much memory and can’t be fully uninstalled, hence the common term ‘bloatware’ for such programs. However, you can’t deny that Samsung is attempting to provide as much value and capability to their customers as possible.
Is the Samsung Galaxy S6 value for money?
In terms of the negatives surrounding the S6, the biggest is battery life – a common complaint with today’s feature-laden flagship phones. Several of our survey respondents commented that they found their battery life to be unacceptable, whilst some also criticized the high purchase price.
Just like the Galaxy’s main competition, the iPhone 6S, there were also a significant number who returned just one word for their negative experience: “Nothing”. Despite its battery life issues and the cost of all those features, it’s the incredible power, screen clarity and software useability that set the Galaxy S6 apart as one of the top handsets on the market today.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 starts at $899 for the 32GB version, rising to $999 for the base S6 Edge and $1,199 for the S6 Edge+. To learn more, find out how Samsung fared against its competitors in our customer satisfaction ratings for smartphones.