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Samsung Galaxy S6 review

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If the larger size and style of the Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge+ don’t appeal to you and you want a premium handset with a few bundled extras, the Galaxy S6 is a good fit.

  • Good processor performance
  • Samsung's launcher is less obtrusive
  • Sharp, fast camera
  • Good battery life and power management
  • No more waterproofing
  • Slippy metal back
  • No removable battery
  • No expandable storage

5.1 inches

Display size

1440 x 2560px

32GB, 64GB, 128GB

Internal storage

16 MP

Rear camera

2,550 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Good vs similar phones

Details

Display

Display Size
5.1 inches
Resolution
1440 x 2560px
Pixels per inch (PPI)
577 ppi

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
16MP
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
5MP

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
143.4mm x 70.5mm x 6.8mm
Weight
138g

Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed
Category 6

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Exynos 7420
RAM
3GB
Operating system
Android 5
Internal storage
32GB, 64GB, 128GB
External storage support
Up to 16GB
Battery capacity
2,550mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
N/A
Wireless charging
PMA
Launch price (RRP)$999
Launch date2015-04
Samsung Galaxy S6

In the premium smartphone space, Samsung and Apple duke it out for primacy. Apple only releases a single device update annually, but Samsung typically has two bites at the premium cherry with its larger phablet Note devices (and this year, the larger Samsung Galaxy Note S6 Edge+), alongside its more regular sized device in the Galaxy S range. 2015’s entry is the Samsung Galaxy S6.


Upsides

  • Good processor performance: The Galaxy S6 was one of the first "flagship" smartphones released in 2015, but it has held its ground in performance terms over the year, even as we’ve seen competing flagship products come to market. In day to day use, this means it’s a quick performer for basic smartphone tasks. In benchmark terms, here’s how the Samsung Galaxy S6 compares to a range of popular premium handsets:
    HandsetGeekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better)Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+14924893
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge13244626
    Google Nexus 6P12514597
    Samsung Galaxy S613474569
    Apple iPhone 6S25404410
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus24914391
    Google Nexus 5X11883198
  • Samsung’s launcher is less obtrusive: The Samsung Galaxy S5 was loaded with additional software that you probably didn’t want or need. Samsung listened to its customers, and while the Samsung Galaxy S6 does run the Touchwiz launcher developed by Samsung, the overall impact and difference from stock Android is barely noticeable.
  • Sharp, fast camera: Again, it’s testament to how well the Samsung Galaxy S6 has held up given its early 2015 release that its camera is still one of the best you can get on any smartphone, with notably quick focusing.
  • Good battery life and power management: The Galaxy S6 packs in a 2550mAh battery, which is on the smaller side for a premium handset. It’s quite intelligent in how it sips at that power, however. Using Geekbench's inbuilt battery test with the screen dimmed, the Samsung Galaxy S6 acquitted itself well:
    HandsetGeekbench 3 Battery Test DurationGeekbench 3 Battery Score
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+8:24:105041
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus7:48:104681
    Samsung Galaxy S66:51:304115
    Google Nexus 5X7:14:204062
    Google Nexus 6P6:39:203754
    Apple iPhone 6s3:52:102321

    Samsung’s provided charger with the Galaxy S6 will give it a recharge rapidly, and it also supports both the Qi and PMA wireless charging standards, so power is easy to supply to the handset.


Downsides

  • No more waterproofing: The Samsung Galaxy S5 was one of only a handful of handsets with IP-rated waterproofing, meaning you could have it accidentally drop into water without near instantly killing it. The metal body design of the Samsung Galaxy S6 didn’t apparently allow for that same level of protection, which means it’s worse in this respect than its predecessor.
  • Slippy metal back: Previous Galaxy phones had a plastic back, which didn’t look as good but provided a level of hand grip. The Galaxy S6’s metal back is noticeably slippy, so a case is a must to avoid accidental drops.
  • No removable battery: The Samsung Galaxy’s predecessors also had removable backs and batteries, so you could swap in a battery if you ran out of charge, or easily replace it down the track if it developed problems holding a charge. That’s also gone thanks to the metal body design.
  • No expandable storage: It is feasible to include a microSD card slot on a smartphone, as HTC showed with the HTC One M9, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 doesn’t offer easily expandable storage.

Verdict

Samsung has a lot of smartphones on offer, but only a few premium options. If the larger size and style of the Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge+ don’t appeal to you and you want a premium handset with a few bundled extras, the Galaxy S6 is a good fit.

Coming essentially first in the 2015 premium space means that there’s a lot of competing handsets you could consider at the Samsung Galaxy S6’s outright asking price, whether you fancy the Google Nexus 5X or its sibling the Google Nexus 6P and its very clean Android interface, the actually waterproof Sony Xperia Z5 or any of the mid-to-premium handsets from makers such as Huawei or Oppo.


Pricing and availability

  • Price: ~$250
  • Where to buy: eBay

Specifications

Display

Display Size
5.1 inches
Resolution
1440 x 2560px
Pixels per inch (PPI)
577 ppi

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
16MP
Video recording
4K
Front camera megapixels
5MP

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
143.4mm x 70.5mm x 6.8mm
Weight
138g

Connectivity

NFC
Yes
Wi-Fi
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Network category speed
Category 6

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Exynos 7420
RAM
3GB
Operating system
Android 5
Internal storage
32GB, 64GB, 128GB
External storage support
Up to 16GB
Battery capacity
2,550mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Water resistance rating
N/A
Wireless charging
PMA

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