Samsung Galaxy S6 review: Subject Zero

13 March 2015
Choose one word to describe the Samsung Galaxy S6. Gorgeous. Powerful. Special. Different. Thank you. That will do. Galaxy S5 has only one of these under its belt and hint... it starts with a P.

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  • Anonymous

pipo, 17 Mar 2015logic dictates otherwise. QHD screen requires more GPU power ... moreYou close minded claims and logic are not the same thing.

QHD screens require more GPU...But that's one aspect of a whole picture.
The Display itself is a lot more power efficient than others. Even 20% more so than the S5's. And the S5 and even larger Note 4 had much more efficient displays than 1080p LCDS.
The S6's display at normal brightness is more energy efficient than even the 4 inch non HD panel of the older iphone.

That alone plays a HUGE roll in power draw on a battery.

Then GPU. Yes it needs more GPU. But The Exynos 7420 vs S810 plays a huge roll into this. And this is not remembering that even the S801 handled QHD almost very well and S805 and more efficient Exynos 5433 handled QHD very well.
These new ones are more powerful and efficient.
The Exynos has a stronger GPU. And Mali GPU handles gaming better even when weaker.
And on 14nm is way more energy efficient. And even if they were both 20nm you would have to count in how much more heat and throttling the Snapdragon has in comparison. Plus add in the 14nm build and how much longer Samsung has been working with this type of set up.

So two things largely already offsetting your claims.

Then you have more efficient and much more powerful memory/storage.
Then there are things like DDR4 ram double the performance and cutting power draw in half. Though most of this years flagships will have this.

Then even more so are things like the new die wafer they used for the radios. It's similar to the SoC where it adds all the radios onto one more powerful and much more efficient chip. Sammobile claims up to almost 80% as stated by the company that Samsung teamed with to do it....Seems like a high claim to me. But even cutting that in half is still 40% more efficient.

And for protruding camera......If you drop the phone and break the OIS...That will most likely have happened from the shock whether it's protruding or not.
And to have made the back and camera completely flush they would have had to make the device A LOT thicker. Probably 3mm. Thicker than the upcoming rumored Active version.

Just because you don't like the look of the protruding camera does not make the entire device horrible or mean Samsung put no brain power into the design..What a childish thing to say....And who says the camera lens is not covered by the same Gorilla Glass here?

  • Anonymous

No matter how much samsung brag about benchmarks or numbers, at the end of the day they've lost it and gave up everything ( freedom of choice, substantiallity over looks) they used to signify in pursuit of being as pretty as iphone. We are not fools, we install apps in internal memory for faster response and keep media contents in sd card slot.We don't carry wireless charging docks with us, we want removable battery. We are not careless but in the rain waterproof mobile do come in handy. Go put your samsung iphone with real iphone in a showcase. It belongs there.

  • Anonymous

S6 over S5?, 17 Mar 2015Here's the pros: The memory reads are super fast. that's awesom... moreThe S6 has a LOT over the S5.
And pre production battery review of one single model is not much.
The hardware's efficiency and many reviews tell a different story. Like geekbench battery test. The S6 does over 3 hours more of intensive cpu tasks compared to the good score of the S5. And that's onscreen.

The S6 over the S5.
-Display:Way better across the board and 20% more efficient
-Ram:2/3GB DDR3 vs 3GB DDR4 much faster and more efficient.
-Dramatically faster memory speed and overall efficiency
-Memory options:32GB-128GB vs 16GB and a rare 32GB.
-Speaker is better quality and louder.
-SoC is dramatically superior in cpu, gpu, and efficiency
-Audio DAC:Older Qualcomm vs new Wolfson giving more powerful and cleaner output in headphones.
-More refined and updated version of the UI
-More beautiful to most.
-Much slimmer.
-MST and NFC payment
-Much faster charging:1 hour to fully charge
-Multi type inbuilt wireless charging: Even charges at 2amps wirelessly.
-New all in one radio chip with much better performance and dramatically improved power efficiecy.
-Much stronger higher quality frame. Even compared to other metal phones
-Gorilla Glass 4 vs Gorilla Glass 3.
-Camera with much superior lens and matured image processing.
-Front camera is largely updated in pixel amount, pixel size, and lens quality is F1.9 and fully HDR capable same as the back giving a huge edge over other front cameras. With improved processing. It will take better photos than some rear cameras.
-Improved audio recording.
....

S5 over S6
-Micro SD slot
-Removable battery
-USB 3.0 which could have greatly benefited the S6's faster internal memory
-Water resistance. Hopefully the S6 Active and it's rumored specs are true.
-Maybe retained some of the features people might miss.
-More durable and comfortable back that is way more practical in usage. As well as means that if you have to replace the back or battery is a very pain free and cost effective thing to do. No worries of warranties or opening the device. Or sending it away. And the texture was very nice.
-Much cheaper due to being older and all the new tech in the S6.

So where on Earth do you have these claims that the S6 only has two or three things better or that the S5 is so superior??????? Yes the SD slot especially and then battery things suck...But there is way more to the story than just that.

  • Anonymous

S6- MOST IMPORTANT battery life in realtime usages - shall dictate customer choices - rest is all incremental changes ..

  • Anonymous

pipo, 17 Mar 2015"Old 8mpx technology can't beat 20mpx Samsung resolution,&q... moreThey are referring to a specific 8MP sensor. Not all 8MP.
And Purview 38MP image downscale to 8mp is ENTIRELY different than an 8mp image from an 8mp sensor.

  • Anonymous

AnonD-327629, 17 Mar 2015GSMArena, can you PLEASE tell us in further updates of the revie... moreIt may or may not. But with the new theme engine you can choose the colors you like. Or set a very neat UI theme.

  • Anonymous

Marorun, 17 Mar 2015Funny how the M9 is not there in the graphic test. with the SD ... moreThe M9 has not been fully reviewed yet.
And wooo...It gets better offscreen results for having an overall inferior display.

That means it has a lower resolution....Not a better GPU. The GPU is stronger in the S6.

Plus you are forgetting more aspects. Even before when the Adreno had a little more muscle Mali still is better coded and set up for gaming....Not including the more heat and throttling in Snapdragon from before.
Add that in and the Exynos had an even greater advantage.
The S810 has more heating and throttle issues than prior in S805. And the Mali is slightly stronger than the Adreno in this case.

So the display looks better, the SoC is much stronger in CPU and ahead in GPU. While it will create less heat and have much more consistent and less throttled performance.
And is more energy efficient just like the display.
But just because of the resolution difference some games may run a few frames higher on M9...Unless it starts throttling....

And the Exynos comes with the better Wolfson Audio DAC.

  • pipo

AnonD-126854, 16 Mar 2015"The review indicates that the S6 battery is worse than the... morelogic dictates otherwise.

QHD screen requires more GPU power to process these pixels and thus uses more battery. This partially counteracted by using a less brighter screen than e.g. S5 and more efficient SoC. But even after a final device comes available it won;t be much better than what we have now.

Nonetheless they should have made the back completely flat perhaps even recessing the camera instead of protruding and use that extra space for a bigger battery. The same as S5 (at least) to reassure potential buyers. This looks on paper like a regression from the former top-model. Not to mention that a protruding camera is prone to scratches and shock-damage might damage the fragile OIS/AF mechanism apart from the fact that it looks hideous now!

The bump on e.g. the Nokia 808 pureview was completely metal and that glass covering the lens was Gorilla-glass. The camera assembly itself was also slightly recessed inside the metal bump. Nokia's engineers clearly had an eye for ergonomics on that model within the constrains of what was technically possible at that time with such a big camera-module.

It seems that using a brain to develop a phone isn't required for Samsung engineers.
Perhaps someone can donate a manual about ergonomics to Samsung HQ, maybe the same book that Nokia engineers used prior to S. Elop's disastrous "rescue".


  • Anonymous

poor battery life

  • pipo

AnonD-303125, 17 Mar 2015Old 8mpx technology can't beat 20mpx Samsung resolution, if you ... more"Old 8mpx technology can't beat 20mpx Samsung resolution,"

I beg to differ. A Nokia 808Pureview (2012) has more resolved detail in its 8MP Pureviewmode then anything else so far.

These modern phones are better then before especially if you downscale the pics to e.g. 4MP (50% hor+50% vert) but they're nowhere near what that device can.

  • AnonD-327629

GSMArena, can you PLEASE tell us in further updates of the review if S6 has a yellow tint on white screen, comparing with phones like S4, S5, Note 4 and iPhone 6.
For me it's very important because Android 5 Lollipop's UI is somewhat based on white and that yellow tint was a drawback for AMOLED screen and a joke when comparing with iPhone 6. Please! It's not that hard! :)

  • Anonymous

AnonD-181709, 17 Mar 2015I think Samsung will retain the micro sd slot and removable batt... moreThere should be enough room for it,,pity they did not serve their loyal customers with S6,,card slot,battery removable and FM Radio.

  • AnonD-11164

I've played today with the regular S6.

Very impressive! It opens apps and switches between them noticeably faster than the Galaxy S5 or the Note4. And the build quality is superb! Also, the fingerprint sensor works as it should have worked on the S5 and Note4, as fast as the iPhone one, no stupid swiping involved.

The only things they could have made better are the volume control buttons and the power button, they don't have a very good feeling 'click' to them. I much prefer how it feels on the iPhone.

Oh, and the double tap on the home button to open the camera is freakishly fast!

Overall, I think this will be my next phone, once it'll be available to buy. Well done, Samsung!

  • Anonymous

DO NOT FORGET GUYS;
This is pre-release device. That's why even that the battery life is good now and better than iPhone6, it will be much better after the release and first updates!

Funny how the M9 is not there in the graphic test.
with the SD 810 its kick the S6 in the ass in ALL test on and ofscreen.

Basically the S6 got more CPU power thanks to the Exinos but the M9 has a much better GPU on the others hand.

  • Anonymous

Dododo, 17 Mar 2015Oh, boy.... Yeah, you are right. Unfounded beliefs trump meas... moreYou really should not pretend to know so much about cameras.

  • Juan

Please prepare a standard test for phones with OIS, it's the only thing this site is missing. Personally I would love to see a comparison between, iPhone 6, Galaxy S6, Lumia 1520, OIS

  • Dododo

Anonymous, 17 Mar 2015Those "competent" reviewers never reviewed the Note 4 ... moreOh, boy....

Yeah, you are right. Unfounded beliefs trump measurement every time....

The Note 4 has only a very slight dynamic range improvement over the S5, so it is nowhere hear what the S6 looks like, and it's definitely overall inferior camera to the iPhone 6+.

The S6 looks like the king of the hill at this point, particularly if they fix the WB with an update. The Nokias were fine, but even the 808 has worse balance than either the 6+ or the S6.

  • Anonymous

Dododo, 17 Mar 2015Actually, competent reviews and photography site, like DOxomak (... moreThose "competent" reviewers never reviewed the Note 4 first.
Second they also claim the iPhone 6 takes better photos than the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 808.

Anyone who believes this is pure apple fooled. Fact.
You should learn to read better before posting something that will recoil so badly....And please don't bother with replying with any twisting or denying.

  • Dododo

AnonD-373771, 17 Mar 2015Note 4 was tested against 6 plus through blind trial and note 4 ... moreActually, competent reviews and photography site, like DOxomak (http://www.dxomark.com/Phones/Apple-iPhone-6-an­d-6-Plus-review-Bigger-and-better.-Apple-set-gol­d-standard-for-smartphone-image-quality), ranked the iPhone 6+ higher than the Note 4. From my experience, the Note 4 has the traditionally poor dynamic range which plagued the Galaxy line until the S6.

The Galaxy S6 appears to have made a very significant leap forward and it seems to be on par with the iPhone 6+, and probably a bit better. We'll see when real tests are done.

I am happy to see some real competition for the iPhone 6+ and hope that the two companies will push each other to do better yet.