Samsung has launched its two new flagship smartphones for 2015 at a special event at Mobile World Congress. The Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge offer a stack of hardware and software improvements over last year’s Galaxy S5, as the company looks to slow down the momentum of Apple’s iPhone.
Samsung ditched the plastic of earlier handsets in favor of a premium metal and glass finish, with the extra curved screen space of the S6 Edge the only major difference between the handsets. Both feature a 5.1-inch QHD (1440×2560) Super AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 577ppi, 3GB of RAM and 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage.
The S6 and the S6 Edge go on sale on April 10 in 20 countries, with retail prices yet to be confirmed.
The extra screen space on the S6 Edge is used for special functions, such as contact shortcuts. If the phone is face down, the display edges glow various colors so users can tell which apps and contacts require attention without turning it over. The fingerprint-sensing technology has also been upgraded from the S5, with a quick tap required instead of a swipe.
Samsung’s TouchWiz take on Android is stripped down and simplified, with text replacing icons throughout the interface, and the use of bright, clear colors following the lead taken by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop. The software team is promising a less cluttered and more enjoyable experience for users.
The international versions of the handset will feature the 64-bit octa-core Samsung Exynos processor, snubbing the Snapdragon 810, though there’s no word yet on the CPUs the U.S. versions are going to include.
Power And Image
Samsung spent a lot of time dwelling on the cameras and batteries inside these handsets. The manufacturer is promising iPhone-beating image quality from the 16-megapixel cameras, particularly in low light—the F1.9 lenses, real-time HDR filtering and smart optical image stabilization, the company said, combine to create the best pictures yet from a Samsung device.
Samsung also talked up new fast charging for its battery, claiming that 10 minutes of charging time will give four hours of smartphone use. It’s worth noting that such fast charging is usually a matter of pushing more current through a micro USB charging cable, and not of technology improvements in the phone itself.
More significant is the integrated wireless charging support that’s compatible with both major standards on the market today: WPC (Qi) and PMA (Powermat), no adapters required. However, unlike previous handsets from Samsung, the battery is non-removable.
Samsung also had time to introduce Samsung Pay, a new mobile payments system based around the company’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, and a new Innovator Edition of its Oculus-powered Gear VR headset. The new kit has been designed specifically for the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge and offers a virtual reality experience in full HD for anyone with one of the smartphones.
The real test of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge will come when reviewers and consumers get their hands on them, but the handsets have made a good first impression at MWC. On paper at least, they look capable of turning Samsung’s smartphone fortunes around.
Images courtesy of Samsung