We have a Galaxy S6 and S6 edge in the house, and that means we spent the last two days in the forums answering all of your burning questions on the phones.
As we expected, questions flooded in by the dozens, and before we knew it there were nine pages of questions and answers in a single Android Central Forums thread. That's pretty awesome, as it both answers your questions specifically and also gives us a feel for what you all want to know about these phones going forward. While there's a big wealth of information in that forum thread now, we wouldn't blame you if you didn't have time to read through every page.
That's why we're going to break out some of the most common questions members asked yesterday, and answer them completely right here and now. Read along and see your top Galaxy S6 questions from the forums answered.
How is the fingerprint sensor?
Samsung did the right thing on by switching from an older "swipe" fingerprint sensor to a new one-touch model that's easier to use, and I have to say that the initial results are really positive. Setting it up is simple and actually part of the initial phone setup process if you want it to be — and of course you can set up multiple fingerprints after the fact. I have had higher success rate with the new sensor than what's on the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, and add to that the simplicity of just putting a finger on the button rather than shimmying the phone in your hand to swipe.
And because Samsung has kept Lollipop's Smart Lock functions available in the settings, you can have your phone stay unlocked when you have a Bluetooth device connected or you're in a trusted place. There's little reason not to set up your fingerprint as a security lock at that point.
How are initial camera findings?
We had pretty high hopes going into the Galaxy S6 because of the quality shown off by the Galaxy Note 4's camera, and so far things are looking good. I posted a few initial camera samples on Google+ (and a nice macro shot) that I was pretty happy with, and I haven't taken any downright bad shots yet. This is the same camera sensor as the Note 4 but set behind a faster f/1.9 lens, and that should help low light camera performance overall — I definitely plan to do side-by-side tests.
Just as important as the camera output is how you interface with the camera, and happily Samsung has improved its camera interface a bit on the Galaxy S6. Things are simpler and there are no crazy full-screen menus to jump through, while full-on auto mode will be best for most people to take snapshots. A new "Pro" mode lets you manually adjust exposure, ISO, metering and white balance, which is an improvement, and of course there are still a bevy of other available modes like panorama and selective focus if you want them. And the new double-press of the home button to launch the camera from anywhere — even when the screen is off and locked — has replaced my need for having the camera app in my dock.
Galaxy S6 vs S6 edge — which do you prefer, and which is "better"?
These phones are nearly identical, with of course the curvy screen on the S6 edge being the differentiator. There's not a whole lot you can do with that curved screen, though — a quick-launching contacts picker is available in the launcher, and you can get a nighttime desk clock view if you swipe your finger on the edge when the screen is off. But with those extra features come a few quirks, particularly in how you'll try to do "normal" things on the curved portions of the S6 edge. When watching a full-screen video you'll notice a little discoloration as the light hits the curved parts, and when you try to type the outermost buttons on the keyboard do fall on curved edges.
It's hardly a question about which phone is "better," as I can easily see the value in both models, even taking into consideration the increased price of the S6 edge. You're paying to have a very interesting looking phone with a few extra features that the Galaxy S6 just doesn't have. I think for the most part people are going to be plenty happy with the "regular" Galaxy S6, though, as there's no worry about using the curved screen or how hard it may be to hold with the increased amount of glass. I'm personally leaning that way myself.
Can you use third-party launchers and keep the edge software functions?
With the extra functions of the Galaxy S6 edge, it's a valid question as to whether or not the swipe gestures and night clock would work with a third-party launcher installed. The good news is yes, you can install a third-party launcher and still have all of the S6 edge's extra features work just fine. I've tried out a few different launchers, and aside from a wonky bug with my first install (which quickly cleared up) I've had no issues using the S6 edge's features without Samsung's own home software.
Does the Galaxy S6 edge seem fragile and tough to hold?
With all of that extra glass rolling over onto the sides of the S6 edge, replacing the easier-to-hold metal that you find on the standard S6, I have to say it's a bit tougher to hold. When you add the curved edges to the entire back of the phone being glass, there just doesn't feel like a ton to hold onto with the S6 edge. Hopefully that won't lead to additional drops for those who do buy one, but if the phone does come in contact with the ground I'm also worried how well it'll hold up to that drop. Additional glass means that's just more places where fragile material can come in contact with punishing surfaces — and Gorilla Glass 4 is tough, not indestructible.
How does the screen look, indoors and outdoors?
Samsung took the cake with the QHD display on the Note 4, and that display has made it down to the Galaxy S6 in a smaller size with the same resolution. Thankfully it also has the same traits with great viewing angles, colors and brightness as well. I've kept the phone in auto brightness and it's done well choosing the appropriate levels for the current lighting conditions, and has also kicked in the super high brightness "sunlight" mode when I was outside directly in the sun. The resolution is obviously much higher than anyone would ever need, but the real things that make a screen great are also here.
How's software performance and fluidity?
One of the questions surrounding the move to Samsung's in-house Exynos processor for all Galaxy S6 models was performance and fluidity through the interface, and I have to say so far impressions are pretty good. I've seen a few hiccups in apps and slowdowns on heavy web pages, to be honest, but I can't get any of the issues to really be consistent enough to call out performance problems. So far things have held up pretty well after just a couple days using the phones, and I think right now there's nothing that we could pin on the processor itself — there's a lot more that goes into performance than one chip.
Has the software changed that much from the S5 and Note 4?
A big rumor going into the launch of the Galaxy S6 was how the software was going to be dramatically different from what's available on the previous Samsung flagships today. Things have changed, that's for sure, but this is still TouchWiz and you won't be blown away by all of the changes. There are still plenty of apps pre-installed, including four from Facebook and three from Microsoft, and the colors and animations are going to remind you of previous versions of Samsung's software.
There are big improvements in the look of the settings, a reduction in the number of off-the-wall features and many of the main apps have received redesigns, but there are still plenty of lingering feelings of the Jelly Bean and KitKat era in Samsung's design.