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10 things you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S6

With an all-new hardware design, fresh take on software and an interesting change of direction in terms of features, the Galaxy S6 (and curved S6 edge) diverges quite a bit from its predecessors. This phone is still instantly recognizable as a Samsung device, but it doesn't feel or work quite like the old ones — let us tell you the top things you need to know about the Galaxy S6.

READ NOW: 10 things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S6

There's the Galaxy S6, then there's the S6 edge

Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

We're used to having just a single flagship "Galaxy S" device each year, but in 2015 it comes in two flavors — a standard Galaxy S6, and then the Galaxy S6 edge. Both phones can really be referred to as a single device considering that they're about identical in terms of specs and build, but of course things get different when it comes to the screens and the software that support them.

The Galaxy S6 edge has the same screen size and resolution, but the AMOLED panel and screen glass are sharply curved on both the left and right side. The phone works identically on those curved portions as it does on the flat parts, but there are also a few extra software bits that interact with the edges. You can swipe in from the edge to reveal a quick contact launcher as well as access notifications, and when the screen is off you can get quick updates or a night time clock to show on the edge.

It's a tough ask to spend an extra $100 or so on the GS6 edge over the standard GS6, and it really comes down to how much you will appreciated the curved hardware — the software features alone don't make it worth it.

MORE: Where to buy the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

You can't add an SDcard, but there's lots of storage available

Galaxy S6 edge storage

When the first reports surfaced that Samsung wasn't going to offer an SDcard slot on the Galaxy S6, users of that expandable storage weren't at all happy with the situation. Now that we know the whole story, things aren't nearly as bad — the minimum storage offered on every GS6 model is 32GB, and there are options for 64 and 128GB if you need it as well.

Thankfully it seems most carriers are offering at least one of the two higher storage capacities, no matter what color or model of the phone you choose. And with the base storage amount being bumped up to 32GB, quite a few people will be fine with the entry-level option.

New and improved multitasking features are included

Multi Window on the Galaxy S6

Multi Window has been one of the major features on most of Samsung's Galaxy lineup for making use of the bigger screen, and the Galaxy S6 has a completely revamped version of the feature. This time around the GS6 also includes the new Pop-up app feature that was first introduced on the Note 4, giving you yet another multitasking option.

Unlike previous versions, Multi Window is on by default on the GS6 and actually can't be turned off. At any time you can launch the feature with a long press of the Recents button (left of Home) and select two compatible apps to run on the screen at once, or open it with a tap of the Multi Window button on the top bar of an app card in the Recents view. You can still resize the windows to whatever size you wish, and close one or both when you're done.

Pop-up apps can be launched with a swipe down from the top-left or top-right corners of the screen — this will pull the current full-screen app into a small window. You can tap the top bar to bring any window down into a small Facebook Chat Heads-style bubble that'll float on top of other apps until you need to quickly re-launch it. Windows and Pop-up apps can be used interchangeably, and you can layer windows as you wish.

The GS6 supports both leading wireless charging standards

Galaxy S6 Qi charger

Samsung sealed up the Galaxy S6 so you can't access the battery, but in return it added in wireless charging capabilities. And while other phones support just one wireless charging standard, the Galaxy S6 supports both major standards — Qi and Powermat. That means you can charge up your Galaxy S6 on any wireless charging pad you find, whether it's the often-found Qi pads or the few Powermat chargers based by some major retail chains.

Samsung is even selling a new version of its Wireless Charging Pad (which uses Qi), but you can use any one you wish so long as it supports the standards.

You can use Quick Charge 2.0 chargers for a fast battery top-up

Galaxy S6 chargers

Wireless charging is great for casual top-ups and overnight charging, but when you need more battery and need it now, it's good to know that Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging tech has you covered. Of course you can use the charger that comes in the box with the phone, which will charge up the phone as fast as possible, but also know that any charger that's certified as Quick Charge 2.0 compatible will also work!

As long as you have the proper charger, you can expect the Galaxy S6 to get charged up at the rate of one and a half percent battery per minute, depending on the current battery charge — that's pretty quick, and enough to get charged for a long day (or night) in very little time.

The display is just as great as the Note 4's

Samsung Galaxy S6

We weren't alone in praising the Galaxy Note 4 for its display, and Samsung has brought all of those same great qualities down to a 5.1-inch size in the Galaxy S6. At the same QHD (2560x1440) resolution in a smaller package it pushes pixel density to 577 ppi, which is downright crazy, while also keeping all of the same features. Brightness, colors and viewing angles are all good, and if you leave the phone in automatic brightness mode it'll boost the brightness higher than its usual limit when in direct sunlight to make it easier to see.

There are lots of apps to disable ... and some you can't

Galaxy S6 edge disabled apps

No matter where the rumor initially started, for some reason people got the idea that the Galaxy S6 would have fewer pre-installed (read: bloatware) apps than previous versions. That didn't turn out to be the case by any stretch, and depending on the carrier you get your Galaxy S6 from you'll be in for a couple dozen pre-installed apps that you just may not want.

Unfortunately not many of them can be uninstalled completely, but a good number can be disabled. It won't be tough to disable about 12 apps that you would've never used right after you start up the phone, after which you won't have to deal with or update ever again. But you will come across some apps that can't be disabled at all — like the built-in Internet browser, Calendar, Email app, Music app, Voice Recorder or Smart Manager utility.

You can wake up S Voice at any time hands-free

S Voice

Samsung slowly but surely keeps improving its S Voice service, which now like Moto Voice on Motorola phones will listen to you for a wake-up phrase at all times — even when the screen is off and phone is locked — if you wish. You can train S Voice to wake up to any phrase of your choice or just the standard "Hi Galaxy" one, and when it wakes up it can handle all basic commands, web searches and more without any physical interaction with the phone.

If you're worried about battery life you can turn off the phrase detection and still use S Voice by launching the app manually, and you can train or re-train it for a new wake-up phrase at any time.

You can have any color you want ... well, never mind

Galaxy S6 in blue

Samsung showed off some interesting color choices for the Galaxy S6, including bright blue and deep green options, when it unveiled the phones internationally, but unfortunately you won't always have your choice of colors when you walk into a carrier store to buy the phone.

Right off the bat the green color is limited to just the GS6 edge, with the bright blue limited to the standard GS6 — but both of those options are only available internationally, not in the U.S. The remaining white, black and gold colors are available here in the states, but most carriers aren't offering both models in all three colors, don't have the colors in all storage capacities, or altogether are skipping the gold variety. Unfortunately that means it comes down to calling up your local store or checking website availability to see if your exact desired model is available.

A Samsung Account is kind of required

Galaxy S6 Samsung Account

You'd hardly consider using an Android phone nowadays without a Google Account on with the device, and when it comes to Samsung phones that's starting to be equally as true when it comes to a Samsung Account. Signing into (or up for) a Samsung Account is part of the Galaxy S6 setup process, and those credentials can be used to sync up your contacts, calendar, Internet browser, S Health, Milk Music, Galaxy Apps content and more.

You can choose which services are signed into and synced with your account in the phone settings, but it's generally a good idea to have the account associated with your phone so things are easier when you go to use any Samsung app. To make the signup process simpler, you can even create a Samsung Account using your Google credentials, giving you one less username and password to keep track of.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

163 Comments
  • Milk Music is killer.
  • Good thing it is not necessary Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • But it is a phenomenal app. Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • Oh I agree, I use it alot, I was trying to be neutral Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • Oh, I gotcha Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • Glitchy at times, regardless of what the review says... Posted via my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Did you have a gs5 before? Is it worth the upgrade? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Na, I'm coming from a Nexus 5. Don't get me wrong, the S6 is better in ever way really. Just not as buttery smooth as advertised at times. But for the most part it's a great device. That screen! Posted via my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Eric, do you actually own and use a S6?
    I only just purchased a Note4 and I must admit at times it is unacceptably slow. Was hoping Samsung fixed this with 5.1 and latest version of touch wiz. Edit: my apologies, just seen your signiture. Well this def kills my hopes. Not sure why samsung still struggles with this one :(
  • Android version 5.0.2 is included with the S6 not 5.1 Posted via my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • I refuse to make a Samsung account as I won't be using any of their apps. Posted via Android Central App
  • Good, you do not have to Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • Badass alert Posted via the Android Central App
  • Kalvin, you do realize that alot of applications in the Samsung store aren't on the play store right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gotcha, but what Samsung apps would I even care to use when I have the Google Play store? I can't think of one. Maybe Kies to transfer from old phone, maybe. But with Google sync that shouldn't be necessary. Posted via Android Central App
  • Idk why but it seems like signing into their account affects the battery a lot (on both Note 3 & 4) - push services especially. Posted via the AC App
    VZW Moto X DE, N7,Note 4
  • Exactly. Like all the cool add-on's for the camera app and such....
  • Why not? Do you have to read it bedtime stories? Rock it to sleep? Take it for an oil change every 4000 miles? Question is....will it hurt you? Give you a fungus? Make you break out in acne? I'm just trying to make sense of failed logic....
  • Not failed logic, just a matter of choice. Back when I had my Note 2, I ditched having a Samsung account. I just didn't feel the need for one. Maybe it's the same for him... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Failed logic as in a why not scenario? It doesn't hurt to have it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a S4 and I turned off all related Samsung apps including account. That's because they drain the battery dor no use by me. Perhaps in the future on my S6 edge I will turn on but only if I need something from there and the pain of draining battery is solved. Anyhow on S5 you can not turn off some apps like on S4 (backup and all samsung sync apps).
  • You'll have to make a Samsung account if you want to use Samsung pay this summer. That's for sure. From my M8 OR NEXUS 5
  • Looked st the s6 today. Was pretty nice! Waiting to see/hear real world usage reviews. I would get the S6 64GB on ATT. Posted via Nexus 6!
  • Get the T-Mo version. At least you'll be able to root that.
  • $300 for a new 2 year deal. Been with ATT since 1996 so not going anywhere, Wife is on TMO though I think they want over 600+ for a new S6 and I think my monthly plan is less than hers with corp discount.
  • LOL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Buy all accounts the gs6 is a big upgrade from anything out there unless you have the note 4 .Even then the camera is faster then my note edge and if your going by most of the latest benchmark it's battery is even better them my note 4 edge .Not saying I'll trade my note but this thing is a beast. I'm adding it to my collection gold Posted via the Android Central App
  • Battery benchmarks are irrelevant. Based on them Moto X ( 2014) has an average battery life. "Average" is laughable for that phone.
    And iPhone 6+ is far from the top , where it actually belongs (top 3 at least). Posted via the AC App
    VZW Moto X DE, N7,Note 4
  • The price of the Galaxy S6 is almost $100 cheaper with Verizon.
  • But that is the cost of putting up with crappy coverage and arrogant customer service.
  • I don't have the s6 yet but isn't the Samsung account an option you can skip over instead of a requirement as the article alludes to? Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • It can be skipped as usual. It just makes it more of a pain to use samsung apps without having an active samsug account on the phone, as well as syncing certain apps, etc. Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • The Samsung Account is "kind of" required. you don't have to have one, but if you want any kind of services linking back to Samsung or Samsung apps you have to have an account.
  • Ok so no,to use the phone it is not a requirement to get a Samsung account. Like everything else, to use Samsung services you need one. That then does not belong on the list. Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • This isn't an article of "things that are required to use your Galaxy S6" it's a list of things to know. I think that knowing what importance the Samsung Account plays on the phone is something to know.
  • You should hire him Andrew. He knows everything... Posted via the Android Central App
  • It is an article of 10 thing you ** need ** to know. You don't **need** anything for the s6 as far as a Samsung account. You can do just fine without it Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • You don't "need" anything at all as it relates to this or any other phone. There is no "need" as it relates to a cell phone because cell phones themselves aren't "needed"
    You're just being an ass by trying to nitpick this one little point.
  • Tip*
    I've developed a NoNexus 'skip over' skill where automatically my eye sight ignores any comments from him. To be honest It's not hard to do that considering the amount of rubbish he posts.
  • right, "need to know" not "need to know in order for your phone to work" there's nothing you need to know for the phone to work other than where to buy it and how to turn it on.
  • Bingo Posted via the Android Central App
  • In order to use S-Health on Note 4 (I just wanted to try the HR monitor) I had to sign in into the Samsung Account. So, kinda NEED to do it if you want to use the features that the ads made you by the phone in the first place. Posted via the AC App
    VZW Moto X DE, N7,Note 4
  • What version of the phone are you using that has "a couple dozen" legit built-in apps outside of the normal Android set? I haven't seen that unless you're counting the requisite services for various features of the device (multi window, S voice, the fingerprint reader, Edge features, Samsung account syncing, etc). In which case, that really isn't out of the ordinary for a non-GPE/Nexus device. And let's not get it in people's heads that a Samsung account is required. The Samsung account is just as optional as ever. Not creating/using one does not stop you from doing anything you can do with any other Android handset. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But it's good to know that if you want to use Samsung services, apps, and etc., you have to have a Sammy Acct.
  • When did the Koreans start making IPhones? Posted via My htc One M8
  • Since the iPhone was invented and Apple contracted Samsung to make 75% of it? Yeah the iPhone is from Samsung. Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • Ordering parts from a company is not 'making' the phone. Apple designed the phone from scratch, the look, the schematics showing where the every component would fit, where the battery would fit etc. Where the parts are sourced from are irrelevant. Apple could very easily source parts from other component manufacturers (as it seems like they had started to do). There's nothing Apple *need* from Samsung and the iPhone is not "from" Samsung. If you want to make that argument, then you could say Samsung's components are "from" the companies who source lithium/gold/aluminium etc and the companies that mold plastics as well. Weak argument.
  • Sure but when 75% of your object is one thing does it matter what the logo on the back is? All you end up paying extra for is the logo. Do I pay for pedigree for my dog or print made by pedigree? In the early years, most of the iPhone was Samsung. Still 30% is. Really? They designed the look? Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • Yes it does matter what the logo on the back is, because that's the company that put the device together. They are the ones that chose the screen technology, screen size/resolution, what camera it has, the build/design of the phone, the software it runs. Every single component chosen, how it works together and the form-factor that it works in was designed and tested by Apple. Apple tendering Samsung to supply component X or Y part is irrelevant. Apple could just go to some other component manufacturer and order parts from them. Samsung is completely irrelevant in this scenario as they are just taking an order from a customer and providing them parts. My guess is Apple are only going with Samsung because they are able to provide the parts the cheapest. If that changes, then Samsung is out of the equation and they've lost a very high profile customer. Samsung needs Apple a hell of a lot more than Apple needs Samsung.
  • Apple doesn't assemble (put together) the iPhone... Chicoms at Foxconn put it together for slave wages. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Yes it does matter what the logo on the back is, because that's the company that put the device together." Then why doesn't the logo on the back of the iPhone say "MATTEL" or "New Bright"? I mean, people bash Sammy for it's icons looking cartoonish. Has anyone seen the icons on the iPhone?? It looks like an open bag of skittles that melted... Anywho, I get your point. But the fact remains that most of the core components inside an iPhone are made by Sammy. In fact, Sammy will be making the A9 to replace the A8 in the iPhone 7. It doesn't matter that they designed the phone from scratch, as I think my son's pre-k class could design something better.
  • Apple tendering Samsung to provide component X and Y is very relevant, seeing as how Samsung is perhaps the only one capable of manufacturing many components in the large number that Apple requires, and at the cost that benefits them. "My guess is"??? Lolol.....ya, the guess of a biased fanboy. Hmmmmmm...I wonder if Apple going back to Samsung to build the A9 had anything to do with the fact that they're currently the only company capable of building mobile SoC's built on a 14 nm. process in mass??? That isn't all. They'll also be providing a number of other hardware components other manufacturers are incapable of producing on the scale that Apple requires, such as the iphone 7' DDR4 RAM and UFS 2.0 internal storage. If you're a fanboy of Apple, atleast make an attempt keep your bias from effecting your ability to view things objectively. Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • So before the iPhone Samsung had a bunch of smartphone parts being made but never figured out how to put them together? And some company 3000 miles away making no parts magically did? Wow Apple's smarter than we thought! No wonder they call their products magical their made with no knowledge of manufacturing.
  • Small penis, small argument Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Apple designed the phone from scratch, the look, the schematics showing where the every component would fit, where the battery would fit etc. " I'm sure LG would have a field day with this comment as most of it was copied from the LG Prada....and they want their phone back....
  • My daughter had an LG Prada. Was an absolutely terrible phone. The only thing it had in common with an iPhone was the touch screen. Apple had been using touch screens for years on their Newton tablets. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Mostly talking about the design language in this case...and some internal components. But LG brought it to market first and Apple stole some of it's design elements.
  • The iPhone has always been made in China at Foxconn. Once upon a time Apple bought cpu's and screens from Samsung, but that was the extent of Samsung's involvement.
  • Koreans do make iphone parts lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • My sarcastic comment has turned into a full blown argument... Posted via My htc One M8
  • A Samsung account IS NOT REQUIRED. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks. Every other article I have seen says the same except this one. Andrew it may just be wording but this is very misleading. Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • He did say "kind of required." Not absolutely.
    Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • It's not even kind of required... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Did I say it was required? It's "kind of" required. Just how a Google Account isn't actually required to use an Android phone. You can do it, you just probably don't want to.
  • A Samsung account is not even kind of required. A Google account is kind of required. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He only said it's kind of required for the reasons he mentioned in the article, such as syncing core system apps or using Samsung Apps. Posted via the Note 4 or Tab S 10.5
  • +1. THIS Posted via Android Central App
  • As per the first few comments, I stand by the article is misleading. It should not be there in the top 10 things to know. Where was Rick Grimes when we needed him a few 1000 years ago. He could have prevented all this stupidity.
  • You give new meaning to "tetrapyloctomy"... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I understood it. You don't need a Samsung account unless you want to use Samsung stuff. Sounds like people are arguing just for the sake of arguing. Google+ All Day Everyday
  • agreed ... nonex sees it different. no biggie. time to move on! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Too Bad YOU are not the BOSS!
  • Omg, you too?! C'mon Posted via the AC App
    VZW Moto X DE, N7,Note 4
  • Does a consumer activist style Android news site exist? A few of these are deal killers in very Apple like way. No sdcard so instead you'll pay an extra $300-400 to get 128gb ram. Bloated apps, "you can disable them", are we supposed to throw a party now, Google should have mandatory GPE phones from all manufacturers. A Samsung account, I'm sorry is this phone running Tizen, smh. M9 and G4 just leaped to the front of the line for me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A Samsung account IS NOT REQUIRED!!! Posted via the Andr