Hoping to continue new design ideas from the Note 4, Samsung's brand new Galaxy S comes in two flavors with lots to like. The phones mark a pretty sharp departure in hardware from the Galaxy S5, with full metal frames, glass backs and refined feature sets.
Samsung built the S6 and S6 edge from the ground up with some new ideas, focusing on a higher-end feel for the phones in attractive colors and new features like a specced-out camera, wireless charging and in the case of the S6 edge a few novel software features.
The specs for the new phones break down somewhat predictably, with a few unforeseen elements tossed in. Powering both phones is a new 64-bit octa-core Exynos processor based on a 14nm process, which replaces the Qualcomm chip found in most iterations of previous devices. The processor is backed up by a 2550mAh battery (2600 on the edge), 3GB of RAM and a base of 32GB of storage with 64 and 128GB options being available — importantly because there's no longer an SDcard slot available.
Both the S6 and S6 edge get an all-new 16MP camera with OIS, partnering with new IR white balance, fast tracking autofocus, and the ability to launch into the camera in less than a second with two presses of the home button.
Around the front Samsung has brought its latest Super AMOLED screen technology to both phones with a 5.1-inch QHD display (that's 2560x1440, leading to 577 ppi) — the same size but higher resolution than the GS5. Below the screen is an all-new fingerprint scanner embedded in the taller home button, which requires just a tap of your finger to authenticate rather than a swipe.
On the software front you'll find Android 5.0.2 and a familiar — albeit slightly toned down — version of TouchWiz that cuts back on some of the superfluous items but still includes plenty of Samsung's features like Multi Window, with services like Milk Music and the Galaxy Apps store.
We've had the opportunity to spend some time with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge ahead of the announcement and are compelled by the new story Samsung is telling — be sure to read our full hands-on preview to get a better feel for these 2015 flagships.
Beautifully Crafted from Metal and Glass, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge Define What's Next in Mobility
Equipped with first-of-its-kind technology, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are the most advanced smartphones on the market
Barcelona, Spain, March 1 2015 – Samsung Electronics today announced its entirely redefined smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Creating a new standard for design, craftsmanship and performance, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge seamlessly blend premium materials with the most advanced Samsung technology to offer consumers an unmatched mobile experience.
"With the all new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung is offering what's next in mobility, along with a new standard to drive the global mobile agenda," said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. "By listening to our customers, and learning from both our success and missteps, we continuously push forward new technologies and ideas. With a reimagined design, robust partner network and novel services, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge offer users the ultimate experience in smartphone options."
Beauty Meets Purpose
Carefully crafted from metal and glass, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge blend purposeful design with powerful features. The Galaxy S6 edge, particularly, shows unique and outstanding beauty while also providing a solid grip and an immersive viewing experience with the world's first curved display on both sides. Its glass body, made from the toughest glass to date, Corning® Gorilla Glass® 4, is available in an array of colorful jewel tones, including White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz and Green Emerald, which elicit a unique visual texture as it reflects natural light. This timeless design required first-of-its-kind glass crafting technology and unmatched quality control, setting the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge apart from every other mobile device on the market. The premium device aesthetics deliver true value and are complemented by a totally new and lighter interface that greatly enhances usability and functionality. A refined and fully optimized user experience simplifies applications and offers features and settings in a more intuitive way.
Vivid Images with a Fast, Bright Camera
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are equipped with an incredibly vivid, bright and fast front and rear camera. The F1.9 lenses and high resolution sensors on both front (5MP) and rear (16MP) cameras provide the most superior image quality in a smartphone, even in the dark. In addition, Auto Real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), Smart Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and IR Detect White Balance provide advanced light sensitivities and crisp camera solutions. Furthermore, a new "Quick Launch" feature give users fast, direct access to the camera from any screen in just 0.7 seconds* by simply double clicking the home key button. These advanced camera functions enableusers to capture their most precious and personal moments in uncompromising quality, however and wherever they want.
Super Charging and Cord Free
With fully embedded WPC and PMA certified wireless charging technology, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are setting a new industry standard for universal wireless charging. The devices work with any wireless pad available in the market that supports WPC and PMA standards. They also sport incredibly fast wired charging, 1.5 times faster than the Galaxy S5, providing about 4 hours of usage after only 10 minutes of charging.*
Cutting-edge Core Technology
The thin (6.8 mm/7.0mm edge) and lightweight (138g /132g edge) Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge integrate the most advanced, cutting-edge, Samsung core technology available today. The world's first 14nm mobile processor with 64-bit platform, new LPDDR4 memory system and UFS 2.0 flash memory provides higher performance and enhanced memory speed with lower power consumption. Moreover, the world's first 1440P/VP9 hardware based codec enables users to enjoy high resolution streaming video while also using less power. In addition, the 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen offers users the highest pixel density of 577ppi. Enhanced outdoor visibility with a brighter display (600cd/mm) lets consumers experience content without compromise – anywhere, at any time.
Easy and Protected Mobile Payment
Samsung Pay, a new, easy-to-use mobile payment service that will be compatible with more locations than any competing offering in a single application, will launch on Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge in the United States during the second half of this year. Protected by Samsung KNOX, fingerprint scanning, and advanced tokenization, Samsung Pay works with both NFC (Near Field Communication) and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology to make it device, merchant and card issuer agnostic.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are built on the upgraded Samsung KNOX, end-to-end secure mobile platform, offering defense-grade features for real-time protection from potential malicious attacks. Both of these new devices are also ready for immediate enterprise adoption, with market leading MDMs and KNOX enhancements enabled at launch to simplify and improve mobile device management. Additionally, the Find My Mobile feature secures lost devices and protects personal information through a number of services, including the all new remotely controlled "Reactivation lock." With an enhanced touch-type fingerprint scanner, it also provides quick authentication and saves encrypted data in secure device storage. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge will be available globally starting from April 10, 2015 with 32/64/128GB storage options** available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz (Galaxy S6 only) and Green Emerald (Galaxy S6 edge only).
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.