We've seen them leaked to death, we've seen months of rumors and speculation. Now we have verified info on the real deal: Samsung's double flagship for 2015. The Galaxy S6 will probably be the best-selling Android device this year no matter what any other manufacturer does, and the Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung's attempt to one-up themselves with an interesting take on the standard slate design. The company has made both of them official at the Unpacked off-floor event at Mobile World Congress.
The Galaxy S6 is a mild evolution on the S5, taking some of the more premium elements of the Note line into a smaller and more refined form. The biggest change in comparison with the earlier iterations of the S series is the phone's metal frame... finally. After stiffer competition from Android manufacturers and, not least, bigger and more popular iPhones, Samsung seems like it's finally ready to make the shift to more premium materials.
The screen is 5.1 inches, the same as the S5 - Samsung has little reason to go bigger with its flagship thanks to the adjacent Note series, unlike in-country rival LG. Resolution on the Super AMOLED panel has been bumped to 2560x1440 (QHD), matching the Note 4 and other recent high-end devices. In terms of design, the S6's metal sides curve gently outward. Samsung claims that its metal (presumably an alloy) is 50% stronger than that used in other phones. Samsung's standard home button and capacitive back/recents buttons (switched from Android standard) are present.
There's no nice way to say this: it looks a lot like the iPhone 6 (which, admittedly, is not the first device ever to use this aesthetic). The speaker has been moved to the bottom of the phone, which is now somewhat crowded with a charging port, headphone port, and microphone. The curve looks like it makes for a device that's much easier to grip, but we'll wait for our hands-on to pass judgment. The S6 is just 6.8mm thin.
The battery is 2550mAh, which is more or less standard for a phone of this size. But long-time Samsung fans might be horrified to find that it is non-removable, unlike any of the previous Galaxy S-series phones. Wireless charging is included, and Samsung claims its fast-charging solution can get 4 hours of use on just 10 minutes of charging (with the proprietary charger, of course). The storage is also non-expandable - say goodbye to MicroSD cards. Samsung is softening that blow with a 32GB standard model (up from 16GB), and larger 64GB and 128GB(!) options.
Samsung made a splash when it announced that it would use its own Exynos chipsets in the next Galaxy phone, rather than the mix of Samsung and Qualcomm hardware seen previously. Rumors of overheating in Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 haven't helped. The S6 uses a 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor and a generous 3GB of RAM (on the newer DDR4 standard), which should be enough to handle just about anything that current Android apps can throw at it. Samsung didn't say exactly which processor it was using, but its 14nm architecture means it's likely the Exynos 7 Octa. The company claims it's 20% faster and 35% more efficient than the chipset on the Exynos version of the Note 4.
The rear camera is 16MP, a modest bump on last year's model, plus optical image stabilization. Samsung tends to be at or near the top of the pack when it comes to Android camera hardware, and I don't see any reason for that to change this year. The lens on the camera is F/1.9, making it an excellent contender for quality low-light shots. The front-facing camera is a wide-angle 5MP shooter, more or less standard for this generation. Samsung has maintained its pulse oximiter (heart rate monitor) and fingerprint scanner add-ins from the Galaxy S5, but there's no mention of water resistance. The camera also has object-tracking auto focus, a feature of DSLRs and similar cameras. The camera module has a noticeable bulge on the rear of the phone.
Software is, naturally, Android 5.0. Samsung has thrown in its usual assortment of bells and whistles, which we'll dive into in our hands-on posts later during Mobile World Congress. This version of TouchWiz seems a little less heavy than in previous years, though it's nowhere near the "clean" experience that was rumored. Samsung is betting big on Samsung Pay, a rival to Google Wallet and Apple Pay, and a partnership with Microsoft will get users bonus OneDrive storage.
Samsung Pay works with NFC and "anywhere that accepts debit or credit cards" using a proprietary MST magstripe feature. Mastercard and Visa are supported at launch, along with a few huge banks. Samsung Pay will launch in the summer in the US and South Korea.
The Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung's interesting gamble, a bid to split its flagship series between a standard and alternate design. The S6 Edge takes the Galaxy Note Edge's curved screen and extends it to both the right and the left, albeit in a slightly less dramatic curve. Exactly what Samsung hopes to achieve with this is hard to tell: while there are a few software gimmicks you can explore with the unique form factor, the pure "wow" of the unique screen is surely its top selling point. The question is, will consumers be willing to pay a premium for the novelty, and deal with the compromises it requires? "Above all, your friends will think it's very cool!" says a Samsung representative. That seems to be the point.
The screen on the S6 Edge is more aesthetic than functional, contrasting with the Note Edge. While there are a few links accessible from Samsung's TouchWiz version of Lollipop, there aren't really any tools. The purpose is to make the display look seamless with the hardware - sort of a mobile phone version of an infinity pool. Visual elements in Samsung's software layer will accentuate the curve, and a few widget-like tools in the TouchWiz stable (like Contacts) will focus on it, but it's not nearly as dramatic as it could have been.
The S6 Edge's screen hits the technical notes as the mainstream model: 5.1 inches, Super AMOLED, 2560x1440. Underneath is an Exynos octacore processor and 3GB of RAM. Once again, you'll have to make do with 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of internal storage. The camera is the same as the one on the S6, including bulge. The IR port, fingerprint sensor, and heart rate monitor are intact, while the battery is actually bumped up to 2600mAh. Remarkably, the S6 Edge is only a little thicker than the normal model at 7mm.
Both phones will be available on April 10th in 20 countries. Prices were not discussed, of course, though you can expect the Galaxy S6 Edge to carry a premium over the standard model. Colors shown on stage include blue, white/silver, gold, and more exotic tints like teal or emerald green, though more should be made available through the life of the phones.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available. Hands-on impressions will be posted to Android Police soon.
Samsung Galaxy S6 & Galaxy S6 edge Product Specifications
Galaxy S6 edge
LTE Cat.6 (300/50Mbps)
5.1’’ Quad HD(2560×1440) 577ppi, Super AMOLED
5.1’’ Quad HD(2560×1440) 577ppi, Super AMOLED, Dual edge
Quad 2.1GHz + Quad 1.5Ghz, Octacore application processor
Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
16MP OIS(rear), 5MP (front)
Audio Codec : MP3, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC, OPUS
Audio Format: MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
Quick Launch, Tracking AF, Auto Real-time HDR(Front & Rear) , F1.9, Low Light Video(Front & Rear), High Clear Zoom, IR Detect White Balance, Virtual Shot, Slow Motion, Fast Motion, Pro Mode, Selective Focus
Ultra Power Saving Mode
S Health 4.0
Microsoft Apps(OneDrive 115GB for 2 years, OneNote)
S Finder, S Voice
Google Mobile Services
Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search, YouTube
WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), HT80 MIMO(2×2) 620Mbps, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Mobile hotspotBluetooth®: v4.1, A2DP, LE, apt-X, ANT+
USB: USB 2.0
Accelerometer, Light, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Fingerprint, Hall, HRM
RAM: 3GB, LPDDR4Internal Memory: 32/64/128GB, UFS 2.0
WPC1.1(4.6W Output) & PMA 1.0(4.2W) compatible
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm, 138g
142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0mm, 132g
Here are some glitzy videos from Samsung official YouTube channel to tide you over.
And here are a ton of high-quality press images, including the fancy new metal frames.