Mobiles & Tablets

Many ‘stars’ in this Galaxy

Updated on: Apr 22, 2015
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Samsung has its sights set firmly on Apple with its new S6. Here is our take after spending some quality time with it

The new Samsung S6 puts its predecessor in the shade. With the S6, Samsung has done it with style and probably given the best answer yet to counter the iPhone. This is one device that can potentially turn around Samsung’s fortunes. Samsung, often regarded as the perfect rival for Apple, seems to have put its heart and soul into the S6 with the singular aim of strengthening the dipping popularity and the profitability of the company.

But, while the iPhone 6 with its rounded edges seemed a bit like a Samsung, the S6 now looks a bit like the iPhone. The most striking change from the S5 is the unibody design, which means a sealed-in battery for the S6. Also missing is the microSD slot. Our test unit came with an inbuilt memory of 32GB. Samsung has stuck by both the features in the past, and while the non-removable battery is understandable given the unibody construction, the lack of a microSD slot is annoying. If you are a big media consumer, the issue could become dire since the system memory takes away 6.57 GB of the 32 GB!

The S6’s build quality, look and feel is excellent. The glossy back does not diminish the premium feel, though keeping it free of fingerprints is an everyday task if you are picky. A matte aluminium sculpted frame houses the microUSB slot, speaker grill and earphone jack at the bottom. On the right is the nano SIM slot and above it is the power button. The top of the frame houses the IR blaster, and volume rockers are on the left.

The capacitive buttons are at the bottom of the front screen and the home button acts as a fingerprint scanner too. It also doubles up as a camera button. Double-pressing it in the home screen mode launches the camera. The top bezel houses the 5 MP front camera. At the rear is the 16 MP main camera, a flash and a heart rate monitor. As with all thin phones with mega cameras, the S6’s also protrudes at the back.

The S6 has a super-AMOLED 2550x1440 display with a 557 ppi resolution - the best so far on any phone. The TouchWiz UI built on Android Lollipop looks a little bit scaled down. Missing are the pre-populated screens with widgets after widgets. What is new in the display is the introduction of themes, including two very cartoonish pink and dark themes, which seem to be aimed at kids or users who are child-like. The surprise is that the phone comes pre-installed with Microsoft apps, with a folder on the home screen housing them. Samsung also offers a few premium apps for free with the Galaxy Gifts option.

Shoot the sixer

The camera comes with all the usual Samsung camera modes like panorama, slow motion, fast motion and selective focus, but a few other modes like Beauty Face, are missing. The heart rate monitor also serves as the front camera button. In the selfie option, the modes include Selfie, Wide Selfie, virtual shot and Interval shot.

Like with the build, the camera is also one of the best in its class, that can make even a kid look like an expert photographer. But like with other Samsung cameras, the exceptions are the low-light and night modes. To be fair, though the low light mode is bad, it is far better than it was in the Note 3. The front selfie camera does a wonderful job offering good, clear shots, and with the combined effects in the editing app that can adjust eyes, complexion etc, it is very likely that the front camera will be used more than the regular back one.

The video options range from UHD (3840x2160), QHD (2560x1440), FHD (60fps), FHD, HD and VGA. The main irritant with the video mode in the default camera is that the video starts recording the moment you switch from camera to video mode. We are not sure if it is a bug with the device.

Another scaling down is the battery. The S6 comes with a Li-Ion 2550 mAh battery. The S5 had Li-Ion 2800 mAh. Though only marginally different, with the S6’s increased screen resolution, we feel Samsung could have at least retained the S5 battery. The S6 battery lasted just a day with two emails on push mode, 20 minutes of talking, about15 minutes of video and occasional gaming.

But, the S6 comes with a fast charging option. According to Samsung, we can get four hours of use with just 10 minutes of charging. In our tests, we found that the battery charged 30 per cent in ten minutes. The Adaptive Fast Charger must be used for this option.

Samsung has perfected fingerprint scanning. A tutorial when we power on the phone takes us through the fingerprint registration process. The fingerprint recognition works flawlessly. There is also a back-up password option in case there are problems. The call quality is good, though there were issues with the clarity at times. There is an option to increase the call volume while on call, but the reproduction quality tends to be a little jarring.

Bottomline

Samsung has come back to form with the S6. Everything about the phone is neatt, including the build, look and feel. This is one device that can take the fight to the iPhone 6. There is more novelty in the S6 Edge if you are ready to loosen your purse strings some more.

Price: ₹49,900

Love: Build quality, screen resolution, better TouchWiz

Hate: No expandable memory, scaled down battery.

Published on January 23, 2018

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