Samsung beats predictions with Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Image: Florence Ion/PC World

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2 March 2015 | 0

Niall Kitson portraitLast week I made five predictions about the Samsung Galaxy S6, which was unveiled last weekend at the Samsung Unpacked event as part of Mobile World Congress. In the end we got not one but two versions of the smartphone, the S6 and the S6 Edge – the latter distinctive for its curved sides. After a well-received presentation from company president JK Shin yesterday we have a release date (10 April) and, more important, a spec sheet. So how did my predictions from last week stand up? Here is the top five revisited.

We said: Better build quality
Yes/No: Yes
As predicted, Samsung has gone for metal over plastic. What’s unusual is that Corning Gorilla Glass 4 is used on the back as well as the front.
Like the S5, the S6 and S6 Edge have a 5.1″ display but their 1440×2560 pixel resolution easily trumps the 1080×1920 pixels of the S5.
Size-wise, the S6 and S6 Edge are slightly longer, thinner and lighter than the S5, measuring 143.4×70.5×6.8mm and 142.1×70.1x7mm, and weighing 138g and 132g respectively versus the S5’s 142×72.5×8.1mm and 145g.
It’s not all good news, though. Where the S5 had a removable battery and microSD card slot, those features are not available in the new models.

We said: Inductive charging as standard
Yes/No: Yes
It’s a short ‘yes’ on this one. The S6 and S6 Edge can charge wirelessly on any WPC- or PMA-compliant surface. This is great news for third party peripheral designers. Charging time has also been shortened. After a mere 10 minutes you’ll be good for 4 hours of use.

We said: Gear VR integration
Yes/No: Yes
HTC had its big announcement with the launch of the Vive headset in partnership with Valve but Samsung had news of its own. Both S6 and S6 Edge can be used with the second-generation GearVR. Just plug your handset into the front of the visor and you’re ready to go. Samsung says new GearVR is 15% lighter than the first and charges by USB. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

We said: A vanilla Android install
Yes/No: No
I’m hanging on to this as a ‘not yet’ instead of an outright no. One of the reasons I was arguing for a TouchWiz-free edition was the demands placed on smartphones by resource-hungry operation systems. Samsung has addressed this by packing in a quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 and a quad-core 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 processors; Mali-T760 GPU; and 3Gb RAM. That’s plenty of power to handle Android 5.0.1 (Lollipop).
Given the quality of the hardware, it will be off-the-shelf sales that decide if we see a vanilla version later in the year. If uptake is slow we may see a plan b in operation come the Christmas period.

We said: 5G
Yes/No: No
Hardware limitations make this a hard no. Still, there’s plenty of life in 4G yet.

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