Samsung Galaxy S6 (32GB) review: Simply, the best Samsung Galaxy
Can it turn Samsung's smartphone business around?
- Metal and glass body
- Leading 577ppi screen
- Powerful computing innards
- Good battery life
- Great 16MP rear- and 5MP-front cameras
- Improved finger scanner
- Light TouchWiz software
- No expandable storage
- Battery is non-removable
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
This is Samsung’s defining moment, where it makes amends for the hit and miss that was the Galaxy S5. This is the smartphone the company hopes will help it reclaim market share and growth in sales. This is the smartphone it hopes customers will happily rely on everyday. This is the smartphone we have long asked for, and it is as good as we imagined.
Learning a new design language
Samsung has used plastic in its smartphones from the first generation Samsung Galaxy S. Plastic has been one of the company’s long time habits.
The Galaxy S6 is the dawn of new habits. Though the design remains identifiably Samsung, the materials sourced for its construction and the manufacturing techniques used differ drastically.
The smartphone is built upon a metal chassis, specifically the kind of aluminium used in the construction of cars, yachts and mountain bikes. Forging it takes 20 steps, with bespoke details including independent volume- and power-buttons, and a laser drilled stereo grille. A nano-SIM tray sits flush on its left, while a lonely IR receiver rests inconspicuously up top.
Metal is a problematic material in smartphones because it can affect reception quality. Samsung overcame this obstacle by welding the antenna directly to the metal frame using a technique called ultrasonic welding. It works by using high-frequency sound waves and pressure to bond materials together.
The sides of the frame have edges that are slightly chamfered. Fingers appreciate this design trait most as the front subtly folds into the sides, which gently wrap over into the back.
Cold glass coats the front and the back of this Galaxy. It is the latest Gorilla Glass 4 from the professionals at Corning, and its edges too have been shaved down so that the smartphone sits more comfortably in the hand.
Samsung coins the colour of our review unit “Black Sapphire”, though the actual colour depends on the way the light falls. It will go from deep black to soft blue, and all the hues in between. Multiple nano-coatings have been applied to the front and the back of the smartphone in order to achieve this dynamic effect.
Two steps forward: balancing screen and battery performance
Other signs hint at progress. This smartphone has the same sized screen as its predecessor, and yet it is thinner, narrower and lighter. It is smaller and it is more powerful.
All the screen specs represent a leap forward. The 5.1-inch Super-AMOLED panel has a high resolution at 1440x2560 and a market leading pixel density at 577 pixels-per-inch. These numbers translate to a viewing experience that is exceedingly sharp, revelatory of the detail in photos and videos, enough so that the sand littering beach stones can be discerned.
The Super-AMOLED panel is versed in vibrant colours and deep blacks. You could hold the smartphone side on and still be able to tell what’s on the screen; viewing angles are that wide.
Displays consume the most power and the demands only increase with higher screen resolutions. The battery conscious will activate the ‘power saver’ mode on the Galaxy S6. Doing so causes the smartphone to lower the screen’s brightness, often to levels that deem the vivid display dull. Not using the battery saving mode is one way around this gripe, or it can be used when needed and deactivated when not.
Credit goes to Samsung for balancing the performance of the smartphone with the longevity of its battery life. In a move recognised as controversial by readers, the South Korean manufacturer followed in the footsteps of Apple, HTC and Sony in choosing to integrate the battery in its smartphone. This means the battery can not be swapped out for that ‘new phone’ feeling when the time comes to pass it on.
The capacity of the battery is 2550 milliamps-hour (mAh) and that’s smaller than the 2800mAh battery found in the year old Galaxy S5. To recount: the Galaxy S6 has a thirstier screen and a smaller battery.
Does the Galaxy S6 have good battery life? Click over to find that out and more
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- Android device updates: Nougat is coming to the Moto G4, G4 Plus
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- CCDomino SpecialistVIC
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior AGILE Business AnalystNSW
- CCInfrastructure Test Lead - Contract 6-8 wks initially - IT Services - North RydeNSW
- FTLinux / Unix Systems AdministratorSA
- CCService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCEnterprise/Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTSolution Architect (e-Health)NSW
- CCSolution Architect - Application Developement and IntegrationQLD
- FTProject Coordinator/AdministratorNSW
- TPGIS Developer - 6 month ContractQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTIT Business Process Analyst x 3 - (government background)NSW
- CCBenefits/Business AnalystNSW
- FTJuniper Network SpecialistVIC
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTSales Operations ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Communications Officer | SharePointQLD
- CC3 x UX Designers - 3 month contract initially - IT Services company - SydneyNSW
- CCTSM SpecialistNSW