Some Thoughts on Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
So, yeah, I’m late to the party. Time-zones can really screw up your plans.
I watched the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked livestream too and I think that after a long time, Samsung is back on the right track. I haven’t really liked what Samsung has done after the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy S5 especially was just lousy. Samsung didn’t have a very good year financially in 2014.
But the Galaxy S6 is just mind blowing. I don’t pay too much attention to leaks because I like to be surprised and we all know how much of these leaks are unreliable. So, during the live stream, I was especially surprised with their new design language and general direction. The software hasn’t really changed all that much aesthetically, though Samsung has announced that they’ve cut down on bloat by 40%. They do seem to have introduced some Material Design elements and I can’t wait to check them out. Side note: did anyone else find it hilarious watching Samsung’s UX Lead try to explain Material Design without using the phrase “Material Design”?
In the past few years, it’s always been Samsung’s hardware which have taken a lot of heat. The Galaxy S5 has a ridiculous battery cover. A lot of their hardware often seem to be taken right from an iPhone. This time too, the chamfered sidewalls are very reminiscent of the iPhone 6, as are the placement of the speakers, mic and the 3.5 mm headphone jack. But I’m willing to overlook all these things because they’ve finally moved on from that God-awful plastic design. The glass back looks beautiful and the phone is just gorgeous. Samsung has experimented a lot with pseudo-premium design, with leather textured plastic battery covers and painted sidewalls. It’s great to see devices with the actual premium materials. Of course, they did announce the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy A series, but it’s nice to see the flagship devices following suit.
And then there’s the S6 Edge. When they released the “experimental” Note Edge, I was more than skeptical about real world usage. By reducing the curve and putting it on both sides, Samsung has possibly created a brilliant user experience. This is another thing I want to try out before posting too much about. But I predict a better experience than the Note Edge, that’s for sure.
Samsung also spoke about its new camera. While it looks plenty powerful, especially when they compared images with those taken on an iPhone 6 Plus, which as we all know has a great camera, I’m still skeptical as I like to wait until reviewers have had enough time to test it out properly. The initial sample images look great, though.
Yet again, I haven’t gone too in-depth into specs, because they don’t really matter anymore. Flagships are more than powerful for day to day use. I will however mention that while the new Exynos chip is blazing fast, I’d still have preferred to see a Snapdragon chip in there, not least because of Custom ROM support. Samsung has been tight-lipped about which chip will power the devices in the USA and we’ll have to wait and see what they announce.
Also, both devices will be coming with Samsung Pay, their new mobile payments system. While I initially dismissed it as more bloat, I was rather impressed by the fact that the app will support regular Visa and MasterCard cards. This is a great feature and I hope other companies add this functionality soon.
All in all, Samsung might have just what it needs for 2015. Both HTC and Samsung have chosen to upgrade just what was necessary for the most part, though Samsung’s upgrades are a lot more noticeable.
March 2, 2015