Samsung’s Galaxy S6 series: one step forward, two steps back

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Despite the hype surrounding Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, consumer sentiment so far suggests an experience of innovative features at the expense of sorely missed others.

Although the Galaxy S6 Edge with its impressive three-sided screen is Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the argument can be made that Samsung wasn’t all that confident in the potential success of the Edge. After all, they released the Edge along with the regular, more traditional-looking Galaxy S6, which begs the question, “Is the S6 a back-up plan in case the S6 Edge fails to become a hit with consumers?”

If Samsung is after innovation and technological evolution, then why not go all the way? No doubt, Samsung can defend their decision through the usual “giving consumers more options” PR talk, but that may not be enough this time around.

samsung galaxy s6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge overview

On closer scrutiny, the S6 and S6 Edge lack several features from their predecessors. In order to upgrade the quality of their smartphones from flimsy plastic to aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass, Samsung had to ditch the removable battery and microSD slots. But perhaps worst of all, Samsung’s claim that the S6 line would have an exceptional battery life has not come to fruition. If anything, battery life suffered quite a bit. And although both phones offer meatier amounts of internal storage, taking away options that were previously present is never a good thing.

galaxy-s6-back-angleAnother loss is the option of being waterproof. Considering all the hoopla Samsung made with the Galaxy S5’s waterproof build, it’s a bit jarring not seeing it return. Again, and in fairness, this was most likely a trade-off for the new look of the phones. After all, the S6 and S6 Edge offer the biggest visual changes since the Galaxy S3.

Curves, metal and glass

Just as Apple has been taking notes (pun intended) from Samsung’s larger phone designs, Samsung has been studying Apple’s premium builds just as closely. Like the iPhones, the S6 and S6 Edge are no longer made out of plastic, but with metal and glass, which will no doubt please most consumers given the new materials make the phones look and feel undoubtedly more luxurious. And like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, both the S6 and S6 Edge have a home button on the front that has a fingerprint reader to unlock the phone. They also include 4th generation Corning Gorilla Glass. And coupled with the curved edges of the S6 Edge, consumers will love the exceptionally pleasant tactile sensation the glass provides.

Of course, these changes also mean the slightest drop will cause noticeable damage. You could always purchase a case, but that would conceal the new changes made to the phone’s exterior, particularly the back. Perhaps If Samsung were to offer a free upgrade to those who can keep their Galaxy S6 phones in pristine condition, then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about purchasing bulky protective covers.

samsung S6 wireless chargingDespite the negativity, it can’t go without saying that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are well-made products. The beautiful designs and the exciting new features like the quick camera launch should not go unnoticed. Other welcome improvements include a 16-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization, and a front facing camera that has a 5-megapixel sensor. The S6 in particular offers 4K video recording (3,480 x 2,160 pixels) at 30 frames per second, and both phones feature built-in wireless charging with a fast charging option. According to Samsung, a 10 minute fast charge can provide up to 4 hours of battery life.

Samsung phones almost always deliver on their promises and claims, and the Galaxy S line was and still is massively popular for a reason. It’s just a bit disappointing to learn so much about what it took away from the previous models. For now, we’re looking forward to Samsung’s next generation of curved phones.

About Author

Won Jun Ma was born in South Korea and raised in Irvine, CA. He moved up to Santa Barbara, CA to study English and Math at UC Santa Barbara. He is an avid gamer who follows the video game industry. Won has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys going on lengthy hikes, and considers himself a hip hop junkie by and large. He also likes playing various tunes on his clarinet; but what he would actually like to do is learn how to jam on the harmonica like a pro.

10 Comments

  1. markclayton@gmail.com'

    no sd slot/no removable battery. no sale. I hope they don’t ruin the note 5 like they did the s6.

  2. web@ronfmail.com'

    They are trying to outdo Apple at being Apple, which is of course a losing proposition for a number of reasons. HTC has sucessfully proved that you can have a premium metal design without sacrificing the microSD slot, and I imagine it wouldn’t take that much ingenuity to figure out how to keep the user-replacable battery as well, even if the back was screwed on with locking screws.

    From a user-experience standpoint, iOS has always been the FAR superior operating system, and they are winning the app-store war as well with their standardized apps that don’t have to be coded to work on 100,000 different hardware and software configurations. Most of the things iOS couldn’t do because it was such a walled garden are no longer issues when compared to the stock Android experience. Android’s ace in the hole has always been the ability to choose between superior hardware and cost-effective options, and when you take that away, the argument for it becomes mortally less compelling.

    • tjm_mgd@yahoo.com'

      You know I was with you until you made the comment “iOS has always been the FAR superior operating system”, this just makes you sound like an Apple FanBoy and kills the value of what was otherwise could have been a well thought-out comment. The fact of the matter is saying either operating system (Android vs iOS) is FAR superior is completely false. Each has features and drawbacks that appeal to a specific type of user. Android users appreciate the configurability and customization possible in that OS while iOS users typically prefer not having to worry about a lot of options. Android’s widgets and active icons are a huge advantage over the minimal (and often buggy) iOS Implementation. The truth in your comment was the statement about Samsung trying to be Apple. This is what causes consternation on the part of Samsung users like me. I bought my S5 (and previously my S3) over the available iPhones because they were not iPhones. Both at the time offered better features, better specs and the operating system that I preferred to use. With the S5, Samsung had clearly taken the lead in creativity and innovation. The S6 is a step backward toward the copy-cat world (even with the “edge” screens) and I just can’t understand how they could so grossly mis-calculate what it is that consumers want in their products.

  3. crillmatthew@yahoo.com'

    I have the galaxy s6 edge and couldn’t be happier with it. I still don’t understand the complaints about the non removable battery. The s6 is lightning fast and has a premium feel that the s5 just lacked. Yes, it’s not water resistant but neither was any of your other phones before the s5 so just keep it away from water. Those that are opting for the s5 over the s6 for the sake of a removable battery and waterproofing, I’d say you’re sorely mistaken.

  4. jnavafb@gmail.com'

    I am upgrading from an s4, I have had the s6 edge 64gb model for a bit over a week and I can say I have never felt a phone that feels this good. Just looking at it face up on a table is so pleasing. A few things I noticed that this article wrote is that it is complaintin about the battery life accusing samsung of not meeting up with what they said but in reality Samsung NEVER praised the battery life. What did they say was that it had super fast charge time so you can’t hold them accountable for that. Also the article mentioned it won’t sustain much durability but in fact all drop tests show it will outlast the iPhone 6 in every scenerio.

  5. sio2ga@bellsouth.net'

    My GF is going to get a new phone, and it will be a new S5 and not the newer S6. This is my recommendation to her since the S5 is a better phone than the s6. It is waterproof, has a removable battery and a SD card slot. Those are powerful pluses that outweigh the s6. I am very upset that the S6 is lacking these features. Supposedly the S6 active will come out with a bigger battery, and have an sd card slot but only for AT&T. Since I am on Verizon this isn’t an option. I hope Samsung sees the error of their ways with the downgrade that is S6.

  6. abc123@aol.com'

    Not waterproof? Fixed battery? Curved glass? No thanks. I’ll keep my S5 (which is an amazing device) and the Body Glove case that I keep it in.

  7. 61de210c@opayq.com'

    I like my S5. Why? It is water resistant, it has an external SD card and it has a replaceable battery. The S6 has none of that. For those reasons my next phone will likely be the LG. Is Samsung so shallow that it believes that consumers prefer looks over functionality? No wonder the company is having problems. Wake up. Sure there are those who be sucked in by things like the Apple watch, but not everyone is that stupid. Make a product people want because they can use it, not fondle it.

  8. uyidu@hotmail.co.uk'

    It’s funny they people always complained about the look and plastic of the Galaxies yet we al usually have cases on our phones so it didn’t really matter. And look wise the S6 looks like the S4 from the front, at least the S5 looked ever so slightly different. The trade offs weren’t worth it in my opinion

  9. bcomber@gmail.com'

    When I found out they took away the SD card slot, that was the breaker for me. I’ve got more music saved on my 64g card that this phone will ever hold. I’ll be looking elsewhere when I upgrade.