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Samsung announces release of Galaxy S6 – my thoughts

It’s so funny that my last article on Samsung Galaxy S5, the title was I’m not impressed. And because of that article I held off buying an S5 as I thought that waiting a little bit longer with my old S4 will result in better joy on the announcement of the S6. Well, now that Samsung has announced their new flagship phone, the wait was in vain.

Samsung Galaxy S6 in its different colors

Samsung Galaxy S6 in its different colors

Samsung has recently announced their new flagship phone, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. Both phones from reports are sturdy looking phones with a premium feel as people have come to expected from expensive smart phones. Gone is the plastic frame and plastic cover. In comes metal frame and back cover. The phone is entirely made up of glass and metal giving it a more premium feel. This is a big change as Samsung has previously refused to be drawn into the metal vs plastic war and stuck to their plastic covers. But this time they have given in.

The Galaxy S6 will be available in four different colors at launch. These will be gold, white and black and “blue topaz”. Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S6 release date as being April 10.

As expected with a new phone, the phone (phones interchangeably, I’m referring to both phones) the phone has a new processor and looking at the raw specs, it seems fast. Phone has new upgraded front camera which now comes with 5mp and a 16MP back camera. All nice and good.

Summary of Specs:

  • An octacore Samsung Exynos processor
  • 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED displays with 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • 3GB of RAM;
  • 32, 64, or 128GB of internal storage;
  • 16-megapixel cameras with optical image stabilization;
  • a new fingerprint sensor in the home button that no longer requires a swipe;
  • an infrared heart-rate monitor;
  • integrated support for both Qi and PMA wireless charging;
  • fast USB charging that’s 1.5 times faster than the Galaxy S5;
  • a speaker that’s 1.5 times louder than the S5’s;
  • integrated support for Samsung Pay, which uses either NFC or MFT (LoopPay) technology for transactions.

All these specs are all good and brilliant in a flagship phone. However there was something else in the announcement that Samsung made that is going to make some people angry and pissed off. The change to a metal frame and glass has meant that the phone now features a non-removable battery and no expandable memory. This means if your battery stops working like my last two batteries did, you cannot just pop into a Samsung shop and buy a new one and replace it yourself. It means you have to leave your phone for a few days as they open the phone and replace the battery for you to retain your warranty.

The issue of the non-expandable memory will most likely blow up in Samsung’s face as its one of the reasons why people still bought these phones. That ability to expand you memory with cheap micro-SD cards was a big selling point. With the new S6, Samsung has followed the trend set by Apple of non-expandable memory and non-removable battery.

Another anecdote found in the announcement of the new phone is that the phone is no longer water proof. The S5 was waterproof meaning a drop in a bucket of water did not mean automatically getting a new phone or the panic faces people usually have when they drop their phones. Samsung had you covered with an IP67 rating (in simple words, it would not be affected by water or dust to a certain degree and level). But in this new phone, that has been scrapped and dropping your phone in a pool of water no matter how small will result in the phone frying its internal circuits. Why Samsung would decide to take this retroactive step is beyond me.

Other updates to the phone include heavy changes to TouchWiz, the user interface which is installed on every Samsung Phone which has been previously accused of being heavy and slow. The new Touchwiz is lighter and faster and will run on top of Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop, its latest offering.

In conclusion, from a design point of view, Samsung has upgraded the phone and will give it that premium feel that people have since long complained about. The wireless charging when it catches on will be a novel thing to take advantage of. The new camera and its software enhancements will probably result in better photo snapping capabilities and with the upgraded front 5MP camera, selfies will remain with us for some time. However, the loss of expandable memory, removable battery and loss of waterproof capabilities might be a big deal for many people. IMHO, this was a retrogressive move by Samsung and might come back and bite them in the back. For now we just have to wait and see.

So again like last time, the decision is do I buy this phone or I go and buy the S5 as it has more to offer that this new phone? Or I buy the S6 and hope that the upgraded base memory (available in 32/64/128 GB variants) will be enough for my needs? I’ve never had a phone I could not change a battery so if I do get it, it will be new territory for me. Waterproofing although a nice to have, was not there in the S4 so I might not miss something that I never heard. But I will forever curse Samsung for not including it as I have had so many mishaps with water.


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