BARCELONA – The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are the two most significant smartphones launched at Mobile World Congress 2015. Not necessarily because they were the best, mind you, but because of their importance to Samsung.
Samsung ranked as the world's top supplier of smartphones until the fourth quarter of 2014, when Apple eclipsed it with strong sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to the latest statistics from Gartner. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge can help Samsung win back that crown.
- Design Samsung finally dropped its cheap plastic shells for a high-quality glass-and-metal combination. The GS6 is such a significant improvement over the GS5, it's hard to believe the phones were made by the same company. The phone looks and feels great. Samsung brought its A game with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
- Screen The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge boast 5.1-inch displays with 2560 x 1440 pixels. Samsung uses Super AMOLED screen technology, and they look spectacular. Everything on the screen is razor-sharp, and the colors are brilliant. The S6 Edge, with its curved glass, will delight users with special actions and menus.
- Speed The S6 and its curvy brother will come with an eight-core engine under the hood. More importantly, they take advantage of recent improvements in RAM and flash storage that will dramatically improve multimedia performance on the handsets (think 4K video here). Benchmarks spotted on the Web already show the GS6 outperforming most other current handsets. It's a quick phone.
- Cameras Samsung kept the number of megapixels the same at 16, but made other improvements to the phones' imaging sensors. For example, the pixels are larger, which will improve low-light performance while also reducing noise. They also boast an aperture of f/1.9, which lets in even more light. The user-facing camera has been improved from 2.4 megapixels to 5.0 megapixels. Samsung applied the same pixel-enlarging and aperture-opening improvements to the user-facing camera, too, which means even better selfies.
- Charging Many people are unhappy about Samsung's decision to seal in the battery, but there's a silver lining here. First, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge support Samsung's proprietary QuickCharge technology. The phones can suck up to four hours' worth of power after being plugged in for only 10 minutes. That's enough to top off your phone at the end of the workday before heading out for dinner. Moreover, the phones support both the PMA and WPC wireless charging standards, meaning they are compatible with the bulk of wireless charging accessories out there.
- Software The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge run Android 5.0 Lollipop with Samsung's user interface on top. The UI isn't quite as heavy-handed as those on previous Galaxy handsets, making it more user friendly. Samsung has minimized the presence of many of its own apps and services, keeping the phones free of bloatware. Interestingly, the GS6/GS6 Edge will ship with Microsoft's Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive apps, including 115 GB of free online storage. Last, the devices include improved security software, making it easier for IT to manage and secure them.
Samsung did a great job redesigning its signature handset. The phones go on sale in April and should help turn around Samsung's smartphone business.
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