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Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

During their MWC press event, after teasing the world for weeks prior, Samsung stood on stage and presented two phones they were extremely proud of. You could tell by the presentation that these phones were going to bring them back. There wasn’t a Broadway play. There wasn’t a gimmick in sight. Samsung ran through a list of features, design elements, and changes from past thinking as directly as they could because nothing needed to be hidden or glanced over. There was no need for a distraction.

They hammered home the fact that these phones were faster than anything they had done prior. They cut bloat. They removed jank. They built them with the best materials available. They included tech that no other phone(s) before or after will have for some time. They won that day and then some. They may have won the year with a single presentation alone. After a horrendous 2014, Samsung needed to do something major for 2015. They did it. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are remarkable phones from top to bottom, edge to edge.

We have spent time with each over the past couple of weeks, trying to find something missing or deal breaking. If you want a spoiler alert as we dive into this, here it is – we didn’t find one.

This is our Samsung Galaxy S6 Review.

Edit:  Our Galaxy S6 Edge review is done too.

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The Good


Specs

I think it’s safe to say that Samsung has created the ultimate smartphone with the Galaxy S6. Well, they are 95% of the way there, which is saying something in a world that can’t seem to give us the perfect phone, even though we know a couple of companies are capable of giving us one. Samsung used the best of the best in this phone. They gave us their own processor (Exynos 7420 octa-core), that by all means, is better than Qualcomm’s controversial, hot-headed Snapdragon 810. They put the best display (5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED) ever in a smartphone.  They may have given us the best camera too (16MP with Optical Image Stabilization). They tossed in faster storage (UFS 2.0) and RAM (LPDDR4), a payment system that tops everyone else’s (Samsung Pay built on LoopPay technology), support for the two wireless charging standards that matter, fast charging, and a 5MP wide-angle selfie shooter in the front.

So why “95%” of the way there? They did leave out a micro SD slot, got rid of the removable battery, and forgot to make the phone waterproof. I actually added these three things to the “Not-so-Good” section below, because for some, these missing features could be deal breakers. For me, they aren’t.

Samsung killed it with this phone in the specs department. Killed it.

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Design

Samsung has completely ditched any sort of plastic in favor of a design that reminds me of a fine gemstone. Light reflects off it at different angles, changing the color along the way. In this particular Sapphire Black version, you are sure it’s black, but then it’s blue too. What a beautiful phone this is.

It’s built with front and back Gorilla Glass 4 panels that blend into a metal frame. The device isn’t seamless from front to back, but it feels as though it is even though there are separate parts as you move around the phone. Samsung has perfectly placed each piece to make you think this is a unibody device.

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When holding the Galaxy S6, it doesn’t feel like any other Samsung phone before it. It feels strong, elegant, and premium, three things I’m not sure I have ever said in reference to one of their phones. The metal frame reminds you that this is the new Samsung, while the glass tells you how different this phone is from any other on the market. Each side has been rounded just the right amount, so that the phone sucks into your palm without the slightest sharpness. Unlike the Galaxy S5, this phone was built specifically for the human hand.

As for usability, Samsung went with a modest 5.1-inch display that comes as close to the side edges as you can get. This means you can reach across it to swipe out panels or touch that notification bar without much of a shimmy. The power and volume keys rest on each side of the device, almost exactly where you would place your thumb and index finger each time it is picked up. And the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom, which is the location I will take every single day of the week.

If you want to find an issue with this phone’s design, you could argue that the camera hump is a bit unsightly and could potentially cause the lens to scratch easier. I personally, have grown to like the exposed module, though I’m not sure just why yet. Maybe it’s the fact that it adds some dimension to a phone that is so fluid from one side to the next.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is the best looking, most premium feeling phone I’ve ever placed in my hand.

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Display

For years, Samsung has topped display charts with their HD AMOLED panels. Starting with the Galaxy S4 and Note 3, through to the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, you could argue that the only display competitor to Samsung’s newest phone was the previous phone they had released months prior. LCD purists will tell you that AMOLEDs still have too much contrast and that colors don’t look natural, but those haven’t been true criticisms in some time. In fact, display experts have named Samsung’s AMOLED panels as the best in the smartphone business for long enough now, that we couldn’t even tell you the last time an LCD took the crown.

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With the Galaxy S6, you once again have a fantastic display to look at, one that is in my book, the best available overall. At a QHD resolution, you know that Samsung is packing in more pixels than your eye can even attempt to realize (577 per inch to be exact). But what may surprise you is how accurate the colors appear and how impressive the viewing angles are.

The pictures above are a good series to show you viewing angles, color reproduction, and how bright the panel can get when compared to other leading phones. In the top-down photo, you can see that the LCDs in the One M9 and iPhone 6 get slightly brighter, and may even show whites a bit more accurately. Still the Galaxy S6 isn’t overdoing anything here, but does show white as slightly grey instead of pure white. It’s not off-putting, but different. As you start to angle from top-down, this is where the Galaxy S6’s display really shines. You can see how well it holds that brightness and clarity at the steepest of angles, whereas panels like the One M9 are almost impossible to see with even the slightest move away from top-down. As far as colors go, I like that the Galaxy S6 and Note 4 AMOLEDs really pull in definitive colors from the watchbands pictured, while the LCDs seem to wash out the light greys and yellows/browns on each edge.

Samsung also tosses in a couple of viewing modes that let you decide if you want the punchy, saturated colors of an AMOLED, muted natural tones, or if you want the display to decide for you which is best depending on the app or screen you are viewing.

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Macros for fun. Diamonds are forever.

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Camera

This is how you do a smartphone camera, folks. The 16MP camera in the Galaxy S6, that would be the shooter that has optical image stabilization (OIS) and a F1.9 lens, is the best I have ever used. It’s insanely fast to focus and shoot in almost any scenario. The only other time I have been this impressed with a smartphone camera, is when I was reviewing the iPhone 6. Hate that fact or not, Apple has forever been the king of smartphone cameras. Thankfully, Samsung has officially come to play – and maybe even win.

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Before we get to the samples, let’s talk first about the camera experience. Not much has changed from one Samsung to the next, but things do seem to be cleaned up a bit. You have your gallery, video, shutter, camera-switch, and mode buttons all along the right side of the UI. On other, you have an expandable menu that allows you to quickly control effects, HDR, timer, flash, and even jump into additional settings. Samsung includes full manual or “Pro” controls, has a selective focus “bokeh” mode, panorama option, and slow/fast motion capture. This camera has it all. It also has a quick launch shortcut (double tap the home button from anywhere) that makes this the fastest camera on the planet, in my opinion.

OK, so it’s fast and has a straight-forward UI, but what about picture quality? To my eye, it takes incredibly impressive pictures full of crisp detail and correct color reproduction. Whether you are shooting macros, are in an arena with whacky lighting, are out on the town in dimly lit dive bars, or are shooting moving pictures of your children, this camera can do it all. It’s versatile yet powerful. It’s quick yet precise. This is the first time I can remember an Android phone taking pictures and there not being a hand behind my back with fingers crossed, hoping it comes out OK. This phone takes good pictures almost all of the time, and that’s a huge deal.

Point. Shoot. Point. Shoot. Point. Shoot. Enjoy.

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Full resolution:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 89 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Performance

Over the last couple of years, the word “jank” has been associated with Samsung’s phones more often than I can count. Jank, meaning jittery lag and overall unimpressive performance, thanks to TouchWiz and the rest of the bloat that Samsung included in all of their phones. With the Galaxy S6, Samsung made it a point to fix all of that. They toned down TouchWiz, took out unused features, and managed to smooth almost every thing out from one screen or app to the next.

Samsung added a double-tap shortcut for launching the camera, to get you snapping pictures faster than ever. They took out unnecessary menus in the app drawer, leaving you with the basics. They even simplified Multi Window and the app switcher to get extra fluff out of the way.

As you cruise through the Galaxy S6 with its Exynos octa-core processor and 3GB RAM, you won’t see many hiccups or stutters. Apps open and close swiftly, as does the app drawer, settings menu, home screen editor, etc. It’s all fast. Well, almost all of it. There is one area that continues to be a tad slow for me, and that’s the transition of moving from the camera into the gallery and then back out again. I don’t know what it is, but there is always a 1-2 second delay when moving from the camera to the gallery or vice versa. I’m probably nit-picking and only noticing it because everything else is so lightning quick.

Otherwise, Samsung really did clear up the jank.

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Wireless and Fast Charging

In case you couldn’t tell, we kind of like to geek out over things like charging – both wirelessly and quickly. Samsung gave the charging obsessed the ultimate phone with the Galaxy S6. Not only does it include wireless charging for the two big standards (Qi and PMA), but it also can charge incredibly quickly with Fast Charging. So on one hand, you have the ability to charge with almost every single wireless charging pad on the planet, along with tables at places like Starbucks. And that’s all without a special case or adapter or anything. Samsung built in the technology, making it easier than ever for you to charge your GS6. Second, they gave you fast charging capabilities, which means with a proper charging cable, you can grab a 50% charge in as little as 30 minutes time.

I’m guessing that most of you, assuming you buy this phone, will begin to fall in love with all things charging. Seriously, the convenience here is unmatched by any other phone. Charge without wires, or charge with one at an insane rate. How can you beat that? The Galaxy S6 has an arguably small-ish non-removable battery, but with these options built-in, you probably won’t care.

Fingerprint Sensor

You need a fingerprint sensor in your life that is as good as the Galaxy S6’s. Why? Because it secures your phone without changing the way you use your phone. This is how new technologies are supposed to be implemented. Let me explain.

Previous Android attempts at fingerprint sensors were not great. They required a swipe over the sensor, which is something that isn’t exactly an easy gesture when holding a phone with one hand. Also, since it requires movement, accuracy with a method like this is tough to maintain. With the Galaxy S6, all you need to do is place your finger or thumb on the button for a split second and it unlocks. It’s that simple, once you walk through the phone’s training steps. There is no gesture or swipe required.

I say that you all need this in your life because the physical home button on the Galaxy S6 is your starting point for interaction. You tap it to wake the phone, so your thumb is already there, touching the fingerprint sensor. With a single click to wake the phone, followed by another second with your thumb on the button, you can unlock your phone. It doesn’t change the way you typically interact with your phone, but is securing it should you lose your phone, if someone steals it, or if your child grabs it and wants to download $2,000 in in-app purchases on their favorite game.

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Availability

The Galaxy S6 is available everywhere. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Cricket, and others all have this phone for purchase. You can even buy it at Target and Walmart and Best Buy and Amazon. You should have zero issues picking up this phone or at least getting one in hand for a few minutes to test it. This seems like an obvious thing, but if you were at all involved in smartphones three or four years ago, you’ll remember the frustrating experience we had with specific carrier variants and availability because of them. Times have changed for the better.

Accessories

When Samsung releases a new flagship, they try to accompany it with a series of official accessories. From flip covers to protective cases and wireless charging pads, Samsung has got you covered. But what we really love about phones like the Galaxy S6, phones that are exactly the same size and shape no matter where you buy one from, is the fact that dozens and dozens of 3rd party accessories makers will flood the market with other, affordable accessories for them. If you don’t want to spend the money on Samsung’s $50 flip cover, you will easily be able to find a similar option through Amazon for under $20. You’ll find some for under $10 as well, along with dozens of wireless charging pads and headphones and cases that are either minimal or ultra-protective. You see, when you have a single design, it is so easy for your favorite accessory makers to have products available. Also, don’t forget that the Galaxy S6 is like the iPhone of Android, so companies that specialize in accessories would be foolish not to have be ready for its launch.

Somewhere-in-the-Middle


Battery Life

EDIT:  I see everyone is completely scared now that I posted these battery numbers. Let me preface this by saying that I am notorious for having lower battery life numbers than almost everyone else in the world. I can’t explain why that is, but it’s just the way it is. Go look at my Moto X, Nexus 6, and Turbo reviews – they all have the same 2 hours of screen on time, and die relatively the same. Maybe we should call it the “Kellen Battery Life Test” so that you can add 2-3 hours of use and screen on time to the numbers I post in each review. Either way, this is actually average battery life for me, whether it looks disappointing or not. I would imagine that my odd numbers (even though they are like this in every review) will be slightly better for you.

Battery life for me has been what I would call “average” at this point. However, I really need to do some additional testing before I can fully decide where this section needs to end up. Most of us with the phone are under the impression that there is some sort of a WiFi calling bug on the T-Mobile version that can substantially limit battery life. This is something that has been tough to prove, which is why I need more time here. I spent the first handful of days with the phone with WiFi calling turned on, but have since gone with it and WiFi off for the most part. I also may have identified a battery-draining beast of an app that is now no longer on my phone. In other words, my battery tests are not fully complete, at least to my standards.

During my first week with the phone, I have seen a steady 11-13 hours of normal use on a single charge. Yesterday, with that previously mentioned battery-draining app gone mid-way through the day, battery life seemed to get a boost to over 14 hours. Again, you can see why I now want to do some more testing.

For now, though, because April 10 is almost here and you need something, these are the numbers I saw over the last week.

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After a couple of additional days of testing, I will update this post, likely by the time April 10 gets here.

Update:  As I mentioned above, I decided to take two more days to see if some tweaks and an uninstalled app would make any difference in battery life. They didn’t. I’m still getting 11-13 hours of use. But, as I mentioned in that edit, this is my battery life, and my battery life is almost always lower than everyone else’s. Your’s, I would imagine, will be better than this by a couple of hours.

TouchWiz

As a fan of stock Android, I’m probably never going to be a big fan of an Android skin. Samsung’s TouchWiz, in particular, has almost always been my least favorite. Its blips and bloops and droops and water noises and Choco Cooky fonts and ugly icons and terrible color schemes have always driven me a bit mad. When I use a Samsung phone, I almost always apply as many third party apps to it as possible to try and hide Samsung’s vision of Android. All of that has changed somewhat with the Galaxy S6.

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Samsung actually listened to its loudest critics this time around, toned down TouchWiz a bit, got rid of some of the bloops and blips and water noises, and overall, gave us a lighter, faster moving Android Skin. I still don’t know that I would call it modern or anywhere near what it would look like under a can of Google’s Material Design paint, but it’s no longer completely gross. Sure, the icons are the same old icons, there are far too many settings even though Samsung trimmed a bunch out, and all of the gestures, Flipboards, and bloatware are unnecessary. With that said, I’m finding that TouchWiz isn’t always in my way – it’s just there, doing its best to not annoy or slow me down anymore. That’s a positive, no?

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Options like Multi Window remain, giving you the opportunity to perform two tasks at once or use two apps at a time. I also like that Samsung allows you to control little things like vibration intensity, grid size on the home screen, shortcuts to my most used settings, and download big files faster with Download Booster. I really appreciate the floating box that appears when a call arrives, as well, so that I don’t have to leave what I’m doing. But mostly, I turn all of Samsung’s stuff off to give me my own Android experience. It’s all there if I want it, but on most days, I find that I don’t, and that’s not a bad thing.

TouchWiz is getting better, even I can admit that.

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The Not-so-Good (for some)


No SD Card Slot, Removable Battery, or Waterproofing

If you are at all interested in the Galaxy S6, then you probably already know that it doesn’t feature a micro SD card slot, removable battery, or any form of waterproofing. For some, those exclusions are deal breakers. For me personally, I can tell you that during this review period, I never once said out loud, “Man, I really wish this phone had a micro SD slot, removable battery, and was waterproof.” That’s not to say that Samsung’s 180 on all three of these features from one year to the next isn’t something to complain about, it’s that I’ve become used to these features not being included in phones. I can’t even tell you the last time I thought about swapping a battery. In fact, I don’t think that I ever want to swap a battery again in my life.  Waterproofing is obviously a nice addition, but I’d much rather take this premium design than plastic flaps and faux metals. The SD card slot I could use, but with cloud storage of photos and music streaming services galore, I can’t say that I’m all that worried about even filling up a 32GB Galaxy S6.

And again, I fully understand how the lack of these three things could cause someone to turn to another phone. In many situations, they are extremely important. They just aren’t for the majority of smartphone users.

Other Notes


  • Pricing:  The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are expensive phones. That shouldn’t shock you since Samsung tossed in all of the tech we just mentioned, but be aware of that fact. The 32GB (least expensive) Galaxy S6 starts at $199 on contract and $599 should you buy it from Verizon. Tack on another $100 to each of those numbers if you want the Edge. At other carriers, the prices only go up.
  • Speaker:  Samsung bragged about the solo speaker in the Galaxy S6 during their press event, saying that they had greatly improved it all around. I will say this – it gets plenty loud and doesn’t sound like complete garbage. It can get a bit tinny at times, when cranked to the max, but overall, isn’t an area I would complain about. The placement isn’t great, though, meaning it’s easy to cover up when the phone is held in landscape. It’s also never going to be as loud or good as the dual-front-facing speaker setups on the Nexus 6 and HTC One family.

Video


Galaxy S6 Unboxing

25+ Tips and Tricks

Galaxy S6 vs. Galaxy S6 Edge

vs. iPhone 6

vs. HTC One M9

Galaxy S6 Edge Unboxing

Galaxy S6 Edge Features

Gallery


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The Verdict


You should probably buy this phone. In fact, if you have an upgrade available or are in the market for a new smartphone, why aren’t you buying the Galaxy S6? That’s probably the correct question at this point. The Galaxy S6 features the best display in a smartphone, along with the best camera, best build quality, and is the most futureproof.  The Samsung Galaxy S6 is not only the best phone available today, it’s going to be for a long time.

Good luck, rest of the smartphone industry. Hopefully, you were preparing for this moment or else 2015 is going to be a rough year for you.


Galaxy S6 Links:  AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint | Amazon | Best Buy

  • Cliff Keene

    Anyone have problems connecting a smart watch other than Samsungs i.e Moto 360?

  • Mark K

    Can someone tell me how the call quality is? I’ve always had issues with verizon signal strength going from 4 bars to one when placing a call.

  • S Kamel

    Knox. Lose warranty if rooted and no way to go back–unless some Knox bypass exploit is developed. I don’t want to support this kind of manufacturer behavior.

    Exynos chip: no ROM support. Forget Xposed Framework.

    Region lock: can’t use a rooted/SIM unlocked phone with a foreign SIM in Europe, Asia, or Africa because these regions are not in the “region” of N. America. No satisfactory response from Samsung.

    Kellen, you should have mentioned these things.

  • Craig P.

    Would everyone recommend upgrading from the S4 to the S6?

  • Craig P.

    Has anyone had a problem with not being able to remove the battery yet? or not having an SD card? Also with that how much memory is actually on the 32gb phone after all of the factory apps?

  • Guest

    dghfyujy. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. They haven’t even started their shin-dig in Paris yet, and already they’re falling out. Tee hee. Tee hee hee. HERE’S MORE DETAIL

    Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • mikkelmus

    If you only get 12 hours of battery life when the phone is new, it means that you are going to get severe problems with the battery when the battery starts degrading. In one year it might be down to 9-10 hours, 7 hours in two years, 4 hours in three years. Prepare for extensive wall hugging! With a built in battery there is little to do about this problem.

  • Ken

    probably not for me. the droid maxx gets me about 8-10 hours. can’t imagine this lasting me 8 hours.

  • Sam Dean

    You forgot to mention 2 more drawbacks. The glass covered back which attracts finger prints and the hump from the camera. The smaller battery is also a big problem. It’s even smaller than the s5.

    My solution to Samsung: build an s6x model. It may be a drop thicker, maybe curved like the moto X, so the camera hump will be included into the curve, and make the rear off a high quality carbon fiber material, not glass. And the battery should be like 3,500 mAh. Don’t forget, battery life is getting worse with every passing month. The s6 being a year old will hold a charge of barely 3-4 hours before requiring a (“quick”) charge. Not great in my book.

  • Cliff Keene

    I just got this the other day and love it. With any of my devices I decided to strip of down to Google play style. So I disabled apps that were bloat and use the Google play launcher. Now the issue I came across is using Chrome as it was not functioning normally. There was no pull down tab to see other pages you were on or even the swipe left. Someone please let me know if I am doing something wrong or if this is common for a Galaxy phone. Thanks!

    • This is the default behavior for chrome on any Lollipop device. Your pages are now merged into the multitasking window. To change it back to the way it was: Open chrome > settings > merge tabs and apps > turn off

  • Matt

    This phone is INSANE. Blows the Turbo out of the water. WOW.

  • M3D1T8R

    I finally dredged thought the entire review. In addition to my original comment below, I can now add a thanks to Droid Life for letting me know that I can buy headphones on Amazon.

  • disastrousrainbow

    From my Verizon S6 Edge. Going by these stats if I went from 100% to zero I should get near 4 hours of screen on time, which, I mean, that’s usually what I got on phone’s like the HTC One M8 and even Note 4, although the latter usually got me closer to 5 hours. Still, not bad for a small battery with pushing out all the pixels to that QHD screen.

  • Greenflames510

    Picked up the S6 today at Best Buy. From what I can see, everything works amazing well, esp the camera. Heck, even battery life was great! That is until I found a bug. For some reason, Verizon Cloud decided to backup all of my content, and turns out that was obliterating my battery life. Im talking an hour and a half of screen on time before it hit 0 from 92 percent. Yikes! Long story short, I uninstalled Verizon cloud service, and finally my battery was back to much more normal levels. Cell Standby is still number one battery drain on usage, but much more acceptable now. Heads up to those who have Verizon!

  • Graham

    I have some questions if someone could help me.
    1. Does wireless charging work with the quick charger? Does it also charge quick?
    2. Does wireless charging work if you have a cover on the phone?
    3. If I leave the phone down on its back will the camera lens scratch?
    4. If I leave it on its front will the screen scratch?

    • M3D1T8R

      1. No. (Not with current standards.)
      2. Depends on the case and wireless charger. Usually no.
      3. Possibly, yes. The M9 has a sapphire lenses cover, the S6 doesn’t, and can break easily, scratch easier. Careful with it.
      4. Depends what you put it on. Sand will scratch it. A wooden table maybe not.

      • Graham

        Thanks for your help!
        I think its a shame about the camera lens not being sapphire, they put such a good camera in it they should want to preserve it for as long as possible!

  • Mohsin Alee

    My next phone for sure.

  • xanrgirl

    Missing card slot is total deal breaker. SD card makes my music mobile from phone to phone. Also prefer removable battery. Went the other way with razr and when the battery went bad had to trash the phone. I’ll stick with my S5

  • Maxsax

    The only thing for me to be excited about is the camera on this phone. But that’s not enough for me to buy into Samsung’s marketing. Sadly majority of the people do buy in to this… I wonder how much hype or sales they would have if they kept all the same innards and kept the plastic outing.

  • LionStone

    “There wasn’t a gimmick in sight”. Except you know for the S6 Edge 😉
    I don’t get how the Loop payment system can top everyone else’s without having actually used it?
    Personally using a curved back phone and then handling a flat back phone is noticeably kind of…flat. So I don’t really get the comment that this phone was “built specifically for the human hand”, when the hand is naturally curved. A curved back phone would more accurately be described and ergonomically be built specifically for the human hand. Anyway, I’m ready to buy a new phone tomorrow but it won’t be the S6. Sammy can change the plastic to glass but it still looks like a Galaxy which to me, is not the best looking device out there. The huge camera lens sticking out is hideous on the back. The Home button/cap. keys have always been an eyesore to me and very anti-Android since my first Android, so the security and payment stuff is not a benefit to me. TW also is a big reason why I won’t give Sammy my money. I take a lot of photos and even the camera is not enough to outweigh the negatives. The M9 will be getting an update in a few days to fine tune the camera so it will be more than sufficient. Finally, just can’t justifiy the higher price tag and no phone replacement insurance, especially since I don’t use a case and the S6 is all glass.

  • callumshell1

    Is the camera sensor 16:9? Because I seriously cannot stand that.

  • Rafis

    They copied iphone too much, if i wanted that i would have gotten an iphone…. No sd car, no removal bettery, bumpy camera, less battery kills it for me…

  • biggie

    Got my Verizon S6 Edge today and am pretty bummed. There’s a screen defect, a little green smudge on the left side edge. I know Samsung said the yields on these displays were bad. I got one that slipped through the QA crack. Grumble. Hopefully my local VZW store will have stock on hand tomorrow to swap it out.

    • Josh LaCelle

      Yea, get it swapped. Verizon will do that

  • Phoneadopteer

    Ive already got the one m9 and will get the s6 for the camera. HTC can’t be touched for their audio.

    • Josh LaCelle

      And Samsung can’t be touched for their camera. haha

    • BOB Dudek

      4-9-15 /HTC pushed out a much-needed update to improve the HTC One M9’s cam

    • M3D1T8R

      Samsung: best display and camera, plus wireless charging. HTC better in pretty much everything else. So depends what you value most.

  • Ryan

    Why am I not buying it? Glass back, non removable battery, and no SD card. Any one of those are deal breakers for me.

  • Zeromus2003

    Still a big “meh” from me. Good luck getting root and unlocked Boot loader on Vzw! People also seem to forget Samsung’s horrible radios too….My Lg-g3 on Skydragon ROM beats the pants off my work GS5. Just saying and I used to be a huge Samsung phone fan since the Fascinate days!

    • flosserelli

      You are absolutely correct about Samsung radios, they are the worst. Samsung makes nearly everything, so you’d think they would be able to make a decent modem. But piss poor reception finally broke the last straw for me. I was a die hard Samsung fan until I got two Note 3s with crappy radios. Reception and battery life are what worry me most about the S6. I’m going to wait for user feedback before buying it.

    • M3D1T8R

      Yep. Reception should be the first thing discussed in any phone review. Especially here as Samsung has such a bad reputation in that area. Not even mentioned once in this long review.

  • Tomek G

    I am curious how would it handle encrypted file system (required by my job). S5 is slow and drains battery .
    I don’t care as much about SD card, battery.. a bit. But weatherproof. I do care a lot. My S5 was soaked many times already

  • Scott in MA

    Thank you for the review. I am debating between upgrading an S3 to the S6 or the Note 4. Would you care to give an opinion on what might be a better choice?

    • flosserelli

      Unless you must have a new phone right now, might as well wait for the Note 5. And if the Note 5 is not to your liking, you will be able to get an “old and busted” Note 4 for relatively cheap.

      • Josh LaCelle

        Note 4 will have a better battery life. S6 will be the better phone though! And the Note 5 should be sick!!!

    • M3D1T8R

      Do you not mind the huge size of the Note?
      How much do you value removable storage / battery, and much better battery life? (Note wins there.)
      Answer those and decide.
      Coming from an S3, the Note will seem massive. So definitely try it for a while first. Note 4 and Nexus 6 are just too big for my taste for a phone.
      Personally at this point if you can stick it out a little longer with your S3 I’d wait and see what’s coming from LG, Sony, Motorola. All likely will be better options than the S6, which will basically give you no battery life improvement vs your nearly 3 year old S3.

  • jim

    best until the Note 5 gets here

  • JRIDD

    Any news of a developer edition for the S6 or S6 edge?

    • Josh LaCelle

      not happening.

      • JRIDD

        How do you know? They made a S4 & S5.

  • nate

    If Samsung can keep this up, I’ll be waiting for the S7 with USB Type C for my upgrade next year

  • LARIYA213

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  • Vanquishgc

    Ok Samsung, you win this round. I’ll give credit where it’s due. Every review I’ve read has been extremely positive. Three things though, battery life, price, and SD card. Quick charging is awesome, so I guess that’s less of an issue, but I love having SD access. Still leaves the M9 on the table. Yeah the specs are there, but the retail for the higher gig versions is pretty obscene, hence the SD issue for me. LG has yet to release the G4, and I know they have Samsung in their crosshairs, so I want to give them a shot before making a decision.

  • buckley101

    Computer engineer here…I’m going to dig into some technical details here if anyone cares to have an opinion:

    I’m curious to see how big.LITTLE performs in everyday use. Benchmarks for the Exynos are really good and it outperforms Qualcomm’s SD 810 (mainly because of the flash memory and Mali GPU). But I’m not going to talk about GPU performance. I want to talk about CPU performance because the 810 and the Exynos both lease the same exact ARM cores. In benchmarks, they’re running all 8 cores, big and little. It’s easy for the scheduler to decide what core to schedule new threads on. In everyday use, most of the time the scheduler is going to choose between big cores or little cores to optimize performance or power consumption, respectively. Here’s where things are different between the 810 and the Exynos:

    The scheduler now has a new “monitoring” program that it needs to reference in order to decide which cores to schedule new threads on. This “monitoring” program is what tells the scheduler to either run these threads on big cores or little cores. This is very hard to do since it is impossible to tell how long a new thread wants to run for (if you could tell ahead of time, then it would be easy to say which core to schedule on). Sammy leases ARM’s/Linaros algorithm which keeps track of previous threads and decides based on history if they should schedule new threads on big or little cores…if the last 5 threads have been “heavy” workloads, then schedule new threads on big cores and visa versa. Qualcomm’s implementation monitors power consumption…if the cpu have been consuming more energy, then schedule on big cores and visa versa. According to Anandtech’s results, Qualcomm’s monitoring algorithm is more efficient and accurate than Sammy’s leased algorithm from ARM/Linaro. It’s not a little better and it’s not a lot better…it’s just better. So, in “real world use” when the scheduler has to decide this, Qualcomm’s approach is going to be better. I’m curious to see how this will make up for the slower memory Qualcomm uses in their SoC — will it make up for the slower memory access speeds? Will it surpass the difference, or will it not quite make up for it enough to be better in “real world use”. We will find out…or we won’t because both are going to be so good that no one will notice a difference.

    Quick note for the “810 runs hot” issues. Qualcomm was over clocking their processors to get the most speed out of it as possible. This is great, this is what we want, but only if it doesn’t overheat…which it did. They now slowed the clock speed to “normal” and it doesn’t overheat anymore. We can drop this issue now, it’s not a big deal. They were just trying to get the most out of it as they could. I have a massive amount of respect for Qualcomm since they develop their own CPU architecture, “Krait”, in house (they only lease ARM’s instruction set), GPU architecture, and modems all in San Diego, CA. I am a little biased towards this American company and I wish to see them succeed. Side node: this is the first time they have leased actual ARM cores in their SoC. Rumor is that they didn’t have their 64-bit CPU architecture ready in time so they had to drop in ARM cores instead.

    The second thing I am curious about is the modem. If there is one thing Qualcomm destroy’s EVERYONE in, is modem development. They’re modems are far superior to any competition. Forget the SoC, if you phone can’t hold a good signal, keep it fast, switch when necessary, and make it power efficient, then the SoC doesn’t matter. One could argue all day that a quality modem is more important than the SoC. QCOM’s modems are also expensive. I’m curious to see what Sammy actually used in their new phone in the States, because they probably are using their in-house, slower, modem internationally since they don’t need such a fast, expensive modem. Since is another thing I am looking forward to seeing. If they use their own, how will it affect power consumption and signal quality?

    Anyone have any opinions on what the outcome will be?

  • Shadowstare

    Reviews like this one are playing a heavy part in swaying me from the M9 and toward the S6. Damn you HTC for not making what the people want, and damn you Samsung for making EXACTLY what the people want.

    • M3D1T8R

      But with the M9 HTC did basically address just about every critique of the near-perfect M8. Problem is, their implementation of some of those changes seems not ideal (camera new sensor is early but not too great out of box, Snap810 issues, battery life slightly worse than M8, etc). So I applaud HTC for listening to the criticism. I’m just disappointed I some of their implementation.
      Samsung meanwhile is mostly playing catch up with the S6. Design detail and software still way being HTC, and even worse battery life. But hey it’s now shiny like jewelry so people want it! (Ironically HTC’s design is actually jewelry/watch grade.)
      In the end I’ll be skipping both devices. Hopefully we’ll see something later this year that better hits the mark. Or the M10 next year.. Hopefully the Snap 820 finally gets it right, like I had hoped the 810 would be thus year. Plus USB-c. In the end it just doesn’t seem like an ideal time to drop serious cash for any new flagship right now.

  • Anyone have this wallpaper? Thanks.

  • robertkoa

    Screen On Times are bad for an otherwise great Phone.

    Pocketnow reports under 3 hours screen on time sometimes closer to two hours !¿

    Battery life is the Achilles Heel of this Phone.

    They need a Pro Version with bigger Battery OR
    a prettier version of S6 Active for Professional Users.

  • Skittlez

    after owning a nexus 6, speaker placement has become way more important. using the nexus 6 speakers is more than a joy. Quality is outstanding and the volume is top notch. The S6 seems like it’s a great phone, but unless the next Nexus has front facing speakers, i really don’t see myself getting rid of this phone for a long time.

  • j

    As you find with iPhones, metal surround + glass back = shattered phones. Nothing to absorb the impact, so it’s transferred into the glass. Even a gorilla can’t withstand it.

  • Droider

    I dont get it, Kellen says the charging is unmatched with any other phone? Excuse me but what about the droid turbo, it has fast charging as well as wireless charging (albeit its only Qi charging)

  • dcdttu

    Anyone know where to get that wallpaper? I tried to find it, alas I couldn’t.

    • disastrousrainbow

      It’s from a live wallpaper app called Minima. I believe you have to buy it if you want to save it as regular wallpaper.

      • dcdttu

        You’re right! Thanks!

  • What is everyone going to do in the realm of cases – will you put a case on your S6 or do you trust the Gorilla Glass to keep you safe?

  • Dan Churco

    Just got my Verizon S6 Edge 64gb Delivered!!! This thing is awsome!

  • Hi, my name is s5 and I’m not buying a s6 because I’m buying the Note 5. 4k, 6 inches and 4k Gear VR will be the shiznit

  • Di5qu5td

    I searched for 3 words “the phone sucks” and I found them in the article! It must be true regardless of context, it has been written…

  • Mike Arnett

    Glad to see that Samsung finally knocked something out of the park like that. That being said, I still don’t like the capacitive and physical buttons. Wish they’d give us one with on screen buttons.

    • paul_cus

      S6 edge with just on screen buttons would’ve been really cool.

  • MacNificent

    Gunmetal Gray HTC One m9 delivered today. I went for the overnight delivery!

    • Slaughter

      Sry ’bout that, dude.

      • Josh LaCelle

        I know! My condolences also!

      • MacNificent

        Now that’s funny

      • MacNificent

        Now that’s funny!

    • mcdonsco

      Ouch

    • M3D1T8R

      Certainly seems like you made a good choice vs the s6 anyway. I don’t think now is the best time to buy any new flagship, but I’d certainly take an m9 over s6. Anyway, enjoy! And check out the xda HTC flagship megathread if you haven’t. A lot of good info there on camera calibration and everything else.

  • Turb0wned

    Just Disable the preloaded Amazon app and if you are on t-mobile turn off WiFi and watch your SOT go up to 4-5 hours.

  • DroidDoesnt_2

    “Good luck, rest of the smartphone industry”

    LOL! Let me correct you: “Good luck, rest of the ANDROID smartphone industry”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2015/04/02/citis-estimate-for-apples-iphone-sales-could-still-be-low/

    Aaah you Fandroids…such wishful thinkers

    • 213ninja

      lmao @ you. android is the industry at this point…educate before you diss, then you won’t look as foolish.

      http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp

      • DroidDoesnt_2

        Lol! Yet another Fandroid dufus blinded by the mirage of “market share”. Never mind the fact that for all of Android’s “market share” (comprised of mostly low end cheap junk) Apple walked away with 93% of the industry profit last quarter (you, that little reason why YOU GO INTO BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE). If having such a huge market share lead does translate into any type of advantage, then tell me, what good is it?? Only fools think that market share is more important that profit share. Hello, fool

        • 213ninja

          world domination. having your software in more people’s hands. that’s the value. you sound 6. go suck off your apply buds. you’re on the wrong blog.

          • DroidDoesnt_2

            World domination huh? Right…well answer this then: what exactly is Android “dominating”?? Last time I checked, Apple was/is the runaway leader in profits, App Store revenue, developer interest and developer payout (which is why many developers code for the App Store first, and many times EXCLUSIVELY). There is not a single, tangible advantage that results from Android’s “domination”, other than to be able to say, “we sell more cheap, profit less, throwaway junk than you do”. What an accomplishment

        • M3D1T8R

          Blackberry once had most of the profits too.

          • DroidDoesnt_2

            Blackberry stubbornly refused to adapt to the changing smartphone market and got left in the dust. By the time they produced the Blackberry 10, which is a pretty good smartphone btw, it was too late. Same thing would have happened to Apple had they refused to enter the large screen market…

          • M3D1T8R

            Right, none of which has anything to do with my point that, contrary to what you suggest, current profits don’t necessarily mean future success.

            Just like with computers and hdtv’s, smartphones are coming down in price. You can get most of the same utility from a $150 Moto E that you get from a $1000 Iphone. Just like you used to pay $3000 for a nice computer, you now pay maybe $700. Apple is hanging on because they have a brand that people are willing to pay for, more and more as a status symbol. In essence they are becoming a product for the niche of the rich class, and they know it (see Apple Watch Edition, $10,000-$17,000). That’s where much of the profit is, so they’re okay just going after that market, since all they care about is making hardware as cheaply as possible that they can sell for ridiculous margins. Meanwhile Android has competitive products for that niche “phone jewelry” market as well, but also more and more good options for the couple billion people that aren’t in that market. No, they aren’t all just “cheap trash” anymore. Google makes their money mostly from ads. Affordable internet and internet consumption devices in the hands if “the other billion” is their future.
            But since we live in a world increasingly divided into the haves and have-nots, there is room for both models to work – for a time. Just don’t have any allusions as to what Apple is about.

          • DroidDoesnt_2

            Not under any allusions at all: Apple is about NOW what they have ALWAYS been about…the high end of any market that they enter. This is why I have laughed and will continue to laugh at any Fandroid who brings up the whole market share (non)argument. It means absolutely nothing. You cannot lose a game that you don’t COMPETE in, and Apple has repeatedly demonstrated that they don’t compete in the low-end, razor-thin margin market, which is where the majority of Android’s market share numbers are tabulated from. And they have been able to sustain their high margins in the midst of an Android race-to-the-bottom market, where companies are constantly trying to undercut each other on price. If these companies don’t start turning a profit soon, then you will see many of those low-cost options disappear; companies are in business to make money btw, not just serve an underprivileged market. And don’t fool yourself; The Apple brand has EARNED every bit of power that it has, not merely by being a status symbol but by delivering quality products that people have grown to love and depend on. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to change any time soon…

  • hyp3rdr1v3

    Not even 2 hours screen time?

    Hmmm

    • Josh LaCelle

      Take a look at the droid turbo, nexus 6, galaxy s5 reviews. He always gets only 2 SOT. He must have a bad app on his phones drawing juice.

  • DanSan

    ugh, im stuck in such a struggle. my GS4 has seen better days and I’m tired of it. Im torn between nexus 6 and GS6. not worried about battery life as both will be better than my GS4 running cm11. problem is i really like root and stock android but verizon doesn’t play nicely.

    • M3D1T8R

      If you don’t mind the MASSIVE size, Nexus 6 is just about perfect otherwise. Just definitely try for a while first. It was way too large for me. That said, I’d still definitely take one over the S6.

  • NAM37

    I really wish they’d loose the physical face button…

  • Ryan

    I want to know screen on time in relation to batter life. The pictures above show about 1.5hr with only 10% batter left. I currently have the S5 and can get about 3hr of screen time on before my phone hits 5%. Can anyone confirm the screen on time please?

  • Mordecaidrake

    Hows loop pay? I just got my 2nd gen Moto X in December, I already want this phone.

    • paul_cus

      Loop Pay isn’t out till this summer.

  • Jim L

    Are screen on times of less than 2 hours typical? I don’t know how that can be considered “average” battery life. My heavily used and abused Galaxy S4 gets better than that.

    • flosserelli

      It is average if you are coming from a GNex or Nexus 4. Lol

      • Jim L

        Haha, I suppose it is a matter of perspective.

  • flosserelli

    14 total hours with 1 hour 44 min screen on time?
    10.5 hours with 1.5 hours SOT?
    9 hours with 1 hour SOT?

    The phone was hardly used and it still didn’t last a full day. I was so pumped to buy one until I saw those numbers.
    *sigh*

    • Josh LaCelle

      People are getting 4-6 SOT with this phone though!

  • homes ulike
    • Hope and change the big lie

      ^Look at this fa ggot spammer^

  • iNomNomAwesome

    I still can’t even consider a phone that doesn’t have the fantastic Active Display (now Moto Display) of the Moto X.

    • mcdonsco

      While useful, that’s hardly a reason to get/not get a phone?

      I like it when I have it (turbo/n6 recently) but I dont miss it when i dont have it

  • Eric

    Does anyone know if LoopPay is built in or will need an adapter or case to work?

    • thereasoner

      Built in.

  • thereasoner

    Great review for an awesome device. I totally agree, Samsung did “kill it” on the upgrades this year, especially the specs and new or improved features. This is the phone to beat despite the outcry from the spare battery crowd.

  • Serotheo

    As someone that was looking to go with a non-Samsung device after using the S3 and Note 3 for the past few years, they are making the decision extremely tough. This is potentially the best phone of the year, all the hardware improvements and minor software adjustments may make-up for the eventual overhead that Samsung devices face. Note, I’m talking about the unseemly lag cropping up from updates down the road that turn many great devices into lag-infested burdens. (A great example of this is the S3, another one of the great rebirths of Samsung.. followed by eventual software updates crippling the device.)

    My upgrade isn’t for another ~6 more months but this is looking to be a fantastic option. Between this and the G4 perhaps, unless the Note 5 proceeds to have the same appeal.

    // I’d mention the Moto X 2015 or Z4, etc. but the camera is an integral feature for me and I’m weary of Sony’s relations with T-Mobile now as well as the 810’s unfortunate performance.

    • thereasoner

      I noticed the other day when using my wifes old Galaxy S3 that it was noticeably slower than my HTC ONE M7. I just chalked it up to being a 3 year old device, probably didn’t seem that slow back then I’m thinking.

      • Serotheo

        I’d say consider the review done by MKBHD when it was first released, as a flashback to that he discusses how its an amazingly fast device, everything was snappy.

  • M3D1T8R

    I read up until “we couldn’t find [something missing or deal breaking]”, which was immediately followed by the picture of that typical generic looking Samsung front face, with its same old design, complete with obsolete physical home button and backwards still non-customizable other two buttons, and [still] lack of front facing speakers.
    Laughing out loud at this point, I couldn’t read on.

    Hopefully Samsung innovates next year something beyond including wireless charging (which I do applaud them for). No, starting to play catch up on design by putting some Sony-like glass on the back and using a little more HTC-like metal, while getting rid of the SD slot in favor of Apple-like higher margin storage upgrades, and using a smaller battery than before – now non-removable! – doesn’t count for innovation.
    In the mean time, those of us looking for a phone with the best actual utility, rather than a piece of jewelry, will continue to look elsewhere. But hey, for Kellen and Tim and others who want a phone as a piece of jewelry, by all means get a shiny new Galaxy S6, or the even less functional, but more jewelry-like, Edge variant.

    • thereasoner

      How about a non-jewelry like Galaxy S6 Active with larger battery, SD card, shock resistance, water proofing and a rugged case instead of glass? Reports have one on the way but you lose wireless charging and the new fingerprint sensor /home button but then you find that obsolete anyways.

      • M3D1T8R

        What you describe actually sounds a bit better, but if the buttons and speaker are still the same (never mind Samsung’s historically weak radios/reception and ugly software and a lot of other more minor issues I didn’t get into above), it’ll still fall short.

        • thereasoner

          Speaker moves to the back and the front has three buttons instead of just the one home button, a requirement for the high level of water proofing and rugged build provided in Active versions. The radios/reception is reportedly excellent as per reviews I’ve seen and my wifes 3 year old Galaxy S3 is fine as well.

          For an idea of how it will look just Google the S5 Active but by the sounds of it Samsung was never your cup of tea anyways and it really wouldn’t matter if they included SD card in the Galaxy S6 /S6 edge, you have other issues . It really doesn’t matter what they build, it obviously won’t please everyone. That said, they killed it with the Galaxy S6, it will be their most popular phone ever guaranteed!

          • M3D1T8R

            I owned an S3. It had pretty poor signal strength (better than the historically worst G.Nexus but noticably worse than both HTC and Motorola). From my comparisons of more recent Samsung devices, they’ve gotten no better.
            We still don’t know for sure if Samsung used an in house modem for the S6 (seems likely), or a Qualcomm chip. This makes me even more concerned about this issue than before.

    • Orion

      Unfortunately I read a lot of the review and cringed. Lol I totally agree with your points.

  • edward

    So let me get this straight this is the phone every other company should be afraid of? Previous advantages of Sammy expandable storage, GONE…Removable battery GONE…waterproofing GONE…and on top of that battery life that is not mediocre but horrible… So strong points camera which most people care about alot NOT!!! Samsung buyers do selfies or Facebook…screen I’ve had 720s and 1080s and after the first day no noticeable difference. So droid-life what are they paying you for this review?

    • thereasoner

      Water proofing, SD card, shock resistance and a larger battery are on the Active version of the Galaxy S6 reportedly, also a dual Sim version on the way. You know Samsung, they build something for everyone.

      As for battery life, it depends on who is reviewing it and how it’s being tested apparently as I’m reading on some sites that it’s average or similar to the S5 which is not bad considering how easy Samsung is making it to keep this phone charged up. One thing is for sure, it can’t be any worse than my HTC ONE M7 that has an even smaller 2300 mAh battery!

      Oh, and the pixel dense screens are said to be useful for Samsungs VR headgear where the screen is just a couple of inches from your eyes and under some magnification. DisplayMate calls it “the best screen ever put on a phone” and I tend to agree.

    • jayzorzzzzz

      Wow, on all my samsung phones (had note/s2/s3/s4/s5 before swapping to Z3C, I have never replaced or even bothered with waterproof. I cared about the SD back then but not anymore, SD cards are too friggin slow. Didn’t even bother having one on my 16gb z3C.

  • JD

    No mention of themes, please update the review!

  • jrbmed08

    Kellen, could you tell us what app was draining your battery? Would be nice to know in case it’s one I have installed, since I’m getting terrible battery life on my phone (Moto X, not GS6, but still might be relevant).

  • Thorsten von Eicken

    What’s it likely gonna cost to put a new battery in after 1.5-2 years?

    • thereasoner

      My understanding is that embedded batteries are of higher quality /durability than those removable batteries. The embedded battery in my HTC ONE M7 is still very much like it was when I bought it almost 2 years of fairly heavy use later. Just top them up, people don’t realize that lithium ion batteries don’t like to be drained and that topping them up is good for the longevity of the battery.

  • Chuck Peebles

    Shaking my head at all you people stressing about battery life. I’m at a little over three years since I last charged my phone with a year and a half screen on time. Why the hell would anybody buy a phone without a removable battery?

    • trixnkix637

      Always near a charger or have a portable on hand. Personally I have no need for a removable battery.

  • Carlos Reyes

    Not buying, waiting for the Note Edge 2.

  • StankyChikin

    Verdict.. You should probably wait on the G4 before buying this phone..

    There I fixed it for ya 😉

  • SA_NYC

    The only thing I can quibble about with Droid Life (my absolute favorite tech site) is that I’ve felt over the years that Kellex you have been too generous/positive about phone battery life. For example I never did figure out how you managed to get ‘fuhgeddaboudit’ battery life on your Galaxy Nexus when you’d turn on LTE, since even with that mod it was so terrible for me. (And I think I’m still emotionally scarred from that experience.) Now I think I know how you pulled that off — under two hours screen time, out of 14 hours spent testing the G6?? What gives? I put close to that much on my handset in an average day, and I work full-time at something other than blogging about phones.

    So what I’m taking from this review is that the 6 yields about two hours of SOT. Just give us the straight goods, please, we’re adults, we can deal with it and make our choices. To that end, THANK YOU for posting your battery-stat screen shots. And I guess I’d just say that I don’t find 2 hours actual usage to be “Somewhere in the Middle”; more like “Entering Galaxy Nexus territory”. Darn, I really, really wanted to want this phone.

    • SA_NYC

      Epilogue: I just looked back at the DL review of the G3, my current phone, which has surprisingly terrible battery life, and here’s what it said:

      “I regularly find myself plugging the phone in at night with over 30% of the battery remaining. So we are talking at least 15 hours of usage, with over two hours of screen-on time, yet no need to plug-in the phone at all during the day. The only other phone I have ever used with battery life like this, is the OnePlus One, which seems to be a master of life in the battery department.”

      So I guess we have the answer to the question: DL seems to test phones for about 2 hours of screen on time. I recall reading that DL review, because I was worried about G3 battery life, but not noting the short SOT. Beware.

      • LordVierge

        Maybe I have less screen on time than you do but I seem to get through the entire day (6am-11pm) on a charge and still have 20-30% battery left. Maybe I need to stress the phone out more and see if that changes…

  • paul_cus

    Quite the glowing review. I’ll stick with the Alpha until Sony announces what’s next for them. Battery life seems comparable to the S6, so I’ll be good.

  • guest

    Awful battery life + No replaceable battery = Perfect

  • DDHawkeye

    Wow, that is actually really awful battery life! Less than 1.5 hours of screen on time and you’re already under 33%?!?!? So that means you get around 2 hours 15 minutes of screen on time before the battery is dead. My Galaxy S5 gets at least 4 hours before the battery dies! I guess that quick charging capability is really really necessary for S6 owners.

    • SA_NYC

      Agreed, terrible SOT. Really disappointing.

    • Ravioli

      Using a Tmobile S6. Yesterday I had 5 hours SOT @ 20% battery (16 hrs). Auto brightness, location on high power, wifi + wifi calling off.
      Today I’m at 14 hrs, ~3 hrs SOT, 32% battery remaining. I think the screenshots Kellen used aren’t typical in my day-to-day use.

  • crazed_z06

    I dont know why Samsung doesnt fix the delay between camera and gallery. The Note 4 has the same issue. In fact, it’s faster to take a picture, hit the home button, and them launch the gallery. It doesnt make sense. It has to be a fixable software issue because the gallery load instantly from outside of the camera..

  • cgalyon

    Two questions that I would like to know if possible: 1) is there any difference in the bootloaders between carrier models? 2) do we know inter-carrier compatibility yet?

  • Tyler

    Motorola better bring their A game this year. That dimple better have a fingerprint scanner this time around. Might not actually break my trend after all. (moto razr v3m, samsung flipshot, moto droid, samsung galaxy nexus, moto x)

  • InvaderDJ

    Samsung really brought their A game this gen. I’m going to skip the S6 but I’ll be looking really closely at the Note 5 this year. If they keep this same build quality while putting in a bigger battery and clean up Touchwiz just a little bit more I’ll be back on the Samsung train for the first time since the GNex.

  • mcdonsco

    Also, I’m assuming I can eventually get this for cricket, but correction to the article, you cannot as of yet get it for cricket.

  • AllPurposeRadio

    I had the S4 and now the Note 3…never once with either phone did I ever think that they felt like garbage because omg they’re plastic. Plenty sturdy and constructed just fine. Thats always been the most ridiculous overblown criticism on Samsung. I don’t need some ornate glass and metal design that probably makes it way difficult and expensive to repair. Plus I’d rather have the removable battery and especially expandable storage. I’m upgrade ready and still think I’m going with the Note 4.

    • PoisonApple31

      Note 3 is a solid device, why not wait to see what the Note 5 has to offer?

      • AllPurposeRadio

        Honestly because I’m guessing that the Note 5 will go in the same direction as the S6

        • Loonytik

          Yep. Unless there’s a lot of cracked glass S6’s out there.

    • Bender (Call Saul) McLugh

      THIS.

  • ClikFire _

    Anyone have the Wallpaper in this review???

  • ClikFire _

    For the 1st in a long time I actually want a Galaxy device. My wife just got lollipop on her Note 4 and it seems to make touchwiz better. Not so much in looks but in performance.

  • droidbeat

    Why aren’t I buying the Galaxy S6? The HTC One M9’s full metal jacket, on-screen buttons, Sense 7 experience, microSD, quality audio and HTC’s after-sale support matter more to me than the S6’s superior camera. But, I’m happy the S6 exists. It raises the bar on both camera quality and importance of a fresh face. It’s good for Android and the industry. Bravo, Samsung! You understandably excuse some of the not-so-hot stuff more than I think you will in time. But, smartphones are made to add joy to life. The S6 appears to fit that narrative nicely.

    • IBCRZY

      well there’s at least one thing going for you if you choose the m9 over the s6. you’ll probably be the only one to have it.

      • PoisonApple31

        “hey is that the One M8?”
        ::flips phone over::
        “oh, its the One M9… nice!”

      • droidbeat

        Yep, the only Rollex at a table full of Casios. 🙂

  • calum wilper

    dat home button though, personally i’d like to see it gone

    • dreadnatty08

      But, fingerprint scanner that works; I’m glad to see it.

    • Josh LaCelle

      How do you expect the finger scanner to work? Lol

      • calum wilper

        Personally I never cared about the fingerprint scanner. Always seemed like a gimmick to me anyway since they only did it cause apple did.

        • [email protected]

          at least on apple, it is not gimmicky since it allows opening of bank or cloud apps with touch ID. Samsung should also encourage app developers to use their fingerprint sensor.

          • calum wilper

            don’t know man, isn’t really a selling point for me at all

  • catatoniccube

    Wallpaper?

  • Ray Quinn

    what is the storage capacity??? how much room is being taken up by the OS and bloatware????

  • Eric R.

    If the Screen in time can be equal to the M8 this phone is perfect.

  • Replicant Jason Booth

    Well this review pretty much cements my decisions.

  • Godzilla

    So the 5 was waterproof and the 6 isnt? That’s really stupid.

    • Josh LaCelle

      No it’s smart. You want waterproof get a CASE!!!! Some people don’t want a ugly big phone.

      • M3D1T8R

        I guess you think differently than myself of Sony’s recent flagship designs.

        • Josh LaCelle

          The design is okay. but still ugly. Not to mention UI is really ugly.

        • jayzorzzzzz

          I regret buying this Z3C.. sometimes you can’t even tell the phone is upside down!! and double tap screen is lame.. way too sensitive and unlocks in pocket. Only good thing is you can watch stuffs in the shower…. lol

    • southerndinner

      Their sales numbers will disagree

    • PoisonApple31

      Waterproof belongs on the active variant, not the main flagship!

  • Orion

    Looks like Kellen is getting that Samsung money too. I’m good with my Nexus 6. Can’t go to anything smaller. Besides, it still has Touchwiz and that damn home button. But hey…..if you love it then good for you.

    • mcdonsco

      DL has been BASHING Samsung for years…He gave it a rave review because for the first time, Samsung DESERVES IT.

      • Orion

        I don’t have a problem with him praising it but its only April. Dude is already giving it phone of the year Lmao. I think Kellen is just smitten. It will wear off once his precious moto 2015 comes later this year.

        • mcdonsco

          As of this point in time, its not just a solid winner, but VERY solid. Smokes everything else.

    • southerndinner

      Nexus neckbeards have arrived

      • Orion

        You know it.

  • hike15

    So what does this phone do that really sets it apart? Speed? Camera? Does it have any really unique, every day features? I do think the credit card tech is pretty cool, but this seems to be another spec upgrade. I’d still say people should look at the Moto phones because of some of the unique features offered, particularly the Moto app suite. It’s also a cleaner version of Android in a waterproof phone that either has a massive battery or a wonderful customization program. The Sammy is great, but definately not the only option. Beauty of Android is having the option to pick a phone that best suites a persons needs.

    • Godzilla

      camera, to be honest, its epic

    • Symbiotx

      Camera – in quality and speed.
      Speed – benchmarks destroy every other device out there.
      Build – premium/quality look.

  • starnovsky

    The real question is: why Samsung didn’t release this phone a year earlier, why did it wait for Apple to kick it’s ass? You have to stay ahead of the completion, Samsung, you can’t play catch up if you want to win.

  • fartbubbler

    @Kellen since you’ve recently received the Edge, can you give us your initial impression if you had to choose between the regular 6 and the Edge?

    • Probably won’t spend a ton of time with it until next week, after I get the One M9 reviewed. Initially though, I’d say the regular is what I would choose. Just not sure I like the thin edge feel in hand with the Edge. Also not sure I need or want those rounded display parts. Tim will tell all in his review. 🙂

  • fartbubbler

    @Kellen what is the app that drains your battery? I think we’d all like to be aware of this 🙂

    • Stang68

      Yes, I’d like to know, too!

    • PoisonApple31

      Facebook! 😉

    • Been trying to figure it out. The other day, I was sure it was Mailbox. Wasn’t using the app, didn’t even have it syncing, and it had drained 21% of my battery. So I uninstalled, thought I saw a boost, but now I’m not sure. Battery life yesterday without it was basically the same.

      Still testing…

  • shamatuu

    battery life is what i care the most and all the reviews that i read from many other sites say its average too. I’m a medium user so there is no way this phone can last 1 entire day. Heavy user no way. Light user sure.

  • Piotr G.

    Here are my wife’s specs on her second day of usage.

    • Régis Knechtel

      That’s much better then it looks like in the article 😀

      • robertkoa

        Yes looks better at Screen On Time but
        Cell Standby is much too high.
        Turn off VoLTE and Wifi Calling and try again – maybe get to 6 Hours SOT – very respectable if so.
        Note to Tmobile and Samsung- Tmobile LTE Phones have VoLTE by default- so WHAT does VoLTE menu switch do on Galaxy S6 ?

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    • Josh LaCelle

      NICE!

    • Loonytik

      Was location on the whole time? What radios? What brightness setting.

      Yes, this looks good but without all those questions answered it doesn’t mean much.

    • DERP

      That’s pretty awful. Cell standby took the most juice at 39% so it wasn’t even used yet still got that low in half a day.

      • ClikFire _

        How is this bad? Maybe for a phablet but not for a 5.1 inch display. It says 3 hours left with 13 hours of usage thats 16 hours with almost 5 hours sot maybe 6 if she used it until it died. That is better than my Nexus 6 which gets 4-5 sot, and every flagship I have owned except the LG G2 has given me worst battery life. That’s basically a full day. I’ve never gotten more than a day on any device except the LG G2 which would somehow give me insane sot at 8-9 hours. This is honestly good battery life when you consider it s 2k display and over 500 PPI.

        • Mojor Izin

          I respectfully disagree. I hate phablets, but I have the droid maxx which is 5 inch phone, a few mm thicker than the s6. cell standby shouldn’t be the biggest battery drainer, unless you’re keeping it on 20% brightness all day. I use lux and have programmed it to keep it at 70%+ brightness in most lighting. Even the stock android auto brightness is setup to keep screens really dim. Battery life is the single biggest thing smartphone users complain about. Most people’s phones are too fast already for what they do and most folks can’t tell the difference between anything higher than 720p on a 5″ screen. So instead of overdoing it in those areas, they should have addressed battery.

          • On the Tmobile S6s Wifi Calling is causing high cell standby, it’s a bug.

    • ClikFire _

      That’s actually really good for 2k display with 500ppi. She could of probably gotten close to 6 hours sot with 3 hours of usage left. That’s impressive considering my Nexus 6 only gets 4-5 sot with a bigger battery. Its also better than the moto X 2014 and Nexus 5 battery life.

    • jnt

      That doesn’t add up does it? 12% screen usage with 4.5 hours SOT? Also, that cell standby is awfully high for someone that interacted with their phone for 4.5 hours. It just seems off unless I’m missing something?

      • If it’s Tmobile there is a known issue with Wifi Calling causing abnormally high cell standby.

    • Norris

      I think there’s some major cell standby bug.Its eating up more battery than the Screen,the screen should be on top.

      • For Tmobile, yes. Known issue. Wifi calling is causing high cell standby times.

    • Serotheo

      How is this possible? What’s the brightness she’s using? I mean I guess this is a question of whether or not she’s inside or out most of the time – I know for me battery life drastically improves when I’m not using my phone outdoors as I don’t need to max brightness all the time.

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    • meir

      Not so bad. Enjoy.

    • Jay Ochs

      good god. i don’t even get that on my Note 4. i’m like kellen here; my battery life is worse than everybody in the world across every single phone i’ve used since 2010 and i have no idea why lol i’m lucky if i hit 3 hours SOT on a 15-17 hour day on my note 4, and that’s what, a 3300mah battery?! damn.

    • Kieser Sozay

      What other specs do you have on your wife?

      • Ken

        there’s probably 3gb of ram on her to run the patience app.

        • Kieser Sozay

          My wife is just like Samsung Bloatware, there is no way to uninstall her. I’ll try rooting her.

  • taz89

    Hey kellex, those on screen times seem really terrible. I was watching another hands on video on YouTube and he was getting anywhere from 3 and half to 5 hours of onscreen time from a standby of about 14 hours. He turned off the t-mobile wifi calling which apparently kills battery as it’s always searching for wifi.

  • alberteezy

    I only like how the back glass looks and in the color black. Other wise the S6 isn’t that unique looking, still looks too much like an IPhone to me.

    • mcdonsco

      Apparently you’ve only looked at the bottom of it then.

  • eric

    sammy did exactly what they needed to do this year. they put together another phone that sets the standard by which all other flagships will be measured and most importantly….they upped their hardware design to an entirely new level for sammy.

  • jmed99

    The small 5.1″ screen is to small for me. I have a Note 4 and honestly it’s a little large. I think somewhere between 5.1 and 5.7 is a sweet spot but its not at 5.1″!

  • alberteezy

    Why does Kellen always have bad battery life in his reviews? My 1st gen Moto X pushes 3-3.5 hrs of SOT. Those are horrible times.

    • taz89

      Seems like he has some battery drain or something as it’s clearly not right. Even my 2 year old s4 which is still using its original battery gets about 3 hours of on screen time. I’ve seen other s6 reviews which show anywhere from 3 and half to 5 hours of onscreen time. I think there’s an issue with the t-mobile version. I’ve read that it’s got something to do with the wifi calling always hunting for wifi and if you turn that off it improves battery.

      • alberteezy

        That might be it for the S6, but Kellen seems to always have problems with battery life. He always claims to get like 2-2.5 SOT with most of his phones.

        • taz89

          I wonder if his an area where signal ain’t that good. Poor signal leads to battery drain as the phone is trying very hard to hold onto a signal. No should be getting a hour or so of on screen. It’s sad if thats considered OK lol

          • It could be a coverage thing, but it is like this with every carrier – Verizon, T-Mobile, and ATT. Maybe I’m just in a terrible little hole here that sucks battery.

    • mcdonsco

      I have yet to come across a phone that, in my location, has great battery life…location plays a HUGE role in battery life.

      If you’re in an area like I am where it doesn’t matter what service you’re on you’re getting 1-2 bars at the most (around 100+dBm) then your battery life is going to suck.

      If you get 70dbm regularly, your battery life would be great.

    • PoisonApple31

      T-Mobile…

      cheap shot!

  • Tuan

    I bought the Edge and while its super nice phone, I am still ify about it. The phone is great but it certainly is not leaps and bounds better than other flagships. The reality is there are going to be some trade offs you have to concede. The s6 has great build quality, awesome screen, and a great camera. The speakers are mediocre compared to the HTC One, Nexus 6, and even the Moto X 2014. The software while improved is still lagging behind the Moto X/Nexus 6 and even HTC one. You really have to ask yourself what is more important. Do you favor an awesome camera or would you rather have stock Android? I think I am still leaning towards returning the S6 because I value the simple and clean lines of the stock Android over a wonderful camera.

    The battery life of the S6 is no better and might even be slighly worse than other flagship phones and build quality, at least to me, is no better than the Moto X, N6, or HTC one. I am not a huge fan of glass backs. While it looks nice and feels premium, it’s a fingerprint magnet and fragile. The ergonomics of the s6 isnt as comfortable to hold as the Moto X either.

    • shooter50

      build quality no better than Moto X……….hahahahahahahahaha……………….hahahahahahaaha, sorry, can’t stop laughing at that one

    • Me

      I want both. Stock + a great camera. Won’t happen tho.

  • Tom Luley

    That battery life is borderline terrible, not sure why it’s acceptable to call that “somewhere in the middle”. Based on those numbers, that battery life is Galaxy Nexus bad. What’s the point of having this awesome phone if it barely makes it even HALF the day?

    • hkklife

      Those Samsung PR Dept. checks are ringing even louder than Moto’s checks did back in 2013….of course it is acceptable to give it glowing reviews across the board no matter what! 🙂

    • A-A-Ron

      The battery life is way better than what he has been getting (although still not very good). Expect around 14-16 hours of battery life with 3.5-5 HRS of screen on time.

      • ClikFire _

        That’s good IMO my Nexus 6 only gets 4-4 sot.

      • SA_NYC

        Agreed; SOT is the only stat that really counts. Heck, any phone last a long time when you aren’t using it.

    • Andrew Osborn

      THANK YOU. Stop setting the bar so low with battery life. Some people like to use their phones. And not have it set at 25% brightness.

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    • disastrousrainbow

      I agree. This should have been a huge disclaimer rather than the “Oh, we’re under the impression it’s a bug which will be fixed, k? 10 out 10.”

      • SA_NYC

        So true! How many times have we heard, across many different phone types, the excuse “My review was with a pre-production unit and software, so tweaks should make actual battery life better.” Enough. Crappy battery life is crappy battery life. Let’s at least go in with our eyes open.

        • Well, battery life has been average for me. These numbers are basically what I always get so to me, it’s average. The disclaimer was there because the day before I got ready to do the review, we started tweaking some things that were suggested to us. This has nothing to do with pre-production anything. But we didn’t want to delay the whole review to get 2 more days of battery testing in.

    • Brent Cooper

      I agree. I have the note 4 which is said to have wonderful battery life compared to other phones. I still usually have to plug it in in the afternoon for a boost so it isn’t dead before I go to bed. That being said, I use my phone from 6:30am till 11:30pm or later with usually 3.5-5.5 hours of screen on time. I think battery life needs to be a major focus on future phones because there is no point if they go dead half way through the day. But until that day, thank you Qualcomm quick charge 2.0!

      • Jeff “BIG RED”

        I was charging my note 4 3 or 4 times daily. The solution was a zero lemon battery. Loved fast charging but love not plugging in my phone more. The talk about the galaxy s6 is really making me excited for the note 5. Gotta love phablets!

    • ClikFire _

      Weird other reviewers have said 4-5 hours sot which is what my Nexus 6 gets with heavy use. I actually find that impressive for 2k.

    • Matches Malone

      Hell, my Nexus 5 on Android 5.1 gets better battery life than the S6.

    • jeff manning

      Kellen always manages to get way worse battery life than everyone else.

      • SA_NYC

        Funny; see my comment above, I think he claims to get better than what I find. Or at least, be more upbeat about it.

        • jeff manning

          I always assume that he must receive a lot of notifications from twitter, g+, email, ect, which wouldnt be surprising for someone running a blog like this. Something that keeps waking the phone.
          With the Z3 compact, he would get around 3-4 hrs of SoT, while I and others on XDA would get about 7-8 SoT from mostly chrome and other average user apps (mail, messenger, ect).

          • SA_NYC

            Thanks for the input. I’m no social media expert, but it strikes me as unbelievable that just receiving notifications without turning on the screen would impact battery life that much. But I guess it’s not really the issue here. The real question is the measuring stick being used: If Kellex is actually getting this kind of terrible battery life, why is he describing it as mediocre, when it’s clearly not? And what reviewer only puts two hours of SOT on a phone over the course of a whole day? Weird. We come here for unbiased opinion, but this makes it seem like there’s spin happening. Kellex, give us the straight goods.

          • I gave you the straight goods. Go look through all of my reviews, I always have around 2 hours of SoT. I’m still trying to figure out who has enough time in the day to look at their phone for 4-5 hours. 😛

            My battery numbers are almost always lower than everyone else’s. Can’t explain it – I’ve tried to figure it out. So for me, this is about average. I get this with the Nexus 6, got it with the G Flex 2, and the Moto X. The Note 4 lasted much longer for me, though Tim reviewed that.

          • jimbob

            Kellex, I think you also mentioned previously that you have poor signal much of the day. Is that correct? I think that may explain some of the issue.

            A couple apps I know tend to be big battery killers and also very popular are Facebook Messenger and Google+. If you have these set to always notify, they tend to destroy battery. I assume you have both.

            Anyhow, thanks as always for your outstanding reviews and coverage!

          • Voltism

            I have a lot of screen on time, at least 4-5 hours because I have classes where I don’t need to pay attention, or when I eat between classes I’m on my phone so I hit 4-5 hours often.

          • SA_NYC

            Fair enough. Thanks for the great work.

          • I seriously can’t explain it. I’ve tried to figure it out too. But yes, my battery numbers are almost always way lower than what our readers experience. A lot of you guys all get 4-5 hours of SoT and yet, in all my days of reviewing phones, have never reached that level of SoT.

            I must use a ton of terrible apps heh. Apps that drain battery like crazy.

            But yes, I receive non-stop notifications, have more things syncing in the background than any normal person should.

            Maybe I should put out a statement each time in my battery sections. I hate to scare people off with my abnormal numbers. Well, at least they are consistently abnormal.

          • Daistaar

            Hey Kellen, wasn’t the Ultra Power Saving mode promised to provide up to 24 hours of battery with just 10% battery life? I know you generally get lower numbers due to being a poweruser, but 2 hours on UPS?

    • Ismail Akram

      So far no OEM impressed us with battery life, HTC M9 had same battery life(talking about new mobiles not of 2014) have to see how G4 and Z4 battery stack up against two. My Most disappointment with M9 is not camera but battery. f**k you Qualcomm for ruining all OEM this year except the one who didn’t use your chipset. If SD810 could have performed well, M9 would be great upgrade. Now why Buy M9 when its battery is average, camera is not much improved in some cases even worse than M8. Performance is great though not competitive this year. I guess rest is awesome about M9 😀

      • Tom Luley

        I will agree with you, but one exception. Droid Turbo. That is the only phone with acceptable battery life, in my eyes. I get 6 hours SoT on full brightness with Bluetooth on and location set to high accuracy, I’ll be off charge around 16 to 18 hours and be around 20 percent left.

        • Ismail Akram

          Sometimes I wish they had put SD805 in M9, I’m sure we again have killer battery(note 4 with SD805 have better battery life than Exynos), droid Turbo have very big battery and yes battery sucker displayer too

  • bonix

    About the water proofing: Ever since I got my moto X and now Turbo with water resistant coating I’ve found I really enjoy using my phone in the shower. It’s a great place to talk on the phone. Easier to think and communicate those thoughts and you are naked. They can barely tell you are in the shower too. I recommend it if you can.

  • Vai

    I am extremely impressed with the s6 this year but I want to wait and see what LG do first with the G4, their new display seems impressive, rumours of a 20mp ois camera with laser auto focus intrigues me.. With a 5.5inch display in a compact body. Plus a better battery than the s6 I’d imagine?

    Either that or wait for the note 5. Imagine this power efficient 14nm processor with a large 3200mah battery and possibly better camera than the s6?

    Note 5 or LG G4 could be my phone this year.

    • Shawn Spring

      I was thinking the same, except I’m concerned the G4 will have the S810 – with the issues the M9 has had with that processor, I worry more about it than that Octa-core processor Sammy went with.

  • Bane

    I have had this phone since last Monday (thank you, T-Mobile). The screen and camera are unmatched.

    This review is spot on. Nice job. My only real complaint is battery life. I had to factory reset after the out-of-box update and then some apps were causing me issues. Now, it’s more or less normal, but not great. I guess I’m used to phablets with huge batteries.

    Very happy with this phone. I may just need to buy a Mophie case.

    • km75sr

      Thereby covering up most of the phone. ….which is the biggest thing everyone seems to love (how ito looks). Lol. Makes me kinda wonder what’s the point?

      • SA_NYC

        Hear, here.

      • Bane

        It’s not like it would be on all the time. I would only use it on long days away from the charger. It’s like carrying a spare battery. You only use it when you need it.

        • km75sr

          I get it. And honestly I wasn’t trying to take a shot at you. I just wish these manufacturers would make battery life a priority. Bad battery life equals a bad experience. Samsung could’ve included a bigger battery by making the device a little thicker and I bet nobody would’ve complained at all. We shouldn’t have to buy extra batteries cases etc etc just to get decent battery life. But we do what we gotta do I guess.

  • WCM3
    • ClikFire _

      I agree. I’m a Nexus 6 user and after using the Galaxy S6 at best buy, I can honestly say I was impressed.

      Even as stated in the review touchwiz is worlds better in performance. It even has the lollipop animations and transitions and a lot of the apps feel closer to material design than touchwiz. I actually like their new music app design better than google play music app.

  • ultravisitor

    I’m not buying it because Samsung and TouchGarbage.

    • jayzorzzzzz

      You clicked on a samsung review just to say that? hahaha

      • ultravisitor

        Actually, illiterate numbskull, I was answering a question that was part of the article, which you obviously didn’t read.

  • Ralph Bretz

    The S6’s camera looks amazing. That’s where Samsung kills every other manufacturer. My Nexus 6 has a good camera. Those pictures look outstanding.

    • jbdan

      It’s disgustingly good for a phone camera. I almost want to call it a camera phone. I’m happy they are setting the bar so high in hopes of getting others to follow

    • guest

      F 1.9 is the trick

      • wtd2009

        i’d say non-hardware aspects are the most important, but f1.9 certainly helps some

    • ClikFire _

      I agree. I too use a Nexus 6 and I am actually tempted to buy this phone. I used it at best buy, the camera literally made my jaw drop. I thought I was using a DSLR.

      I’m sorry but anyone that thinks the iPhone 6/6+ camera is better is biased, and I’m not comparing MP but picture quality.

  • disastrousrainbow

    I really want to like this review, I do, but the bias is just too much to swallow. From the iPhone 6 review:

    “The camera on the backside of the device protrudes out from the phone’s shell. This is a terrible design decision for a number of reasons, most importantly though, because now your $650+ phone has an always exposed camera lens that will take the brunt of every collision.”

    “The iPhone 6 is probably the ugliest, worst designed product that Apple has released in, well, years. Let me explain why. First of all, the rounded edges surrounding its body, coupled with its aluminum exterior make it incredibly slippery.”

    So, Samsung makes a phone with a glass front and back, rounded edges, and a protruding camera and he freaks out like there’s no tomorrow? Don’t get me wrong, I think the S6 is gorgeous, but it’s like, damn Kellex, calm down.

    • Grahaman27

      I think there is a major difference between the iPhone and s6 design. Many will disagree though. Its an opinion piece, what are you going to do?

      • disastrousrainbow

        Be objective without being subjective? I know, I know, in a perfect world, right? But really when it’s this glaring it’s like, come on, dude…

    • Eric

      In regards to that second quote, it’s still valid. As a current 6+ owner, the iPhone’s aluminum build with rounded edges does make it a bit less secure to hold compared to other devices. I’ve held the S6 at a Best Buy and the in hand feel is definitely an improvement over the 6/6+ since its edges have a flat section

      • disastrousrainbow

        I felt like it was less prevalent on the regular iPhone 6 though. With its relatively compact frame it was easier to get a good grip. At the end of the day, however, they’re both gorgeous devices. I’m just clinging to this crazy idea that good reviewers should be more objective…

        • I still stand by that. The iPhone 6 is not a pretty device, it is slippery, and the protrusion up top is unsightly. The Galaxy S6 looks better, feels better in hand, is far less slippery, and yeah it has a camera hump. It really doesn’t bug me on the S6, don’t know why that is.

          • AC

            I guess I’m struggling with saying the iPhone 6 isn’t pretty, but that the S6 is. The fronts are just about identical, only that the Samsung’s corners are a bit more rounded (which isn’t necessarily a plus to me). Obviously the backs are different and the iPhone 6 is slippery as can be, but these phones are very, very similar as far as looks go. Regardless, if I were buying a new phone now, I’d have a hard time not buying the S6, but I’m still torn–outside of the camera and thinness I’d probably take my Nexus 5 and its plastic against the glass and aluminum of the S6 just because I know I’ll drop it some day and my S6 will no longer be beautiful. Beauty is kind of pointless to me if you have to cover it in a case. Of course, being 50% cheaper helps the N5 a lot in my book, but that’s likely to be a moot point if the N6 was any indication of the direction Google is going with the Nexus line. Crossing my fingers for a cheaper LG G4 (and that camera) for the next Nexus…

    • King Butt-Touches

      Wish I could upvote this 1000 times. Kellen isn’t drinking the kool-aid, he’s drowning in it.

    • Tyler

      I think the biggest issue with the iPhone 6/6+ protruding camera is its placement. The iPhone wobbles where the s6 according to MKBHD doesn’t due to the camera being centered. As for damaging while dropping, you hopefully shouldn’t be dropping the phone but accidents happen and ive seen some drop-test videos where the camera held up well, even after being ran over by a car and dropped 10 feet. (can link if anyone wants)

      As for design that’s subjective but I think the iPhone 6 is considerably uglier than the iPhone 5/5S which wasn’t a bad designed phone. I think the S6 looks a lot nicer although i wish it didn’t have a protruding lens and was thicker for a bigger battery.

    • Guest

      Well it does look like a iPhone, and probably will be marketed as the iPhone of Android.

  • Brad

    Waiting for the lg G4! Hopefully sad card and removable battery….oh and and even better camera.

    • A-A-Ron

      Same here. I’m seeing if I should three weeks to see the G4 before buying the S6. Leaning towards the S6 though because the G4 will likely be too big and have a slight curve like the G Flex

      • bose301s

        Why would it have a curve? That’s for the flex series.

    • eric

      i had high hopes for the G4, but the closer we get to the announcement, the more worried i become. rumors of faux leather make me weep. LG needs their new phone to keep on pace with the S6 or wait until next year to bring it like sammy just did.

      • Me

        LG chases Samsung, like Samsung chases Apple. I expect a Note 4-ish type of back on the G4.

        • eric

          i’m thinking we will see something similar to what you said which makes me sad 🙁 i really want LG to start having some better success, but that’s a difficult task when you aren’t samsung.

  • Daniel Walsh

    We already knew it was the best phone available.

  • jamaall

    This beats my Turbo in everything except battery, and the features are give or take. Never thought I’d be considering a Samsung as my next phone. Moto will have to go all out to keep me, especially when the S6’s camera is so good.

    • PoisonApple31

      Moto will go all out, except for the camera. They’ll never excel in that area. And I love my Nexus 6 btw.

      • Ismail Akram

        I think same about HTC, they can do everything better but camera. (of course this year they messed up a lot of things especially battery timing)

      • Me

        Which hurts my heart because I’d move my fanboyism from Nokia to Moto, if they could make a nice camera.

  • BensBurgers

    This review only makes me more excited for Friday. FedEx can’t come soon enough.

  • Nicholas Ruiz

    I felt a great disturbance in the comments section, as if millions of Sammy haters suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

    • TC Infantino

      🙂

      • an0nim0

        Wow, I’ve never seen an entire planet have such a consistent temperature; I think I should mov…

        • an0nim0

          Oh, NVM.

          EDIT: Ah, lame — animated GIFs don’t work.

          • MistaButters

            They work, you just have to put the web address and not click the insert picture button

      • Lucky Armpit

        An upvote for the Alderaan post. Excellent!

      • Droidzilla

        Thought that was Kelvin, but now I realise it’s thousand. Damn you, science!

    • Kieser Sozay

      The truth you are telling.

  • guest

    Not so good for some? I feel like before this was always a negative now its a so so. If this was an lg device you would rant about a lack of this stuff. Ugh.

  • Miguel

    I think I’m getting in bed with Sammy, this phone’s hardware and camera are worth it…at least until the next Nexus comes out.

  • Pete Labozetta

    I feel like those battery tests have to be wrong. On my Nexus 6, I’ve been on battery for 1 day and 19 hours with nearly 2 hours of screen on time and I have 14% battery life. There’s no way the S6 has that type of battery life.

    • Josh LaCelle

      You saying the S6 has good battery life or not?

      • Daniel Walsh

        it has average battery life.

        • disastrousrainbow

          9 hours with 28% battery and barely an hour of screen on time is not average. That’s so below average that it has to be bug related.

          • Josh LaCelle

            There is a bug! DUH! People are getting 4-5 SOT with this phone.

          • Daniel Walsh

            I’ve seen other reviews and most of them point it to have average battery life.

      • Pete Labozetta

        Not good, assuming those tests are reflective of average user use.

    • Miguel

      Yes but you said 19hrs compare to 11 to 14.

      • Pete Labozetta

        Which is my point. I don’t think that a phone with battery life as “average” as the Nexus 6 would be that much better than the S6.

    • mmark27

      I’m betting that the memory leak in Android 5.0.x is still present. The S5 has horrific battery life on 5.0, even with low Screen On Time. It’s like the phone will last forever until you turn that screen on and BOOSH, dead quickly. I fully expect the 5.1.x bumps will fix up that battery life.

      • jbdan

        It is very present

      • Pete Labozetta

        Certainly hope that’s the case.

      • [email protected]

        Yes the memory leak is causing battery life issues and app crashes in S6 also.

  • Harold JP Castro

    Question: how does it fare against Nexus 6 with Android 5.1? (I ask because I’m just curious) Thanks

  • Trysta

    Great review. I could tell that you really liked the phone (anyone on DL in the past month could tell that you like this phone) but you still pointed out areas of concern. I appreciate that.

    I feel like your camera pics look more amazing that what I’ve seen on other review sites. Like really REALLY good. I hope all S6 phones are capable of this because that is fantastic.

    Battery life looks pretty terrible based on your week so I hope it gets better.

    As to your question. I am not buying the S6 because I am 99.9% certain the Note 5 will be even better.

  • bostonphoneguy

    Good enough to displace the Moto X 2014 as your daily driver?

    • Yeah. Picked up the Moto X to take that display comparison pic, and it just doesn’t even come close in quality in hand. And of course, the camera makes it a no brainer to go S6. Really nice phone here.

      • Martin B.

        About camera. Is Camera2 API available on S6 with Manual/L
        Camera? Especially RAW DNG capture and shutter speed support. Thanks!

  • Arian

    So, from my understanding, Samsung Pay isn’t active yet? It will be released this summer?

    • Miguel

      You can always install Google Wallet in the mean time.

  • Brandon Nicholson

    Hey Kellen… I think ESPN is trying to get a hold of you on your Moto X…

    • Phone hadn’t been turned on in a while. 😛

  • Régis Knechtel

    Does anybody knows where i can get that wallpaper in the pics?

    • Ted Ockels

      Minima Pro

      • Régis Knechtel

        Thanks! 🙂

  • AdazeeI

    Damn Kellen, I have never seen you like a phone this much. Will this be your new personal phone?

    • I’m thinking so. This phone is really really good. First time in a while I’ve been this excited about a smartphone.

  • hmz04

    I won’t leave my beloved 2013 Moto X no matter how good the S6 is.

    • Miguel

      Because you’re under contract I suppose.

  • Ethan Besbris

    Better than my Nexus 6?

    • jbdan

      I returned this and kept my N6. The GS6 is better in a lot of ways for sure and it is a sweet device. But the most important “feature” for me is stock android… it won me over long ago on the N4. The goog has hooked me

  • Guest

    14hrs but only 1hrs and 14mins of screen on time

    • disastrousrainbow

      That’s incredibly light use.

      • SA_NYC

        Hardly even seems like a review; odd.

        • I have no idea what human stares at a phone for 4-5 hours per day. I use my phone constantly, obviously more than ever during a review and I think I’ve hit 3 hours of SoT once in my life…

    • Jeff McLean

      As I told the other person…
      I’m on AT&6 GS6, currently at 2hrs 3min of screen on time, with 64% battery remaining. That’s with screen full brightness the whole time.

  • disastrousrainbow

    That screen on time is highly disappointing. That’s like iPhone 6 levels.

    • Carlos Lopez

      I wouldnt worry too much about kellen’s battery test from what ive seen on all his other reviews he usually gets about half what normal usage really is
      Edit: not that this is good but from xda i’ve seen people get 4hrs+

      • This is true, my battery life almost always sucks. So for me, these numbers are actually pretty average, which is why I put it in average.

    • Jeff McLean

      I’m on AT&6 GS6, currently at 2hrs 3min of screen on time, with 64% battery remaining. That’s with screen full brightness the whole time.

      • Grahaman27

        Yeah I suspect this is a T-Mobile issue, literally ever reviewer has a T-Mobile version.

        • Neel

          What’s the difference between the tmobile and att version?

          • WIFI calling on the Tmobile version has been causing abnormally high cell standby for some reason.

      • Mark Whelan

        That’s interesting…how many hours off the charger for that? The battery stats posted are horrendous. Like using the MotoX. Nice phone, but battery not so much…. If you always have to top it off, it’ll get old in a hurry. I’ll be interested to hear what folks say after 6 months…when all the ‘new car smell’ wears off….

    • Miguel

      If you want a phone this small you’ll have to sacrifice in some areas like the battery, the only phones that last long are the Note series and other with huge batteries, I think we should all understand that by now.

      • disastrousrainbow

        Not necessarily. Look at a year-old One M8. Or even the Note 4 with its gigantic QHD screen. I know the latter has a bigger battery, but relative to its screen size still pumping a QHD resolution? I still manage 3-4 hours of screen on time with either in a day and still have 20-30% at the end of the day.

        Meanwhile, when I had the iPhone 6 and second-gen Moto X I could barely crack over two without the phone being critical. I truly am hoping the XDA 2-3-4 hour marks hold true because my Edge is on the way.

        • markisss88

          6 or 6 Plus ? 6 Plus gets me from 7:00AM-9:00PM of moderate to heavy usage. I switch back and forth between Note 4 and 6 Plus – As others said it really depends on how you use your phone but my 6 Plus last longer for how I use a phone.

      • Ashwath Ravee

        Sony phones. The Z3 Compact is really small too, albeit thicker.

    • It depends how you use your phone. On XDA users are getting upwards of 4-6 hours of SOT. Meanwhile, I’m lucky to get 2 hours on my G2 and G3. It varies wildly based on use.

      • ClikFire _

        There are so many factors when it comes to battery life the lg g2 use to give me 8 hours sot and 2 full days. If the Gs6 is getting 4-6 hours that’s inoresive for how small it is with a 2k display. Heck my Nexus 6 only gets 4-5 sot.

    • iamcc

      Honestly, with quick charging, I really don’t care much about battery life any more. 15 minutes of charging on my iPhone 6 or Nexus 6 gives me 30-50% more juice assuming i’m under 20% when I plug in. I don’t really need much more than that in one day…

      • Symbiotx

        That’s where I made the compromise too. I can deal with a smaller battery as long as it can be quickly re-filled.

    • Tanuj Chokshi

      I have both the iPhone 6 and HTC One M8 and I get ~4.17 hours of screen on time daily on my iPhone 6 so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • disastrousrainbow

        My brightness settings probably had something to do with it. Every phone I use I leave the brightness at 75% unless if it’s night time. Then it goes to auto. But yeah, after an hour or so, two if I was lucky, the phone was on its last legs.

        Streaming from the Play Music app for over an hour probably didn’t help, but again my M8 powered through in the exact same conditions to 3-4 hours of screen on time…

        • ClikFire _

          That’s insanely bright. Most smartphone displays are really bright now days especially when your inside 30-40% is still bright for me on my Nexus 6. I only go to 50% or higher when outside.

        • King Butt-Touches

          Yeah that’s way too bright.

          • disastrousrainbow

            I don’t think it is. Not in my office where it’s bright to begin with. Plus if it’s too dim you can’t enjoy the overall lusciousness of the panel. Anything below 50% is for dim environments for me.

    • WCM3

      Agreed but I’ve seen others with 3-4 hours sot. I tried a note and it had amazing battery life but was too big for me. S6 will be a perfect size and i’ll just carry around an Anker battery pack on long days. You also can’t beat wireless charging and fast charging all in one package..

      • disastrousrainbow

        Yeah that’s my dilemma right now. Or will be once my Edge arrives. Basically, I love the Note 4’s gorgeous screen and awesome battery life, but the size is a bit too much when I’m just in bed browsing the web with one hand.

        So if the S6 can give me at least HTC One M8 levels of life (3-4 hours sot) I’ll gladly make it my daily driver. I’m also debating between keeping the white model I ordered or going gold since it looks…pretty damm nice.

    • ClikFire _

      Your joking right? For a 2k display with over 500 PPI, a tiny battery and a 5.1 inch screen?

      My Nexus 6 gets 4-5 she still had 3 hours left too so she could of had close to 6 hours sot. That’s impressive when most 5 inch 1080p phones of the years don’t even get that kind of battery. The Nexus 5 and Moto X 2014 come to mind.

    • ClikFire _

      Also don’t forget batteries on new phones need to to calibrate. It took My Nexus 5 2 weeks before battery improved after owning it brand new last February.

  • The Doctor

    If I do get the S6, it’ll be the S6 Active. It has all the specs the original S6 should have had included on the device.