Mobile World Congress is well under way in Barcelona and Sunday in particular was jam packed with major announcements from Samsung, HTC, and Huawei. Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have been the real highlights of the event so far and easily the biggest announcement of MWC.
It marks an important moment for Samsung as it tries to sway attention back its way after the more than successful launch of the iPhone 6 a few months ago. The new Galaxy S6 phones are scheduled for release on April 10 and we’ve been poring over the features, which have divided some Android fans (say goodbye to your expandable storage) but let’s take a look at what Samsung has got right with this addition to the Galaxy family.
The new iterations of the Galaxy needed to stand out from the pack. The Galaxy S5, while a solid phone, didn’t usher in a new chapter for Samsung like it had hoped, rather it was more like the S4 with additional features. The Galaxy S6 and its Edge companion makes a concerted effort to not only up the ante in features but is also a physically striking phone that sets it apart from its predecessor. The Gorilla Glass panels and metal frame of the new Galaxy smartphone is a breath of fresh air compared to the mostly plastic body of older smartphones and shows that Samsung understands the importance of evolving design.
The new smartphones’ camera are Samsung’s fastest, which it says has a start up time of 0.7 seconds, and is one of the first smartphones to come with automatic focus tracking. The rear camera is a 16MP with optical image stabilization and live HDR while the front camera is 5MP but with just live HDR. This all promises better photos and the Samsung has made lofty promises with its new camera but users will be quick put all of this to the test once the devices are out.
Whether you’re using the standard Galaxy S6 or its curved brother the S6 Edge, you’ll be experiencing Samsung’s sharpest display quality yet with 577 pixels per inch across the 5.1” screen with quad HD resolution. This is a marked improvement on the S5, which had 432 pixels per inch and even the iPhone 6 Plus with its 401 pixels per inch. This may only be the beginning though as with each new major smartphone from one of the big players, the display quality has improved immensely so this will be one feature to keep an eye on in the future.
Wireless charging hasn’t quite taken off yet but it will. The reason? More and more of the biggest smartphone makers are committing to the technology and Samsung is the latest. The S6 and S6 Edge both have wireless charging functionality built in and ready to go. This means new users will be well equipped for the moment wireless charging becomes more ubiquitous and is certainly confirmation that all future Samsung devices will have the same feature.
Granted, the concept isn’t original and the name definitely isn’t original either but mobile payments is going to be a very competitive market. Apple Pay truly rebooted the idea; Google is trying to rejuvenate its efforts and now Samsung has joined the fight. The thing Samsung has going for it is the company’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, which uses a unique technology that allows it to work with any standard magnetic credit card stripe readers. Samsung Pay is integrated into the new S6 devices from the get-go in a bid to secure users for the nascent payments platform. How many people will be swayed by it? Time will tell, but the technology is there for Samsung to make a real mark in the mobile payment industry.
Now more than ever, customers like to have a choice. Apple realized this by releasing two editions of the iPhone 6 and appealing to the bigger phone, or “phablet”, market with the iPhone 6 Plus. While Samsung has released mini versions of the Galaxy range, the differences weren’t too drastic. The Galaxy S6 Edge may have most of the same features as its companion but the curved edges are emblematic of Samsung’s fresh focus on design, and especially give the more design-minded user a nice alternative. Also both designs are a touch slimmer than the iPhone 6, which is pretty impressive all on its own.