Top positive review
GREAT phone, but a couple drawbacks you need to be aware of
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2015
I got a chance to test a Galaxy S6 out and immediately bought one for my wife. I'm a complete phone nerd (XDA Developers Recognized Contributor, if that means anything to you) so I massively over analyze these things.
It's a VERY nice phone but it's got some things that I consider drawbacks. For my wife, all the drawbacks listed below were non issues. She didn't care about these issues. So understand that my 'drawbacks' are completely subjective to your personal needs. But they are things that you should be aware of and consider if they mean anything to you before purchasing.
❖ The screen is incredible. Like really incredible. The resolution is better than my eye can see. I use a Galaxy S4 as my regular phone and it has great resolution where you can't see individual pixels. I thought the S4 screen was as good as you can get, but the S6 screen takes it to a whole new level. Even though you can't see pixels on either screen, the higher resolution of the S6 screen makes everything look so sharp that it's nearly impossible to tell you are looking at a screen. It's that incredible.
❖ The design of the phone just feels more 'expensive'. I mean that in a good way. It feels just higher quality than previous models in the Galaxy S line. The S3 and S4 for example are often critiqued for having a plastic shell. The S6 has a metal band around the outside that just makes it feel 'premium' in your hand. It should also provide more protection for the device as well.
❖ TouchWiz is HEAVILY scaled back. I hate TouchWiz (Samsung's version of Android) It adds a layer of UI that is neither helpful nor intuitive. And it's a resource hog which slows the phone down for important tasks just so it can make the scrolling smoother, and other such useless tradeoffs. On the S6 TouchWiz was barely noticeable. The UI looks more like the standard Google Android Lollipop interface. It was all just much smoother and simpler and better and wonderful.
❖ Camera. 16 MP. And the images it takes look stunning on the super HD screen. Those photos on a larger high resolution monitor are simply stunning.
❖ The battery is not removable or easily replaceable. A cell phone battery has a life of about 500 charge cycles. I tend to keep my phones for 2 years as daily users, then I keep my old phones for a variety of other purposes around the house. (My old HTC Sensation is hooked up to my stereo for use as a nice wifi streaming media player with a touchscreen UI, for example) I eventually have a need to replace batteries because I wear them out. I like being able to go on Amazon, spent $20 on a replacement battery, pop it in and be done. Additionally, even if you don't keep your phones that long, batteries fail sometimes. The stock batteries on the Galaxy S4 had some problems. They were minimal, but for those affected the battery absolutely had to be replaced. On the S4 it took 8 seconds and the problem was solved. On the S6 I'm sure it would be covered by warranty but it'd be a pain to take it somewhere to have it worked on should the issue come up. So no replaceable battery is a deal killer for me. This might not be an issue for you. If not, great! But be aware of the issue before making purchase decisions.
❖ You can't expand the storage with an SD Card. I don't want to live in the cloud. I hate the cloud. Sometimes I'm not on an LTE network. Sometimes I'm in the middle of nowhere but still want to show someone pictures of my kids. I got my wife the 32GB model. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that some of that is dedicated for the operating system and user apps. So you don't get to use all 32GB. The S6 is going to be available in up to 128GB, which ends my problem with not liking the cloud option. Again, you might not care. If not, great! My wife doesn't keep a lot of stuff on her phone. She moves all her pictures to her computer and never loaded video to watch on her phone, so the storage thing wasn't a big deal to her at all even at the 32GB base model. But it would drive me crazy. So this is another matter of personal opinion.
I would bet HEAVILY that Samsung put a lot of money into researching consumers and figured out that MOST people don't care about these two 'downsides'. And that's backed up by early reports that the launch day sales and pre-orders of the S6 have already doubled the total sales of the S5. of So I expect that most people reading this review won't care about the battery or storage. But you should still be aware of them in case one or both of them is an issue for you.
❖ The screen is probably at the upper limits of size you'd want to go for a phone. Any bigger and it's too large for one handed operation. But the S6 is just at that limit where you can still use it with one hand.
❖ It's not waterproof like the previous S5 model. How often does that really come in handy though? Do you often find yourself unexpectedly waste deep in water so quickly that you don't even have a chance to take your phone out of your pocket and get it to higher ground? Me either.
❖ The camera juts out from the back a little. It also does this on the S4. I haven't noticed it in 2 years on that phone. I can't imaging you'd care about it on the S6. But I've heard that complaint about it. It sticks out a LITTLE further than on the S4, but it's really not that big of a deal. My wife didn't even notice.
❖ The general design looks like all the other phones in the Galaxy S line. It's a sleek design. It has the physical home button and the capacitive back and menu buttons to either side of it so you are not reliant on the Android "bottom of the screen" navigation bar. I don't care for that navigation bar as it takes up screen real estate. I like the buttons I need most being off the screen. The S6 continues that trend.
░░░░░THE BOTTOM LINE░░░░░
If you can deal with the non removable battery and non upgradable storage, the S6 is an insanely sleek phone that I can't imaging you'd be unhappy with. The thing looks cool even when the screen is off. It feels great in your hand. The image clarity is insane. The UI is incredibly smooth and easy to use.
If the battery and SD card issues are deal killers for you, you won't like the S6.
That's what this comes down to. If those aren't a big deal, buy it and you will be SUPER happy. If those are a big deal, you will not be happy. Though I have to admit I think that I'd get used to the non upgradable storage. I just don't like it right now. The battery thing might be something I could get used to as well....but Id' need proof of "this isn't a hindrance" for quite a while before I liked it.
If you completely take the battery and SD out of the equation it's not a contest. The S6 is a GREAT phone.