I've always had a strange relationship with Samsung smartphones. I like them a lot at first, then after a few months (or even weeks) I hate them so much that I have this overwhelming urge to sell them on! My last Samsung device was the Galaxy Note 3. Unfortunately the same thing happened. I ended up selling it after a few months. The reason: bugs, and not a satisfactory user experience.
My last Android phone was the LG G4 but I sent it back 10 days later (see review). When my contract was due to upgrade with Virgin Mobile I decided to choose the Samsung Galaxy S6. I know it might sound a weird decision especially with my past relationship with the Korean brand!
I'm sure you've read hundreds of reviews and everybody agrees that the S6 is one of the best Android Smartphones out there, so here is my full review after 80 days of using this phone.
The look: simply beautiful.
Say goodbye to the ugly plastic design a la Samsung and say hello to the beautiful metal and glass era of Samsung design. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is just beautiful. It's clear that the design team at Samsung have taken the critics of the poor style of the S5 seriously. The metal frame and the full glass front and back cover is largely inspired by the iPhone 6 and the Nexus 4. Honestly, there are no better looking Android phones out there at the moment. I really love the industrial and minimalistic approach that you can find on the S6. There are a lot of great covers for the Samsung Galaxy S6 like the Tech 21 impact snap, but I prefer a phone without covers (to admire the design).
Design and style: 5 Stars!
The display: a joy for your eyes.
We all know that Samsung is capable of producing beautiful displays and the S6 is no exception. The screen of the Samsung Galaxy S6 is simply outstanding. In my opinion this is the best display on any smartphone full stop. It has incredible viewing angles, accurate colour reproduction, and you won’t find any pixels at all. Browse the web, watch a movie in full HD, look at your latest pictures or enjoy your favourite Youtube videos. Whatever you do, you will be highly impressed and satisfied. There is nothing bad to say about this beautiful display.
Display: 5 stars
The camera: the iPhone 6 Plus has a serious competitor.
The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S6 is probably not as fast as the iPhone 6 and 6Plus, but the S6 is capable of producing outstanding pictures. I admire what Samsung has done with the camera and the minimalist camera software. You have a choice of auto mode-Hdr auto-HDr on, and if you want there is a complete manual settings that photography enthusiasts will appreciate. I use mainly the auto mode and the results are really impressive. If you want an Android smartphone with the best camera, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the best choice. It has a very fast autofocus and you can get good results (not great) in low lighting.
Camera: 4.5 stars (low light pictures....almost there)
What about the videos? One word - outstanding! And as you can film in UHD (3840x2160) it means that you can zoom up to 8 times and get some great videos (perfect to film ants and their eggs….see my video below).
The 'just OK' part of the Samsung Galaxy S6:
Wireless Charging: Samsung you can do better.
I am a big fan of Wireless Charging. I discovered this technology a few years ago with the HP Pre 3 (webOS) and the Touchstone. Then I used it a lot with Nokia. But with the Samsung S6 I have mixed feelings. For example, I have the Wireless Charging dock from LG for the LG3 but for some reason it works for 10 seconds and then stops. Eventually it will connect again, then stop again! I have the Sony Wireless Charging plate WCH10 for the excellent Sony BSP 10, and again I have similar issues (it is more reliable but still could be better). I've read on some forums that more users are experiencing similar issues. So it’s just an OK for me.
Wireless charging: 3 stars
A phone like this one deserves stereo loud speakers. Unfortunately though this is not the case. The speaker is loud and not bad, but come on, we are in 2015 and a premium device needs stereo speakers.
speakers: 3 stars
I've always found Touchwiz being good in some things but awfully laggy most of the time. However it looks like Samsung has listened to a lot of people because Touchwiz on the S6 is a big improvement. It is much nicer than the one you can find on the Note 4 or the S5. It also works better and there is less lagging than before. But from time to time the S6 does behave strangely! For some reason, the S6 can be extremely slow at times and this can be very frustrating. Also when the phone is hot I cannot use the flash or video camera - it's stuck! That’s very bad because when I use the camera of the S6, sooner or later it becomes hot and unusable. That's very frustrating to be honest.
Touchwiz: 2.5 stars (better, but still not there).
The biggest problem of the Samsung Galaxy S6, and the reason why it can ruin daily experiences is the extremely poor battery life. To put it in a nice way, every morning when I wake up I look at the phone and think 'What an outstanding, powerful and gorgeous phone'. At 3pm I look at it and realise that I can't use the great features of this phone anymore as the battery is almost flat!
Samsung I have some questions for you:
Why do we need an outstanding and beautiful display if we can’t watch more than 1 and a half movies before we need to charge the phone?
What do you want me to do with this amazing camera if it is impossible to take pictures of a day out at the beach because of the poor battery?
And what about the sat nav? Don’t expect to use the sat nav on this phone for a long journey because after 2-3 hours you will need to charge it again.
We need phones that last all day and not only a few hours. I think that my HTC Desire (my first smartphone) had a better battery life than that! The iPhone 6 Plus has a great battery, the Blackberry Z30 (read my Z30 review here) and Passport last all day, but what is the problem with the S6?
The S6 is outstanding in so many aspects but unfortunately you can’t enjoy it that much because of the poor battery.
Battery: 2 stars (the worst of the S6)
Do I recommend the Samsung Galaxy S6?
I use the S6 everyday and I still think that in so many aspects it is an outstanding phone, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. However when I need to (heavily) use the Sat Nav, mobile internet or the camera, things start to go downhill (especially due to the poor battery). This is a real shame because the S6 has so many great and amazing features that can only be fully appreciated with light usage. True it has fast charging which is a very positive point, but I am not the kind of guy who leaves the house every morning with the fast charger...just in case.
Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is an outstanding Android phone and probably the best Samsung so far. But this amazing phone has a huge problem: the battery!
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