Echoing the words of the infamous Ron Burgundy, it’s safe to say Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress is kind of a big deal. The enormous event is quickly becoming the premiere showcase for company’s to unveil their latest-and-greatest smartphones and accessories, many of which are slated to hit U.S. market and beyond in the forthcoming year. As expected, Samsung was on-hand to reveal the latest smartphones in the Galaxy lineup at MWC 2015, appropriately-dubbed the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
The phones are nearly identical — aside from the latter’s curved-glass edges — basking in an upscale metal design, a generous amount of internal memory, built-in wireless charging, and a swift 64-bit processor designed to make the most of Android 5.0 Lollipop. However, how do the two upcoming devices directly stack up alongside one another? Check out our brief spec comparison below to find out before the offerings hit shelves on April 10.
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
|Size||143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 (mm)||142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0 (mm)|
|Screen||5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED||5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED|
|Resolution||1,440 x 2,560 pixels||1,440 x 2,560 pixels|
|OS||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz|
|Storage||32GB, 64GB, 128GB (non-expandable)||32GB, 64GB, 128GB (non-expandable)|
|SD Card Slot||No||No|
|Processor||Octa-core 4×2.1GHz + 4×1.5GHz 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos||Octa-core 4×2.1GHz + 4×1.5GHz 64-bit 14nm Samsung Exynos|
|RAM||3GB LPDDR4||3GB LPDDR4|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC|
|Camera||Front 5MP, Rear 16MP||Front 5MP, Rear 16MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.1 LE||Yes, version 4.1 LE|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, barometer, compass, gyroscop, heart rate monitor||Accelerometer, barometer, compass, gyroscop, heart rate monitor|
|Battery||2,550mAh (non-removable)||2,600mAh (non-removable)|
|Charger||USB 2.0, PowerMat wireless||USB 2.0, PowerMat wireless|
|Colors||White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz||White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Availability||April 10 on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular||April 10 on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular|
|DT Review||MWC 2015 Hands On||MWC 2015 Hands On|
Power and productivity
As might be expected, power and productivity don’t differ much between the Samsung Galaxy S6 and like-minded S6 Edge. Both smartphones feature Samsung’s 64-bit octa-core (eight core) processor, which will likely allow them perform akin to the Snapdragon 810, along with 3GB of RAM and internal storage options ranging between 32 and 128GB. Moreover, they’ll both make use of Android 5.0 Lollipop and support the two biggest wireless charging standards, letting you charge the devices without a cable should you opt for a one of Samsung’s wireless charging pads. Neither offering touts an SD card slot like its predecessor, the Galaxy S5, but both feature a host of standard connectivity options (Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, etc.) and a non-removable battery. Samsung has yet to say anything regarding battery expectations, but judging from their listed size, we can expect the real-world difference between the two devices to be fairly negligible.
However, although the S6 and S6 Edge share nearly identical hardware, the software is where the two phones differ. Samsung has (finally) been gracious enough to strip the bulk of the bloatware from its upcoming devices, ridding its phones of unwanted software that did nothing more than crowd the system and confuse users. The curved-glass edges of S6 Edge does allow for some additional functionality not offered on the S6, though. The curved display can be set up to display a clock, along with notifications informing you of missed text messages, calls, emails, and more. The curved edge will even flash a specified color depending on which of your pre-selected contacts rings you. They may be more gimmicky than anything else, but nonetheless, the S6 won’t handle any of the aforementioned features.
Design is what separates the S6 and S6 Edge from one another. Instead of the lackluster, incremental update Samsung gave the Galaxy S5 at last year’s MWC, the company opted for a more elegant and drastic change along the lines of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new S6 offerings are gorgeous, both outfitted with reflective Gorilla Glass and reveling in a brushed-aluminum design. A pinhole-style speaker and audio jack lines the bottom of each device, while two volume rockers sit at the sides and a Home button — which conveniently doubles as fingerprint sensor — rests directly below the 5.1-inch AMOLED display. The resolution is also the same on both devices (1,440 x 2,560 pixels), but sadly, neither boasts a waterproof encasing. The S6 is also slightly larger and heavier than the S6 Edge at 138g, but the difference between the two is hardly noticeable.
The camera on the Galaxy S5 wasn’t bad, per se, but it was quickly surpassed by others in the field. However, although Samsung’s latest smartphones feature the same optics, the updated hardware housed in each device renders them more competitive than ever before. Both offerings utilize Sony’s IMX240 16-megapixel sensor, much like the Galaxy Note 4, along with a F1.9 lens that should put the phone’s shooting capabilities on par with anything out there. The auto real-time HDR allows for high dynamic range enhancement, too, while the 5-megapixel camera lets you capture wide-angled selflies with ease. Furthermore, each smartphone touts optical image stabilization and the ability to automatically adjust white balance, not to mention a host of new shooting modes and customizable users settings. Their unique ability to launch the camera app and shoot photos in under a second only adds to their appeal.
Pricing and availability
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both launch on Friday, April 10. Although Samsung has been hush-hush on pricing, it’s more or less safe to presume the S6 will retail at around the same price as the S5, while the S6 Edge will carry a heavier price tag. The individual carriers and retailers will likely set their own prices as they normally do so expect to hear some news in the coming weeks from the major U.S. carriers who’ve already confirmed they’d sell the phones at launch (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket, U.S. Cellular). No word on supported U.K. networks as of yet, either.
Winner: Galaxy S6
So, which is better? While making the upgrade to the S6 might be easy, choosing between the two models is not as cut and dry. They’re nearly identical across the board in terms of both hardware in functionality — from the gorgeous metal design to the streamlined UI — though, the S6’s curved-glass edges ramp up the “wow” factor and allow for a few added features. It’s difficult to tell whether aforementioned features such as night mode and the added convenience of viewing notifications on the side of the display will be enough to justify the added cost, though, especially considering the Edge will likely be more susceptible to shattering if dropped. It simply comes down to a matter of preference.
In our hands-on piece, DT Deputy Editor Jeffrey Van Camp states that the standard Galaxy S6 is more durable and comfortable than the S6 Edge. So our vote is for the Galaxy S6, though the Edge is definitely a splendid (and unique) phone.