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Samsung Galaxy S6 Review: The iPhone 6 Has Met Its Match

Mar 31, 2015 2:14 p.m. ET

In this indeterminate world, it’s a constants in life that we can count on.

The object rises in a East, Starbucks lattes always ambience a same, and Apple’s iPhones are always softened than Samsung’s Galaxy phones.

Since a emergence of a smartphone wars, there have been simple truths about Samsungs: They’re done of groundless plastic, their cameras can’t keep adult with a iPhone’s, and their mutated Android program is nauseous and intolerably cluttered.

With a Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, that arrive during U.S. carriers on Apr 10, zero of that is loyal anymore. we am not fearful to contend it: we adore Samsung’s new phones, maybe even some-more than my possess iPhone 6. Like a child who only found out that Santa isn’t real, we have spent a past week doubt all we know.

The Galaxy S6’s 16-megapixel camera takes illusory photos.

OK, maybe that’s a bit thespian for smartphones, nonetheless I’m critical about how extreme a change is. Samsung has taken approach aim during Apple’s smartphone, this time even ostensible to duplicate some of a iPhone’s pattern and features.

No, conjunction of a new Galaxys brings any strange ideas to a expansion of a smartphone. If anything, Samsung has indeed sucked out a differentiators, including a waterproof pattern and removable storage and battery. And Samsung still needs some drill in a program department.

Yet with a array of improvements, a Galaxy now has a leg adult on a hardware of other Android phones and a iPhone. It’s got me, a once intensely confident iPhone 6 owner, wishing for a softened screen, crook camera and faster charging.

Designed by…Samsung?

One reason we substantially like a new Galaxys so much—especially a white models I’ve been testing—is that a pattern looks like a gathering of a iPhone’s biggest hits.

The screen’s silken frame, a steel edges and a china trim surrounding a home symbol demeanour so unequivocally identical to my iPhone 6. Both Samsung phones even magnitude only 0.27-inch thick—just like a iPhone 6. With a orator frame and ports on a bottom edge, Samsung doesn’t even try to censor a similarities to Apple’s work.

The behind of a phone looks zero like a iPhone 6. Covered wholly in a contemplative square of durable Gorilla Glass, it’s some-more identical to, we guessed it, a behind of a iPhone 4.

The Galaxy S6 is a overwhelming device that is as equally appreciative to reason as it is to demeanour at. If we had told me a year ago we would use a word “stunning” to report a Galaxy phone, we would have called we crazy.

From this perspective it is tough not to see a differences between a iPhone 6, on top, and a Galaxy S6, on a bottom.

Here’s one thing my iPhone doesn’t have: a winding screen. The categorical disproportion between a S6 and a S6 Edge is that a Edge’s arrangement slopes down on both sides. It also will cost we more—too most more. The 32GB chronicle of a Galaxy S6 starts during $600 nonetheless a two-year agreement (or about $25 a month with many of a carriers’ installment plans). The 32GB Edge starts around $700.

There is unequivocally no judicious reason to buy a Edge. You can daub a side for notifications and other information when a categorical shade is off, nonetheless that wasn’t too helpful. Like with engineer sunglasses, you’re mostly profitable to demeanour cooler.

Dream Screen, Fast Charging

Things seem even in a competition with a iPhone, until we demeanour during a Samsung phones’ 2560 x 1440-pixel, 5.1-inch screens, that have 577 pixels per inch, compared with a iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch arrangement with 326 ppi. Translation: crook photos, video and text. You can also see some-more on a screen, and regulating Samsung’s dual-app view, we find myself naturally putting dual apps side by side.

The Galaxy S6 Edge's displays information along a side of a winding edge.

Unlocking a shade is also most faster with a vastly softened fingerprint sensor embedded inside a home button. It indeed felt a hair faster than Apple’s Touch ID, and not once did we confront any blunder messages. (Later this year, a association skeleton to refurbish a phone with a Samsung Pay software.)

Despite a higher-res screen, a Galaxy S6 gets somewhat softened battery life than a iPhone 6. All of these phones should make it by a day, no problem. However, in a exhausting battery test, that cycles by a array of websites with liughtness set during about 75%, a S6 lasted only over 7 hours (a small reduction than a Galaxy S5). The iPhone 6 conked out after 6½ hours; so did a Galaxy S6 Edge.

And there’s no some-more swappable battery, nonetheless Samsung tries to make adult for that with faster charging. we was means to get a 50% assign within 30 minutes. Samsung will also sell a $50 wireless charging pad, nonetheless it’s adult to we if we wish to wait a 3 hours it takes to assign adult a phones.

A Camera Worth a Wait

I unequivocally suspected we was vital in an swap universe, though, when we saw that a new Galaxys took photos as well—in some cases, better—than a iPhone 6.

In indoor and outside shootouts, Samsung’s 16-megapixel camera (which protrudes like a scald from a phone’s back) prisoner crisper photos. In many cases, colors were some-more colourful in iPhone photos, nonetheless a Galaxy shots showed some-more detail.

Low-light shots were some-more mixed. In a dimly illuminated restaurant, a Galaxy’s photos picked adult some-more sum and looked crook nonetheless had an orangish cast. While a iPhone’s shots were some-more cleared out, a coloring was some-more accurate. The Galaxys also struggled to autofocus fast in low-light environments.

The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones—not to discuss all of a possess predecessors—on print quality.

The front-facing 5-megapixel selfie cam trumps a iPhone’s, too. And in box we don’t have a selfie stick handy, we can daub on a heart-rate sensor on a behind of a phone to snap a photo.

But About That Software…

The user knowledge is where a Galaxy S6 still struggles opposite a iPhone and even Android phones, like a Moto X and Nexus 6.

To a credit, Samsung has swept a lot of a possess program confusion underneath a rug, creation a tweaks to Android 5.0 distant some-more soft than they have ever been. The settings and camera menus no longer need a user primer to navigate. The Samsung-built email and calendar apps are also most cleaner, with a good change of white space on any of a screens. And rejoice! The dripping-water sound you’d hear when drumming a shade has mercifully been plugged.

None of those updates delayed down a phone either. The octo-core processor and 3GB of RAM keep things using during record pace.

Samsung even tidied adult many of a nauseous app icons. Still, from a app tray to a pull-down presentation menu, a styling of a handling complement isn’t scarcely as discriminating as batch Android 5.0. On tip of that, Samsung’s keyboard seemed to hatred my fingers, constantly inserting typos. A phone this pleasing deserves equally pleasing software.

Samsung has spotless adult core apps like calendar and email, nonetheless a keyboard is frustrating.

And Samsung continues to insist on carrying dual browsers, dual print gallery apps and a possess app store—not to discuss stuffing a phone with additional widgets and apps.

That’s why, even nonetheless a Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are in many ways some-more considerable pieces of hardware than my iPhone 6, I’m adhering with Apple.

Finally, smartphones are equal on both sides of a iOS/Android divide. That’s a good thing, nonetheless it means a welfare now unequivocally comes down to your program height of preference. Right now, we cite Apple’s app preference and product ecosystem. That…and I’m still underneath a darned two-year contract.

But if yours is only entrance adult or we need a new phone, I’m finally recommending we check out a Samsung before we demeanour during HTC or Motorola. These are a best phones Samsung has ever done and a best Android phones we can buy. Plus, each time we demeanour during my iPhone, we wish it had a winding screen.


Write to Joanna Stern during [email protected] and on Twitter during @joannastern

Article source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/samsung-galaxy-s6-review-the-iphone-6-has-met-its-match-1427825674

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