BARCELONA, Spain—Samsung has finally taken the wraps off of its new flagship for 2015: the Samsung Galaxy S6.
This year there are two versions sharing the spotlight, one normal "flat" version just called the Galaxy S 6 and a second version with a curved screen on both sides called the Galaxy S6 Edge.
With both, Samsung seems to have done something about its cheap-feeling devices. Like the Xiaomi Mi Note, the back of these devices has switched from plastic to glass, which should make for a more premium-feeling (while more fragile) device. The glass is actually Gorilla Glass 4, making the Galaxy S6 one of the first devices to use it. The frame is much improved as well—it's now metal, meaning there is almost no plastic on Samsung's latest phones.
Long-time Samsung fans will be disappointed to hear that the back is no longer removable, which means long-standard Samsung features like a removable battery and MicroSD slot are out. The Galaxy S6 also drops the water-resistance that was in the S5. Wireless charging has become standard, at least, and Samsung supports WPC & PMA standards in that regard.
Samsung has added wired charging that it says works faster than anyone else in the industry. According to the company, ten minutes of charging gets four hours of runtime, and charging to full battery takes half the charge time of the iPhone 6.
Samsung isn't saying what the SoC is—the company was rumored to skip the too-hot Snapdragon 810 in favor of Samsung's Exynos 7 Octa—but it did say the SoC was built on Samsung's new 14nm manufacturing process. (We're guessing it's the Exynos.)
RAM has been bumped from 2GB on the S5 to 3GB, and the device now uses DDR4. The baseline storage is 32GB with an option for 64GB or 128GB, and Samsung says it has focused on the speed of the storage.
The Device comes with Samsung Pay, which uses both NFC and technology from its recent LoopPay acquisition. Tap and Pay works with 90 percent of credit card machines. It also comes with wireless charging.
Both devices have a 5.1-inch AMOLED display, but of course, one is flat and one is curved. The S6 Edge is reminiscent of the Galaxy Note Edge, but Samsung has toned down the curve quite a bit. The Note Edge came to a sharp edge on the curved side, which meant there was no room for side-mounted power button. The S6 screen curve isn't as drastic, so there is still a vertical side with room to put buttons where they belong.
The camera has a 16MP sensor with OIS and a brighter F1.9 lens. Judging from the pictures, this seems to stick out from the back a significant amount. Samsung is confident in the camera—it showed side-by-side shots with the iPhone 6 Plus and, of course, the Galaxy S6 won every time.
Next to the camera is the flash and the returning heartbeat sensor. The front facing camera has been upgraded from the S5's paltry 2MP camera to a more selfie-friendly 5MP camera. The front camera has also been upgraded to an F1.9 lens and has something Samsung calls "real time HDR."
The devices come in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz, and Green Emerald. All of these options have a shimmery property thanks to a special surface coating.
Software-wise, Samsung has taken a simpler approach by removing things like tabs and button boxes. When a phone call comes in, the edge of the screen will glow a color that you can assign to contacts, so if the phone is face down, you can still see who's calling. You can also tap the heart rate monitor on the back to send a pre-written reply.
No word on price today, but we'll have hands-on impressions with the device soon. And speaking of showrooms, the Galaxy S6 will be showing up in your local one on April 10 in 20 countries. For now, we've included a gallery of product shots from Samsung below.