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Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 review: Gone but not forgotten

Nathan Spendelow David Ludlow
28 Feb 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT (SIM-free)

The Galaxy S6 was once the Android standard bearer, but its legacy lives on

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Samsung Galaxy S6 review: Camera

Samsung has used the same 16-megapixel camera here as in the S6 Edge. This is the same resolution as on the S5, but this time around there's a brighter f/1.9 aperture lens, which Samsung claims lets in 34% more light than the f/2.2 lens on the S5. There's also Optical Image Stabilisation to reduce blur in low-light shooting, and a double clock of the home button/ fingerprint sensor will automatically fire up the camera in less than 0.7ms, ensuring you'll never miss an important shot again.

Just like the S6 Edge, we were very pleased with the quality of our test photos, as colours were bright and vibrant with plenty of fine detail on show. There were a few patches of bright sky that it couldn't quite handle in some of our shots, but turning on HDR mode instantly fixed it. What's more, HDR left the rest of the picture intact, keeping the high level of detail and accurate colours we saw in Auto mode without making it seem unnaturally harsh or artificial.

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera test

^ Our test photos looked great on the Galaxy S6. The only overexposed area was a bright patch of sky to the far left of the picture.

^ Fortunately, HDR sorted this out in no time at all and gave the surrounding clouds even more shadow detail

Some new modes have been introduced as well, including Virtual Shot. This lets you move the camera around an object so that you've got a 3D shot you can rotate around later. There's also a new time-lapse setting alongside the returning 240fps slow-motion mode. We'll be testing these out in the coming weeks, so we'll update this review once we've had a chance to test them properly.

Storage

Samsung no longer provides a microSD card slot for the S6, instead relying on the phone’s internal storage only. While this may make the handset more expensive, we can understand why Samsung has gone down this route. Without it, Samsung can use an all-encompassing chassis which not only makes the phone a more sturdy product, but it also means you don't need a cheap flap to cover it up on the outside. 

Buy preowned Samsung Galaxy S6

With 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions available you should be able to find the version that matches your storage requirements. Just bear in mind that the S6 Edge doesn't have a 32GB version, as the base model starts at 64GB. 

Wireless, sensors and mobile payments

You get all of the latest wireless technologies, including LTE Cat6 (up to 300Mbit/s), 802.11ac Wi-Fi (up to 620Mbit/s), and Bluetooth 4.1 (LE). There are also all of the sensors you’d expect, including an accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor.

As with the S5, Samsung has incorporated a fingerprint reader into the home button, only this time you simply hold your thumb on the button rather than swipe across it. It's much more accurate and faster to respond too, so there's no reason not to secure the phone with a digit.

As well as being used to unlock the handset, it will also be used with Samsung’s upcoming mobile payments system, Samsung Pay, which will compete with Apple Pay. We’re told that this will launch later in the year for people in the US and South Korea, but we don’t have a UK launch date yet. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 review: Verdict

There's no doubting that the S6 is a much better phone, both in terms of features and build quality than the original S5. It also out-performs the HTC One M9 and LG G4, and gives iPhone 6 users something to look at. However, as good as the S6 is, we don't really like the way it feels in our hand and there's one phone that just demands more attention: the S6 Edge. Identical in features to the S6, bar the curved screen, the Edge is not only more attractive, but it also has better battery life and slightly better performance, leaving the normal S6 feeling a bit lacklustre by comparison.

While the S6 is cheaper SIM-free, especially after its recent price cut from £600 to just £400. If we bought the S6, we'd constantly be regretting that we didn't spend that little bit extra on the S6 Edge.

Buy preowned Samsung Galaxy S6

In this sense, it would almost have been better if Samsung had just released the S6 Edge and said 'This is the S6', instead of having this flat option that sits awkwardly underneath the top phone. However, we understand that not everyone wants to pay through the roof for a fancy display. If you're not bothered about the curve and want to save money, the Galaxy S6 is still one of the best Android phones you can buy today, so for that reason, it wins a Recommended award.

Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 2.1GHz & quad-core 1.5GHz Samsung Exynos 7420
RAM3GB
Screen size5.1in
Screen resolution2,560x1,440
Screen typeSuper AMOLED
Front camera5-megapixel
Rear camera16-megapixel
FlashLED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage32GB / 64GB / 128GB
Memory card slot (supplied)N/A
Wi-Fi802.11ac
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
NFCYes
Wireless data3G, 4G
Size143x70x6.8mm
Weight132g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 5.0
Battery size2,550mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£600
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £43-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)N/A
SIM-free supplierwww.carphonewarehouse.com
Contract/prepay supplierwww.carphonewarehouse.com
Detailswwww.samsung.com
Part codeSM-G920F

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