By: Mattia Lanzi
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 has been made to kill the competition of the IPhone 6. New and innovative hardware and software are the two principal characteristics of differentiation that Samsung proposes with its offering.
Cheap plastic and cluttered software. These are the first two things that are going to be very big different between the old Samsung and the new one, which is trying to beat Apple and HTC in sales. “When it comes to its hardware, I’m now a believer. When it comes to its software, I see the efforts, though I’m still not totally convinced.” This is what Joanna Stern says about the new product from Samsung. But let’s get into it.
The hardware and designs of the S6 and S6 Edge, which will be available in April in the U.S., are the most beautiful phones Samsung has ever made. Samsung built a pair of phones that can go head to head with the iPhone 6 and HTC One on any catwalk. There is no plastic. Anywhere. The frame surrounding the screen is made out of aluminum and the back consists only of a smooth piece of shiny material. That creates for a reflective device that catches the light in unusual ways. Just don’t drop these new phones in the toilet. Last year Samsung may have tried to sell you a waterproof Galaxy, but this year it would rather sell you a beautiful one. Both new phones rest comfortably in your hand, but that glass coating collects many fingerprints. Where you do actually want to put your fingerprint now is on the improved sensor in the home button. Instead of having to swipe down you can just place your finger on it. The Samsung Pay platform is due to launch in the U.S. this summer against Apple Pay and Google Wallet. On the back of the S6, you’ll find the heart rate sensor and a protruding camera.
The improved software of the Samsung Galaxy S6 just doesn’t match the elegant hardware. Samsung says it put that same design effort into improving its modified Android OS and apps. The settings menu has been streamlined and the core apps email, calendar etc. have been polished up with cleaner styling and a greater use of white space. “The apps are redesigned so why do the cheap looking cartoony home screen icons remain?” (Joanna Stern) And there’s still a Samsung promotional widget on the home screen. Samsung’s software isn’t all that bad anymore, but it isn’t all that good, either. Samsung told me it is working more and more with Google, but it still wants to maintain its own design identity. For the first time in Galaxy S history, the battery is no longer removable. There’s no Micro SD card slot, either an omission guaranteed to cause some outrage. In a time where Samsung is struggling to keep up with competitors, losing those very things that set it apart from the iPhone and others could hurt more than it helps. But beauty always has its price.
In my opinion, I realize it is hip to be cynical about Samsung (especially to those who belong to the Apple cult) … but I have always been a Samsung and Android fan, because in short, I do not want a toy, I want a tool to work it. I’m disappointed with the S6 because really, being able to swap batteries, and having a water-resistant phone is a big deal. I wish Samsung would not try to be Apple.