Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F 32GB (FACTORY UNLOCKED)
Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F 32GB (FACTORY UNLOCKED) 5.1″ QHD Black – International Version
Price: $650.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
The Samsung Galaxy S6 SM-G920F 32GB (FACTORY UNLOCKED) was reviewed by 73 individuals who purchased this device, 43 of whom rated it tops.Visit Website
I got a chance to test a Galaxy S6 out and immediately bought one for my wife. I’m a complete phone nerd (XDA Developers Recognized Contributor, if that means anything to you) so I massively over analyze these things.
It’s a VERY nice phone but it’s got some things that I consider drawbacks. For my wife, all the drawbacks listed below were non issues. She didn’t care about these issues. So understand that my ‘drawbacks’ are completely subjective to your personal needs. But they are things that you should be aware of and consider if they mean anything to you before purchasing.
❖ The screen is incredible. Like really incredible. The resolution is better than my eye can see. I use a Galaxy S4 as my regular phone and it has great resolution where you can’t see individual pixels. I thought the S4 screen was as good as you can get, but the S6 screen takes it to a whole new level. Even though you can’t see pixels on either screen, the higher resolution of the S6 screen makes everything look so sharp that it’s nearly impossible to tell you are looking at a screen. It’s that incredible.
❖ The design of the phone just feels more ‘expensive’. I mean that in a good way. It feels just higher quality than previous models in the Galaxy S line. The S3 and S4 for example are often critiqued for having a plastic shell. The S6 has a metal band around the outside that just makes it feel ‘premium’ in your hand. It should also provide more protection for the device as well.
❖ TouchWiz is HEAVILY scaled back. I hate TouchWiz (Samsung’s version of Android) It adds a layer of UI that is neither helpful nor intuitive. And it’s a resource hog which slows the phone down for important tasks just so it can make the scrolling smoother, and other such useless tradeoffs. On the S6 TouchWiz was barely noticeable. The UI looks more like the standard Google Android Lollipop interface. It was all just much smoother and simpler and better and wonderful.
❖ Camera. 16 MP. And the images it takes look stunning on the super HD screen. Those photos on a larger high resolution monitor are simply stunning.
❖ The battery is not removable or easily replaceable. A cell phone battery has a life of about 500 charge cycles. I tend to keep my phones for 2 years as daily users, then I keep my old phones for a variety of other purposes around the house. (My old HTC Sensation is hooked up to my stereo for use as a nice wifi streaming media player with a touchscreen UI, for example) I eventually have a need to replace batteries because I wear them out. I like being able to go on Amazon, spent $20 on a replacement battery, pop it in and be done. Additionally, even if you don’t keep your phones that long, batteries fail sometimes. The stock batteries on the Galaxy S4 had some problems. They were minimal, but for those affected the battery absolutely had to be replaced. On the S4 it took 8 seconds and the problem was solved. On the S6 I’m sure it would be covered by warranty but it’d be a pain to take it somewhere to have it worked on should the issue come up. So no replaceable battery is a deal killer for me. This might not be an issue for you. If not, great! But be aware of the issue before making purchase decisions.
❖ You can’t expand the storage with an SD Card. I don’t want to live in the cloud. I hate the cloud. Sometimes I’m not on an LTE network. Sometimes I’m in the middle of nowhere but still want to show someone pictures of my kids. I got my wife the 32GB model. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that some of that is dedicated for the operating system and user apps. So you don’t get to use all 32GB. The S6 is going to be available in up to 128GB, which ends my problem with not liking the cloud option. Again, you might not care. If not, great! My wife doesn’t keep a lot of stuff on her phone. She moves all her pictures to her computer and never loaded video to watch on her phone, so the storage thing wasn’t a big deal to her at all even at the 32GB base model. But it would drive me crazy. So this is another matter of personal opinion.
I would bet HEAVILY that Samsung put a lot of money into researching consumers and figured out that MOST people don’t care about these two ‘downsides’. And that’s backed up by early reports that the launch day sales and pre-orders of the S6 have already doubled the total sales of the S5. of So I expect that most people reading this review won’t care about the battery or storage. But you should still be aware of them in case one or both of them is an issue for you.
❖ The screen is probably at the upper limits of size you’d want to go for a phone. Any bigger and it’s too large for one handed operation. But the S6 is just at that limit where you can still use it with one hand.
❖ It’s not waterproof like the previous S5 model. How often does that really come in handy though? Do you often find yourself unexpectedly waste deep in water so quickly that you don’t even have a chance to take your phone out of your pocket and get it to higher ground? Me either.
❖ The camera juts out from the back a little. It also does this on the S4. I haven’t noticed it in 2 years on that phone. I can’t imaging you’d care about it on the S6. But I’ve heard that complaint about it. It sticks out a LITTLE further than on the S4, but it’s really not that big of a deal. My wife didn’t even notice.
❖ The general design looks like all the other phones in the Galaxy S line. It’s a sleek design. It has the physical home button and the capacitive back and menu buttons to either side of it so you are not reliant on the Android “bottom of the screen” navigation bar. I don’t care for that navigation bar as it takes up screen real estate. I like the buttons I need most being off the screen. The S6 continues that trend.
░░░░░THE BOTTOM LINE░░░░░
If you can deal with the non removable battery and non upgradable storage, the S6 is an insanely sleek phone that I can’t imaging you’d be unhappy with. The thing looks cool even when the screen is off. It feels great in your hand. The image clarity is insane. The UI is incredibly smooth and easy to use.
If the battery and SD card issues are deal killers for you, you won’t like the S6.
That’s what this comes down to. If those aren’t a big deal, buy it and you will be SUPER happy. If those are a big deal, you will not be happy. Though I have to admit I think that I’d get used to the non upgradable storage. I just don’t like it right now. The battery thing might be something I could get used to as well….but Id’ need proof of “this isn’t a hindrance” for quite a while before I liked it.
If you completely take the battery and SD out of the equation it’s not a contest. The S6 is a GREAT phone.
* The very next thing you notice, of course, is the screen. I am continually pleasantly surprised at the evolution of Samsung’s AMOLED technology – it has now became the best screen in the industry, hands down. I used to defend the LCD technology of the HTC M7, and at that point it was in fact overall superior to the Samsung S4 because the AMOLED then had issues in the sun, and color reproduction(it was too saturated and not natural). But now, they have fixed those issues, and the S6’s screen is just quite simply the best. If you don’t believe it, just compare an LG/Samsung OLED TV to any LED TVs today.
I still think 5.1 inches for a screen of a PHONE is still too big, but overall, for what smartphones represent nowadays, it is acceptable – we have conditioned ourselves to accept the bigger sizes of smartphones(I remember when I first held a 4.2″ smartphone when it first came out – the HTC HD2 – and thought, “what the h3ll is this monstrosity??”).
* It doesn’t hurt that Samsung boosted up the resolution to 1440 x 2560 pixels, which is approximately 577 ppi in pixel density. Although this is quite overkill right now, it’s always nice to have the latest and greatest technology – that’s the reason why we buy these overpriced phones in the first place, isn’t it? It is also very bright, and sunlit legibility is excellent. Color reproduction is quite accurate, and like the S5, you can choose different color modes to suit your liking.
* An important aspect to discuss is the battery life, now more than ever because there is no removable back cover to make replacing the battery easily like before, not to mention there is no microSD slot for you to add memory space to your phone. Comparatively, the S6 Edge is supposed to last a little less than the S6 regular, which I’ve read is less than last year’s S5. But I’m one of those who are always around a charger, and I always carry external battery packs in my backpack when I travel, so that’s never a concern. Seriously, who even buys an extra battery anymore – which you can only use for a single specific phone model – when your external battery can charge ANY and ALL phones and tablets?? This scenario only makes sense if your work is so demanding that you don’t have extra time to charge the phone, and need to swap batteries IMMEDIATELY. I don’t think that scenario is realistic nowadays when external batteries are so small, light, and cheap.
My S6 goes from 100% at 10 am to about 20% at 10 pm with moderate use – so no complaints there. I get home, plug it up, and there are no issues.
* What’s better this year, is the wireless charging standards are already built into the phone, so you can just buy a charging pad for about $50 and feel even more cool.
* The missing microSD expansion issue is a legitimate concern, since everyone loves to store their music, videos/movies, and all their apps in their phones. Now, you have to be selective and choose what to include or not. But I also have a Samsung Tab Pro, so I put my videos and games in there, while my phone carries my music and apps. This situation is perfect for me when I travel, and would only be a deal-breaker for people who always want to hoard everything in their phone.
* The Samsung user interface called TouchWiz used to be bloated and sluggish. It would slow down(navigating throughout the phone, switching between apps, and using the apps themselves) once you start installing more and more apps and put more and more shortcuts and widgets on the home screens. Worse, they would cram all their Samsung apps on you, which for the most part are inferior to their Google counterparts. They came pre-installed, and uninstallable – you can only downgrade and disable them, but you can’t take them off completely. Now, with the new TouchWiz working in conjunction with Google 5.0 Lollipop, things are a lot smoother and faster. There are also fewer of those Samsung apps – now you have the option of downloading them, but they no longer come pre-installed and wasting your space, which is now more precious than ever.
* Another “con” is that the S6 family is no longer IP67 water-proof/dust-proof like the S5 family anymore. That is quite a bummer as that was a huge relief for those times when we regret certain actions to our phones but could get away with it. Now, we have to go back to being extra careful.
* Finally, the camera: It is great, what can I say? This area of technology will keep continuing to progress and advance for the next 5-10 years at least, but we have already come so far. I would go as far to say that besides dedicated DSLR cameras, you would not find better compact cameras like these for under $500 from a dedicated camera. And to have it be already included in your phone is quite amazing, when you really think about it. This year, it even includes optical image stabilization, which you can see actually working as you pan/tilt/shake the camera. I used to buy $300-500 super-zoom point-and-shoot cameras for my travels back in the days of 7-8 years ago, and they didn’t come out half as good as what this camera can do. And there are built-in enhancements and edits that you can do straight from the camera that are quite robust and powerful.
So, why did I say the evolution is near complete, and not yet? Well, besides the theoretical ideal that nothing is perfect, to the practical ideal like things like the camera will continue to improve for the foreseeable future, I felt that while Samsung took some big strides forward, they also took some steps back. For instance, by making it non-plastic, they open themselves to being less experienced in sealing it up, so they couldn’t make it waterproof anymore. In the same vein, they can no longer make the back plate removable to replace the battery(although it is not impossible – you can actually get around it, but then you would void Samsung’s warranty). And I’m guessing they didn’t have enough research time in the metal production assembly to be good enough yet to include holes for the microSD slot.
So what can they practically improve on to make this as near perfect as possible? Make it waterproof like before(or better), and if you can’t make the back plate removable, then improve on the battery life, and allow for the microSD expansion slot. And keep improving on TouchWiz, and get the Google updates out quicker. Once those are set – and because we know you will always continue to improve on the processor(phone power and graphics power), the screen(resolution, image quality, color reproduction, brightness, sunlight legibility), and the camera, next year’s edition should make it as near-perfect as possible for the Galaxy S family, and maybe then after that you can start a whole new phone family, and bring out those bendable/rollable screen technologies we know you’re already working on, or something even more outrageous.
So overall, while there are certain niggles which make this phone take a step back, there are enough advances to make this a true 5-star phone. However,this 32GB version is valued at about $650-700 in the open market, so I would recommend you waiting a little while so the prices can settle. And if you don’t really need the international version, but want to still be able to use it overseas, yet don’t want to be stuck in a contract, then buy from one of the big GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile and pay for the whole phone up front. Since the phone is not under contract then, you could call customer service and ask them for an unlock code so you can use the phone overseas. 🙂
-screen resolution : Samsung has updated the screen resolution from full hd(1080p) to qhd (1440p or 2560*1440) so the screen now is much sharper than before.
-finger scan : the finger scan is much improved over the previous model , now you only have to tap or hold the button like the iPhone 5s and 6/6+. Previously you have to swipe the button to get verified , a lot of time is wasted and uncomfortable doing this way assuming you’re using it a lot .
-battery life : the battery life is not much improved than the previous model , but it is enough to get you through the day .
-the build: the build is now really a big update since the s4. It is now much thinner at 6.8mm thick and it has metal frame so it feel really good in the hand just like holding a premium phone as it is tend to be. It is also lighter from 145to 138 g due to its thickness , so you feel now more comfortable in the hand .
-camera : the camera remains 16 megapixel like the previous model , but that doesn’t mean it is like the previous model . Samsung has updated the sensors and pixel size so you can make better shots and better 4k video!!
The processor : the processor is also updated with Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57, but this wasn’t much of a problem as the previous model already ran pretty fastThe sacrifices& conclusion :
Samsung did sacrifices some awesome features from last year in order to get this phone done . Like removable battery and water resistance , but without these features galaxy s6 is still the best phone on the market as for now !!