Samsung Galaxy S6: How to Get It

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Samsung, HTC phones will be available in the US starting 10 April.

Consumer Reports’ engineers are already pouring over T-Mobile versions of the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone, the company’s brand new flagship phone, and edgier sibling, the curve-screened Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. Ltd. has taken an adversarial approach in its advertising, portraying fans of Apple Inc. as glorified lemmings, loyal to the brand not because they “think different” but because they are conformists. It’s likely to be a pivotal handset, heralding either the dawn of a resurgence that takes it back to the top of the smartphone pile or continues the falling revenue and profits that have dogged Samsung since the launch of the Galaxy S5. They’re also considering how well they stack up against earlier Samsung Galaxy S models, which have occupied the top slots in Consumer Reports Ratings for several generations.

But now, on the verge of a critically important product launch, Samsung Canada is hoping to convince people to join its lineup – for days, not hours. While we’re waiting for those results, here are our some initial impressions of these intriguing devices. (For any copy editors out there: Samsung told us today that the phones are officially called the S6 and the S6 edge—no space between the S and the 6 and no capital “e.”) Looking at them head on, these phones—whose fronts and backs are made of ultra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass 4 held together by a polished-aluminum edge—look very much like the Galaxy S 5 they succeed. With the first full reviews of the hardware now appearing in the world’s press, it’s worth looking at the reaction from a wide range of the writers to find out if Samsung’s hardware is ready to meet the challenge of saving the company, or if the collective of reviewers have found any flaws in the design of the handset.

The idea behind the campaign is one that has become widespread in adland: Among the most valuable things brands can do to gain influence is to get regular people to do the advertising for them. A study from analytics firm Chartbeat last year found that people were much more likely to pay attention to tweets that are written by third parties – regular people – than brands promoting themselves. TouchWiz has always been a weak point of Samsung’s handsets in reviews, with an overabundance of icons and options, multiple applications for matching functions, and generally not looking as professional as other handset manufacturers. Another study by Veritas Communications and Northstar found that brand endorsements coming from friends and family have double the influence on Canadians’ decisions than any other source. For instance, sliding your finger from the upper side of the display (left or right) pulls out a vertical stack of circles containing five of your favorite contacts.

The circles of this feature, called People Edge, have different-colored borders, and the phone’s LED will flash the appropriate color when that a person calls you. It will also feature the top six avatars in the lineup on an 80-foot digital display at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, and on billboards in Vancouver and Montreal.

Samsung succeeds in embracing a simpler layout without shedding all the software it’s built over the years, though Android deserves much of that credit for providing the framework. At night, they’ll take out their sleeping bags. “Social and digital is a critical part of engaging millennials,” said Mark Childs, chief marketing officer at Samsung Canada. “… They’re living their lives online, socially. While Samsung has said it will be reducing the levels of bloatware in the handset, that doesn’t mean that the heavy levels of additional software have disappeared. If we can’t spark that, I don’t think we’ve got a next-level marketing plan.” Since Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 in September, featuring the larger screen that Samsung had long bragged about as a differentiating factor, Samsung has been pressed to compete. I suspect that the financial rewards of bundling certain key apps is too much for Samsung to sacrifice: A few folders prepopulated by vendor apps buttresses the simplified look.

But one of the first things most people will notice is how easy and quick it is to launch the camera: All it takes is a quick double press of the home button. According to research firm Gartner, in the fourth quarter last year, Apple smartphones outsold Samsung worldwide for the first time since 2011, with 74.83 million phones sold compared with Samsung’s 73.03 million.

As for preloaded apps, a few Samsung programs remain, like Milk music and video and S Health, which are Samsung’s answers to the iTunes Store and Apple Health, respectively. That follows disappointing performance of its recent models the S4 and the S5 compared to the S3, he added. “It used to be that Samsung would gleefully provide the market with ‘We did X-million units of our Galaxy device.’ They’ve stopped that. To get more Samsung apps and partner apps, you’ll need to open a shortcut and select them from the buckets marked Galaxy Essentials and Galaxy Gifts. Childs said. “The intention of the advertising is to deliver on that. … It’s much more a digital conversation than a campaign.” Aggressive marketing has helped Samsung gain ground in recent years: Apple and Samsung are number one and two in a list of the top global brands, according to consultancy Brand Finance PLC, which calculates a dollar value for marketing efforts such as trademarks, intellectual property rights, and brand perception. The value that Apple’s handsets contributed to that total passed $50-billion last year, while Samsung’s was $31-billion. “When they pursued a very consumer-facing strategy, Samsung’s brand value more than doubled in the past four years,” said Edgar Baum, managing director of Brand Finance North America. “As the handset environment has become more diverse, and competitive, it’s Samsung that’s been losing, not Apple.

To put things into perspective, the HTC One M9 survived for the shorter 6h 25 min, the iPhone 6′s run was even shorter, at 5h 22 min, while the Xperia Z3 topped all of these with its result of 9h 29 min. While this will keep the overall cost down for Samsung, and help drive more recognition of its own chip business, there’s a wariness from the geekerati because of the move away from the more popular and well-known Qualcomm chipset. Sure, it gets a bit warm when put under pressure for a while, but nothing like what some people experience with the Sony Xperia Z3, another metal and glass phone.

We’re not quite sure how Samsung has soldiered so far ahead, but it really seems to have done so – and it could prove a huge advantage through this phone generation. Williams also notes the lack of MicroSD card support, and while many reviewers point out this makes a unibody design more practical, he thinks there’s another motive involved… and it’s one that is key to making the S6 a success for Samsung: We’re fine with that, but Samsung has also removed the memory card slot. Every reviewer has noted the high-resolution of the screen, but it’s also a resolution that doesn’t seem to have a discernible benefit when placed next to rival handsets. That’s not to say there are no benefits to the higher resolution: There are some significant advantages in going higher than the visual acuity for 20/20 Vision at typical viewing distances.

For Smartphones they include a closer match to digital photo resolutions, the ability to display Full HD 1920×1080 images with an additional 1.6 Mega Pixels left over for displaying additional content at the same time, plus efficient and simple rescaling (with small integer ratios) of various HD and Quad screen resolution formats to improve speed processing efficiency and resulting picture quality. What’s most impressive is that the S6 actually took better images than the iPhone in low-light situations, something that Samsung has struggled with for years. A portrait of a handsome man [in fact it was Howley himself] taken with the S6 under office lights was equally colorful, while the iPhone 6’s shot was a bit too white.

It has now been about a month since I first used Samsung’s new Galaxy S6… so why can’t I find anything to complain about? …the Galaxy S6 is hardly perfect, and I’m not suggesting that it is. It continues in Samsung’s quest to deliver the most powerful handset possible, and it follows modern smartphone design trends so it is not going to look out-of-place or awkward. The flaws of the previous generation have been smoothed off, new flaws have been introduced, and there is very little ‘wow’ that makes the handset stand out.

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