Samsung Galaxy S6 review: Remains a top-notch smartphone

A beautiful smartphone, packed with features, but it's the Samsung Galaxy S6's incredible camera that stands out

31 May 2016
5
Price when reviewed 
600

Latest news: The Samsung Galaxy S6 has now been superseded in the range by the newer Samsung Galaxy S7. The S7 is an improvement in most regards over the S6: it has a better camera, quicker performance, better battery life, and Samsung has also brought back storage expansion and water/dust resistance for this year's model.

That doesn't mean the S6 is a bad phone that isn't worth considering, all of a sudden. You can still buy the Samsung Galaxy S6, and it remains a great phone. Performance is still great by any standard, the design is simply stunning and the camera is brilliant. And downward pressure on prices means it's far more reasonably priced than the S7 now. Two-year contracts are available from £24 per month, or you can buy the phone outright for £365 inc VAT, where the S7 costs around £550 SIM free.

You can read our original Samsung Galaxy S6 review below, or click here to go to and read our Samsung Galaxy S7 review. Alternatively, check out our list of 2016's very best smartphones here.

Samsung is no stranger to manufacturing smartphones jam-packed with the very latest in technology, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is just that. One thing had eluded the Korean giant prior to the launch of its latest handset, however: the ability to design a phone that's as gorgeous as it is functional. For more on the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 news see Expert Reviews.

The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S6 sees the company finally break free of those shackles; and even halfway through 2016, the Samsung Galaxy S6 remains among the best smartphones you can buy anywhere, at any price, even if it has been eclipsed by the Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S6: Design

No two ways about it, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a stunner, framed in cool-to-the-touch aluminium, and with a coloured Gorilla Glass 4 rear and front, it's a beautiful phone to behold. It's clad in Gorilla Glass 4 front and back, and the way it gleams and glistens in the light is quite entrancing. The S6 is available in "White Pearl", "Gold Platinum" and "Blue Topaz", but we think it looks best in "Black Sapphire", which you see pictured here.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - rear shot

As you'd expect from a modern smartphone, the S6 is extremely slim (6.8mm) and light (138g), and it feels surprisingly compact in the hand, especially considering there's a 5.1in display up front.

In our view, the S6 delivers the perfect compromise between screen size and one-handed comfort – in fact, it's slightly smaller overall than the Samsung Galaxy S5 – and it combines that with impressive build quality and attention to detail. Even the volume, power and home buttons feel like they've been upgraded: everything about this phone feels perfectly on point.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - bottom edge

There are some downsides to the design, however. First, in order to produce such a gorgeous work of art, the removable rear panel, replaceable battery and microSD slot for storage expansion have been consigned to the dustbin.

Second, neither the S6 nor the S6 Edge has an IP rating, so they're not not water and dust resistant like last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 was.

And third, the glass rear of the phones picks up fingerprints like they're going out of fashion. It's easy to clean, but if you own one of these phones, you're going to be spending a lot of your time wiping it on your jeans or the hem of your T-shirt to keep it spotless.

Price when reviewed 
600inc VAT from free on a £34.50/mth, 24mth contract

Samsung Galaxy S6 specifications

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge specifications

vs HTC One M9 specifications

Processor Octacore (quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Samsung Exynos SoC Octacore (quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Samsung Exynos SoC Octacore (quad 2GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC
RAM 3GB LPDDR4 3GB LPDDR4 3GB
Screen size 5.1in 5.1in 5in
Screen resolution 1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass 4) 1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass 4) 1,080 x 1,920, 441ppi (Gorilla Glass 4)
Screen type Super AMOLED Super AMOLED Super LCD3 (IPS)
Front camera 5MP 5MP 4MP
Rear camera 16MP (f/1.9, phase detect autofocus, OIS) 16MP (f/1.9, phase detect autofocus, OIS) 20.7MP (f/2.2)
Flash Dual LED Dual LED Dual LED
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes Yes
Storage 64/128GB (UFS 2 flash) 32/64/128GB (UFS 2 flash) 32GB
Memory card slot (supplied) No No MicroSD
Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2x2 MIMO) 802.11ac (2x2 MIMO) 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+ Bluetooth 4.1 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+ Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, apt-X
NFC Yes Yes Yes
Wireless data 4G, Cat6 (300Mbits/sec download, 50Mbits/sec upload) 4G, Cat6 (300Mbits/sec download, 50Mbits/sec upload) 4G
Size (WDH) 71 x 6.8 x 143mm 70 x 7 x 142mm 70 x 9.6 x 145mm
Weight 138g 132g 157g
Operating system Android 5 Lollipop Android 5 Lollipop with Sense 7
Battery size 2,550mAh 2,600mAh 2,840mAh

Read more about