Samsung has unleashed its latest flagship handset onto the world in the form of its Galaxy S6.

Improvements to battery life and charging, performance, the screen, the cameras, software and a redesign make this appear to be a big jump for Samsung.

But are all these changes enough to make you want to upgrade or is it more incremental changes that don't offer much more? We go hands-on to find out.

Samsung was long rumoured to be going back to the drawing board with its Project Zero plans for the Galaxy S6. It hasn't disappointed.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 certainly feels premium, all encased in Gorilla Glass 4, front and back. The smartphone inside the glass shell is made from machined metal so it looks expensive and feels strong. Although the all glass design does make the worry of dropping it a bit more pressing than on older handsets. That said Gorilla Glass 4 wasn't on older handsets and Sammy adding glass to the front and back suggests it's confident the new stuff is strong. We didn't have a chance to drop it in our hands-on time, and to be honest we didn't want to let it go.

The glass on the rear is a little slippery in the hand, but since the iPhone 6 has a similar feel it's clearly not an issue for many since that sold plenty. At 6.8mm it feels super slim but thanks to that metal unibody it also feels strong, and light. Apparently the metal is stronger than that used in competitor handsets, Samsung says. It also couldn't resist mentioning it won't bend.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a close as you'll get to bezel-free on a Samsung without going for the more expensive Galaxy S6 edge option. The handset feels like mostly screen in the hand which is great as it's verging on phablet territory with that 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen.


As you'd expect from Samsung the Super AMOLED kicks out vibrant colours and refreshes smoothly. Going for a Quad HD resolution means 577ppi which is immediately clear after looking at the Galaxy S5 with its 1080p resolution.

One of the big issues for most people that Samsung has addressed with the Galaxy S6 is battery life and performance. While the battery itself should last longer thanks to the efficient processor Samsung has focused on recharging too. Now its flagship handset comes with wireless charging capabilities built-in. That means throwing it down on a table with wireless charging is all it takes to juice up.

But Samsung didn't stop there, it also improved the speed of charging. The handset can charge fast, really fast. Samsung says this is the fastest charging smartphone out there. It takes 10 minutes of charging to get 4 hours of use. From zero to 100 per cent should be done in half the time it takes the iPhone 6, says Samsung.

Samsung says both WPC and PMA wireless charging are compatible with the handset so charging should be easy anywhere.

The downside to all this is that the battery is no longer removable and you won't find microSD expansion anymore.

Samsung has opted to simplify the camera experience. Packing the same 16-megapixel sensor as the S5 the camera on the Galaxy S6 has an upgraded aperture to f/1.9 for better low light shots.

Auto focus appears to have been improved over the Galaxy S5 in spite of it also being faster.


The camera is always ready to go and with a double tap of the home button it can open in 0.7 seconds.

On the front is a 5-megapixel selfie camera which also has that f/1.9 aperture and Auto HDR. It also uses a low light feature to combine multiple photos to find the brightest image, this worked well both on the front and rear cameras.

Samsung has added an icon that lets you access everything right there without the need to scroll. This is a big step up from the last phone. There is also a professional mode for those feeling a little more creative.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is powered by the latest 14nm 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor backed by 3GB of RAM. In short we couldn't slow it down. No matter what combination of tasks and multi-tasking we threw at it the Galaxy S6 kept up. How that translates to battery life isn't clear from our short time with the handset but Samsung assures us that the processor is efficient enough to make that a worry of the past.

DDR4 RAM means 80 per cent faster memory while 14nm chips mean 35 per cent more energy efficiency, says Samsung.

Samsung, historically, crammed its handsets with apps it had made so as to offer more to the user. It now looks like it has realised people are happy to download their own apps if and when they want them. The result is a far less cluttered handset that feels more like a pure Android experience than previous versions.


The phone comes with Android Lollipop with Samsung TouchWiz UI over the top, so it still has a Samsung feel. There's just less bloatware meaning more memory so you don't have to go through deleting everything to make the device personalised.

Mobile payments are now possible with the handset thanks to NFC, Samsung's Knox security and fingerprint reading. We'll have to wait to give this a try as it won't hit the UK until later in the year with the US getting it first by summer, says Samsung. Samsung Pay has been introduced to allow payments with the mobile that isn't limited by NFC, anywhere that accepts cards can take it.

Nice touches like being able to organise your settings window in a personalised manner have appeared on this version of the software.

Samsung seems to have listened to what its users want. Battery life and build quality are the two things people have been crying out for improvements in and they're exactly what Samsung has delivered.

In the long run it'll be interesting to see how the all-glass body stands up to drops. But with Cat 6 LTE, wireless fast charging and tap to pay this phone feels future proof. We can't imagine asking for much more from a handset. That said this time next year we'll probably be doing exactly that.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 will be available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz and Green Emerald in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB variants from 10 April.