Phandroid » Featured http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:37:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2 TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount Review http://phandroid.com/2015/04/25/tylt-vu-wireless-charging-car-mount-review/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/25/tylt-vu-wireless-charging-car-mount-review/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:26:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164101 TYLT-VU-Charger-2

Charging your phone, sometimes multiple times per day, has become a burden that we’re all conditioned to do as a normal task. Sure, it’s not that cumbersome, but you still need to find your charger, find the cable, and then attempt to plug it in correctly the first attempt – try getting it right the first time in the dark. Wireless charging tends to make life a bit easier in this regard, because it’s simple and highly convenient. All you have to do is place your phone on the charging area and watch the juices begin to flow into your device. A company by the name of TYLT, one of the more popular and higher quality wireless charging manufacturers out there, has brought wireless charging to your vehicle via a car mount. This is the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount review.

Before we get into the actual review of this phone accessory, let’s take a look at how I use my Android phone in the car. My current phone is the Nexus 6. With it’s ample screen real estate, I sometimes have Google Maps running in the foreground with Google Play Music streaming via Bluetooth to my car’s speakers in the background. If I don’t need Maps, I’ll still have Google Play Music streaming, with my screen set to never turn off, so that I can easily change songs with a simple finger swipe. Recently though, I’ve been using the AutoMate App, which keeps the screen on as well, shows directions, the current tune playing, my current speed and heading, etc. instead. My point is, my phone is always doing something while I’m safely paying attention to the road of course, and it’s always sucking away previous battery life.

I’ve been using the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount for a long time. In fact, this review is way overdue by a couple of months. I’ve been using the mount in my car as a daily charging tool with my near hour long commute to and from work and I’ve used it on a few long road trips, such as a three hour drive to the Big Android Meat & Greet last month in Alexandria, Virginia.

Part of the reason for the delay in my review is because this is actually my second TYLT VU car mount. The first one I was sent was a pre-production unit. The sticky suction cup, which I’ll talk about in a moment, gave me a few issues and the gripping arms on the side were peeling off. That’s not the best experience as you can imagine. After letting TYLT know about my issues, they said that I had a pre-production unit, they had never heard of this issue, and would promptly send out a replacement. I’m happy to say that 1) TYLT reviewed the returned unit and did state that it was in fact faulty and 2) the production charger that was sent to me is of the utmost quality and works as intended. If you happen to run into these issues yourself, though they should already be fixed in the production run, but the TYLT VU dock comes with a one year warranty just in case.

Hardware
The TYLT VU Wireless Charging Mount is a little larger and heavier than my previous, non-charging mount, but it’s also a TYLT product, so that means build quality is going to be higher than competitors. And that’s true. This car mount screams quality from every angle.TYLT-VU-Charger-1

Starting from the bottom, most car docks include a small puck shaped disc and double-sided tape for your mount. This provides your dock with a smooth, flat surface to grip onto and attach to your car’s dash. The VU Wireless Charging Car Mount did not include one of these to my surprise. Instead, the VU came with an ultra-sticky suction cup that is supposed to stick to various surfaces and textures with ease. The dash of my wife’s Jeep is much smoother and flatter than my Suzuki’s dash and the VU had absolutely no problems sticking to either surface for weeks at a time before moving between vehicles. If you happen to get some dust or dirt on the suction cup, a slightly moist cloth can do the trick to get it ready for use again. Also, TYLT states that you can use the suction cup on the windshield, I didn’t test that setup in either of my vehicles. And it’s also worth mentioning, the above pictured shot does include a disc from a previous mount, though in my testing, I did move the mount around various places before ultimately choosing a location where I already had a disc installed. I didn’t want to rip the old disc off of my dash and potentially leave a mark. I guess that’s another bonus feature of the TYLT VU, there’s no sticky doubled-sided tape to ruin your dash!

The base unit is fairly straight forward. On the back you’ll find a lever that allows the suction cup to clamp down on the surface of whatever you’re trying to place the mount onto. To release the suction, you can easily press in on the button area provided on the lower back.

As I mentioned above, the TYLT VU is a bit large. At the top of the cone shaped base, you’ll find a ball joint that pivots, allowing you to rotate your soon to be attached phone in various ways for your optimal viewing pleasure. The wireless charging pad then attaches onto the ball joint, which can be tightened with a plastic triangular nut. The VU charger won’t allow vertical adjustment, which is a bit of a bummer, but does allow for a reasonable amount of horizontal adjustment. I had no problems finding the perfect angle, I just wish the phone or mount wasn’t so tall or included an arm to position the wireless charging pad at an equal height or lower than the base itself.

TYLT-VU-Charger-3

Along the sides of the wireless charging pad you find two rubberized arms for gripping your phone. To clamp down on your device, simply squeeze the arms until your device is secured. I had the most success when I squeezed the arms towards the back.

To release your phone from the mount’s grips, press the included button at the top of the wireless charging pad. The arms are spring loaded and will immediately release your phone. The first time I did this my Nexus 6 fell and bounced off of my car’s center console. Lesson learned. Since then, every time I press the release button with one hand, I use a second hand to hold my phone, just in case.

At the bottom of the wireless charging pad you’ll find a tiny charging port for plugging in the included vehicle adapter. One nice feature about TYLT’s offering? Even though the mount is taking up your vehicle’s charging port (cigarette lighter socket) the adapter includes a 5V 1.3A USB port so that you can charge another device if need be. Feel free to rub it in while you charge your significant other’s device like a barbarian with a cable, while you get to live in the future with Qi charging.

TYLT-VU-Charger-5

The TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount comes with two adjustable bottom brackets that slide into the bottom of the wireless charging pad. These brackets can be adjusted to accommodate your phone. For example, I had to position the bottom bracket just right so that the side clamp wouldn’t press the volume buttons on my Nexus 6. I’m not really sure why two brackets are included as one of them comes with a notch on the side which could be for USB cable management, which really isn’t needed, at least in my situation. This might be different if you chose the windshield as a mounting option.

Wireless Charging
If you’re not familiar with wireless charging, the simplest explanation is that wireless charging is extremely convenient, but definitely not fastest. You actually sacrifice charging speed for ease of use, the ability to just place your phone on a charging pad and forget about it. Wireless charging generally makes your phone very hot too, which, depending on what school you’re from, may not be the best choice for your battery in the long run. When we add larger batteries and rapid charging capabilities like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, OPPO’s VOOC charging, and Samsung’s new quick charging technology to the mix, the argument in favor of slow Qi charging gets a little harder.

For example, I use Qi charging with my Nexus 6 every night. If I need a quick bump during the day, I won’t opt for wireless charging, I’ll grab my Motorola Rapid Charger every time. What I’m trying to say is that for long, uninterrupted charging sessions, wireless charging is great, but if you need more juice and don’t have a whole lot of time, a quick charger is probably going to be the better choice. However, the convenience of a high quality wireless charger in the car is enough for me to really enjoy this charger.

TYLT-VU-Charger-4

As for device support, TYLT uses a 3-coil Qi technology in their VU Wireless Charging Car Mount allowing for a very long compatibility list, including 6-inch phones. My Nexus 6 fits perfectly, thanks to the large 3.6” wide grip clearance. To find out if your device is supported, you’ll want to head on over to the official TYLT VU compatibility guide before purchasing.

The question remains, can the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount keep my Nexus 6 charged while streaming Google Play Music, using Google Maps, and with the screen set to always-on? The VU won’t keep your device topped off at 100%, but it will definitely slow down the rate of battery drain. For example, I was able to drive for 3 and a half hours with everything mentioned in use and only lose 16% of battery. That’s pretty good, I’d say. During my daily commutes to and from work, I usually only drop a couple percentage points whereas before I’d drop an easy 10%. A wireless charger definitely helps.

Conclusion
The bottom line is that your phone isn’t going to charge as fast as it would with a USB cable and higher amp charger. That’s not really the point of wireless charging though. It’s about convenience. Before, I only charged my phone in the car if I knew my battery was low or I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to a charger later in the day. Picking up a USB cable off of the floor is a major first world problem, but it’s one that I opted to only do in dire situations. So, for the lazy and for the convenience seekers, the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount is a very tempting choice.

TYLT-VU-Charger-6

You can buy the TYLT VU Wireless Charging Car Mount from directly from TYLT or head on over to Amazon and pick one up today for $79.99 in gray, blue, red, or green. TYLT stands by their high quality products and you generally get what you pay for when it comes to these types of accessories. Other, cheaper options exist on the market right now, but I’d rather take my chances with a company with a proven track record.

If you have any specific questions, let us know in the comments.

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Could a cheap Nexus Fi Android Phone be Google’s next big unveil? [OPINION] http://phandroid.com/2015/04/24/google-nexus-fi-budget/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/24/google-nexus-fi-budget/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 01:31:53 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=164090 Nexus_2015

With the announcement of Project Fi and rumors surrounding a Huawei Nexus, I thought I’d have some fun with speculation, for the sake of hypebeasting something, since we haven’t hypebeasted in a while, so let’s let the hypebeasting begin. Hypebeast.

Are you ready? The above image is taken from a Project Fi video guide. This is clearly a phone or a render that we haven’t seen before. Google generally doesn’t use renders from unknown devices in their product videos. Project Fi only works with the Nexus 6, so why not use a Nexus 6 render, the phone that people have to use with the service right now? If you’re not going to use the Nexus 6, then you better show the guide videos on another supported phone, right? That makes sense to me.

Could this phone just be a generic render? Sure. Absolutely. That takes the fun out of hypbeasting though. And we came here to hypebeast, dammit.

What if the Android phone pictured above is the upcoming, rumored Huawei Nexus? It looks like a cross between the Nexus 6, mainly because of the top speaker grill, and a Nexus 5. Could it be a cheaper Nexus, built for Project Fi? A Nexus Fi, if you will, a play on Nexus Five and Project Fi?

Now, hear me out. Project Fi, as a marriage of cellular data and WiFi is cool, but that’s still a tough sell, because you have to buy a $700 smartphone to use the service. Sure, you can finance the Nexus 6 through Fi, but you still end up having to pay for the cost of an expensive phone over the next two years.

What if the rumored Huawei Nexus is a cheaper Nexus, built with Project Fi in mind. Right now, I can go out and buy a Motorola Moto E, Motorola Moto G or upcoming Huawei SnapTo on the cheap and jump on my MVNO of choice, except for Fi of course. While Fi isn’t your typical MVNO, having your MVNO locked down to one expensive phone doesn’t sound very appealing either.

Having a cheaper Nexus phone that worked on Project Fi sounds more Googly to me. Google is about service availability. Having a cheaper Nexus that’s available to budget conscious people, you know, those looking to save money on their wireless bill, sounds a whole lot better to me than the current setup at launch. I think having a Nexus Fi phone could seal the deal on this entire endeavor.

So, what do you think of my speculation? Plausible? Or I am reading too much into the generic render above, for the sake of hypebeasting? Who knows? Either way, I enjoyed confirming the launch of Half-Life 3. Cheers!

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Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Cases http://phandroid.com/2015/04/23/best-samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-cases/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/23/best-samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-cases/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:02:18 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163800 Speck CandyShell Grip Galaxy S6 Edge case DSC09490

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is one of the most attractive Android devices to date. It has a gorgeous curved display that looks like something you’d find in a sci-fi movie. With all of this beauty it would be a shame if something happened to the device. A simple case can add a personal touch while providing protection.

The Galaxy S6 Edge is actually one of the best devices for a case. Cases on a phones with standard displays often have a raised lip around the edge that makes it hard to swipe in from the side. This is a gesture that is used a lot in Android. Cases on the Galaxy S6 Edge don’t have that lip on the edges to account for the curved display, which makes it much nicer to use.

Note: Many of the cases in our Best Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S6 list also have versions for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Rugged Cases

Incipio DualPro

incipio dualpro gaalxy s6 edge

The DualPro is one of Incipio’s classic cases. It combines a flexible and soft silicone inner core with a hard polycarbonate outer shell. The result is great impact resistance and shock absorption. [Buy from Amazon]

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro

i-Blason-galaxy-s6-edge-unicorn-beetle-pro

At first glance the Unicorn Beetle Pro looks like a tank. It has dual layer (TPU and polycarbonate) protection with shock absorbing core and impact resistant bumper. If that’s not enough it also comes with a rugged holster clip. [Buy from Amazon]

Verus Thor Series

verus thor galaxy s6 edge

The Thor Series is another case that combines the powers of TPU and polycarbonate. The unique thing about this case is the shape. It’s narrower towards the middle of the device, which makes it feel really nice in the hand. [Buy from Amazon]

Poetic Affinity

poetic affinity s6 edge

The Affinity has a fortified bumper made of dense TPU for maximum drop protection at the corners. The frosted transparent back showcases the Galaxy S6 Edge and hides pesky fingerprints. [Buy from Amazon]

Case-Mate Tough Stand

casemate tough stand s6 edge

This dual-layered case offers a smooth finish and ultra slim design. Its lightweight, but still offers enhanced impact resistance and shock dispersion. The integrated stand is also a nice touch. [Buy from Amazon]

Slim Cases

Incipio NGP

Incipio NGP Galaxy S6 Edge case DSC09503

Incipio’s classic NGP case features soft shell technology that provides a barrier between your device and everyday wear and tear. It’s translucent, stretchy, grippy, and tear resistant, but very thin and lightweight. [Buy from Amazon]

Incipio Octane

Incipio Octane Galaxy S6 Edge case DSC09496

The Octane blends soft TPU with hard polycarbonate. The sides of the case are lined with the shock absorbing TPU, while the back of the case is rigid. It’s the perfect combination for protection and a slim profile. [Buy from Amazon]

Speck CandyShell Grip

Speck CandyShell Grip Galaxy S6 Edge case DSC09492

The CandyShell Grip case has become one of the more popular phone cases around. It has a dual-layer design that mixes hard plastic with grippy rubber. The rubber makes it very easy to hold the phone, but if you still drop it it will be protected. [Buy from Amazon]

Caseology Threshold Series

caseology threshold s6 edge

The Threshold Series is a TPU case with a lot of style. It’s made of two interlocking layers that come with cut-outs and different colors. When put together you get a really unique and personal look. [Buy from Amazon]

Verus 2Link Series

verus 2link s6 edge

Most cases just snap on, but the 2Link comes in two parts that slide together. This makes for a perfect fit that adds a bit of two-tone style. The case is made of hard polycarbonate with a soft grippy finish. [Buy from Amazon]

Obliq Slim Meta

obliq slim meta s6 edge

The Galaxy S6 Edge has a beautiful glass design, but if you prefer metal the Slim Meta is a nice choice. This case is super slim and it has a brushed metal back section that looks a little bit like the iPhone 5. [Buy from Amazon]

Battery Cases

Mophie Juice Pack

mophie s6 edge

The Juice Pack offers up to 100% extra battery life for your Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s not overly bulky, and it adds some protection to your device as well. It comes in three colors that are designed to perfectly match the Galaxy S6. [Buy from Mophie]

Comsoon Ultra Slim Rechargable

comsoon battery s6 edge

If you’re looking for something a little cheaper the Comsoon Ultra Slim is a nice option. It has a 3500mAh batter packed into a decently slim body. You’ll get extra juice, a little added protection, and it won’t add too much bulk. [Buy from Amazon]

Wallet Cases

Incipio Corbin

incipio-lightweight-wallet-corbin-samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-case-black-r-open_1

Incipio’s Corbin Wallet case is a sophisticated, lightweight carrying solution that offers the convenience of protection and functionality. The front flap protects your screen and provides a place for cards and cash. [Buy from Amazon]

Spigen Wallet S

Spigen-Wallet-S-Galaxy-S6-case(Galaxy S6 version)

The Wallet S has 3 card slots and an interior compartment for extra cash. Premium faux leather encompasses the hard polycarbonate casing that firmly holds your phone in place. Spigen has also included a bunch of magnets that hold the screen cover and can double as a kickstand. [Buy from Amazon]

Rearth Ringke Discover

ringke discover s6 edge

The Ringke Discover is a high quality protective cover that has three card slots for extra convenience. It also has a standing view to give you hands-free experience. The case is slim and very premium feeling, it was handcrafted by Italian designers. [Buy from Amazon]

***

Once again, be sure to check out our Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S6 list for more case ideas. A gorgeous phone like the Galaxy S6 Edge deserves an equally gorgeous case. Are you going to put a case on your Galaxy S6 Edge? Do you usually leave your phone case-less?

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Google officially unveils Project Fi, a refreshing new wireless service [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/04/22/google-project-fi-official/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/22/google-project-fi-official/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:38:03 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163864 google-project-fi

Looks like the rumors were true, folks — this is Project Fi, Google’s wireless carrier. The Mountain View company laid all the details out on a brand new landing page today.

A lot of the details brought to surface by recent leaks seem to have been spot on. Here’s what to expect from each facet of Google’s new wireless service:

The Network

  • Automatically identify and connect to the fastest and most reliable network, whether that’s a public or private WiFi hotspot, or a network of a carrier partner (Sprint or T-Mobile)
  • All transmissions over WiFi networks are automatically and fully encrypted

The Plan

  • Start with a basic plan of $20 per month that includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, low-cost international calls and WiFi tethering.
  • Add data by the gigabyte at a rate of $10 per 1GB.
  • Don’t use all the data you added in a billing period? $1 per 100 unused megabytes is refunded to you.
  • International data costs the same at home as it does in 120 other international destinations (though you may be limited to 2G and 3G when abroad).

The Experience

  • Calls and texts can be made over WiFi in case you don’t have cellular coverage.
  • Calls can be routed from WiFi to cellular networks and vice versa without interruption if you happen to drift away from a signal
  • You can also make calls and send texts using your phone number with any device that has Hangouts, including your tablet, a different phone or your computer.

Sound like something you want to be part of? You can head right here to request an invite to check it out ahead of its full launch.

There are a couple of caveats to note before you jump in head first. The first is that you’ll need to buy a Nexus 6 as it’s the only smartphone that supports the new technology Google is using to make this possible. The Nexus 6 you may already own from Motorola, Google Play or your carrier counts, or you can buy one when signing up for Fi service (Google will have an installment plan available if you can’t chalk up the full retail price at once).

You’ll also need to make sure Google’s carriers partners have sufficient service in your area, though this is no tall order as they’ll ask for your zip code before whisking you through the setup process. Google says you’ll hear from them within 30 days and that invites will be sent out in waves every week, so if you want in on Project Fi then that shouldn’t be an issue.

Those who ultimately decide to take the plunge will be able to port their existing phone number over if they so choose, though do note that this may come with a hefty early termination fee that Google is unsurprisingly unwilling to help you pay for.

So there’s only one question remaining — are you in? It all sounds very interesting, and if done right this move by Google could do a while lot to change the wireless industry as we know it. Let us know how you feel about Project Fi and whether you plan to give it a go by dropping a comment below!

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Best Samsung Galaxy S6 cases http://phandroid.com/2015/04/21/best-samsung-galaxy-s6-cases/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/21/best-samsung-galaxy-s6-cases/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:18:54 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=161468 Speck-Inked-Galaxy-S6-case

Now that you have a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S6 it’s time to customize and protect it. Samsung designed the Galaxy S6 with Gorilla Glass 4 on the back and front, which may be incredibly strong, but is certainly not invincible. Almost every phone is susceptible to a nasty crack if it lands in the perfectly wrong way. Don’t let that happen to your Galaxy S6. We’ve got some excellent cases that can protect your phone and make it stand out from the crowd.

Note: Many of these cases have variants for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Here is a list of cases just for the Edge.

Rugged Cases

Rugged cases are the most extreme form of protection you can use. These cases add extra bulk to the device, but they also add a ton of protection.

Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen-Capsule-Ultra-Rugged-Galaxy-S6-case

The Rugged Armor is a flexible TPU case featuring an industrial design. It has a mix of glossy lines and carbon fiber texture, which provide decent protection without being overly bulky. This case is more for a rugged look than rugged protection. [$11.99]

Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen-Tough-Armor-Galaxy-S6-case

The Tough Armor case is the beefiest Spigen has to offer. It’s the perfect combination of a soft TPU layer and a hard polycarbonate backing. The case is reinforced with Air Cushion Technology that absorbs shock from bumps and falls without the bulk. [$18.99]

Spigen Neo Hybrid

Spigen-Neo-Hybrid-Galaxy-S6-case

The Neo Hybrid case is a mix between TPU, polycarbonate, and metal. It has all the benefits of a tough, rugged case, but it’s lightweight and relatively slim. This case is the best of both rugged and slim cases. [$19.99]

Speck MightyShell

gs6_mightyshell

The MightyShell boasts “2x military-grade protection.” It has three different layers of materials for excellent impact protection, but yet is only 0.18-inches thick. The MightyShell also comes with a lifetime warranty (if for some reason you never upgrade your phone). [$49.95]

Slim Cases

A slim case can add a little bit of extra protection, mostly against scratches and dings, but they also add some style. Using a slim-fitting case is a nice way to personalize your phone without bulking it up and losing the attractive profile.

Spigen Capsule Solid

Spigen-Capsule-Solid-Galaxy-S6-case

The “Capsule” name comes from the encapsulated protection that this case offers. The flexible matte TPU wraps tightly around the device for a snug fit that offers extra grip and protection against dings and scratches. [$14.99]

Speck CandyShell Grip

Speck-CandyShell-Grip-Galaxy-S6-case

The CandyShell Grip case has become one of the more popular phone cases around. It has a dual-layer design that mixes hard plastic with grippy rubber. The rubber makes it very easy to hold the phone, but if you still drop it it will be protected. [$34.95]

Speck CandyShell Inked

Speck-CandyShell-Inked-Galaxy-S6-case

The CandyShel Inked is an artistic twist on the original CandyShell case. It comes in five unique designs to add some style to the phone, and it’s still certified to meet military drop test standards. [$39.95]

Spigen Slim Armor

Spigen-Slim-Armor-Galaxy-S6-case

The Slim Armor case keeps things secure without adding a lot of extra bulk The dual layer of TPU interior and hard polycarbonate exterior keeps your device protected in a minimal design, and the kickstand is a nice addition. [$16.99]

Spigen Thin Fit

Spigen-Thin-Fit-Galaxy-S6-case

If you want protection against bumps and scratches, but don’t want to sacrifice the feel of your device, the Thin Fit case is a good choice. The Thin Fit is a hard case that stays true to its name and only adds a negligible amount of weight for a case-less feeling. [$10.99]

Spigen Neo Hybrid EX

Spigen Neo Hybrid EX Galaxy S6 case

The Neo Hybrid EX is a TPU bumper case. It only protects the sides and edges of the phone. If you’re worried about corners being dinged and the phone slipping out of your hands this is a great little case. [$23.99]

Incipio Feather

Incipio-Feather-Galaxy-S6-case

An Incipio classic, the lightweight Feather case features a hard polycarbonate construction for rigid device protection. As the name suggests, this case is very light and thin. You won’t even notice it’s there. [$24.99]

Battery Cases

The Galaxy S6 battery life woes have been well documented, and while Fast Charging helps the situation, it’s not a perfect solution. Fast Charging doesn’t help if you’re away from a power outlet. A battery case, on the other hand, can add juice wherever you are.

Mophie Juice Pack

mophie-juice-pack-s6

The Juice Pack offers up to 100% extra battery life for your Galaxy S6. It’s not overly bulky, and it adds some protection to your device as well. It comes in three colors that are designed to perfectly match the Galaxy S6. [$99.95]

Jazer Ultra Slim Rechargeable

jazer battery galaxy s6

If you’re looking for something a little cheaper the Jazer Ultra Slim is a nice option. It has a 4200mAh batter packed into a decently slim body. You’ll get extra juice, a little added protection, and it won’t add too much bulk. [$39.99]

Wallet Cases

If you’re low on pocket real estate you might want to consider combining your phone and wallet into one item. A wallet case can offer protection to not only your phone, but also your cards and cash. Your phone and wallet are always with you, so why not merge them?

Spigen Wallet S

Spigen-Wallet-S-Galaxy-S6-case

The Wallet S has 3 card slots and an interior compartment for extra cash. Premium faux leather encompasses the hard polycarbonate casing that firmly holds your phone in place. Spigen has also included a bunch of magnets that hold the screen cover and can double as a kickstand. [$17.99]

Speck CandyShell Card

speck-candyshell-card-s6

The CandyShell Card builds the card-holder right into the back of the case. There’s room for cards and cash, plus you still get the cool design and protection of a the classic Speck CandyShell case. [$39.99]

Verus Damda Slide

versu-damda-s6

The Verus Card Slot Case is built like a tank. It has a special compartment in the back that can hold up to 2 cards and some cash. On top of that it has a tough dual-layer design and rubber edges for easy gripping. It’s available in five colors. [$19.99]

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These are just some of the many cases you can find for the Galaxy S6. Are you a fan of any of these cases/manufacturers? Which case do you plan to use on your Galaxy S6? Are you going case-less?

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The best Samsung Galaxy S6 apps & games http://phandroid.com/2015/04/21/best-galaxy-s6-apps-and-games/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/21/best-galaxy-s6-apps-and-games/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:12:22 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163696 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09364

You’ve done the 13 things all Samsung Galaxy S6 owners should do right now, you’ve read up on our extensive rundown of tips & tricks. You are a seasoned Galaxy S6 veteran. The next step is outfitting your hardware with the apps and games that will truly showcase the S6 in all its glory. Here they are.

Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Apps

Samsung Smart Switch

samsung-smart-switch

We amass a lot of information on our smartphones — photos, apps, contacts, and more — and one of the biggest pain points of buying a new phone is getting all of that data from one device to the other. It’s particularly frustrating for those changing platforms, moving from an iPhone or even an antiquated flip phone to Android. If you gave up hope because the task seemed to daunting, download Samsung Smart Switch now and effortlessly transfer your data regardless of platform.

Download Samsung Smart Switch

Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher Material update

With the Galaxy S6 Samsung has done their best to slim down the notoriously bloated TouchWiz interface that comes standard on Galaxy devices, but the user interface remains divisive among Android users. If you aren’t a big fan of Samsung’s candy-coated UI, the Google Now Launcher is your best option for returning to an Android look and feel that is closer to Google’s stock design. An added bonus is easy access to your Google Now cards by swiping to the far right.

Download Google Now Launcher

Fleksy

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Like Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, if you aren’t happy with the keyboard options that come stock with the Galaxy S6 we recommend checking out Fleksy. A somewhat minimalist keyboard at its base, Fleksy is fully customizable through extensions and features support for animated GIFs, emojis, hot keys, and more. Above all it’s a super accurate keyboard that is only limited by how fast your thumbs can fly.

Download Fleksy

Snapseed

snapseed-2.0

If you checked out our Samsung Galaxy S6 review, you will know that we found its camera to be perhaps the best to ever feature on a smartphone. Take it to the next level with Snapped, an app that offers powerful photo editing and manipulation tools to touch up photos or turn them into works of art. A detailed edit history dubbed Stacks means your original photo is only a few taps away giving you freedom to experiment with your photos as you see fit.

Download Snapseed

AirDroid

AirMirror-airdroid

The only thing better than having a Galaxy S6 in your pocket is having access to it from your computer, and AirDroid is the tool to do it. AirDroid seamlessly pairs you phone with your PC or Mac over your wireless network to allow you to send and receive SMS messages, transfer files, view notifications, or mirror your devices display and access apps all from your computer.

Download AirDroid

Echo

Echo

Echo takes your Galaxy S6’s notifications to the next level with a sleek lockscreen look that provides quick access to incoming messages, calls, and other alerts. This handy little app conveniently organizes notifications to clean up the clutter and allows you to snooze selected items so you can stay focused. Throw in a pinch of customization and its no wonder Echo has been dubbed the best lockscreen replacement by many.

Download Echo

Tasker

tasker

The Galaxy S6 is a powerful device for power users, and Tasker’s automation capabilities make the perfect companion. Hundreds of possible actions can be linked to triggers like time and location to automate everything from silencing your phone while you sleep to sending a text message when you ignore a call, and it can do a whole lot more than that.

Download Tasker

Milk Video and Milk Music

milk-music-app-samsung

With so many options out there for streaming music and video it would be easy to write off Samsung’s own offerings as mere bloatware designed to lock you into the Galaxy ecosystem, but Milk Music and Milk Video in actuality represent compelling options for S6 owners looking to satiate their need for entertainment. With unique interfaces aimed at discovery, you’re sure to discover a new artist, song, or video almost every time you open either app.

Download Milk Video | Download Milk Music

Phandroid News

Phandroid_App_Nexus_5

What’s the easiest way to stay up to date on Galaxy S6 news, tips, tricks, and more? The Phandroid News app, of course. It’s everything you love about Phandroid in a handy little package designed to work natively with your Android smartphone.

Download Phandroid News

Even more…

No two users will want exactly the same thing out of their Galaxy S6, so you might find yourself passing on some of the apps listed above. That’s OK! Here are some more helpful links showcasing more of our favorite Android apps for everyone.

Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Games

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Asphalt-8-Airborne-Review

For fans of racing games, it’s hard to find a better Android entry than the latest in the popular Asphalt series. Asphalt 8: Airborne features sizzling 3D graphics that really showcase the Galaxy S6’s powerful hardware and display, but you will quickly crave the fast-paced gameplay complete with aerial stunts (hence the “Airborne” subtitle).

Download Asphalt 8: Airborne

Monument Valley

Monument Valley for Android screenshots

House of Cards viewers may have spotted Monument Valley make a brief cameo on fictional US president Frank Underwood’s tablet in the show’s most recent season, but we have been singing this game’s praises since it first launched in 2014. A puzzle/platformer that looks like an MC Escher sketch mashed up with Adventure Time, the gameplay is as addictive as it is beautiful. The Galaxy S6’s vibrant Super AMOLED display only makes it more apparent.

Download Monument Valley

Subway Surfers

Subway Surfers

The endless runner genre has seen an explosion in popularity on mobile devices, and there is perhaps no finer example for Android devices than Subway Surfers. With vivid graphics that really pop on the Galaxy S6’s display, this one is easy to get into. Mastering it is a whole different story.

Download Subway Surfers

Badland

badland

Badland is oddly gorgeous as its shapeshifting protagonist travels through a bleak, almost sinister world. While it appears on the surface to be a standard platformer, this is one game where you can only get a true sense of gameplay by picking it up and working your way through each level. And it will take work, but it’s well worth it.

Download Badland

Crossy Road

crossyroadscreenshots

Crossy Road takes classic Frogger-style gameplay and updates it for the mobile era, bringing us a game that gives us much more than its premise might suggest. The graphics and name might make Crossy Road easy to right off as just another title trying to leach off of the Flappy Bird craze of 2014, and while it is in the same way addictively simple Crossy Road is an entirely different beast.

Download Crossy Road

Sky Force 2014

sky force

Sky Force is an original when it comes to mobile games, its first iteration debuting 10 years ago when the makers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 could only dream of the future potential of smartphones. The game returns in a big way a decade later with amped-up gameplay and arcade-quality graphics, making this space shooter a must-have.

Download Sky Force 2014

Piano by Yokee

yokee-piano

This music maker turns playing the piano into something akin to the popular Guitar Hero franchise of games, tasking players with tapping on a series of falling dots to play any number of songs from a large library of available music, from classical etudes to modern pop.

Download Piano by Yokee

Dots

dots

There is a certain beauty in simplicity, but there can also be maddening frustration. See Dots as an example of this. A minimalist puzzler, you’ll be glad your Galaxy S6 has Gorilla Glass protection when you go throwing it at the wall should the objective of clearing the dots prove too difficult.

Download Dots

Game on

When you grow tired of the above (which won’t be anytime soon), we’ve got even more hot takes on our favorite games for you to check out. These should keep you busy a while.

And be sure to head on over to Android Forums for even more apps, games, and Galaxy S6 discussion!

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Sony has officially unveiled the Xperia Z4: Snapdragon 810, 5.2-inch 1080p display and 20.7MP camera http://phandroid.com/2015/04/20/sony-xperia-z4-official/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/20/sony-xperia-z4-official/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:15:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163682 xperia z4 side-by-side

We’ve been wondering how long it would take for Sony to officially unwrap their flagship for 2015, but the company did so this morning as they announced the Sony Xperia Z4 in their home territory of Japan. So what’s on tap?

Nothing out of the ordinary, really. This is Sony as we’ve come to know and love them, with a familiar design that has graced many-a phone in the Xperia lineup over the past couple of years.

z4_08 z4_07 z4_05 z4_02 z4_01 z4_06

It isn’t identical to any previous designs, mind you, but the subtle tweaks to things like the outside corners of the chassis and speaker placement are sure to be under-appreciated by all but the most hardcore Sony fans. The Sony Xperia Z4 features a metal frame and doesn’t do anything to compromise its ability to be dust and water resistant, something that has become an important point of emphasis for Sony in recent times.

Under the hood is a different story: this phone is an absolute beast, and no Sony phone has yet to boast such an impressive set of specs. Take a look at what will have its motors running:

  • 5.2-inch 1920 × 1080 display
  • Snapdragon 810 chipset (64-bit)
  • 20.7MP Exmor RS camera with 4K video recording
  • 5.1-megapixel wide-angle selfie cam
  • 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage w/ microSD slot
  • 2930mAh battery
  • 146 x 72 x 6.9mm, 144g
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop

So when can you get it? That question is a bit more tricky to answer. Sony has only given a Summer release expectation as it pertains to Japan’s launch, and didn’t even mention plans to launch in other countries.

We’re sure they will bring it to other markets eventually — their previous flagships have launched for international markets — but there’s no official word or any further details right now. Let us know if you’ll be looking to grab Xperia Z4 should the opportunity to purchase one eventually arrive.

 

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Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/04/17/galaxy-s6-vs-iphone-6/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/17/galaxy-s6-vs-iphone-6/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:12:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163523 Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09423

We know, you’ve no doubt heard the claims that the iPhone 6 is the “best smartphone” in the market. At least, according to some. Now that the Samsung Galaxy S6 has finally launched, you’ve probably been curious to see how the 2 heavy weights match up. Wonder no more, friends. This is our Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 face-off.

Design/Build quality (Winner: Galaxy S6 Edge)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09429

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no denying Samsung did a bang up job updating the Samsung Galaxy S6 for 2015. We’ll admit, the Samsung obviously took some design cues from the iPhone 6. The familiar billet drilled speaker holes, headphone jack placement. Sure, the rest of the phone is all Galaxy, but the bottom of the S6 looks nearly identical to the iPhone’s.

And where someone might make the argument the rest of the phone is similar too, the Galaxy S6 Edge smashes previous conventions with an all new double-sided curved display. It’s not really functional so much as it is just damn cool to look at.

We still love the 2.5D glass on the iPhone 6, but it’s clear the Galaxy S6 Edge is a double threat — rock solid build quality, coupled with futuristic design. The Edge most certainly has the edge in this category.

Display (Winner: Galaxy S6)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09424

The iPhone 6 was released nearly a year ago, a time where every Android flagship was boasting a 1080p display. While there is no excuse for Apple to release yet another iteration of the iPhone with a 1334×750 display, the iPhone 6 made up for it with Apple’s new multiple-domain LCD panel or “dual-domain pixels” that allowed for exceptional viewing angles. Color reproduction is top notch as well, even if things can occasionally look a tad washed out.

Samsung on the other hand has built a thriving business around their display panels, with Super AMOLED being their crown jewel. AMOLED offers the deepest blacks, the most saturated colors, and fantastic refresh rates. Arguments of over saturation are quickly laid to rest thanks to Samsung’s TouchWiz software which allows you to tone it down to your liking. And while 2K display sounds a bit like overkill, it’s hard to go back to anything else after your eyes have been spoiled by it for a few weeks.

The Galaxy S6 Edge also uses a flexible version of Samsung’s AMOLED panels, one that is curved around both sides of the device. It sounds great in theory, but when viewing the device head-on, images become warped and colors can look off at an angle. The Edge panel might win in sex appeal, but it’s clearly the loser here.

Hardware (Winner: Galaxy S6)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09428

There’s no denying the iPhone 6 is built well enough, but mobile technology has been advancing at a lightning quick pace. Quicker than even Apple can keep up. The iPhone 6 added NFC capabilities, but they’re tied down to Apple’s payment method and not open to anything else.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S6 features technology that supports both wireless charging standards, has adaptive fast charging that brings the battery to 50% in only 30 minutes, heart rate monitor for health nuts, a much louder speaker, and a fingerprint scanner that performs as flawlessly as the iPhone’s. Users can also use NFC right now to transfer data, sync with Bluetooth devices, or yes, make mobile payments using Google Wallet. Once Samsung Pay is officially ready, you’ll be able to use the phone as payment anywhere regular credit cards are swiped via Magnetic Secure Transmission.

With a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy S6 takes the hardware win on this one, leaving the iPhone 6 back in 2012 where it belongs.

Camera (Winner: Galaxy S6)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09427

You know the story. The iPhone has long been the standard of mobile photography. Mixing a stupid simple interface with consistently great output, there hasn’t been an Android device that could really compete with the iPhone — until now.

For the Galaxy S6, Samsung has added a 16MP sensor that produces crystal clear visuals. This is thanks in part to a new f/1.9 aperture lens that allows more light to hit the sensor, and Optical Image Stabilization to compensate for shaky hands. The result are photos that look great no matter the lighting conditions. Oh, and there’s also a high resolution 5MP front facing shooter for selfie addicts.

The iPhone 6 on the other hand is using an 8MP camera with f/2.2 lens, along with a 1.2MP from facing camera. We’re not going to sit here and tell you photos taken with the iPhone 6 look bad by any means. It’s just the iPhone has finally been trumped by the Samsung Galaxy S6 which offers sharper images, more shooting modes, superior imaging hardware, and better control of the camera with a new Pro mode.

Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_111837 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3026 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_111731 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3025 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_111416 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3023 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_110552(0) iPhone 6 samples IMG_3018 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_110453 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3017 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_112139 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3028 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_110047 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3016 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_105652 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3014 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_110003 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3015 Galaxy S6 samples 20150417_112020 iPhone 6 samples IMG_3027

Battery life (Winner: iPhone 6)

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 battery life

Battery life is always one of the hardest specs to talk about in mobile devices, mainly because it’s never the same between 2 people. Having spent months with the iPhone 6 and a few weeks with the Galaxy 6, I think I have a good idea of how far the battery will take me on each. For the most part, they’re evenly matched despite their huge battery size differences: the iPhone 6 is equipped with a meager 1,810mAh, while the Galaxy S6 packs a much larger 2,550mAh battery.

I found that both will take my about 15 or so hours depending on use. Battery life on both seems to deplete evenly the more you use them. But it’s only on the iPhone 6 that when left alone, the battery barely drops at all when in standby. Keep in mind, that’s with all the same social apps, and constant notifications coming through the entire day waking up the display.

The battery on Galaxy S6 on the other hand seemed to drop no matter what I did. We have seen reports of battery life issues across various carrier versions of the device, so that’s definitely something to consider (although my devices didn’t show any of the symptoms). A buddy of mine sends me screenshots on the daily of his great battery life, meanwhile both my regular S6 and S6 Edge are barely pushing 12 hours if I’m lucky. Not sure what gives, but until Samsung can get their house in order, the iPhone 6 takes the win on this one.

Software (Winner: Galaxy S6)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09431

We’ll admit, Apple’s been doing some great things with iOS as of late. Notification widgets are interesting and background app refresh are all nice additions Android users have been enjoying for years. Oh, and who can forget those cute new emoji.

But when you leave software features to the big boys, Samsung always comes out ahead. We mentioned this in our review, but despite Samsung removing much of their bloat from TouchWiz, the OS itself is still chock full of features. There’s too much to list here, but our favorites are Multi-view window for displaying 2 apps at the same time, quick gestures, and emergency features.
The best part is these software features no longer bog down the OS. TouchWiz is finally as fast as stock Android, making it a joy to use.

If you’re an iOS user, don’t worry. We’re sure you’ll see a few of these features in a few more years. Maybe with iOS 10.

Price (Winner: Tie)

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 pricing

The base model Samsung Galaxy S6 starts at $200 on contract for 32GB model, or $680 full price (there’s also the $800 unlocked international model). From there it jumps $100 for every storage increase — 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. The Galaxy S6 Edge also sees another $100 bump simply for its gorgeous curved AMOLED display.

The iPhone 6 on the other hand, starts at 200 for the 16GB model ($650 unlocked), then jumps an extra $100 to the 64GB version, and another for hundred bucks for the 128GB option. For whatever reason, there is no 32GB model, a clever move by Apple to nudge consumers into grabbing the 64GB iPhone 6.

While pricing is for the most part the same across the board, the regular Galaxy S6 offers more internal storage at the base configuration. It’s the next 2 tiers — 64GB and 128GB — that things even out, with the S6 Edge being the most expensive out of the bunch.

Verdict

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09437

If you’ve made it this far, we think it’s pretty obvious the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the clear winner in this race. The phone offers more hardware for your money, a superior camera, and all around better software experience. From here, the real question is whether you’ll be opting for the S6 Edge, and in what color.

The Galaxy S6 scores almost a clean sweep in our comparison, tidily defeating the iPhone 6 in just about each of the categories we examined. For those keeping score at home, here is the final tally:

  • Design/Build: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Display: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Hardware: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Camera: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Battery life: Apple iPhone 6
  • Software: Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Price: Tie

Who do you got?

It’s pretty obvious which phone we would want to have in our pocket, though the decision might not be so close for others. There is no denying the iPhone 6’s place among the smartphone elite, but does Samsung win this round? Let us know which phone you are going with in the below poll.

 

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The Galaxy S6 is here, but does it have what it takes to top our Best Android Phones list? http://phandroid.com/2015/04/16/best-android-phones-april-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/16/best-android-phones-april-2015/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:40:44 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163537 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09324

We have no qualms in saying we love the Samsung Galaxy S6. You need only check out our full review of Samsung’s latest smartphone to see why. But we love the HTC One M9, too (as you will see in our review of that device, as well). Needless to say, when the Phandroid staff put our heads together to rank the best Android phones currently on the market, agreeing on who would hold the top spot wasn’t easy.

Did HTC’s decision to stick with the premium build that won them accolades with last year’s One M8 hurt the case of the One M9? Did Samsung sway us with a sweeping redesign of their flagship Galaxy handset? What about the dark horse, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge? Those devices were easy choices for the top three spots on our list, but if you want to know their final order you’ll have to head over and see for yourself.

Things are bound to only get more complicated come next month with the launch of the LG G4, the manufacturers answer to Samsung and HTC’s 2015 workhorses. We have a rundown of what to expect along with our complete roundup of top Android smartphones, rumored, and upcoming devices. Visit our Android phone guide for the whole shebang.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Review http://phandroid.com/2015/04/15/samsung-galaxy-s6-review/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/15/samsung-galaxy-s6-review/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:05:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=161321 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09324

With a seemingly endless amount of marketing dollars at their disposal, Samsung has long been the reigning king of Android. Nobody else comes close on a global scale. This isn’t so much because Samsung has always built the best looking devices, or even developed the most intuitive software. It’s because Samsung discovered early on that if they threw enough ad dollars into something, it would guarantee success. And for the most part, they were right.

But as we saw with last year’s Samsung Galaxy S5, it was clear people were wising up. The device failed to resonate with consumers and in the end, failed to meet Samsung’s lofty sales goals. Sure it had lots of “me too” features (fingerprint reader, heart rate sensor, loads of software enhancements), but it was a jack of all trades and master of none.

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung has finally seen the error of their ways. The new handsets aren’t so much a deviation from Samsung’s traditional Galaxy line as they are a very necessary evolution. The good kind. But is it all roses? Let’s jump into our review.

Design / Build quality

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09333

I’ve always been pretty vocal about my disgust strong distaste for last year’s Samsung Galaxy S5. In a world where smaller OEMs like HTC and Motorola were focusing sleek designs and more premium build materials, Samsung was content in selling yet another plastic flagship with the same tired, uninspired design. Needless to say, the Galaxy S5 left a lot to be desired and plenty of room for improvement in the Galaxy S6.

At first glance, it’s clear the Galaxy S6 is unlike any other Samsung devices before it. But we’d be lying if we said the phone didn’t appear to take a few design cues from a certain other competitor. Not so much the new aluminum sides. One could easily argue Samsung adopted that design from their ATIV S Windows Phone. Yet we still feel like some additional work could have been done to avoid obvious similarities with the iPhone 6.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09238

Instead of avoiding similarities with the iPhone 6, Samsung seems to have wholly embraced them. It feels blatantly intentional. The 3.5mm headphone jack has now moved from top — where it has been since the original Samsung Galaxy S — to an all new position at the bottom of the S6. Sure a few phones have a similar setup, but it’s even placed to the left of the charging port just like on the iPhone 6.

On the opposite side, we now find billet drilled holes where the speaker has, wouldn’t you know it, also been moved from the back to the bottom. We know. It’s entirely possible this is all just one big, silly coincidence. Perhaps Samsung designers never once laid eyes on the iPhone 6 when adding the final touches on the Galaxy S6. Somehow we doubt that.

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09394

The good part is that’s where the similarities end. From head-on, the S6 is classic Galaxy. Samsung’s all too familiar chrome earpiece makes yet another appearance, along with their now trademark oval home button. Coloring on the device is handled by luminescent chrome slipped underneath smooth Gorilla Glass 4 that now covers the entire front and back of the device.

According to Corning, it’s supposed to be less prone to surface scratches and shattering than Gorilla Glass 3 which was found on the previous Galaxy S5. We’ve seen enough drop tests to know that the phone isn’t immune to shattering, so we’d still recommend buying a nice tempered glass screen protector and/or case just in case.

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09389

Speaking of the glass, unlike the Galaxy S5 which was completely recessed, it is now slightly beveled and sits almost completely flush with the frame edges (more so on the sides than the top and bottom). This means when grabbing UI elements from the sides of the display — like those slide out app menus — your finger gracefully glides over the edges of the display, making for a smooth and silky experience. It’s not quite as pronounced as the 2.5D glass on the iPhone 6, but a little closer to what we’ve seen on the Moto X (2nd Gen) or DROID Turbo.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9 vs DROID Turbo DSC09252 (1)

Once again we find Samsung opting for their traditional home button setup along with recents and back capacitive buttons on each side. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is that they still don’t use stock Android’s setup (back on the left, home center, recents on the right), but those coming from a previous Galaxy device will feel right at home. Everyone else, well, you should adjust in no time.

A design area we were a tad disappointed to find Samsung didn’t work on was the Galaxy S’s ever growing bezels. Things were looking good from the S3, to the S4, but all that went out the window when the S5 introduced thicker top and bottom bezels. The Galaxy S6’s bezels look to match last year’s model (although we don’t have specific measurements). We’ve seen advancements in this area with Sharp and LG creating devices with super small bezels, but then again, they don’t have the hardware the S5/S6 has (fingerprint scanner). It’s because of that, we’ll give Samsung a pass on this one. Function over form, we suppose.

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09339

If there was one thing to be said about Samsung’s choice of plastic in previous Galaxies, it’s that they were durable. Ditching the perforated, soft touch pleather of last year’s model, the S6 now features a single pane of glass that covers the entire back of the phone. Underneath all that glass, the phone’s metallic surface can be seen, creating a sheen and flashy multidimensional effect. Samsung devices have always been shiny, but this is shiny on top of shiny.

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09358

The only thing messing up the sleekness of the back is the camera housing jutting out towards the top. A protruding camera is nothing new for Samsung devices. It’s just now further accentuated thanks to a much flatter, all-glass back plate. If you thought the iPhone 6’s camera was an eyesore, the S6’s is sure to make you cringe. Not only that, the phone always lays at a slight 5-degree angle, resting on the camera housing. If you’re not careful, you could end up with scratches on the lens or even worse, a crack if lay down the phone down with a bit of force. Something to be careful about.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC09231

Samsung’s choice to go with wireless charging in the S6 prevented them from going with a metal back plate like how they did on the Galaxy A series. For the record, we would have been cool with matte or even high gloss plastic although we’ll admit, the glass certainly does look pretty. That is, until it’s covered in a hundred fingerprints after a few minutes of use. In the phone’s defense, fingerprints are super easy to wipe clean with a cotton shirt or sleeve. Did we mention the Galaxy S6 is really shiny?

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09364

In the hand, the Galaxy S6 feels great. The non-stick, anodized aluminum siding can make it difficult to gain a confident grip on the phone, but the light weight (138g compared to 145g of the S5) keeps it from feeling like it constantly wants to slip out of your hand. Let’s also not forget the dozen or so official cases Samsung is offering, let alone various 3rd party cases already available online. If you’re worried about slippage, you’ll have no problem finding a nice bumper case with added grip and protection from just about every case maker under the sun.

Samsung Galaxy S6 all colors DSC08552

At the time of writing the Samsung Galaxy S6 is available in 4 colors: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz (Galaxy S6 only) and Green Emerald (Galaxy S6 Edge only). Why each model got a single exclusive color is beyond us, but we really had our hearts set on an electric blue option for the Edge.

All-in-all, we’d say Samsung did a fantastic job at updating their flagship Galaxy series with the S6. The phone offers a much more refined experience than any Galaxy before it. There are similarities with the iPhone, but it doesn’t really take anything away from the phone and we wont knock off any points because of it. We will say after taking a look at other devices like the Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen), HTC One M9, or even the Sony Xperia Z3, we wish Samsung would have done a little more to avoid similarities with their biggest competitor, while carving out a truly unique identity all their own. As of right now, they’re off to a great start.

Hardware

Display

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09336

By and large, the Galaxy line’s greatest strength has always been its stellar AMOLED displays. Over multiple iterations the past few years, Samsung’s AMOLED displays have managed to carve out a name for themselves as the best on the market. Deep blacks, colors that pop, and phenomenal refresh rates, there’s just so much here to love.

The move from the Galaxy S5 to Galaxy S6, we’re now seeing Samsung up the ante in terms of resolution, employing their most advanced display panels yet. The display on the Galaxy S6 now carries an eye blistering 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution at 577 pixels per inch. It was a logical progression, if not a little overkill. But we knew it was coming, especially after last year’s LG G3 hit the market with their own 2K display. When it comes to Android competition, often times it’s a numbers game (more cores, higher res, bigger batteries). The real question is whether or not the jump to Quad HD provides any benefit to the user and whether or not it’s worth the hit on battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09341

We’ll admit. We were skeptical that Quad HD would look drastically better than the now standard 1080p resolution, especially on a smaller 5-inch device where the ppi is already plenty dense. But after spending more than a week with the Galaxy S6, it’s officially made us believers. The quality is sharp. Pin sharp. We still believe the move to 2K might have been a bit premature as there just isn’t much content that takes advantage of this resolution at present, but the market is certainly headed that way. Nothing wrong with staying ahead of that curve and we’re sure it wont be long before content providers catch up.

Anytime someone brings up a discussion about AMOLED displays, there’s always that one guy who says he doesn’t like their over-saturation. As most Galaxy users will know, these arguments were laid to rest back in the Galaxy S4 when Samsung’s custom software allowed users to turn down saturation for a more accurate LCD-like color gamut.

The Galaxy S6 is no different, with the option to choose between AMOLED cinema (super saturated, cool whites), AMOLED photo (less saturated, warmer whites), and basic (the lowest saturation setting). Samsung also included an Adaptive display mode which they claim “optimizes the color range, saturation, and sharpness” of the display according to whatever it is you’re viewing. The only problem is this mode isn’t compatible with all 3rd party apps.

Edge screen

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC09219

The single defining feature — and only difference between the regular Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge — is its new double-sided curved AMOLED display. There’s no question it improves the phone’s design. It looks absolutely beautiful. Like some kinda of smartphone from the future. The thing is, it doesn’t really offer up any real world benefit outside of its good looks. Because the angle of the curve is so minute, the Edge screen really adds little functionality to the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC09210

Like an optical illusion, the angle of the curve is much less prominent than what Samsung would have you believe. Don’t get us wrong, it’s definitely noticeable. But it doesn’t really wrap around the sides of the device much, if at all. It’s nothing like the Galaxy Note Edge which is, admittedly, much larger and features a dedicated section for app shortcuts.

Samsung would love for you to believe that the S6’s Edge screen adds functionality by displaying UI elements not normally viewable (or difficult to see) on a regular flat display. But truth is, the majority of the time you could probably view the exact same information on a flat display when viewing from an upward angle. When looking at the phone directly from its side (if you’re laying in bed and viewing on your nightstand for instance), the top half of whatever is displayed on the Edge screen is cut in half. It’s more like a half-edge.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC09208

While the Edge display doesn’t curve much around the sides of the phone, it’s probably better off. Unless Samsung increased the aspect ratio, or added separate little screens, viewing videos and other media would cause even more of the image to get all warped around the sides. And that’s the biggest challenge we found in adapting to the new Edge display. It’s hard to explain, but it feels… weird. Your eyes really have to adjust and it can take some definite getting used to, but I’ll be damned if it sure doesn’t look pretty. Whether that’s worth an extra $100 is up to you.

Performance

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Without question the Samsung Galaxy S6 is one of the fastest phones on the block. Sure, this is generally expected when a new flagship hits the market, but as we saw with last year’s Galaxy S5 (or even the LG G3), this isn’t always the case. For the S6, Samsung has built their all new 64-bit, Octa-core Exynos 7420 using an advanced 14nm manufacturing process. Yes, “Octa” means 8, and there’s four 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 high performance cores working together with four 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 cores.

This means the processor is not only quicker, but more power efficient than older SoCs. What we found was this translated into a processor that opened apps at lightning quick speeds, while never feeling hot in our hands. The Exynos 7420 is also supposed to sip battery when in standby, but you’ll have to read our battery life section for more on that.

Even though the S6 is kicky fast, we did notice the occasional stutter or longer than usual load times during use (like waiting for a keyboard to popup, or app drawer to redraw), but that could be buggy software as much as anything else. After comparing the S6 to the One M9’s Snapdragon 810, it’s clear Samsung made the right choice in opting for their own silicon. Not even the phone’s absurdly high resolution 2K display could hamper its performance. Other hardware specs on the Samsung Galaxy S6 include:

  • 14nm 64-bit Exynos 7 Octa chipset
  • 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM
  • 32GB, 64GB or 128GB UFS 2.0 storage options
  • 16 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, 5 megapixel front camera with real-time HDR
  • 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display (577 ppi)
  • Dual-mode wireless charging with support for both WPC and PMA charging pads
  • 10 minutes charging for 4 hours of use, 0% to 100% battery in half the time it takes an iPhone to charge
  • NFC, heart-rate sensor and improved fingerprint scanner
  • Depth: 6.8mm/7.0mm edge
  • Weight: 138g/132g edge

Fingerprint scanner

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We saw Samsung’s first awkward attempt at adding a fingerprint scanner to the Galaxy S5 last year. Needless to say, it wasn’t anywhere near as intuitive as Apple’s “Touch ID.” This was thanks to a weird swiping motion it required users to do across the button in order to scan your fingerprint. Sorry, but no thanks.

This year, Samsung has vastly improved the fingerprint scanner with the Galaxy S6 and simply put: it works just as well as it does on the iPhone. Trust us, that’s a good thing. No more swiping. Simply hold your finger atop the home button (you don’t even need to physically press it in) and watch as the lock screen fades away in nearly an instant. Authentication is super quick and more importantly, a hundred times easier than using a traditional PIN or password. Screw that noise, fingerprints are the way to go and I’m never looking back.

Setting up the secure unlocking method on the S6 is eerily similar to how it’s done on the iPhone. The UI and animations of the app are practically identical. While registering your finger prints (up to 4), you’re asked to press and remove your finger in a variety of orientations so the phone can learn your entire fingerprint. For those concerned your fingerprints are being sent to the cloud, Samsung assures us all your fingerprints are encrypted in the S6’s secure device storage.

After successfully scanning your fingerprints, a backup PIN code will help gain access to your phone should your fingerprints get burned off or something (or perhaps the hardware fails for some reason). You can even set up the phone to log into websites using your fingerprint, but you’ll first need to enable this feature in the settings. We would have loved to see this feature system wide (like logging into the Play Store), but we’ll take what we can get.

We can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have a fully functional and accurate fingerprint scanner on a phone. As someone who finds PIN codes, passwords, or pattern unlock methods too troublesome to put up with, the fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy S6 is an absolute godsend and functioned properly 99% of the time. We did run into a few fails, but simply tried again and it worked like a charm.

Storage

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Samsung made a very controversial move by forgoing removable expandable memory in the S6, a previous staple of the Galaxy line. We’re sure there are some Samsung fans who feel slighted by the move, but at least Samsung is offering ample internal storage, albeit, at a much higher premium. The Samsung Galaxy S6 comes in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB varieties and sees a +$100 increase for every upgrade. Combine that with the $100 premium for the curved display on the S6 Edge, and you’re looking at one expensive smartphone.

Before you make your decision, we want to remind you that out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S6’s system OS takes up around 9GB of internal memory, and you lose a little after formatting and the bundling of those extra system apps that come pre-installed. That being said, you’ll never see the 32GB as advertised in which case we’d recommend sticking to the 64GB as your base model should you plan on keeping the phone for a good while.

Battery life

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This is probably our least favorite category to talk about in a review, given how battery life is one of those things that always varies from person to person. Before we get into that, let’s start off with the facts. The Samsung Galaxy S6 features a 2,550mAh (2,600 in the Edge) non-removable battery. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is actually smaller than the 2,800mAh battery in last year’s S5. It’s not bad enough OEMs have continually favored a slimmer profile over equipping their phones with bigger batteries, but to actually take a step backwards? What. In the actual. Eff.

We’re guessing Samsung got caught up in the promises of their new 14nm Exynos. So how did it hold up? It’s tough to say. Reports are mixed around the net with some users reporting software bugs (WiFi Calling bug, Google Play Services bug, etc.) that are drastically impacting battery life. After reviewing our stats, our device didn’t appear to be affected by any of these issues, so we’ll report our findings as normal.

During our first week reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S6, we found battery life averaging a mediocre 15 hours with normal to light usage. We found the phone would drop about 10% from a full charge every 1.5 hours or so. Maybe even 2 if we were lucky. That’s with brightness turned up about halfway, and just using our phone like normal (occasionally checking Twitter, Reddit, sending a few messages on Hangouts). Screen on time was anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.

When actually using the phone, battery life takes a huge drop. I gave our spare review unit to my girlfriend (the ultimate stress test), and she averaged around 7 hours (3 hours screen on time) by constantly checking on Facebook, web browsing, listening to Spotify, watching Netflix, and/or snapping the usual 400 selfies in the mirror.

Adaptive Fast Charging

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Its clear OEMs just aren’t making battery life a big enough priority in our mobile devices. To help alleviate some of the pains associated with keeping your device juiced up, they’re using fast charging technology. The Samsung Galaxy S6 comes out of the box with an Adaptive Fast Charging USB charger. It’s similar to Qualcomm’s Quick Charging 2.0 technology — which is also compatible with the S6 despite using a different processor — in that it shoots out a high voltage to power up the device quicker. Really quick, actually.

Samsung claims you’ll get 4 hours of usage after only 10 minutes of charging, and our tests mostly confirmed that. We tried both a standard Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 charger and the included Adaptive Fast Charging charger and found Samsung’s charged a little quicker after the 70% mark. This is probably because the phone switched back the standard 2A charging, while the phone using Quick Charging defaults back to 1.67A.

Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging / Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0

  • 0 min: 0% / 0%
  • 15 min: 25% / 28%
  • 30 min : 53% / 50%
  • 45 min: 78% / 73%
  • 1 hour: 93% / 85%
  • 1 hour 15 min: 99% / 95%
  • 1 hour 20 min: 100% / 1 hour 25 min: 100%

Battery saving software

Samsung Galaxy S6 Ultra Power saving mode

Because you’ll be running out of power nearly everyday, thankfully Samsung including their excellent battery sipping software to save as much battery as possible. With such a huge dip in performance and functionality, you’ll want to save this for when you hit 50% or below.

Power saving mode

Power saving mode is the first level of battery savings, and limits the maximum CPU from running at its full potential. This mode will also reduce screen brightness (and big battery sucker), turn off haptic feedback and LED touch key navigation lights, while reducing the frame rate and the amount of time it takes before the phone sleeps. This doesn’t interfere with data or anything like that, so you’ll continue receiving notifications, emails, and instant messages as normal.

Ultra Power saving mode

As the name suggests, Ultra power saving mode is the more extreme version of power saving mode. Once enabled, the Galaxy S6 turns the color of the display black and white (grayscale) off, while limiting mobile data to only when the screen is on and you’re actively checking your phone. Screen off, data is off and you’ll no longer receive emails or Facebook updates. Background apps are also severely limited, with only the following accessible to the user: Calculator, Clock, Facebook, Google+, Memo, Twitter, Voice Recorder, and WhatsApp.

Emergency mode

Tucked away in the power menu (long pressing the power button) is an “emergency mode.” It’s pretty much the same as Ultra power saving mode only it provides unique shortcuts to a flashlight, emergency alarm, the ability to share your location with others, phone calling, and internet browsing. The only additional apps are Facebook, Google Maps, and Twitter. Should you find yourself trapped in the middle of nowhere with your arm stuck under a rock, gotta take a selfie and share it with your friends, right?

Wireless charging

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Unlike last year’s model (we’ve been saying that a lot, haven’t we?), the Samsung Galaxy S6 now comes with wireless charging straight out of the box. This is actually the reason why Samsung chose to go with a glass back on the phone, not because it looks pretty, but because glass is simply more efficient at wireless induction charging than metal is. With that out of the way, the Galaxy S6 is agnostic when it comes to wireless charging standards, meaning it supports both Power Matters Alliance and Qi based wireless chargers.

What does this mean to you? It means no matter where you go, if you happen upon a wireless charger — whether someplace public like Starbucks, or one built into your furniture — it’s going to work with the Galaxy S6. While the majority of wireless chargers on the market are Qi chargers, really this was the smartest way for Samsung to go. Why support one form of wireless charging when you can do both.

Camera

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One stand out feature on the Samsung Galaxy S6, is, without a doubt, its amazing photo capturing capabilities. Over countless generations of Android devices through the years, none have been able to top the iPhone. Some have gotten close, but none could beat its quality or consistency. We knew it was only a matter of time before some Android device would top it, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is just that smartphone.

The Galaxy S6 is outfitted with a 16MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. For the back, it uses a Sony IMX240 sensor — the same sensor as found on the Galaxy Note 4. But the tiny lens now features a larger f/1.9 aperture, which allows more light in. It’s this, coupled with the new optical image stabilization (OIS) that delivers a 1-2 punch and makes the Galaxy S6 an amazingly versatile shooter, even in low lighting conditions.

On the software side, Samsung’s increased camera launch speed by keeping the app in the background at all times. A quick double click on the home button acts as a shortcut that can pull up the camera from inside any app. The camera does support Lollipop’s Camera2 APIs, but sadly there’s now RAW support on Samsung’s software end. At least not yet.

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera modes

The camera app itself is wonderfully laid out, with a handful of modes and features to keep mobile photographers happy. The phone supports tracking auto-focus to keep moving subjects in focus, voice commands for the shutter, and even a Pro mode for those that want better control of the ISO, shutter speed, exposure, or white balance. There’s a handful of downloadable modes and effects (filters) too, all the stuff Samsung used to have in their previous Galaxies, but removed in the Galaxy S6 to keep it simple. Here’s a quick list:

  • Surround Shot: a Photosphere-like mode that lets you take 360-degree photos
  • Sound & Shot: record the audio of your surroundings at the time the photo was taken for more immersive photos
  • Rear-Cam Selfie: use the rear camera to take a selfie with visual cues to let you know when it’s about to snap the shot
  • Dual Camera: snap a photo or shoot video with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously
  • Animated GIF: create a moving image of a series of photos or videos and save it as an animated GIF
  • Beauty Face: image tweaks to enhance the look of human faces
  • Sports Shot: automatically selects focus and exposure settings for fast moving scenes
  • Food Shot: a macro-focus mode for bringing out the best details in a close-up shot of food (or anything else, really)

Sample photos

GS6 sample 20150415_104319 GS6 sample 20150415_104445 GS6 sample 20150415_104405 GS6 sample 20150415_104300 GS6 sample 2015-04-11 01.31.42 GS6 sample 2015-04-11 01.33.38 GS6 sample 20150410_175902 GS6 sample 20150411_110638 GS6 sample 20150411_110832 GS6 sample 20150415_123448 GS6 sample 20150411_123106(0) GS6 sample 20150411_112935 GS6 sample 20150411_115958 GS6 sample 20150415_111810 GS6 sample 20150415_111949 GS6 sample 20150415_112016 GS6 sample 20150415_111839 GS6 sample 20150415_123512 GS6 sample 20150410_160641 GS6 sample 20150409_171217

Other hardware

Other hardware making a return in the Galaxy S6 is the IR blaster and the heart rate monitor. The universal remote functionality is now powered by the Peel application, while the heart rate monitor is handled by S Health. Since we already have a heart rate monitor built into our smartwatch, we didn’t use this feature much. But the heart rate monitor did work great as a shutter button for the camera in selfie mode.

Also worth noting is the speaker loudness has been drastically improved from the previous Galaxy S5. We suppose the lack of waterproofing has something to do with that, but the speaker is now louder and clearer than ever. So much, in fact, we never turn it up all the way to full volume, instead keeping it a notch below max in most cases.

Software

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While software features are typically a good thing, at some point back during the Samsung Galaxy S4 that Samsung appeared to have lost their way. TouchWiz — Samsung’s custom Android interface found on their Galaxy devices — had grown into a monster straight out of a horror flick. With more features and gimmicks than you can shake a stick at, it quickly began feeling slow, bloated, and hacked together.

With the S6, Samsung appears to have changed all that. According to them, they’ve trimmed some of the fat that originally made TouchWiz such a bloated mess and the result is a cleaner, leaner, meaner, and all around more user friendly OS than ever before.

On the UI side of things, menu icons are now spelled out clear as day. The search icon now reads “Search” while the 3-dot menu, where Samsung has now tucked away many excessive app options out of sight, simply reads “More.” It keeps things clean and leaves little guess work for the end user. We like that.

The new TouchWiz is definitely fast. That weird lag found on previous Galaxy models has, thankfully, been completely obliterated. In most cases, the phone flies through apps and multitasking. While we did encounter a slight stutter and hiccup here and there (the Recents always takes a second to load), it was nothing too terrible. In fact, we’re not even sure if we should blame TouchWiz, Android, or just some glitchy app.

Samsung Galaxy S6 customize home screen folders

In terms of memory, TouchWiz is pretty light too, weighing in at around 6GB on the Galaxy S6, and 9GB on the Galaxy S6 Edge (believe it or not, the S5 was also around 6GB size). Compare that with the HTC One M9’s Sense 7 taking up 12GB of system memory or even Android on the DROID Turbo taking up 11.7GB, and you have an OS that feels as light as Samsung’s claims.

That’s not to say there isn’t any bloatware. Samsung has done away with many of their Google alternative apps, making them available for download inside their Galaxy Apps store. This is great, but you’ll still find a few stragglers like Hancom Office 2014, Memo (note taking app), Milk (music streaming), My Files (file explorer), Voice Recorder, S Voice, S Health, Smart Manager, and Samsung’s new Theme Store.

Samsung Galaxy S6 bloatware

There’s also the usual assortment of carrier apps, along with miscellaneous apps like Peel Smart Remote, and Facebook’s app suite: Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Facebook. What was that about fat trimming? The weirdest part is the bloatware seems to vary with carrier devices in the US. You’ll find the Galaxy S6 on Verizon comes bundled with Amazon apps in lieu of Microsoft’s, and even some core TouchWiz features are missing. More on that later.

Since one man’s gimmick is another man’s treasure, you’ll still find the Samsung Galaxy S6 chock full of software features. This doesn’t even feel so bad when the OS no longer runs like sh*t. Even still, it seems Samsung has never heard the term “less is more ” and has always been concerned with the kitchen sink approach. With every new flagship, they’ve been throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. After 6 iterations of Galaxy devices, the software features found on the Galaxy S6 are what was left clinging to the wall. Here just a handful of software features you’ll find inside the Galaxy S6:

  • Smart Stay – Prevents display from sleeping while you’re looking at the phone.
  • Smart Alert – Alerts you every time you pick up the phone of missed calls or messages,
  • Direct call – Bring the phone to your ear while viewing one of their messages to call them directly.
  • Flip to mute – When receiving a call, place your phone face down to quickly mute it.
  • Quick toggles – Quickly toggle system functions like WiFI or Bluetooth and customize buttons for easy access.
  • Multi-view – Use two apps at the same time or create a popup app in a floating window.
  • Download booster – uses both your LTE and WiFi connection to download files at blazing speeds.
  • S Finder – one-stop search for every app, file or contact on your device.
  • Notification Reminder – Remind yourself to take action on past notifications by reminding every few seconds or minutes.
  • Quick connect – Send files to other Galaxy users quickly and easily.
  • Private mode – keep “sensitive” content on your phone safe by making it only visible while in Private mode.
  • Send SOS messages – Quickly send an emergency message to designated contacts along with photos and location.
  • Emergency mode – It’s like extreme ultra power saving mode for those emergency situations.
  • Adapt sound – Uses a variety of tones and beeps to custom tailor a sound profile to your ears.
  • Smart Manager – This app is supposed to help you keep up with routine maintenance on your phone but is god awful.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Adapt Sound setup Samsung Galaxy S6 Private mode Samsung Galaxy S6 Send SOS messages Samsung Galaxy S6 Emergency mode Samsung Galaxy S6 Quick Connect Samsung Galaxy S6 Download booster Samsung Galaxy S6 Multi-view Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge People edge Samsung Galaxy S6 Keyboard resizing Samsung Galaxy S6 S Finder Samsung Galaxy S6 Quick Settings 1 Samsung Galaxy S6 Motions and gestures Samsung Galaxy S6 Easy Mode Samsung Galaxy S6 Smart Manager app Samsung Galaxy S6 fingerprint setup Samsung Galaxy S6 Ultra Power saving mode Samsung Galaxy S6 Quick settings Samsung Galaxy S6 uninstall delete apps Samsung Galaxy S6 Wake-up command setup

We know, all these features can be a bit overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’ve provided step-by-step directions on how to enable the software features listed above, so make sure you check out our Galaxy S6 Tips & Tricks post here.

When all is said and done, we wont knock Samsung for including all of these software features into their device. Hell, some of them are actually incredible helpful (those bloatware apps are another story, however). Our only real complaint is, unlike Motorola, HTC, or Sony, Samsung continually avoids dropping their system apps into the Play Store for easy updating. This would eliminate the need for a full system update when they wanted to add a few new software features. Every other smartphone maker has caught on, so why hasn’t Samsung?

Themes

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09300

Themes seem to be all the rage these days and the Galaxy S6 with its new version of TouchWiz is no different. It’s funny too. Themes were once only found in custom Android ROMs, so it’s refreshing to finally see big name manufacturers like Samsung get on the ball after all these years.

For the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has opened up an entire theme store where designers can show off their virtual creations. These themes drastically change up the look of the device across a variety of UI elements. We’re talking icons, menu popups, quick toggle settings, the dialer, folders, app headers — just about everything that has to do with the user interface can be altered with a theme. We absolutely love it.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Themes

However, there are only a handful of themes available at launch and a good majority are quite “girly.” We were disappointed that a stock “Nexus” theme wasn’t available, but hopefully that’s coming somewhere down the road. We also didn’t like that it’s an all or nothing affair. Currently, there is no way to pick a theme apart, choosing only an snazzy icon pack or really cool wallpaper you found in another theme. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the theme store which is a mess right now. It’s probably just the early stages but we’d kill for some theme categories or even a search function.

Edge screen software

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Aside from looking more aesthetically pleasing, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge does feature a handful of software features tailor made for the curved display. Because the Edge screen doesn’t quite work the way it does on the Galaxy Note 4 Edge, these are features they could have easily included on the regular Galaxy S6, but I digress…

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge People edge

In the Settings app, Samsung has added new Edge screen options which allow you to adjust things like the placement of the Edge screen (right or left side), as well as turn on/off some of the other options like a news ticker. The “People edge” is just a shortcut for your favorite contacts and when used in conjunction with Edge lighting, allows the edge to glow when the phone is flipped over on its face to let you know when you’ve received a message or call from one of your People edge contacts.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Lighting DSC09196

Since the actual display just barely creeps over the edge, it can be tough to actually see the glow (plus you’ll need a light colored (and preferably soft) surface to place the phone down on. Simply put, we felt like the Edge software features were merely a ploy to help nudge prospective buyers into picking the S6 Edge over the standard model (and spending an extra $100 in the process). Um, no thanks.

What’s missing?

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09335

Like any smartphone or piece of technology for that matter, the Samsung Galaxy S6 isn’t perfect. Far from it. Although there is a lot here to love, Samsung made a very conscious decision to remove key hardware features found on last year’s Galaxy S5. We’ll focus on all of those below, along with something we would have really like to have seen on the Galaxy S6.

  • Removable battery – For years Samsung handsets allowed you to removed the battery and swap them out with another should the need arise. This meant you could potentially carry a handful of batteries on your person and swap them out as needed.
  • Micro SD card slot – While we don’t particularly miss not having a micros SD card slot, we absolutely have to mention this given it’s been such a staple with previous Galaxy devices. Heck, even the HTC kept expandable memory for the One M9. To simply throw the baby out with the bath water sounds like a bad move, especially when they could have easily kept this in.
  • Water resistance – The Galaxy S6 no longer features the water resistance that debuted on the Galaxy S5. It’s especially odd considering a non-removable back plate and lack of memory card slot seems like it’d be much easier to seal the device.
  • Bigger battery – We should be at that point that our smartphones are getting so physically thin, we can pack more mAh in them. Since the battle for thinness is alive and well, with that came an actual reduction in mAh for the Galaxy S6. Either Samsung was really confident in their Exynos processor, or they were blinded by shaving off a few extra millimeters to compete with the iPhone 6.
  • USB Type-C – It’s still early, but USB Type-C devices have already begun hitting the market. For the uninitiated, USB Type-C is the newest port on the block and is fixin’ to become the new industry standard in how we transfer, power, and display content to external monitors in our next generation devices. It’s a damn shame Samsung didn’t have the foresight to include this on the Galaxy S6. It could have been yet another killer feature.

Bottom line

Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09285

Believe it or not, it actually feels like Samsung is trying now. This is the phone people have been asking for and the phone we always knew Samsung could build. Samsung has always been the king of gimmicky features but for the Galaxy S6, Samsung has married the absolute best hardware with the software features of the Galaxy S5 and built upon them. Without a doubt, this is one of the best smartphones on the market and a worthy entry into the high-end smartphone market.

As we’ve seen with other OEMs in the past, things can quickly change (remember BlackBerry?). The mobile landscape is quickly changing and you can either evolve, or find yourself falling to the way side. Perhaps it was Samsung’s overconfidence that caused them to become lazy. They were on top, and didn’t see themselves going anywhere but up. But complacency often times leads to failure and the Samsung Galaxy S6 signals the company’s new found effort to become really competitive — not with clever advertising — but by first and foremost building a quality device.

It’s this competitiveness that will drive innovation, not just for Samsung products, but all mobile devices, Android, iOS, and the like. Lord knows we need someone to keep the heat on Apple and with the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung brought a flame thrower to a knife fight.

Pros:

  • Fast processor
  • Solid construction
  • Premium materials
  • Fantastic camera
  • Wireless charging
  • Fast charging
  • Quick fingerprint scanner
  • IR blaster
  • Speaker volume

Cons:

  • Battery downgrade
  • Average battery life
  • Edge screen is gimmicky
  • Non removable battery
  • No micro SD card slot
  • No longer water resistant

Bottom line: Samsung has meticulously put together one of, if not the best Android phones currently available on the market and although battery life may leave you wanting, the rest of the phone sells itself. Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the best smartphone the Korean manufacturer has ever made.

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

After you buy…

If you’ve finished our review and now have your heart set on picking up the Galaxy S6 (or maybe you already purchased one), we wanted to make sure you check out our posts for new Galaxy S6 buyers. These posts will provide you with a variety of tips, tricks, and step-by-step walkthroughs on getting the most out of your shiny new Android:

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http://phandroid.com/2015/04/15/samsung-galaxy-s6-review/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-DSC09324-150x150.jpg
Here is Google’s internal reaction to the European Commission’s case of antitrust against Android http://phandroid.com/2015/04/15/google-search-android-antitrust/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/15/google-search-android-antitrust/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:43:59 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163410 google-lego-logoDon’t look now, but the European Commission — a group that regulates commerce in the EU — has opened antitrust investigations into Google. The company is being charged with allegations of antitrust in areas of search and mobile operating systems.

To summarize, the European Commission feels Google unfairly promotes their online shopping comparison tool over that of the competition’s, noting that Google’s tool tends to have more prominence and regularity in showing up when consumers search for products to buy online. For mobile, their concern is with Google’s large stable of applications that are pre-installed on each Android device licensed to use the Google Play ecosystem.

Before you start chastising the European Commission, it’s important to remember that this is only the start of an investigation, and not necessarily a hard ruling process that would ultimately lead to some sort of action taken against Google. Call it the information gathering stage, if you will. Google and the European Commission will engage in discussions about the antitrust concerns and each side will be given a chance to provide their side of the story.

Speaking to that note, Google has already prepared their defense plan, and thanks to Re/Code we’ve gotten a look at the internal memo sent to their employees. In it, Google contends that they’re confident they’ll be able to convince the European Commission that they do not use their search engine to push their products above others, nor does it inadvertently stifle any sort of competition.

Google Search ingredients

They note that online storefronts and marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Expedia have just as much visibility as anything else, and that these merchants receive as much, if not far more, visitors than Google Shopping in many EU countries. Google also won’t be shy about noting that there are other search engines to use out there, such as Bing or Yahoo, and that people are just as free to use those as anything else.

For mobile, Google’s stance will be to note that they don’t stop anyone from making an app that replicates any of their services and letting it live in Google Play.

Indeed, users are free to download and use any app they may well please, which is in stark contrast to the way Apple used to do things in the iOS App Store. Google will also point to the fact that despite the terms of Google’s licenses to have Google apps and services installed on Google Play-enabled Android devices, manufacturers are free to pre-install apps and services from other companies (such as Samsung including Microsoft services on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge).

Samsung Galaxy S6 customize home screen folders

That raises the question: has Google even done anything wrong? As much as I support busting anti-competitive behavior, it seems to me that the European Commission may be reaching a bit far to suggest Google is violating any antitrust regulations.

It’s not their fault that they’ve built products that are great enough for a majority of the world’s population to use, and it’s ridiculous to suggest they can’t use what they’ve built to promote the other great products and services they provide. It only becomes an issue when they effectively block others from thriving, but from our standpoint it doesn’t appear they’ve done that in any way, shape or form.

Google-HQ_logo

Google isn’t the first company to be hit by the large hammers of antitrust regulators, and they won’t be the last. Apple, Microsoft and many others have all had to deal with similar investigations and rulings.

Microsoft lost a bit over $3 billion to fines for their bundling of Windows Media Player in Windows over a decade ago (which is why many of you now have to download it separately on new installations). On the flip side, investigations into Apple’s iTunes store in 2007 (particularly, the music store in the UK) ultimately concluded with Apple receiving no charge.

Whichever side of that spectrum Google ultimately ends up on remains to be determined, but we at least know there’s a chance for this thing to go either way. The case is sure to be examined just as closely as any other major antitrust investigation, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it took a great deal of time (we’re talking more than just a couple of years) before any hard decision is made one way or the other.

In the meantime, let us know if you think the European Commission has any case at all by dropping a comment below.

[via European Commission]

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Buyers Guide: Samsung Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge? http://phandroid.com/2015/04/14/should-i-buy-galaxy-s6-or-s6-edge/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/14/should-i-buy-galaxy-s6-or-s6-edge/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 19:46:35 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163250 S6 vs edge

Every year the top Android manufacturers announce and release their new flagship phones at around the same time. This puts Android users in a bit of a conundrum. Suddenly there are several excellent new phones to choose from. Samsung didn’t make the decision any easier this year, in fact they made it worse by releasing two flagship phones.

Even if you’re a loyal Samsung fan you have to make a decision between two devices: the  Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Making the decision even harder is the fact that these devices share almost everything. The one big difference, obviously, is the “Edge screen” on the aptly named Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s cool, but is it better than the regular GS6? Let’s find out.

Price (Winner: Galaxy S6)

These two devices are identical in almost every way, but that doesn’t mean they cost the same. In fact the price may be the easiest way to decide which one to get. The Galaxy S6 Edge is $100 more than the regular Galaxy S6. Basically, you’re paying for a curved display add-on. Whether the curved display and features that go along with it are worth the extra $100 will be up to you.

Comfort (Winner: Galaxy S6)

Samsung Galaxy S6 all colors DSC08553

For the most part these two devices look identical, which is not a bad thing. Samsung has done a great job with the design and build quality. In place of the cheap-feeling plastic and faux metal they’re using aluminium and glass. The result is a premium device that looks 100% better than previous Galaxy S devices.

Unfortunately, none of that helps you make a decision. Both devices look amazing, but how do they feel? The Galaxy S6 is your typical candybar-shaped phone with slightly rounded edges. It feels fine. The Edge, on the other hand, has a curved display on both sides. The display wraps around the edge almost all the way to the back. This creates a much sharper edge when holding the device in your hand.

Features (Winner: S6 Edge)

The Edge screen is not just there to look cool (though that is a reason why you might want it). Samsung has thrown in some special features for the curved display as well. Some of these features are a bit gimmicky, but others are very handy. Here are a few of the things you can do with the Edge screen.

People Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge screen settings DSC08583

A big part of the Edge screen software revolves around picking your 5 most important contacts and assigning them each a color. These are the contacts who can light up your screen (read below) and show up in the People Edge.

You can swipe in from the edge of the display to bring up shortcuts to call or text your 5 contacts. If you have a missed call or text from these 5 contacts you’ll see a little indicator with their color on the Edge screen. Swipe in on the indicator to see the contents of the notification and respond.

Edge Lighting

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge display DSC08581

One of the niftiest features of the Edge screen is called Edge Lighting. Since the display wraps around the edges you can see part of it peeking out when the phone is placed on its face. Samsung uses this area to flash the appropriately colored lights depending on who’s calling or messaging you. It’s a neat way to put your phone down and only be bothered by important people.

Information Stream

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Information stream 1

The Edge screen can also be used as your personal information ticker. You can set it up to show new Tweets, get sports scores, display news headlines, RSS feeds, and more.

You can also download more types of feeds. They’ll automatically display when new information comes in, though you can also force the feed to come up by swiping your finger to the left or right across the Edge display. It’s a cool way to use the extra screen real estate that you wouldn’t normally have on most phones.

These are just a couple of the main things you can do with the Edge Screen. Check out our 10 tips every Galaxy S6 Edge owner should know for a detailed look all the unique Edge screen features and how to use them.

Cool Factor (Winner: S6 Edge)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC08444

Phones are starting to look a little boring. We used to have keyboards with insane sliding and flipping mechanisms, trackballs, and kickstands. Nowadays, every phone is just a giant touchscreen with a few buttons on the side and maybe a big physical button on the front, Like the Galaxy S6. To really stand out from the crowd you need something unique.

The Galaxy S6 Edge looks like something you might see in a Sci-Fi movie or TV show. No other phone on the market has a display quite like it. When people ask you about it you can show them the nifty Edge screen features. It might be a Galaxy S6 on the inside, but on the outside it’s something else.

Bottom Line

$100 will get you the coolest looking phone in the world… but not much else

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC08490

Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge? It’s a tough decision. On the one hand you have an excellent device with a beautiful design, slimmed down software, and a great camera. On the other hand you have all of that, plus a curved display that looks really cool, but might not be the most comfortable to hold, and it’s $100 more.

If you have an extra $100 to blow and you appreciate the look of a device you should go for the Galaxy S6 Edge. If you just want something basic without all the bells and whistles you should go with the Galaxy S6.

Which device did/would you choose? Do you stick with the standard configuration, or are you living life on the edge?

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Google’s wireless service could charge you for only the exact amount of data you use http://phandroid.com/2015/04/14/google-project-fi/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/14/google-project-fi/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:43:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163300 google-project-fi

While it’s been confirmed that Google is looking into offering wireless service through some new network aggregation technologies in conjunction with Sprint and T-Mobile, we haven’t gotten many details on what, exactly, they were looking to do differently. A new leak may have shone a whole beacon of light on some of the details, though.

According to details uncovered by Android Police thanks to a leaked app that will be used to support the service, Google’s wireless network — referred to as Nova in many previous rumors, but also now known as Project Fi — could charge you only for the exact amount of data you use. That is to say, there won’t be any unlimited data (as much as we would all hope from an internet-strong company like Google), but instead a “pay-as-you-go” approach.

The thinking is that there will be a set per-gigabyte price and you buy however much you need by the gigabyte, but if you don’t use up your full gigabyte Google will credit you for the remainder. We’d hope such a plan would come with some very low rates instead of the outrageous per-gigabyte prices set forth by the country’s four major carriers. As for talk and text, you’ll have a flat rate and allowance for those much like any carrier offers these days.

Other interesting aspects of the service include a way to seamlessly switch your service to a different phone using an app, the ability to share buckets of data across however many lines you want, data-only plans for tablets, and even a way to opt out of sharing your cellular usage data with Google (yes, folks, your current carrier keeps an alarming amount of information about the calls you make).

Google would be a very new player in this arena, though if their approach to entering the broadband internet game is anything to judge by they could help shake up the wireless industry in a big way.

Take Google Fiber, for instance — it might not be as widespread as we would like just yet, but Google’s ability to offer gigabit speeds for the cost of typical internet service in the United States has already sparked major competition. Cable companies left and right rush to upgrade speeds and lower prices whenever Google’s pipes roll into town, and it helps bring a breath of fresh air into the industry that only genuine competition is able to provide.

We all know the wireless industry desperately needs much of the same (kudos to T-Mobile for getting the ball rolling) and Google’s arrival could be the turning point we’ve all been waiting for.

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LG G4 leaked in the most revealing and massive collection of photos yet http://phandroid.com/2015/04/13/lg-g4-leak-3/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/13/lg-g4-leak-3/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:12:18 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=163217 lg-g4-microsite-leak8.0

LG was planning on waiting until April 28th to fully unveil their latest pride and joy, but those plans were spoiled over the weekend. The company seemingly accidentally published a massive collection of revealing photos on a pre-launch minisite they were testing, and as luck would have it the most experienced leakster happened to stumble upon it.

lg-g4-microsite-leak10

The minisite was taken down as of the time of this writing, but the photos live on thanks to the internet’s inability to truly delete anything. So what new have we learned? Aside from confirmation of a few pieces of specs — namely, the removable 3,000mAh battery, a 16 megapixel OIS camera, a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display and a microSD slot — we have a pretty good idea of what the thing will look like.

For starters, the stitched “leather” backing teased in invites is real, though it won’t be the only option. The photos revealed a collection of handsets sporting a more traditional looking backplate in 3 classic colors.

lg-g4-microsite-leak14

That said, if you like the leather look and feel you’ll be happy to know there are quite a few colors to choose from:

  • Black
  • Light Brown
  • Mahogany
  • Light Blu
  • Tan
  • Yellow

The photos also reveal that the backplate is removable to grant access to the battery and SIM card tray. This not only means you can swap batteries but also swap backplates — how cool would it be to get a different looking backplate depending on which style suits you and your wardrobe on a particular day?

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Circling around to the front of the device doesn’t reveal much out of the ordinary, though LG looks to be using some sort of mesh-looking pattern to accent the bezels instead of the plain, jet black look we’ve gown accustomed to.

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The leak also gave us an early look at LG’s QuickCircle folio case that’ll give you a look at pertinent information on a limited area of the display without having to remove the cover. Pretty standard stuff that we don’t expect to bring any surprises we haven’t already experienced on LG’s prior devices.

lg-g4-microsite-leak20

Rounding it all out is a decent look at the device’s software, which looks to be a nice take on Android 5.0 Lollipop with a flat, clean user interface and heavy dosage of Google’s Material Design.

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So what do you think? We know LG will present a smartphone worth attention and money once April 28th hits, but is it looking like something you want to carry day after day? Sound off below, and be sure to stick around as we’re bound to hear more leading up to the days of the company’s big reveal.

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[via The Verge, Google+]

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50+ Samsung Galaxy S6 Tips & Tricks http://phandroid.com/2015/04/12/50-samsung-galaxy-s6-tips-and-tricks/ http://phandroid.com/2015/04/12/50-samsung-galaxy-s6-tips-and-tricks/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 15:00:19 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=162983 galaxy-s6-time-date

Got your Samsung Galaxy S6 today or planning to receive it in the very near future? We know you’ll want nothing more than to rip all the plastic off of it and go to town, and once you dive in you’ll find that there’s so much to see, do and customize that you’ll probably want to put it down for a couple of minutes.

But there’s no need to spend hours digging for the coolest features and options if you’re in a rush — we’ve already done that for you, and we’ve laid out more than 50 of the best tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S6 right here.

These tips and tricks will mostly be applicable from the moment you boot your phone up, but you may need to setup your Samsung account for a few of them. You’ll have taken care of most of that if you’ve followed our first 13 things to do for the Samsung Galaxy S6 (as well as 10 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge tips and tricks for those of you with the cool Edge variant), so be sure to give that a gander if you haven’t already. Without further ado, let’s go!

Getting Started

Take a screenshot on the Samsung Galaxy S6

One of the most common questions people ask when they get a new phone is “how do I take a screenshot?” There are two ways to do it with the Galaxy S6.

  1. Press and hold the Home and Power buttons simultaneously
  2. Swipe your palm across the entire display to take a screenshot

Once a screenshot is taken you will see it in your notification bar. From there you can share or edit it to your hearts content.

Buy a wireless charger for your Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung GalaxY S6 wireless charging DSC08674

The Galaxy S6 is one of a growing number of devices that support wireless charging. You don’t have to worry about plugging in your device or accidentally ripping the cord out of the wall. All you have to do is set it on a charging pad. The Galaxy S6 supports both wireless charging standards, so any wireless charging pad will work with it. Here are a few of our favorites:

…or use a wall charger for its awesome Fast Charge feature

samsung-fast-charging

There is a benefit to using the old fashioned charging cable. The Galaxy S6 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0. This technology allows you to get hours of use from just 10-15 minutes of charging. You don’t have to do anything special for this to work. Just use the the wall charger that came with the phone. You’ll see a notification when Fast Charge is working.

You should also know that any wall charger with Quick Charge 2.0 will work with the Galaxy S6. Amazon is selling a bunch of different versions if you want to grab some extras.

Claim your free 100GB of OneDrive Storage

One of the perks of owning the Galaxy S6 is 100GB of free storage for Microsoft OneDrive. If you’ve never used OneDrive it’s actually a really nice service. When you set up your phone for the first time you will be asked to sign in or create a OneDrive account. If you already did that you should have the free 100GB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S6 OneDrive promo

If you skipped that step you can open the OneDrive app and take advantage of the deal. All you need to do is sign in or create an account. You can take it a step further and have OneDrive automatically backup your photos and videos. Find out how to do that in our guide for first things to do with the Galaxy S6.

Setup “Do Not Disturb” to silence your phones at certain times

Samsung has renamed the Lollipop priority notification system to “Do Not Disturb.” With these settings you can control when you get notifications. To get started go to Settings > Sounds and notifications.

If you turn on Do not disturb mode there is an option to allow exceptions. If you don’t allow any exceptions the phone will be completely silent (not even alarms will break through). Your best bet is to add exceptions for alarms, certain numbers, and important apps. You can also set up a schedule to automatically enable Do not disturb at a specific time every day.

Reboot your phone without removing the battery

Samsung decided to go with a non-removable battery in the Galaxy S6. Not only does this mean you can’t swap out batteries for extra juice, but you also can’t remove the battery if your phone freezes. You can still reset your phone without having to remove the battery.

A soft reset will restart your phone without erasing any data. Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons for 10 seconds until the device powers off.

Use the new Smart Manager app to run maintenance on your phone

Samsung Galaxy S6 Smart Manager app

The Galaxy S6 comes with a new Samsung app called Smart Manager. With this app you can manage the performance, security, and battery. All of the features in Smart Manager were present on earlier devices, but now they are all in one place. When you open the app there are four sections: Battery, Storage, RAM, and Device security. Let’s look at each one.

Battery

In the Battery section you will see estimated time left for remaining power and the option to turn on one of the power saving modes. There’s also a section that shows which apps are using the most battery so you can disable them.

Storage

In this section you will find information about what things are taking up the most storage. You also have the option to clean the device and get rid of unnecessary data.

RAM

Here you will find out which apps are consuming the most RAM. You can “End All” apps at once free up memory, or kill them individually. We don’t recommend killing all the apps often.

Device security

The last section is all about security. You can see if there are any unauthorized system changes and enable the KNOX app if you want to use your phone for work. There are also some anti-malware features powered by McAfee.

Enable Ultra Power-Saving mode to squeeze even more juice out of your battery

Samsung Galaxy S6 Ultra Power saving mode

Ultra Power Saving Mode can help you get every last drop of battery life. When this mode is enabled it switches the phone to a black and white interface and disables most background activities. You’ll still be able to take calls, send messages, and use a few important apps. Configure it in Settings > Battery > Ultra power saving mode.

There is also the less extreme Power Saver Mode. When this mode is enabled the screen brightness will turn down and the processor will scale back. You can set Battery Saver to automatically turn on at any level between 50-15%. Configure it in Settings > Battery > Power saving mode.

Enter “Easy Mode” if the default experience is too advanced for you

If he default experience is too advanced for you, or if you want to lend your phone to someone not very good with technology, Easy Mode can be a big help. In Easy Mode you’ll see just a couple of big app icons, and an area to add favorite contacts.

  1. Open Settings and go to Personalization
  2. Select Easy mode
  3. You can choose between Standard mode and Easy mode
  4. You can also choose which apps you’d like to show up in Easy Mode

Gestures

SmartStay[0]

Enable Smart Stay to keep your display on while you’re looking at it

Smart Stay is one of the more ingenious features Samsung has ever created. With this feature enabled your Galaxy S6 will stay on as long as you are looking at the display. No more annoying screen turn-offs while reading a web page, or Netflix continuing to play after you fall asleep. Smart Stay is turned off by default; here’s how to turn it on.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select Smart Stay and make sure it’s enabled

Note: Smart Stay does not work in the dark.

Use Smart Alert to know if you missed a call or message when picking your phone up

If you have missed calls or new messages the Galaxy S6 can vibrate when you pick it up. This feature is called “Smart Alert,” and it’s enabled by default. If you would like to toggle this feature go to Settings > Motions and gestures.

Move the phone to your ear while messaging someone to call them

Another nifty gesture is “Direct Call.” This feature allows you to directly call someone by bringing the phone up to your ear if you’re on their contact page or a messaging conversation. For example, if you’re texting someone and you want to call them just put the phone to your ear. This can also be toggled at Settings > Motions and gestures.

Set your phone face down while it’s ringing to mute it

To quickly mute the Galaxy S6 when you’re getting a call you can do two gestures. Simply place your hand flat on the display, or turn it over on it’s face. This also works as a way to dismiss alarms. This can also be toggled at Settings > Motions and gestures.

Customization

How to remove Flipboard Briefing from your homescreen

Samsung Galaxy S6 removing Flipboard screen

On the Galaxy S5 there was a special section of the home screen called “My Magazine.” This section is still present on the Galaxy S6, but it has been renamed to “Briefing.” It basically just aggregates news stories from a number of different sources. The idea sounds cool, but the interface is a little laggy. You should remove it.

  1. Long press on the home screen
  2. Scroll over to the Briefing panel on the far left
  3. Uncheck the checkbox at the top

If you really do like the Briefing feature we recommend downloading the Flipboard app. The Briefing panel is actually powered by Flipboard, so you get a similar interface, but it runs much smoother in its own app.

Add more home screen panels of your own

Samsung Galaxy S6 customize home screen folders

You can have up to 7 different pages (or panels) to hold your apps and widgets on the home screen. Here’s how to customize the order and amount.

  1. Tap and hold a blank space on the home screen to add, move, or remove a panel
  2. To add a panel, swipe to the left, and then tap [+] icon
  3. To move a panel, tap and hold a panel, and then drag it
  4. To remove a panel, tap and hold a panel, and then drag it to Remove at the top of the screen
  5. To set a panel as the main home screen, tap the Home icon in the screen indicators

Get more icons on your home screen

To make more room for apps and widgets on your home screen you can edit the grid size. By default it’s 4×4, but you can change it up to 5×5.

  1. Tap and hold a blank space on the home screen
  2. Tap on Screen grid and choose 4×4, 4×5, or 5×5

Use the “edit” button in the notifications pane to customize your Quick Toggles

Samsung Galaxy S6 Quick Settings 1

Samsung includes a ton of Quick Setting toggles in the notification shade by default. You can access these by swiping down from the top of the display. You can edit the order of these toggles, or remove some completely. If you use these toggles a lot (which you should), a quick edit now will make your life easier.

  1. Pull down the Quick Settings and tap EDIT in the top right corner
  2. From here you can drag the toggles around as you like
  3. There must be at least 5 toggles in the Quick Settings

Download and switch between Samsung Galaxy S6 Themes

Samsung Galaxy S6 Themes

The Galaxy S6 comes with the ability to choose themes that can change your wallpaper, icons, and even system apps and UI. They’ve included a bunch of themes that you can try out and use on your device. It’s easy to give your phone a completely new look.

  1. Open the Themes Store app
  2. Browse the themes and select one you like
  3. Tap on Download
  4. Now you can select Apply and it will take you to your new home screen

Disable or remove unwanted apps

Samsung used to be notorious for including a lot of bloatware on their devices. There are still a few apps on the Galaxy S6 that can be considered bloat, but it’s a little better.

Samsung Galaxy S6 uninstall delete apps

It was first rumored that it would be possible to uninstall all pre-loaded apps. That wasn’t entirely true. Some system apps can be uninstalled, but others can only be disabled. A disabled app won’t appear in your app drawer and won’t be able to run in the background, but it will still be present on the device.

  1. Open the app drawer and tap the edit button
  2. Minus icons will appear on any app that can be uninstalled or disable
  3. Tap the minus icon on the apps you wish to remove

Some of the apps you might want to uninstall/disable include Hancom Office 2014, Microsoft OneNote, Lookout, Milk Video, Milk Music, and carrier specific apps.

Change your screen mode for a better viewing experience

Samsung has included a few different screen modes to allow you to easily adjust colors and brightness. You can switch the screen mode by going to Settings > Display > Screen mode.

  1. Adaptive display: tires to adjust based on what you’re doing with the phone.
  2. AMOLED cinema & AMOLED photo: vivid and highly saturated colors.
  3. Basic: not overly saturated or bright. Just basic.

Basic is the best setting for most people. It will look dull at first as you transition from the other more vivid settings, but it’s actually the most true-to-life.

Enable swipe input on the Samsung keyboard

By default Samsung does not enable swipe input on the keyboard. Swipe input allows you to drag your finger over letters to type a word. It can be very useful, especially for one-handed use. You should enable it.

  1. Go to Settings > Language and input
  2. Select Samsung keyboard
  3. Tap Keyboard swipe
  4. Select Continuous input
  5. Now to type a word just drag your fingers across the letters in order.

Multi-tasking

Use two apps at the same time using the Recent Apps menu

Samsung Galaxy S6 Multi-view

Multi-window mode allows you to run two different apps simultaneously on the same screen. Samsung has made multi-window mode much easier in the Galaxy S6. It’s now built right in to the recent apps menu.

  1. Tap the physical “Recents” button to the left of the Home button
  2. All your recent apps will show up on the screen like a Rolodex
  3. Apps that can be used in multi-window will show a twin rectangle icon next to the (X) in the right corner
  4. Tap that icon to open the app in the top half of the screen
  5. The lower half of the screen will now show only recent apps that can used in multi-window mode
  6. Tap one to open it in the lower half
  7. You can re-size the apps by dragging the middle line

Get your files faster using Download Booster

Samsung Galaxy S6 Download booster

Are you tired of waiting for large files to download? Samsung has just the thing! A new feature called Download Booster will help you download large files in record time. It works by using a combination of WiFi and LTE to download files.

  1. Go to Settings > More connection settings
  2. Select Download booster and toggle it on

Use S Finder as a one-stop search for every app, file or contact on your device

Samsung Galaxy S6 S Finder

S Finder is an app that helps you find things on your Samsung phone. It can search for apps, files, photos, music, contacts, and more. Some versions of the Galaxy S6 include a button for S Finder under the brightness slider in the notification shade. If that’s not there on your version you can still launch it from the Quick Settings toggles. Just open it and start typing to see results.

Never forget about another notification with Notification Reminder

If you get a lot of notifications you may forget to respond to some of them. Notification Reminders can remind you to take action on past notifications. Your phone will make a noise after a certain amount of time if there is a notification that really needs your attention.

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Notification reminders
  2. Here you can set up the reminder intervals for 15 sec, 30 sec, 1 minute, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
  3. By default every app is included, but you can turn of the ones you don’t want to be reminded about

Save time typing by adding keyboard shortcuts

If you find yourself typing out long words or phrases a lot, such as email addresses, you might want to create a text shortcut. This will allow you to quickly insert a long word or phrase by just typing a few letters. For example, you could make “ilu” automatically correct to “I love you.” Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > Language and input
  2. Select Samsung keyboard
  3. Tap on Text shortcuts
  4. Tap ADD to create your own shortcut

Send files to other Galaxy users easily with Quick Connect

Samsung Galaxy S6 Quick Connect

There are a plethora of ways to send files to other people, but Samsung devices have a special one called Quick Connect. This feature allows you to quickly find nearby devices and send stuff to them. When the feature is enabled Bluetooth will automatically turn on.

  1. Swipe down the notification shade and find Quick Connect
  2. When you tap Quick Connect a list of nearby devices will show up. Tap one
  3. Now select the type of file you’d like to send
  4. After you select a file you will have to wait for the other device to accept
  5. The file will begin to transfer

Camera Tips and Tricks

Quick launch the camera right from anywhere by double tapping the Home button

Self explanatory in the title, there: double tap that home button no matter what you’re doing on your Samsung Galaxy S6, and the camera is ready for you to snap photos or video in 7/10ths of a second. You can enable this by going into the Camera app’s Settings menu and finding the Quick Launch setting.

Use Tracking AF to keep the focus on your subject

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge camera DSC08457

Samsung added a new autofocus mode called Tracking AF. It’ll allow you to pre-focus on a subject before snapping photo or video, and will attempt to keep that subject in focus if they happen to move. This feature works with not only faces, but ANY object you want to focus on ahead of taking the shot.

To enable it, head into the Camera app’s Settings menu and switch the Tracking AF option to “On.”

Immediately review your photos as soon as you take them

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera settings

It can be annoying to snap a photo and have to click around the interface to see how it came out. Instead of doing all that you can have the phone automatically bring a preview up for you to check out and either keep or delete it before moving on to your next shot. Just go into the Camera app’s Settings menu and enable the “Review Pictures” option.

Capture photos or videos using voice commands

Instead of using awkwardly-placed on-screen buttons to snap a photo, you can use your voice. Not only does it help you keep the camera steady for the perfect shot, but it can be fun to get your subject (or subjects) to join in.

Head into the Camera’s Settings menu and find the option to toggle voice commands on or off. Here are the various voice commands you can use to snap a shot:

  • Smile
  • Cheese
  • Capture
  • Shoot
  • Record Video

Use the volume key to zoom, snap a photo or shoot video

If you do prefer a hands-on approach to shuttering, you can have the camera recognize your volume rocker as a physical shutter button. You can change its behavior in the Camera app’s Settings menu under Volume Key Function, and set the rocker to either zoom in or out, snap a photo or begin recording video. You can also turn it off if you want the volume button to retain normal functionality.

Take selfies the easy way using the heart-rate sensor, or by waving your hand

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera selfie mode

All of that is useful for the rear camera, but what about making it easier to take selfies? You have a couple of cool options at your disposal. The first allows you to take a selfie by holding your finger on the heart rate sensor for 2 seconds.

You can also wave your hands in front of the camera to initiate a countdown timer to snap your selfie. This eliminates the need to use your second hand to take a photo, which is often the number one cause for subpar selfies. Yes, there’s a science to this stuff, folks.

Use Pro Mode Presets to adjust ISO, exposure and focus

Samsung prides themselves on great cameras with their smartphones, so including a Pro Mode with the Samsung Galaxy S6 was a must. This mode lets you fine tune your camera’s settings with the ability to change white balance, exposure correction, metering, ISO, and focus modes, all of which can be had by pressing the “Modes” button that you’ll find in the camera user interface.

To go a step further, you can even set presets for a certain configuration that you like, so the next time you need that collection of settings you can simply switch to it with one press of a button. Play around with it to see what works best for you!

Download cool new camera features from the Samsung Apps Store

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera apps

You thought we were done? Samsung’s made their camera app extensible, and you’ll be able to take advantage of that fine software engineering by downloading a number of great camera add-ons from the Samsung Apps Store. Here are some of the add-ons they have available early on:

  • Surround Shot: a Photosphere-like mode that lets you take 360-degree photos
  • Sound & Shot: record the audio of your surroundings at the time the photo was taken for more immersive photos
  • Rear-Cam Selfie: use the rear camera to take a selfie with visual cues to let you know when it’s about to snap the shot
  • Dual Camera: snap a photo or shoot video with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously
  • Animated GIF: create a moving image of a series of photos or videos and save it as an animated GIF
  • Beauty Face: image tweaks to enhance the look of human faces
  • Sports Shot: automatically selects focus and exposure settings for fast moving scenes
  • Food Shot: a macro-focus mode for bringing out the best details in a close-up shot of food (or anything else, really)

Privacy and Security

How to factory reset your Samsung Galaxy S6

There are many different reasons why one would want or need to perform a factory reset on their Samsung Galaxy S6. This action is typically performed when you are getting ready to sell or return a phone, or when you feel like things have gotten so slow to the point where only a full restore will make it feel new again.

It’s always best to explore other alternatives before going this route, but should you ever need to factory reset your Samsung Galaxy S6 here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Scroll until you see Backup & Reset, and select it
  3. You will be asked to confirm whether you want to go through with the reset. After thinking it over, select your choice.
  4. Your phone will do a little dance and make a little noise, and you’re done.

Note that a factory reset will only restore device settings, user accounts, system and app data and downloaded apps to their original state. Personal files such as photo and video will persist through a factory reset, so rest easy knowing those are safe.

Setup Android Device Manager in case you lose it

android-device-manager-ring

Losing your phone or having it stolen is one of the worst feelings in the world, but many tools are available to help you track it down should the unfortunate scenario occur. One of the best tools is the Android Device Manager.

It’s an app that will not only locate your device using its last known GPS location, but also allow you to remotely sound an alarm, lock the device or perform a full factory reset in case you fear it’s fallen into the wrong hands. The feature is included with almost every Android phone, and here’s how you enable it:

  1. From your device’s apps menu, open Google Settings .
  2. Touch Security.
  3. Under “Android Device Manager,” move the switches next to “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and factory reset” to the on or off position.

With everything enabled, the next time you need to track your phone down you can simply head to Google’s online Device Manager portal here, or use the Device Manager app from another Android device to find out exactly where your phone is.

Register your fingerprint to unlock your phone with the press of your thumb

Samsung Galaxy S6 fingerprint setup

The Samsung Galaxy S6 now has an awesome fingerprint scanner, and you’re going to want to register your thumbs to use it right away. Here’s how you can get going on that:

  1. Navigate to Lock screen and security in the Settings app
  2. Next tap on Fingerprint and then +Add fingerprint
  3. Follow the instructions until 100% of your fingerprint has been scanned
  4. Create a backup password
  5. Tap Ok to Enable Fingerprint Lock
  6. Now to unlock your phone simply hold your finger on the home button
  7. Repeat these steps to add additional fingers

Note that the fingerprint scanner can also be used to gain access to select supported apps, such as Paypal. It will also soon be possible to use it for logging into websites on the phone’s web browser, and paying for purchases with Samsung Pay once those features become available.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Fingerprint sign in DSC08979

Congrats: you’ve set yourself up with a convenient, yet secure way to access your phone and get into apps without having to deal with clunky passwords every time.

Use Private Mode to keep your content from prying eyes

As much as we’d all like to believe we lead 100% appropriate lives, more than a few of you probably store pictures and files that you don’t want others to see should they need to use your phone. Samsung’s Private Mode is a great feature that helps keep your skeletons locked into the closet where they belong.

The first thing you need to do before taking advantage of this feature is select which types of files you want to protect. This can be done for Photos, Video, Music, Voice Recorder, My Files and the Web browser:

  1. Simply use the app’s multi-select tool to select all the content you want to protect
  2. In the upper right corner, tap MORE and select Move to Private

And now your files are designated to be hidden while Private Mode is enabled. So how do you enable Private Mode? Thought you’d never ask. Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Navigate to Settings, then Privacy and safety and locate Private mode
  2. Setting Private Mode to “Off” will make it so that the files you specified to be private are hidden from normal viewing, while “On” makes all those files available for normal viewing.
  3. Select whether you want Private Mode to turn off whenever the screen turns toggle Private Mode settings.

And now you can rest easy knowing all those private photos, video and files won’t be seen by anyone who happens to be snooping around.

Setup the SOS function to send quick messages to emergency contacts

Samsung Galaxy S6 Send SOS messages

We hope you’ll never have to use the Samsung Galaxy S6’s great SOS feature, but it’s here if you need it. What this will do is send a preset message to any contacts you want whenever you quickly press the power button 3 consecutive times.

Think of a scenario where you might be getting robbed and you don’t have time to take your phone out, unlock it, find an appropriate contact, type the message and press send — that all takes less than a minute, but every millisecond is precious in an emergency scenario. You’ll want to set this up, and here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to Settings and look for Privacy and Safety
  2. Select the Send SOS Messages option at the bottom
  3. Turn the switch to “On” to enable the feature.
  4. At the bottom, specify recipients you want to receive the message, as well as any text, photos and audio recordings you want to attach to the message.

Now, the next time you’re in a pinch where you absolutely can’t call or text someone for help, this feature will at least alert your closest family members and friends that you’re in dire need of help. This should be used as a last resort so as to avoid the “boy who cried wolf” scenario, and because sending a more detailed message will help people find more appropriate help.

Place your phone into emergency mode to save battery

Samsung Galaxy S6 Emergency mode

Power-saving mode not doing it for you? ULTRA power-saving mode still not enough? For those extreme cases where you absolutely can’t shut your phone off and need to squeeze as much juice out of the battery as possible, consider using Samsung’s Emergency Mode.

This feature is an extension of ULTRA Power-Saving mode where Samsung will use a greyscale user interface, scale back processing power and restrict access to a few select apps. The difference here is that background data will be shut off while the screen is turned off, which is key since background data is often the biggest cause of battery drain outside of the display. It will also restrict access to WiFi and Bluetooth.

Here’s how to access Emergency Mode:

  1. Long-press the power button
  2. Select Emergency Mode at the bottom of the list
  3. Press “Turn on” to enable Emergency Mode, or cancel to go back.
  4. Perform the same steps to turn Emergency Mode off when you don’t need it.

Other fun stuff

Download Samsung’s All Together app to stay connected to other Galaxy users

One of Samsung’s coolest apps in the Samsung App Store is AllTogether. It allows you to connect to other Samsung Galaxy users over a private WiFi network to chat, share files and more without having to use mobile data. This is great for something like a camping trip where data might be limited but you still want to be connected to those nearby.

You can download AllTogether by heading to the Samsung App Store and searching for it after you’ve setup your Samsung account.

Download the Kids Mode app to keep your young ones protected when using your phone

Long gone are the days where kids want to play with action figures and plush toys: they want your phone. To keep them innocent, you can download Samsung’s Kids Mode app from the Samsung App Store.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Kids Mode

This will lock the phone into a state where kids can only use apps and play games appropriate for them, such as a drawing app, a writing app, and even a kid-centric selfie camera with fun stickers to use.

Your kid won’t be able to exit this mode unless they have the lock code which you setup upon first launch so they won’t be able to find their way into too much trouble. Preventing them from physically damaging the phone is another issue altogether.

Alternatively, use the Pin Window feature to lock your phone to any one app you choose

Similar to Kids Mode, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a Pin Window feature that’ll allow you to keep the phone locked into one app. Someone say they need to use your web browser? Well, make it so they can only use the web browser and nothing more.

We could also see this being useful for store owners who want to show a specific app on a display unit. Whatever you may need it for, here’s how to pin an app:

  1. Open Settings, go into Lock Screen and Security, then tap Other Security Settings
  2. Look for the “Pin Windows” option and tap it
  3. Make sure the switch is set to “On.”
  4. Specify whether you want your secure lock screen to come up if someone tries to press the home button.

Now that you have it setup, all you’ll need to do when you want to pin an app is open your Recent Apps menu by tapping the Recent Apps key next to the home button, and pressing the push pin icon located in the lower right corner of whichever app it is you want to pin.

Enhance your phone’s sound using Sound Adapt and SoundAlive+

No two humans are the same, so no two set of ears are the same. You can customize the Samsung Galaxy S6’s sound with two great tools Samsung’s included.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Adapt Sound setup

First up, Adapt Sound will help you tune your Samsung Galaxy S6’s sound to make sure you’re hearing everything it has to offer. It does this by playing a series of audible beeps at different frequencies and asking you to note each time you hear a beep. It then uses this data to determine a sound profile appropriate for your ears. You can access this by going to Settings > Sound and Notifications > Adapt Sound.

SoundAlive+ is another great tool to enhance your audio experience. It serves as a device-wide equalizer that you can use to recreate the effect of surround sound (though it obviously won’t be as good as actual surround sound). There’s also an effect that helps you simulate the effect of a tube amplifier. You can find this features under Settings > Sound and Notifications > SoundAlive+ and Settings > Sound and Notifications > Tube Amp.

Visit AndroidForums.com for more help!

Looking for more help? AndroidForums.com has a great section where Samsung Galaxy S6 owners are sharing tips and tricks, helping each other and discussing their awesome new phone with each other. Feel free to jump in by making a new account (it only takes a minute) and jump into some great threads. Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find over there:

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