The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are now hot on the scene. Many are calling them the best smartphones Samsung has made to date, and fans of Android and Samsung are surely calling them the best smartphones ever — never mind Apple’s iPhone 6 models or the HTC One (M9). But with the rush to churn out new flagship smartphones every year, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way.
Even if the problems that crop up for the new phones aren’t permanent and can be resolved by simple updates to software, it’s important as a buyer to be aware of what issues may confront you. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the commonly reported problems users have been having with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.
Screen rotation stuck
BGR reports there is an occasional problem experienced by users with the Galaxy S6 Edge’s ability to automatically rotate the screen between portrait and landscape. The issue is that the display can get stuck in one of the orientations and refuse to switch back.
Though the S6 Edge’s large screen might be somewhat accommodating in either orientation, many apps simply won’t have a friendly interface if viewed in the wrong orientation — can you imagine reading an e-book in landscape? This issue seems likely to be related to the gyroscope and/or accelerometer. According to Computerworld, Samsung has acknowledged the problem and has a fix available for those who call in.
Superfluous screen resolution
OK, so for many this won’t really be a problem — per se. In keeping with the smartphone war’s typical modus operandi, Samsung has further pumped up the pixel density of its devices, giving the S6 and S6 Edge a whopping 577 pixels per inch, according to GSMArena. That should be more than enough to be a crystal-clear display that no one but the pickiest nitpicker could shake a stick at. The emphasis here is on “more than enough.”
It’s widely known that in typical usage, the human eye can’t identify single pixels on 300ppi displays. So that 300ppi threshold should be just as high as manufactures need to hit to have crystal-clear displays. Sure, going higher might subtly create a more lustrous and beautiful display, but eventually, the negative impacts of having to power that many pixels — and pay for them — will start to outweigh the marginal increases in viewing quality experienced by users. It’s the law of diminishing returns.
All about the battery
To put it simply, longtime fans of Samsung’s Galaxy flagships might be a bit put off by the S6 and S6 Edge batteries. The S6 and S6 Edge have 2,550mAh and 2,600mAh batteries, respectively. This is compared to the Galaxy S5, which had a 2,800 mAh battery, GSMArena notes.
Additionally, the new devices’ batteries are no longer removable — so much for carrying a backup. While CNET notes that the locking in of the battery was done to keep the device extra slim, it may not be a worthy tradeoff, particularly for those who will use thick protective cases.
No extra storage
Earlier Galaxy S models had a great feature common in Android devices: MicroSD card slots. Internal storage on smartphones is usually limited, since the devices are so small. Unfortunately, the internal storage that comes built into smartphones generally costs quite a bit. That’s when MicroSD cards come in handy. They can run very cheap — generally, extra storage can be had at a rate of less than $1 per additional gigabyte. Samsung’s new devices sadly don’t follow their predecessors. The only option is built-in storage, and it doesn’t come cheap.
The Galaxy S6 Edge offered by AT&T, a 32GB device, is listed as $814.99 retail. Jumping up to the 64GB model, the phone’s price leaps $100. Tack on another $100 to double that up to 128GB. Doing the math, that 96GB jump from the lowest to highest capacity jump costs $200, whereas a 128GB MicroSD card from Samsung itself can be had for less than $90 on Amazon.
Expensive but impractical
This one is specifically in regard to the Galaxy S6 Edge. Though both models are naturally expensive, being flagship devices, the S6 Edge costs a good $130 more than the plain model at retail price. What do users get from this?
A screen that curves a bit at the sides. While it looks cool to the observer, and there are some particular functions that rely on the curved edges, CNET notes that there are no killer apps dependent on the curved display. For people who don’t mind shelling out extra for a bit of flair, this isn’t much of a problem, but for people who buy these devices for performance, it’s a high price to pay for little improvement.
It looks a bit like an iPhone
This problem is more particular to the standard S6 model, as the Edge has the curved display to make it stand out a bit. The standard Galaxy S6 has an aluminum frame around the sides, glass front, and back, and when compared to an iPhone 6, looks a bit similar.
Sure, there will be minor differences that show up, such as the variance in home button shape and the exact shape and layout of ports here and there, but the placement is similar.
Both CNET and TechRadar commented on the similarity in appearance. For the spiteful Samsung users who don’t want to look like their hated Apple arch-nemeses, this could be a problem.
The rear has issues
Among the commonly cited problems with the Galaxy S6 models is the protruding camera. Sure, the extra bit that sticks out means it can house more advanced camera equipment, but it does keep the device from resting flat on a table.
If it weren’t for the camera, the device’s incredible flat rear would lie quite nicely. But that’s a whole new problem. That incredibly flat back should be spending time in people’s hands, and TechRadar points out that a nicely rounded back would make it more comfortable to hold. Both of these problems are fortunately remedied by buying a case for the phone, which — let’s face it — everybody should do when buying a device this expensive.
Lastly, there’s the camera flash that refuses to turn off in some cases, even with the device turned off, reports BGR. Since the battery can’t be removed, some people’s only solution has been a factory refresh. Having the flash on all day would be a sure way to drain the already smaller battery faster, as well as annoy everyone around. This problem at least should eventually be resolved by a software update.
Samsung’s infamous bloatware
OK, so Samsung has thankfully been doing everybody a favor by reducing the amount of apps it forces on everyone by pre-installing them on the device without the ability to delete them. This pre-installed content that people may or may not want, commonly referred to as bloatware, was a major problem for users on earlier devices. Fortunately, those earlier devices at least had the ability to increase the device’s storage with a MicroSD card, so it wasn’t as big a deal to have bloatware taking up space.
However, when you consider how expensive each bit of extra memory is on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, any unwanted apps taking up space can get to making one feel pretty sore about it. While there is less bloatware this time around, CNET has pointed out that it still can’t be deleted in full (unless you feel like rooting your device).
If all these problems are no big deal to you — if you plan on buying a case anyway, if you’re going to root or just happen to love all of Samsung’s pre-installed apps, if you’ve got plenty of money to blow on tiny curves in a screen, if you don’t spend days away from a power source — then you’re in luck.
All around, the Galaxy S6 devices should prove to be powerful smartphones that challenge all others. Few if any of the problems here will hinder it from being a truly top-of-the-line gadget, but it’s important to be aware of the problems with a device that most people probably aren’t talking about.
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