Samsung shadows Apple in a double Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge launch

On the eve of the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled what comes next from its Galaxy smartphone family, launching two devices: the S6 and S6 Edge. In the dual launch that seemed to take a leaf out of Apple’s book, the Korean device maker claimed it has combined design and practicality to create its latest devices.

Despite the smartphones being described as totally new in both design and specs, the S6 especially looked familiar. The S6 Edge, slightly bigger of the two devices, on the other hand does have a screen that curves around the edges, which does give the phone more of a unique look.

Although being able to add up to five contacts on the ‘edge’ of the curved screen to have on speed dial with a different colour for each person that lights up when they call, it wasn’t immediately obvious what other practical elements the curved display has to offer. “These are the most advanced smartphones in the world- and they also look really cool,” Samsung’s President and CEO JK Shin said.

Both devices have built-in battery, which can be charged wirelessly. Samsung claimed the battery also charges quicker than any other battery saying just 10 minutes of charging translates to four hours of “everyday use”. Although the wireless charging is a plus, the battery in the S6 and S6 Edge is only 2550mAh compared to 28000mAh in the S5.

However, according to the vendor, the new phones are more efficient, faster and offer more memory than their predecessors. The handsets, available from the 10th of April onwards, come either with 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. Another concession to smartphone consensus was the move to a metal body.

As previously rumoured, Samsung has decided to use its own chips rather than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, which the S5 comes with. But although Samsung recently finally released a phone operating on its own Tizen OS in India, these latest devices still run on the familiar Android (Lollipop).

During the product launch tonight Samsung made sure to have several jibes at Apple, including hardware durability (“this phone will not bend,” said Samsung’s Marketing VP Younghee Lee) and photo quality. The phones come with a 16MP rear camera with an f1.9 aperture, which is designed to aid in low-light situations. The front camera has 5MP with the same amount of aperture. Apparently to make spontaneous snapping as easy as possible, the camera is always on stand-by and ready to click within 0.7 seconds. This is helped by a fingerprint sensor in the home button that removes the need to swipe.

In what seemed like yet another direct attempt to compete with Apple, Samsung also announced its own contactless payment solution, Samsung Pay. The firm said the world needs a universally accepted contactless payment method, and claimed Samsung Pay’s combination of NFC and and MST (magnetic secure transmission) technology will ensure it will work anywhere where either NFC, debit or credit payments are accepted.

Overall the S6 and S6 Edge seem like decent higher-end smartphones. It looks clear, though, the vendor felt the need to tick the box created by Apple by launching two devices. Perhaps it also predicts it probably won’t be able to sell as many of the Edge handsets, which will be sold at an even higher price than the S6, and wanted to make sure it also has a safer option.

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