The way Samsung launches phones is easy to work out: the flagship ‘S’ model appears, and then a few months later the improved Note pops up. So now the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has arrived the path is clear for the Samsung Galaxy S6.
In fact, with the Sony Xperia Z4 failing to show up at CES, the Galaxy S6 is the next biggest phone launch, despite being a few months away.
Latest updates: A beefy 4GB of RAM, a display with two curved edges, a metal and glass build and a new and improved fingerprint scanner are among the latest Galaxy S6 rumours.
We’re already seeing numerous rumors about this next model, and with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha trying to fix some of the design failings of the Galaxy S5 – plus the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 options recently announced – there’s definitely been a quick change at the South Korean brand to try and make its phones look much better.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next flagship smartphone from Samsung
- When is it out? Early 2015, probably March or April but maybe even earlier
- What will it cost? A lot, at least as much as the pricey Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S6 release date and price
There’s no official word on when the Samsung Galaxy S6 might launch, but Samsung has a yearly product cycle which it rarely deviates far from.
In fact from the Samsung Galaxy S2 onwards the company has always announced its phones at or close to MWC, and we’re almost certain the same will hold true for the Galaxy S6.
2015’s MWC is set to take place between March 2 and March 5, so it’s likely that we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S6 sometime around then. Possibly not at the show itself but perhaps at a press conference a day or two before it starts, much like Samsung did for the Galaxy Note 4 launch before IFA 2014 and indeed there are reports that the Galaxy S6 will arrive at MWC, in two flavours.
A group of analysts in South Korean reckoned Samsung would somewhat jump the gun with a Galaxy S6 launch at CES 2015. But CES has been and gone and the Galaxy S6 didn’t make an appearance.
Having said that, it may have been there in secret, as it’s rumored that Samsung was showing the phone off behind closed doors to “selected partners”, but even if that was happening don’t expect any of them to blab.
However, whenever it’s announced that’s not likely to be when it will actually go on sale. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 both launched in April, of 2013 and 2014 respectively, so it’s probable you’ll be able to buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 from April 2015.
There are rumors suggesting Samsung may be a little quicker to market with the Galaxy S6 though, with South Korean news outlet Daum claiming it’ll ship the Galaxy S6 in the same month as it’s announced – March 2015.
That’s supported by reports from South Korea that the phone will enter mass production in February and may even launch in South Korea in February.
On the other hand there’s a chance it could be delayed, as there have been numerous reports that there are issues with the Snapdragon 810 processor, which is likely to be powering it. Qualcomm claims the chip is on track, but that hasn’t stopped reports of overheating issues from flooding in.
There’s no real information on what the Samsung Galaxy S6 might cost either, but this is a flagship phone we’re talking about.
This means it’s not likely to be any cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S5, which at launch sold for £579 (around $972 / AU$1048) SIM free.
Given that the specs will presumably be better and that it will likely have a more premium build it’s possible that it could be even more expensive, but we’d be surprised if Samsung went much higher than £600 / $1000 / AU$1100.
Samsung Galaxy S6 design
Samsung needs to sort out the design of the Galaxy S6, and there are (happily) reasons to believe it’s doing just that. There’s every chance that Samsung will mould it on the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which launched with a metal frame but still kept hold of the polycarbonate rear from the Galaxy S5.
At just 6.7mm the Galaxy Alpha is considerably thinner than the Galaxy S5, and we hope this is a positive sign for the Galaxy S6. In fact even more recently Samsung has shown off the 6.3mm thick Galaxy A7.
Sources in Samsung’s supply chain have been talking fast and loose about the Galaxy S6, claiming the Galaxy Alpha and Note 4 will test the waters for Samsung’s metal design ahead of an all-metal flagship in the form of the S6.
But what if Samsung’s feeling that’s not enough? Project Zero is coming, apparently, and not only do we love that name it also heralds Samsung starting again and completely retooling the S6 to be something that even iPhone and HTC lovers can’t keep their paws off.
Given one of the design chiefs at the South Korean firm was shuffled sideways in the aftermath of less-than-expected Galaxy S5 sales, we can really believe this is happening.
Don’t expect a fancy new name to go with it though, as according to SamMobile the new phone will simply be called the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The best look we’ve had so far at the possible design of the Samsung Galaxy S6 is from Dutch website Top Tien Mobiel, which has posted photos supposedly showing a Galaxy S6 prototype, which were sent in by an anonymous source.
The alleged image of the S6 shows a design with extremely thin edges along the left and right sides of the screen, with the front-facing camera now at the centre of the handset.
Samsung Galaxy S6 screen
There’s no sign that Samsung is ditching Super AMOLED in its screens, so we expect that to make a return in the Galaxy S6.
The resolution will likely get a boost though, as Samsung has already launched the 2560 x 1440 Galaxy Note 4 and even among smaller screen sizes there’s the equally QHD Galaxy S5 LTE-A in South Korea, so we expect the Galaxy S6 to have a resolution at least that high.
In fact Samsung has previously said that it hopes to have smartphones with 4K 3840 x 2160 displays on the market by 2015. It’s possible then that the S6 will leapfrog 2K and go straight to 4K, but with an early 2015 launch expected we’d be surprised.
More likely Samsung will save that for the Galaxy Note 5… plus, surely, that’s getting to the point of just too many pixels in a phone screen?
In any case, SamMobile claims it’s likely to launch with a QHD screen. A second report from Chinese site cnmo.com featured a supposed AnTuTu benchmarking result from the Galaxy S6 that confirmed the display was a 2,560 x 1,440 QHD affair.
We’ve also got wind of a user agent profile from Dutch site TechTastic, which reveals a QHD 1440 x 2560 display for a handset believed to be the Galaxy S6, so it’s looking very likely.
Whether it’s QHD or not the Samsung Galaxy S6 may have a slightly bigger screen than the Galaxy S5. The company has slowly been increasing the size of the screens on its flagships and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Galaxy S6 were to push things up by another 0.1 or 0.2 inches to 5.2 or 5.3 inches. Samsung may decide to go all the way up to 5.5-inches, given the Google Nexus 6 has launched with a 6-inch screen.
If Samsung can shrink the bezel then it could probably even achieve that without increasing the phone’s footprint. On the other hand the Note 4 is no bigger than the Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung’s going to want to keep its two premium brands differentiated, so maybe it will decide that 5.1 inches is the sweet spot.
There’s also a chance that the Galaxy S6 might have a flexible display. Samsung has been looking at this sort of technology for a while and has even recently launched the Galaxy Note Edge: a version of the Note 4 where the screen curves down one side, so it’s possible.
Others have been keen to push this idea, with the rumours that the Note Edge was supposed to feature the dual-bend design, but it was shelved and pushed the to Galaxy S6. It would certainly boost the brand’s presence on the shop shelves.
The curved screen idea has also been pushed by South Korean news outlet Daum, which goes on to predict a 2560 x 1440 resolution (the same as the Galaxy Note 4) and a Snapdragon 810 processor.
But we doubt Samsung would equip its flagship with such an untested technology, so we’d expect the S range to stick with a flat screen for at least one more year.
On the other hand we might see both a flat and curved version, much like with the Note 4. Rumors from SamMobile and Business Insider suggest that’s exactly what will happen, with the Galaxy S6 sporting a flat display and a separate Galaxy S6 Edge being launched alongside it, though SamMobile’s source has since backtracked on that particular theory.
GforGames also claims we’ll see two versions of the handset, with the Galaxy S6 Edge being a limited edition, with an apparent sales forecast of ‘just’ 10 million units during 2015.
We can believe it would happen if it was just one variant and it would be cool if the S6 had a bendy screen – something different from the continuously-similar rectangular designs, right?
Recently we’ve heard from Samsung HD Blog that both edges of the Galaxy S6’s display might be curved, though apparently not in the same way as the Galaxy Note Edge, which may mean more subtle curves.
SamMobile is now echoing that, claiming that the phone will be able to make use of the same apps for the edge screen as the Galaxy Note Edge, including a pedometer, news and sports updates and more. By having two curved screens it should also apparently be comfortable to use regardless of whether you’re left or right handed.
Though there are now reports that while Samsung is apparently prototyping versions of the S6 with both one curved edge and even two curved edges the company hasn’t decided which if either of them it will launch.