Has the Samsung Galaxy S6 got the ‘Edge’ over competitors?
When Samsung unveiled the designs for the latest model of their flagship mobile phone, the Galaxy s6, ahead of the Mobile World Congress they wowed audiences of technical experts. As Apple have done previously, there will be two versions of newest Galaxy model. In terms of software the phones will be virtually identical, but the emphatically named Galaxy S6 Edge features a curved screen whilst its more affordable counterpart has a traditional flat screen. Both phones boast a 64-bit processor, wireless charging technology and a five megapixel front-facing camera. Moreover, Samsung have finally abandoned the plastic materials they have always used for their phones in favour of Aluminium and Glass.Yet, these new features have come at a cost. The Samsung S6 and S6 Edge are no longer water-resistant and the backs cannot be removed, meaning users cannot replace the battery or insert a SD card should they want extra storage.
Whilst the Samsung Galaxy S6 may have impressed technical experts and reviewers, we wanted to find out how it was received by the people that matter most – consumers. We asked a panel of 300 consumers from both the UK and the US to watch a video review produced by TechCrunch and then tell us their opinion of the phones and if or how they could benefit from their new features.
In general, the feedback from consumers in the UK and the US was extremely positive. They were excited by the new sleek design and many of the additional features. Below, we discuss the features that ignited the most debate amongst the two panels.
The Curved Screen.
The Galaxy S6 Edge’s flashy new exterior was, unsurprisingly, the first thing most consumers in the UK and US commented on. In their eyes, the curved edge certainly set the model apart from its competitors. US consumers were particularly excited by the benefits the curved screen provided for the user. They thought that it would make swiping between applications easier and quicker.
“The curved screen makes it look more modern, as well as putting that shiny finish, which makes it look more expensive” (Becca, 22, Welwyn Garden City, UK)
“The wrap around screen on the S6 Edge would allow you to see thing much more clearly, particularly when watching things in HD” (Adrienne, 42, Richmond, US)
However, many consumers were sceptical about the practical use of the curved screen. They were concerned that the screen was more of a ‘gimmick’ to give the Samsung Galaxy an ‘edge’ over the Apple iPhone, with no practical benefit for the user.
“Is a curved edge to a phone really a necessity? Everyone puts covers on their phone” (Wendy, 30, Norwich, UK)
“Surely the curved screen is a step backwards – it reminds me of old TVs” (Elizabeth, 32, Sherborne, UK)
The large screen has been widely promoted by Samsung, particularly the HD image and picture quality.
“With the large screen I think it will be easier to see and easier to use, as the functions have also been simplified” (Adele, 28, Liverpool, UK) 172119
That said, a number of the panel were less than enthusiastic about the sheer size of the screen. Several argued that the phone would be difficult to use because of its size. Others likened it to the Galaxy Tablet on account on its large size, fast processor and additional functionality. Whilst the similarity between the devices is being promoted as a positive, many consumers thought that Samsung needed to maintain a clear disparity between the two for either to be successful in the market.
“It might as well be a tablet, as it is pointless having a phone that big. How is anyone going to fit it in their pocket? It would be more likely to break” (Andrew, 38, Exmouth)
“It’s awkward to have a screen that big’ (Chelsea, 30, Daraville, US)
Aluminium and Glass Finish.
Nearly all of the respondents cited Samsung’s decision to swap Plastic for Aluminium and Glass as the primary material for their phones as a positive move for the company. Many panel members thought that this modernised the Galaxy’s appearance, making it look sleek, sophisticated and more expensive. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is also available in multiple colours, including green and gold. Consumers liked the new colours because they gave the phone individuality.
“I particularly liked the way they’ve changed the plastic for glass and metal – it looks more premium” (Lynn, 49, Great Wyrley, UK)
“It looks very sophisticated. I particularly like the colours on the back and the way the camera stands out but doesn’t protrude. It looks really stylish” (Sharon, 54, Lancaster, UK)
Moreover, several panel members felt that the ‘new look’ for Samsung phones took them a step closer to matching the flagship product made by their biggest competitor, Apple.
“Just the software is different to Apple, because now they both look similar. They’re both metal” (Craig, 27, Chicago, US)
On the other hand, some consumers stated that they preferred the old Samsung phone models which used stable materials, like plastic. Although at MWC Samsung emphasised that their product does not ‘bend’ (a dig at the problems with the Apple iPhone 6+), people were still concerned that the materials were easily breakable.
“I don’t like the Edge at all. I don’t like the fact that if I dropped it on its side, the screen would break” (Kerry, 24, Andover, UK)
The Samsung Galaxy S6 allows users to have multiple apps open on the screen. Apps can be displayed side-by-side similarly to the way they are displayed on a desktop computer, allowing user to easily transition between them. Consumers were especially excited by this feature, as the Samsung S6 will be the first phone on the market with this capability. In their opinion, this feature made the Samsung S6 an ideal phone for work, play and (of course) both at the same time.
“I’ve never seen a phone where you can have multiple apps open” (Sam, 40, Saltash, UK)
“I think I’d get the edge because you can have two apps open at the same time, which would be really helpful for me when I’m tapping out an email and need to get information from elsewhere” (Elly, 35, Cheltenham, UK)
The Samsung S6 features two cameras. The forward facing ‘selfie’ camera is now a whopping five megapixels and the back facing camera is 16 megapixels. Both cameras feature an Optical Image Stabilisation and fast tracking auto focus, so that all images are high quality. The advanced camera protrudes slightly from the frame of the phone, which gives it a different appearance to other phone cameras which are usually small and discrete. US consumers were particularly impressed by the camera features. On the contrary, some UK consumers thought that this was an unattractive feature and was more likely to get damaged if they placed the phone in their pocket on handbag.
“I love the tracking feature on the camera. I’m in journalism so I would definitely use that!” (Kathryn, 23, Columbia, US)
“The camera protruding seems a bit odd to me, but if the quality of the picture is better then it will be a great feature” (Robert, 54, Mckinney, US)
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be the first mobile phones to support wireless charging. Not only does this feature allow owners to charge their mobiles ‘on-the-go’, but it also allows for faster charging. In fact, Samsung claim that 10 minutes of charge-time allows for two hours of HD video to be played on the phone. Some consumers loved this feature and saw it as another way that Samsung were pushing themselves back to the top of the market.
“The faster processor and the wireless charging definitely separates the Samsung Galaxy S6 from competitors” (Neerav, 34, London, UK)
However, many others were unsure about how accurate these claims were. In particular people did not like that the new design made the battery irremovable. Many people reported problems with the battery life of Samsung phones they had owned in the past and therefore did not like the fact that the battery could not be replaced.
“The problem with Samsung products is the battery life and now the battery is irremovable” (Lynn, 49, Great Wyrley, UK)
“I would have bought a Samsung Galaxy S6, until I found out that you can’t swap the battery or add an SD card. That’s a deal breaker for me” (Ken, 30, Los Angeles, US)
Our research revealed that many consumers in the UK and US would be interested in purchasing the phone. In fact, some people claimed to have already pre-ordered the product so that they could own it as soon as it was released. Across both panels, consumers were more interested in the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge than the S6, due to its innovative design. US iPhone users were more likely to switch their Apple product for the Samsung S6. In comparison, UK Apple users were more likely to claim that their loyalty to the iPhone was the primary reason why they would not purchase the Samsung S6.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S6 was seen very positively by the panel. They felt that the new metallic design and large screen demonstrated how Samsung had listened to consumer feedback and moved away from old fashioned styles. The phone is the first step towards the future look of Samsung products. However, many consumers still have their reservations about the reliability of the product. They were concerned that the the materials used were likely to break and that the inability to change the battery would mean that phones could not be easily repaired. In order to transform the opinion of customers who have this opinion Samsung should demonstrate through marketing campaigns that their product is reliable.