Update (2/20/15): This article was originally written in December of last year, much of this post has been overhauled to make it as current as possible.
The year 2015 is here, CES is behind us and we are now turning towards the new year and are beginning to eagerly await the next generation of Android flagships. One of the first major devices to hit in 2015 will likely be the Samsung Galaxy S6, given that the Galaxy S5 launched in February of this year and the Galaxy S4 launched in March of 2013.
As it’s still fairly early days, we know very little concrete information about the GS6, but rumors are starting to surface in greater number and we imagine that they will only increase in frequency in the weeks and months to come. With that in mind, we have gathered up all the best-known current rumors relating to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and will continually update this post as we hear more.
Keep in mind that these are rumors and so there’s no guarantees on the accuracy of anything in this roundup. In other words, read this post only if you enjoy speculating as much as we do!
In the past Samsung has promised on more than one occasion that it would go back to the drawing board with its next Galaxy phone, and each time we’ve ended up with a phone that largely sticks to the same ole’ Samsung formula with minor tweaks (leather stitching, dimpled backs, etc). For the Galaxy S6, Samsung is again promising its biggest changes to the brand yet. But this time, there’s actually some evidence that they may be more than just talking big. More than one rumor floating around claims that the GS6 will have a metallic body, and some claim a full unibody could even be in the works.
We’d imagine we’ll see a metal framed Galaxy S6 at the very least, though it’s certainly possible a fully metallic design could be in the works.
How believable is this though? Actually, it could happen. Samsung has been actively experimenting with full-metal designs on some of its lower and mid-range devices and even the Note 4 had a metallic frame. The problem here is that we’ve also heard reports that Samsung has had QA issues with the production of unibody cases, which makes us question whether or not Samsung could really pull off a full unibody case for one of its core flagship devices. We’d imagine we’ll see a metal framed Galaxy S6 at the very least, though it’s certainly possible a fully metallic design could be in the works.
Even more recently though, rumors have pointed to the fact that Samsung will go with a metal edge, similar to the Alpha and Note 4. However, the twist to this formula is that the phone will actually feature glass material in the design, perhaps with the back panel being made of glass. This design will also allegedly lack a removal battery. While it’s hard to say how believable this rumor is, the latest Galaxy S6 teaser from Samsung may end up backing the idea of a glass/metal design for the GS6.
Beyond the use of new material, there’s at least one report claiming that Samsung will introduce vibrant colors to its metallic GS6, such as the yellow hue seen above. It’s hard to say how accurate this particular claim is, though it’s at least possible. Another change for the Samsung Galaxy S6 is that it could ditch the waterproofing feature that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S5. Instead of offering IP67 certification as a standard feature, it is said that Samsung will instead eventually offer up a more rugged design with waterproofing in the form of a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active.
Regardless of what alterations Samsung makes to build material, colors and display, right now the rumor mill suggests that Samsung won’t be changing much when it comes to the front layout. This means we’ll see the return of Samsung’s physical key layout, though we can’t say we are particularly surprised by this.
Galaxy S Edge
Early on, there were rumors suggesting that the Galaxy S6 could feature a design with a dual Edge-like display. While some publications suggested this rumor had no real basis, others claimed that the phone would not only feature dual edges that are less dramatic in angle and easier to grip than the Galaxy Note Edge — but that this design would apply to all Galaxy S6 devices and will not be a special variant.
As time has passed it has become clear that the idea of all GS6 models having an edge-display is probably nothing more than fanciful rumor. Instead, we now believe the GS6 will have a variant, likely called the Galaxy S Edge, that will offer up a dual-edge display as well as the possibility of a few minor differences in the spec sheet in order to set the two models apart.
While some of the early rumors claimed that Samsung might stick with 1080p here, while giving QHD to the S Edge model — as we march closer to a reveal, it looks likely that both variants will offer up a QHD diplay. The current rumor mill indicates that Samsung will likely offer up a 5.1-inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560. This means screen size may stay the same as we saw with the Galaxy S5, while the jump in resolution will make an already great viewing experience even better.
GALAXY S6 SPECS
While it was once believed that a Snapdragon 810 was the likely processor of choice for the Galaxy S6, that’s no longer the case. Several reports (including word from Qualcomm), suggest that the Korean giant is dropping Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor due to alleged overheating issues. Samsung will instead utilize in-house Exynos chips for the Galaxy S6. More specifically, the phone is believed to feature an Exynos 7420 paired with 3GB RAM.
As far as other specs? The phone is said to offer up a battery capacity of 2600 mAh, and we imagine you’ll see staples like fingerprint readers, HRM, NFC and so forth — at least judging by their past actions. It is also worth noting that a fairly recent post from Samsung on its “Samsung Tomorrow” blog suggests that the Galaxy S6 will be among the first devices with multiple wireless standard compatibility.
If you’re wondering how the S Edge might differ from the GS6, curved display aside, PA claims the phone may feature 4GB RAM and an Iris Scanner, the latter of which is something Samsung has been talking about since long before even the Galaxy Note 4’s arrival.
Recently, Samsung’s DongHoon Jang tried to build some hype for the handset’s new technologies, promising that the company’s 2015 flagship will contain Samsung’s most intelligent camera technology to date. Although no specific details were given out about hardware or features, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 will apparently automatically manage lighting conditions, improve HDR techniques and make the camera experience more intuitive, so that users end up with “amazing pictures under any conditions.”
Essentially, Samsung is suggesting that it has put a lot of work into smart camera software, so we can almost certainly expect some new camera and gallery app features when the Galaxy S6 rolls around. As for the sensor? While you’d think that Samsung might finally bring back its ISOCELL with improved technology, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Several recent reports suggest the phone will have a 16MP Sony IMX240 sensor, the same sensor used in the Galaxy Note 4.
While the front camera is generally not an area of as much excitement for photo enthusiasts (outside of selfie lovers), the front camera is rumored to be 5MP.
Probably the two biggest complaints we hear about Samsung phones is the lack “of premium design” and “over cluttered software”. We already know the rumor mill suggests Samsung is introducing a unibody design that should help fight some of the design criticism, but now we also have started to hear rumors that Samsung is also making some massive changes to software.
According to Business Korea, Samsung aims to simplify the software features of the Galaxy S6, creating a lighter weight custom UI that puts less stress on the Galaxy S6’s hardware. The end result would that the much complained about “lag” from TouchWiz would become a thing of the past. How far Samsung plans to take this makeover remains unseen, and it’s worth noting we heard similar rumors about such a drastic change with the GS5, only to never see them come to light. In other words, we wouldn’t get our hopes up to much until we hear more concrete details.
It’s not just speed optimizations, more than one report claims Samsung is debloating the UI, pushing many lesser Samsung apps to the Samsung app store (and perhaps the Play Store), letting folks choose whether or not to download them. Furthermore, many of the pre-installed Samsung apps will be user uninstallable if these rumors pan out.
Beyond making Touchwiz a bit faster and less bloated, there’s also talk about Samsung bringing custom themes over to the phone, something we’ve already seen, to some degree, with the Samsung A3 and A5. The stock themes will apparently be similar to those included with the current Galaxy A series, but may also extend to include the changing of system fonts, sounds, and something else called Events. Events seem to allow for Samsung Theme Store customization based on specific dates, such as birthdays or national holidays.
Another area where Samsung could end up improving is in mobile payments. Not only has the company recently bought mobile payment start up LooPay, the company is also said to be working with Visa to improve Samsung Pay. Additionally security could play a bigger role, with Samsung boasting up security with the aid of McAfee.
Samsung is scheduled to unveil the Samsung Galaxy S6 on March 1st, kicking off Mobile World Congress in a big way. No word on pricing or exactly when consumers will be able to buy the phone just yet, though we’ll be sure to update whenever we learn more.
As we get closer to the launch, a clearer picture is starting to form, though there’s still several uncertainties and Samsung is likely doing its very best to keep some of its biggest surprises under wraps. While there’s a lot of different rumors, one thing we’ve heard consistently from the beginning is that Samsung is looking to finally “changes its vision” when it comes to past Galaxy S handsets. This hopefully means the end of dimpled backs and faux leather, and the push towards something newer and exciting. Only time will tell for sure.
What do you hope to see from the Samsung Galaxy S6? Let us know in the comments. Also be sure to participate in our poll!