Curvy comeback

Samsung’s new flagship phones, the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge hit all the right buttons and could be big winners, says Tushar Kanwar

  • Published 19.04.15
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Samsung has been under attack on all fronts, be it the iPhone in the premium segment and the armada of more-than-competent budget offerings from Xiaomi, Lenovo and Motorola in the mid-range and budget segments. Something drastic and radical was called for — and ladies and gents, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 is it.

The S6, and its S6 Edge dual curved screen avatar, represents somewhat of a rebirth at Samsung. Gone is the plastic that defined every Galaxy flagship of yore, replaced by glass on the front and rear and an aluminium alloy for the frame. The phones speak a whole new design language and are visually quite appealing to look at, although the Edge with its curved screen is far and away the better looking of the two. From one angle, there’s even a faint resemblance with Apple’s latest iPhone, but what’s more ironic is that for the first time, both S6 variants seal in the battery and leave a microSD card slot out — decisions for which Samsung has long criticised Apple. Another regression from the S5 is that neither phone is water resistant, which is a bit of a pity.

Reconcile yourself to these design decisions, and you’ll be rewarded with possibly one of the best phones you’ll see in 2015. They’ve both got gorgeous 5.1-in 2,560 by 1,440 Super AMOLED displays that not only look fantastic, but also offer brilliant colours and insanely sharp details in both text and images.

Bear in mind, beyond the good looks, the S6 Edge’s curved screen doesn’t do much more than the S6’s — essentially, quick access to apps and contacts and glowing notification if the phone’s face down. Both phones are absolute beasts when it comes to performance, sporting Samsung’s proprietary Exynos octa-core processors and 3GB of the fastest memory around. Apps, including the camera, open in an instant, and the phones are more than capable of handling anything you can throw at them. Samsung has also de-cluttered the TouchWiz interface running on Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop, making it easier to use and understand.

But clearly, the biggest revelation with the S6s has been with the 16MP rear camera, which takes photos that finally rival the iPhone’s in terms of detail, shot-to-shot speed and colour reproduction — and sometimes even turn out better results in low light. And when you add up the extras — all-day battery life with fast charging tech (10 minutes of charge for four hours of use) and wireless charging support, a much improved fingerprint sensor — it’s evidently clear that the S6 duo have delivered the goods for Samsung. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone and have a budget that can accommodate Samsung’s flagship pricing, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are the ones to get.

Costly convertible

Lenovo has, time and again, proved that it’s ahead of the curve in the convertible laptops segment with its innovative Yoga designs, and with the Yoga 3 Pro, it has done one better, both in terms of portability and aesthetics. Enough to command the princely price tag? Let’s find out.

From the moment you pull it out of the box, there’s little doubt this is premium territory. Look at that watchband-inspired hinge that connects the display to the computer — it looks like something straight out of a high-end watch store, with 800 pieces in the hinge alone — it lets you tilt the screen back to a full 360° like the previous Yoga devices or lay it flat on the ground at 180°, which wasn’t possible in previous models — and stays locked at any degree of tilt. The device is stylish and lightweight (under 1.2kg), but still packs in a 13.3-in quad HD+ 3,200 by 1,900 IPS touch screen which offers eye-popping colours and excellent clarity.

Under the hood, there’s a new Intel Core M processor with 8GB of memory and a 512GB solid state (flash) drive for storage, and given that Core M is a lower-powered chip designed to improve battery life, it’s no surprise that performance takes a slight hit compared to other ultrabooks with fourth-generation Intel Core processors. Even so, the laptop is good for moderate use — Web browsing, casual games and the like.

For its price though, the Yoga 3 Pro makes you question where all the money is going. Sure, there’s that drool-worthy hinge and a superb display, but performance and a less than stellar battery life keeps me from outright recommending this baby.

technocool@kanwar.net; follow me on twitter @2shar

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