Samsung unveils the Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 Edge

Further to its teaser, Samsung has released a limited edition of its Galaxy S6 Edge in the distinctive red-and-gold livery of Marvel superhero Iron Man, as a promotion for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The 64GB model features red brushed metal body accented with gold along the peripheral frame as well as around the camera lens and home button, and comes packaged with an “arc reactor” wireless charging pad. The Iron Man theme continues with a special skin to spice up the UI experience. However, the lack of J.A.R.V.I.S. leaves a conspicuous absence, with only Google Now to make up for it.

First releasing in South Korea on May 27, the phone will make its way to China and Hong Kong in June. In the meanwhile, watch the unboxing video below.

Samsung is releasing an “Iron Man” edition of the Galaxy S6 Edge

For all the Iron Man fans out there, you can now have a piece of the superhero with you at all times as Samsung has released an image of the much-rumored Iron Man edition of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S6 Edge. However, we only get a view of the box which features the iconic character’s mask in a red and gold box. If we were to guess, the phone itself will likely sport the same color scheme.

Stay tuned for more information from the tech giant.

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge or S5… Which do I choose?

CNET: (by /ASK MAGGIE):

Lovers of Samsung Galaxy smartphones have a lot to be excited about. The latest flagship phone from Samsung is available for preorder starting this weekend.

With a sleeker design, a better camera and easier-to-use software, the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are being called Samsung’s best smartphones to date. But truth be told, the Galaxy S5 was no slacker either, even though it didn’t sell as well as expected. And for savvy smartphone consumers, it shouldn’t be ruled out entirely when buying a new device.

All four major wireless operators started taking preorders for both the Galaxy S6 and its sexier sibling, the S6 Edge, on Friday. The devices will be on sale starting April 10.

With this in mind, I think you should wait till the S6 and S6 Edge are available before you buy a new device, regardless of whether you decide to get one of the newer phones or opt for last year’s model. By waiting, you’ll have the option of getting one of the new devices, which comes with a brand-new design and a few upgrades over the Galaxy S5. Also, even if you decide to forgo one of the newer products, the Galaxy S5 will be offered at a reduced price once the S6 is available. So either way, it makes sense for you to wait a couple of weeks longer before upgrading your device.

If you can’t wait to try the S6 and S6 Edge, both devices are already available in carrier and retail stores to check out.

Design, design, design

Samsung says that it’s listened to customers when it comes to the design of this year’s Galaxy S smartphones.

Even though the Galaxy S5 is loaded with great features, the phone wasn’t a big hit with consumers. Why? Most Samsung fans complained that its plastic body felt too cheap in comparison with competing flagship devices from Apple and HTC, which both use premium materials like aluminum for device bodies. Up until the Galaxy S6, Samsung argued that the plastic casing was more durable, but the company finally relented in the latest version of its flagship. Gone is the plastic casing of the former Galaxy products.

Instead, the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge feature a glass back and matte metal frame, wrapped in glossy Gorilla Glass on the front. There’s no question these are prettier and slicker smartphones than previous generations of the Galaxy family of smartphones. The new design makes these phones narrower and thinner than the S5. Samsung has also made them a smidge taller.

In terms of specifications, the S6 and S6 Edge are pretty much the same device. The big difference between the phones is the design and the price tag. The lower-priced S6 has straight edges, while the sexier S6 Edge has a curved edge on each side, creating an infinity-pool-like effect. Both devices look remarkably similar to the iPhone 6, but it’s the S6 Edge that’s likely to make even iPhone fanboys and -girls jealous.

CNET Reviews Senior Editor Jessica Dolcourt said in her review of the S6 Edge that its wraparound screen “transforms an already great phone into Samsung’s best-looking handset. Ever.”

But before I get too deep into offering advice on which S6 model you should choose, you should decide if you really want the newer design or whether you’d rather have the S5.

S6 vs. S5

So let’s start with some basics.

The Galaxy S5 was worthy of its flagship designation when it was introduced a year ago, and in terms of specifications, features and functionality, it’s still near the top of the pack when compared with smartphones in the market. As a result, there’s no doubt you’d be well served by this device.

That said, the S6 does offer some upgrades, even if they aren’t revolutionary. They’re more evolutionary. For instance, both the S5 and the S6 sport 5.1 displays. Samsung tweaked the resolution on the S6 smartphones, giving the already excellent display found in the S5 a slightly improved resolution that’s incredibly crisp and sharp.

Samsung also improved the already very good camera found on the S5. Cameras on both the S5 and S6 offer 16 megapixels. But Samsung has added a wider f/1.9 aperture on the new phones, which captures 40 percent more light as compared with the S5, which means higher-quality photos taken in low-light environments.

Samsung also stripped away some of its TouchWiz device software, which makes the S6 run faster and smoother than the S5. The software running on the S6 makes navigation a lot more pleasant, especially for those who prefer a more pure Google Android experience rather than Samsung’s customized TouchWiz experience. It also runs Google’s latest version of Android.

But the new sexier design of the Galaxy S6 also comes with a few potential drawbacks. First, the aluminum and glass body doesn’t allow for a removable battery. And there’s no SD memory card slot to add additional memory. These functional features were considered staples of former versions of the Galaxy products.

Though these design trade-offs may be deal breakers for some Samsung Galaxy fans, the fact that millions of iPhone customers have never had the option of a replaceable battery or expandable memory suggests that the absence of these features might not bother most consumers. You should note that the phones come in 32 gigabyte, 64GB and 128GB configurations, so you can choose more memory if that’s a concern.

Whether those features matter to you is a personal decision. For me, they’re something I can and have lived without for years. So I have little problem recommending a device that doesn’t include them. But as I say, it’s entirely up to you.

In terms of features, the S6 smartphones offer improvements across the board, though some of these improvements may be so slight that they’d be imperceptible to some customers.

If you can live without the flashy new design and the slight improvements in functionality, you could get the S5 and save some money. Traditionally, wireless operators have offered the previous model of an iconic device like Samsung’s Galaxy products or Apple’s iPhone at a discount once the newer model is released. This is likely to be the case again with the Galaxy S5.

With the new device-financing plans carriers offer today, this means you can likely save yourself at least $100 over the life of the product if you buy last year’s model. For this reason, I’d argue that buying the Galaxy S5 is a safe and frugal option for a more practical and price-sensitive smartphone shopper.

S6 vs. S6 Edge

If looks are important to you and you want a more premium-feeling device in your hand, then you should consider one of the new Galaxy S6 phones. But which one should you choose?

As I said earlier, the specifications and functionality of the S6 and S6 Edge are identical. The real difference between the models is design and price. The sexy design of the S6 Edge will cost you more. How much more depends on the carrier you subscribe to and the type of plan you have. For instance, AT&T offers the 32GB S6 at full retail for $685, and the 32GB S6 Edge will cost you $815. That’s a difference of $130 for the curvier and cooler looking S6 Edge without any other additional bells and whistles.

But if you plan to finance your device on one of AT&T’s installment plans, the difference in cost is spread out over many months, so it will likely cost you only about $5 more a month to get the S6 Edge rather than the S6. Though each carrier is offering the new devices at different prices, they all offer programs that spread out the cost of the devices in such a way that the difference in price between the S6 and the S6 Edge in terms of your monthly bill is around $5 a month.

For example, Sprint is offering these devices as part of its new leasing program. For $80 a month, its customers can get the S6 with an unlimited voice, text messaging and data plan. The S6 Edge is offered for only $5 more a month at a cost of $85 a month.

The bottom line: What should you do?

If you’re on a tighter budget and you absolutely need a Samsung phone, I’d say go for the Galaxy S5. In spite of the fact that the device may not have sold as well as Samsung had hoped, it’s still a solidly good device that offers a lot of high-end features and specifications. But if design is important and cost is only minimally important, I’d say the Galaxy S6 Edge is the device for you. The S6 is nice, but for the cost of a latte each month you can have a smartphone that could make your iPhone-toting friends drool.

 

A close look at the Gear VR for the Galaxy S6

The old and the new

The Verge (by Sean O’Kane):

Earlier this week, we saw some big news in the world of virtual reality when HTC announced the Vive, a new VR headset made in partnership with legacy video game company Valve. But the most important news for the adoption of virtual reality came from Samsung, Oculus, and Facebook: there’s a new version of the Gear VR that can be powered by both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge.

Virtual reality is quite obviously still in a nascent state. Even the best headsets still face myriad problems like poor resolution, bulky headsets, and social stigma. “What we want to do is we want to get down to sunglasses,” says Max Cohen, head of Oculus Mobile.

But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Cohen couldn’t comment on a time frame, but admits how far Oculus has to go before VR glasses are a reality. “Every aspect of this technology, both on Gear VR and the Rift, still needs to improve to get it where we want it,” he says. “We’re not going to declare victory any time soon.” Until then, headsets that use phone drop-ins might be the best consumer solution available.

The original Gear VR, which works with the Galaxy Note 4, took a step towards solving some of VR’s problems, but left much to be desired. The resolution was good enough, but not great. It was wireless and light, but got uncomfortable after extended use. And it did little to change the fact that people inevitably view you differently once you have a VR headset on your face, and you’re unavoidably cut off from the world. Perhaps most important, not many people owned the Galaxy Note 4, whereas the new version will work on a mainstream phone.

The first two issues are alleviated in the newest version of the Gear VR. At first blush, the new version is not much different than the Gear VR that uses the Galaxy Note 4. But once you put it on the differences are profound. To start with, the whole unit is much lighter, thanks in part to the fact that the Galaxy S6 weighs less than the Note 4. The straps are more comfortable but still fit tightly, and there’s a vent on the left side of the headset that helps reduce lens fogging. Overall, Oculus has really gotten the headset to feel, well, less like a headset.

The other big focus for Oculus is increasing the screen resolution, which is another place Cohen is ready to admit that the company — and virtual reality as a medium — still has a long way to go.

The reality is we need to go a lot further. We need 4K screens, potentially even 8K screens. So there’s still some time before we feel like we’ve hit the point where that “screen door effect,” as we call the impression of a pixelated display, goes away entirely. But the 1440p looks pretty darn good.”

He’s right. The Galaxy S6’s 5.1-inch screen is smaller than the 5.7-inch one found on the Note 4, but that means the pixel density is noticeably higher — 577 ppi compared to 515. That might not sound like a lot, but it made a big difference when I got to try it here at MWC. Everything I queued up — games, a new Cirque du Soleil demo, a 360-degree 3D photos app made by Otoy — was more impressive than anything found on the Note 4 version of the Gear VR.

But the difference from the old version to the new was most stark in the videos featured in the Oculus Cinema section. On the Note 4 version of the Gear VR, this was by far my least favorite content — it’s where the weaknesses of the resolution and lower pixel density were most apparent. My eyes would strain after just 10 or 15 seconds of watching a video, and the experience was worse with 3D content. But on the Galaxy S6 version, all the videos I previewed were not only watchable, they were enjoyable. That screen door effect was majorly mitigated here, and in its place was a much smoother and visually comfortable experience.

It’s hard to understate how important this could be for the success of the Gear VR, and Oculus’ efforts in the mobile space in general. The biggest barrier to the Gear VR so far hasn’t been the social awkwardness of wearing a head-mounted display, it’s that it only worked with a niche device. The idea of a $199 consumer VR device was attractive to many, but shelling out nearly $1,000 more to get a Note 4 off-contract kept the reality of it out of reach.

The new headset will likely be priced the same, though Samsung will ultimately set the price when it releases it to market — it’s not yet clear when that will happen. Cohen told us before that he thinks the ideal price is free. Alongside the new headset the company also announced that paid content is making its way to the Gear VR (it should be available in the Oculus store now, and to Note 4 users as well).

The Gear VR is about to face its sink-or-swim moment. Instead of being a cool idea burdened by the requirement of owning a niche device, it’s now going to be an affordable accessory to a phone that millions of people will own. If you still don’t think that’s a big deal, you probably haven’t tried it. And imagine the hype if it were compatible with an iPhone.

By leveraging the new revenue source with paid content and spreading the user base by building a headset around a flagship phone, the idea of dropping the price of the Gear VR to zero doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.

Until then, people are going to have to understand a few simple facts: virtual reality still needs headsets, and headsets are inherently awkward. But that doesn’t mean that the experience isn’t outrageously cool.

 

Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge

Relieving mounting anticipation, Samsung has unveiled the newest addition to its flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The most significant upgrade is in the phone’s exterior body design, incorporating a metal and glass blend which will replace the standard subpar plastic in the previous S-series models. The S6 and S6 Edge are quite similar in specs with some slight differences in display, battery capacity and weight. The major difference between the two is the S6 Edge’s curved screen.

Pushing the envelope in its Galaxy lineup, the new flagship smartphones will feature a metal frame sandwiched between two glass frames which are made from the toughest mobile glass to date, Gorilla Glass 4. Aside from the exterior, other significant upgrades include a 3GB increase in RAM, 0.2 oz of reduced weight, 3MP camera improvement and enhanced screen resolution.

The S6 and S6 Edge are slated for release on April 10, and are available in five different colors. For more information on the premier smartphones, visit Samsung’s website.