Friday, April 24, 2015

AT&T Samsung Galaxy S6

Why
So I never thought that I would go back to a carrier-branded phone, but financially this is what made sense. At the time of writing this post, the Nexus 6 was still around $470 and I didn't really want to pay that much for a phone that was already half-a-year old. I went to a local Best Buy to wander around and I saw this phone that I totally didn't research. After holding it and tinkering around a bit, it totally felt solid, like an iPhone clone that wasn't plasticky at all. The screen actually looked pretty nice as well. I then went home and started researching. To my surprise it had exactly what I was looking for: a camera with OIS (optical image stabilization), wireless charging, and Android. On top of all of that, Best Buy was having a deal where if you upgraded with them, they would give you a free wireless charger...I'm a sucker for free stuff.

Pros
  • Wireless charging is back! Now I have 2 chargers: one at work and one at home, perfect!
  • The phone is super fast. An 8-core processor certainly helps that along and it's quite noticeable; no lag at all.
  • The phone totally feels solid with a good build and a glass back and such. Personally I'm all about having a whole unibody design. People will always upgrade phones so nobody really needs to worry about not having a replaceable battery.
  • The camera is badass...pics are super focused and has great quality. Night/day difference between this and the OnePlus One. Additionally you can activate the camera with a quick doubletap of the home button wherever you are.
  • I guess this can be a pro, but the screen is super sensitive. Compared to the OnePlus, when more often than not it would not register a touch, the screen on this S6 totally detects everything, even when you're 1mm away, which might get a bit annoying, but I'll learn to adapt. I'd rather it be too sensitive vs. not being sensitive enough.
  • It has a heart rate monitor on the back near the camera. It's sorta a gimmick, but it's kinda cool to take a reading when you're on the can or when you're all stressed out just to see the difference.
Cons
  • Battery life is much less than the OnePlus; probably minus a whole day. I guess that's what an average phone battery is like, but I just got used to the uncanny battery life of the OnePlus. You can totally survive a day, but you have to adapt charging times. I think I got the equation down though; I only need 2 hours per day to wirelessly charge the phone back up to max.
  • One of the main reasons why I initially gravitated towards the Nexus line was for the the Vanilla Android UI. This phone has the Samsung Touchwiz on top of Lollipop, and although it's much better than what I remembered of this UI to be back in the S2 Captivate days, it still is kinda ass. Luckily I downloaded the Google Now Launcher which essentially turns the UI back into Vanilla Lollipop, so it has been swell since the switch. Various menus like the pulldown are still Touchwiz, but I can deal. Samsung has worked to make this better and you can tell, but it's still invasive and unnecessary.
  • Since the phone is a branded-carrier one, that means that there are a bunch of programs that you can't delete like Uber, Yp, Skype, and also a bunch of AT&T and Samsung bloatware, but I found a way to pseudo-hide them. Just go into the Application Manager and disable each unwanted app. It should disappear from the full menu screen; not too shabby. This doesn't work on all programs unfortunately, but it did get rid of the majority of the more annoying apps.
  • Hardware-wise, I'm not game with the middle Home button that was totally meant to copy the iPhone. I mean I get why Apple folk would like this, but I think it's unnecessary to have a physical button for this function. Samsung should've copied the Nexus, made the screen bigger, and just had software buttons on the bottom for the Home, Menu, and Back functions.
  • No more using the hotspot functionality. Since it's branded, AT&T will know and then will try to take away my unlimited data. I'm gonna try to keep that for life even though I rarely even use my phone.
Thoughts
So as of this moment there isn't any part of the phone that is a dealbreaker. I live a very simple cell phone life so as long as the primary stuff I use it for works, then I'm happy. I do kinda miss having a larger screen to type on, but having a phone that easily fits inside my pocket, provides me with an equally good feeling as well.