The first Samsung Galaxy S smartphone was launched in 2010; about the same time as the iPhone 4. Since then, the Galaxy S series has been about one thing and one thing only -- making a product that's "better" than the iPhone at a lower price tag. Each iteration of the Galaxy S series; namely the S2, S3, S4 kept adding to the list of features. But this tried-and-tested formula was pushed too far with last year's Galaxy S5. The uninspiring plastic design and initial asking price of Rs. 53,500 overshadowed what otherwise seemed like a full-fledged package. Which is probably why in 2015, Samsung started with a clean slate for the Galaxy S6.
Many bold moves were made into creating this product, like dropping support for microSD cards and removable batteries that Samsung flagships were known for. Also dropped were a few features from the Galaxy S5 -- like water-dust resistance, USB 3.0 support and a comparatively larger battery. "What has gotten into Samsung?", many would have asked. The answer seems to be largely obvious -- they got back to competing with the iPhone. And this time, it's a head-on battle. Samsung wants to sell you an iPhone that's made by them.
Comparisons between an iPhone and an Android phone may be futile, much like the Apples vs Oranges debate. But those comparisons are made by many potential buyers anyway. So when iPhone users want to try their hand at Android, amongst the choices they have, the Galaxy S6 seems to be their best bet. Here's why:
It looks and feels familiar
An iPhone is a universally identifiable status symbol that you can carry today. The Galaxy S6 matches that by fixing the one thing that was so wrong with its predecessor - it finally looks and feels like a device of premium stature. It is about the same size and thickness as an iPhone 6. It even feels equally slippery thanks to the curvy metal bezels and the glass back. It is hard to distinguish the bottom of the two at a quick glance.
It takes great point-and-shoot photos
People love the iPhone's camera because it's easy to just point and capture great quality pictures. The Galaxy S6's rear camera takes photos in twice the resolution as the iPhone 6, has a larger F1.9 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization, 4K video recording, a wide-angle front-facing camera with some neat selfie-taking features.
But that is not the point. The point is that it's a fast camera that takes good pictures by just pointing and clicking. Sure, there are manual controls that you can fidget with, but the Galaxy S6 is designed to give most iPhone users what they really want.
It's software is iOS-esque
It's no secret that Samsung's TouchWiz takes inspiration from Apple's iOS, you probably know about the lawsuit. Still, Android operates differently from iOS, and iPhone users will take some time to get used to any phone maker's Android implementation. But there are elements in TouchWiz that should make these new converts a little more comfortable.
For example, there are app badges that show unread items above an app icon, just like iOS. There's a built-in dictionary feature on any word you highlight, just like iOS. You can take a screenshot by pressing the home and power button together, just like iOS. Even the share sheet in the Gallery app has this 'Simple Sharing' option that's conveniently at the same position as Apple's Airdrop.
There's a minus (-) symbol in the app drawer to uninstall an app, just like iOS. There's a Samsung Kies phone management software just like iTunes.
Finally, it is also fast. Fast enough to satisfy an iPhone user.
It's got a fingerprint scanner
Apple's Touch ID is that one feature every Android user can be jealous of. The Galaxy S5 aped it rather badly, the Note 4 made it a little more usable. But you still had to swipe over the home button, which wasn't as simple as placing your finger over the sensor, like Touch ID. In the Galaxy S6, you finally don't have to swipe over the sensor, making it genuinely usable now.
Android as an operating system is yet to support fingerprint scanners. This means that the scanner in the Galaxy S6 is mainly used for unlocking the phone. Since last year, Apple has even allowed third party apps to use Touch ID for authentication in their apps. You can even authenticate payments using Apple Pay (provided you're in a country where it works).
So the way it looks right now, there's a ray of hope for the biometric verification on the Galaxy S6 to be used more effectively if Google flicks the switch. But till then, you can at least enjoy the convenient unlocking facility that no other Android phone has today.
It's still "value for money"
Reiterating that point I made in the beginning, the Galaxy S series wasn't just about creating an iPhone clone. It was about that and a lot more. The Galaxy S6 ticks many right boxes in this respect by offering 32GB of internal storage on the base model. The screen is wildly more crisper than the iPhone. There's an Infrared blaster to control your TV and other electronics. There's a ton of other features like multi-window to use two apps simultaneously, Smart Stay to keep the screen on while you're looking at it, to mention a few.
So is Samsung's Galaxy S6 the ultimate smartphone to purchase? Nope. It's battery life is mediocre, although it does come with hacks like fast charging, wireless charging and an ultra-power saving mode to mitigate that. The phone sometimes tends to get uncomfortably hot at the edges and back. It also feels more delicate, a price you have to pay for that premium feel. And finally, TouchWiz is still not the prettiest-looking skin to please the elite iPhone users.
But in my humble opinion, if you're an iPhone user interested in getting a taste of Android, the Galaxy S6 is probably the best thing you can buy today.