3. Samsung Galaxy S6 (from £530) ★★★★★
Now Samsung's getting serious. After years of making increasingly suspect-looking plastic phones, the Galaxy S6 is metal and glass, all-round. It doesn’t come cheap, but this is one of the best-feeling mobiles ever. It’s nice and smooth too, despite being a dead skinny 6.8mm thick.
It’s enough to set a gadget-geek’s heart a-pounding. You lose water resistance and a microSD slot, which is a bummer, though. Samsung has taken the Apple route this year, offering Galaxy S6s with up to 128GB RAM. You may need to sell a few organs to afford that version, mind.
With an amazing screen, fantastic camera and improved speakers, this is the sort of phone we’ve been hoping Samsung would make for years. It marries all the bits Samsung has always been good at while sorting out the design woes.
One real surprise is the fingerprint scanner. It divided buyers in the Galaxy S5, but this new scanner is an absolute treat. It works perfectly, and sits right where you want it, under the Home button. Want to go to the next level? Be sure to check out the fancier-but-pricier S6 Edge too. It’s the same apart from having glass that curves around at the front. It’s a phone of the future and no mistake.
Still, for the average buyer the vanilla S6 is still royalty, even without the microSD.
Screen 5.2in 2560 x 1440 OLED (577ppi) > Processor Exynos 7420 Octo-core 2.1GHz > Cameras 16MP rear, 5MP front > Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB (no microSD) > Battery 2550mAh > Dimensions 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm, 138g
Design - Gorilla party 9/10
Finally, an expensive Samsung phone that feels expensive. With Gorilla Glass 4 on back and front, and aluminium on the sides, this phone feels amazing. It looks far better than the S5 too, although granted the camera sticks out a bit.
Camera - Smart shooter 9/10
This 16MP camera is fantastic. It’s fast, it’s sharp and thanks to OIS, low-light performance is way better than Samsung’s phones of last year. As usual the HDR mode performs minor miracles too, making this just about the best phone camera around.
OS and Apps - Android unscathed 8/10
Not everyone loves Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, but it’s actually one of the simpler and cleaner takes on Android. This year there are also themes that let you fiddle with its looks too. At launch there aren’t many good ones, mind. The scanner has been much improved too: you don’t have to swipe your finger across the scanner, just rest it there. This makes it far easier to use than last year’s one. Hit the like button. And there’s also a sensor on the back that reads not only your heart rate but blood oxygen saturation and the UV level around you. Pretty smart.
Screen - OLED + QHD = WIN 10/10
Do phone screens get much better than this? An OLED, QHD-res display gets you incredible contrast and sharpness. At ‘just’ 5.1in it’s pretty restrained in size. But then the Note 4 is there for big-screen thrills.
Samsung hits the accelerator pedal with metal and glass