Opinion: Samsung Steps Backwards With the Galaxy S6

By Neal Grosskopf, Software Engineering Director

Published: March 2, 2015

Samsung announced their new Samsung Galaxy S6 at Mobile World Congress 2015 today and it has left me scratching my head. The S6 sounds quite neutered in features, compared to previous releases.

A side note: my two prior smartphones were a Galaxy S2 and a Galaxy Note 3 and I’ve been quite happy with them. At Envano, we also have Samsung test devices, which includes a Galaxy S1, S2, S3, & S4. Needless to say, I’ve used quite a few Samsung phones.

Many tech writers are talking up the ‘design’ of the new phone, but I feel like Samsung has sacrificed functionality for design in this case. The premium smartphone competition has become rather strange lately. First, Apple copied Samsung with the release of the iPhone 6 with its phablet form factor. Now, Samsung has decided to strike back and copy Apple’s lack of functionality.

Here are just a few things the Galaxy S6 will be missing that were present in the S5 (which are also missing from past and present iPhones):

  1. The phone will no longer be made of plastic
  2. The back cover of the phone will not be removable
  3. The battery has less capacity compared to the S5 (2,550 mAh vs 2,800 mAh)
  4. The battery is no longer removable
  5. The SD card port has been removed
  6. The S6 only supports USB 2 while the S5 supports USB 3
  7. The S6 isn’t waterproof while the S5 is

All of the features removed from the S6 are features iPhones have never had. This basically makes the difference in hardware features between the S6 and the iPhone 6 very minimal.

I have to wonder if the majority of the features removed were due to the fact that the case changed from plastic to glass. Certainly not being able to remove the back cover axed the ability to remove the SD card and battery (unless the case were redesigned so these could be popped out in another location). The fact that it isn’t waterproof makes little sense. Is glass not waterproof?

Related: Video of the S5 in water

Removing USB 3.0 for 2.0 also makes little sense. I might blame this on lack of information as right now it simply says “USB 2.0 charging” so perhaps when it connects to a computer, it will still transfer files at USB 3.0 rates, just not charge at that speed.

Biggest Let Down: Removal of Micro SD card port

For me, the biggest let down is the removal of the SD card port. I use my SD card quite a bit storing my entire 52GB library of music on my phone. Since I pay per MB via Ting, I prefer to have all of my music locally rather than listening to streaming services like Spotify. My phone bill costs $17 a month vs. the $100 many other people pay because of this. When I bought my Galaxy Note 3 in October, I looked at other competing phones, but ruled most of them out due to not have expandable storage.


The limited storage will mean I’ll either need to overspend getting the 128GB phone, get a cheaper phone and remove songs from the phone, or use a streaming service and pay more for data each month.

Overcharging for Storage

Samsung will likely copy Apple and overcharge for increased storage. Right now Apple adds a $120 premium between 16GB and 128GB as a SD card would only cost $80 more, not $200.



Hopefully Samsung will keep their other phones the same and avoid this route, otherwise I will probably be looking at another brand for my next phone.

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