Samsung launches Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones at premium end of Australian market

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This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell

Samsung's new Galaxy S6 Edge in Pearl White.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 Edge in Pearl White.

Samsung’s two new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge will go on sale in Australia on 10 April 2015, with online preordering opening at 5pm today (Monday 30 March 2015) and in-store tomorrow (Tuesday 31 March 2015).

Both smartphones will be available in Pearl White and Black Sapphire, with non-expandable storage options of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

The Galaxy S6 will retail outright for RRP $999 (32GB), RRP $1,149 (64GB) and RRP $1,299 (128GB).

The Galaxy S6 Edge will retail outright for RRP $1,149 (32GB), RRP $1,299 (64GB) and RRP $1,449 (128GB).

At these prices, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are positioned at the truly premium end of the Australian smartphone market. For comparison, HTC’s flagship One M9 device is RRP $1,099 for 32GB (with microSD expansion), the Apple iPhone 6 is RRP $999 for 16GB (with expansion), and Sony’s Xperia Z3 is RRP $849 (16GB with expansion).

Both handsets are 4G LTE Category 6 for superfast downloading and uploading, have 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED touchscreens (2,560 x 1,440)  and are powered by two Quad core processors (2.1GHz plus 1.5GHz; what is now being Octa-core) for seamless operation without noticeable lag. Both smartphones run Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and have 16MP rear and 5MP front cameras. Importantly for a premium handset, the construction is first rate: Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for supreme durability and a metal and glass casing for outstanding handfeel.

The significant difference between the handsets is the introduction of the Edge feature to Samsung’s Galaxy S handsets, first seen on its Note 4 phablet unveiled in September 2014. The Edge is a curvature at both sides of the device for constantly displaying important information regardless of what is occupying the display. For example, you can see emails and messages while watching a video, without any preempting of the onscreen action.

“The GS6 and GS6 edge blend cutting-edge design and style with the latest in Samsung mobile innovation and material,” Samsung Electronics Australia VP for IT and Mobile Prasad Gokhale told me. “This range has been designed to offer Australians a truly premium and luxurious experience in every way.

“The GS6 and GS6 edge smartphones represent a pivotal step for the Galaxy range in evolving the category as a whole, marking a clear shift in how we deliver exceptional smartphones for Australians.”

Since their unveiling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, there has been significant positive coverage of Samsung’s decision to downgrade the impact of its overlaid user interface TouchWiz, which has been derisively referred to as ‘bloatware’. Although the impact of TouchWiz is apparently reduced, according to overseas reviews, Forbes is reporting that the handsets are still coming with a “record” 56 apps preinstalled.

Samsung Galaxy S6 in Black Sapphire.

Samsung Galaxy S6 in Black Sapphire.

Locally, Samsung has partnered with Uber, Microsoft One Drive, Kindle, The Australian newspaper and Quickflix to provide what it is charmingly calling ‘Galaxy Gifts’. Also free to customers is access to Samsung Milk Music internet radio service. Furthermore, via separate third party apps, the smartphones can be used for Mobile Tap and Pay functionality through Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank.

Optus is offering customers 6GB or a massive 10GB of data to use with Samsung’s new smartphones. From 5pm today Optus customers can pre-order the Galaxy S6 or S6 edge on a $80 My Plan Plus which includes 6GB of data per month unlimited standard national calls, up to 300 minutes of international calls to selected countries, or on a $100 My Plan Plus which includes 10GB of data per month, unlimited standard national calls, up to 300 minutes of international calls to selected countries.

Ben White, vice president of mobile marketing Optus said, “We have packed our plans to the brim with data giving customers plenty of freedom to enjoy their new phone however they like. Streaming your favourite band’s latest songs, sharing your holiday snaps on social media or getting your daily cat video fix; it’s all possible with 6GB.”

Customers who pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 edge with Optus on a 24 month contract with a $60 per month or above plan, will receive a six month Netflix subscription (data usage excluded).

Virgin Mobile is spruiking itself as “the only Australian mobile provider to now offer Data Rollover on our new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Postpaid plans”.

Consumers can pre-order the Galaxy S6 online today from 5pm from $59 per month with Data Rollover ($29 phone cost on the Virgin Mobile $30 Plan. Minimum total cost is $1,416 over 24 months) and the Galaxy S6 Edge will be available from $64 per month with Data Rollover ($34 phone cost on the Virgin Mobile $30 Plan. Minimum total cost is $1,536 over 24 months).

Telstra
is offering the 32GB Galaxy S6 for $95 per month for 24 months with 6GB data included (minimum cost: $2,280), while the Galaxy S6 Edge is $99 per month for 24 months with 6GB of included data (minimum cost: $2,376). Telstra is offering a free 6-month subscription to Foxtel’s video streaming service Presto with purchases, provided they meet the terms and conditions.

“In time for the launch, Telstra is boosting the value of some of its most popular mobile plans by including more data and introducing a bonus 6-month subscription for one of Australia’s leading TV and movie streaming service Presto from Thursday 9 April 2015,” a Telstra spokesperson said. “Both Galaxy smartphones are 4GX (Cat 6) compatible meaning they are capable of the fastest 4G speeds in Australia in 4GX areas and are primed to support customers’ growing appetite for video on the go and fascination with sharing life through social networking sites.”

And here’s Vodafone! Both smartphones are available on a range of Red plans, including:

  • $11 per month on Vodafone’s $70 Plan for the 32GB Galaxy S6 (minimum cost: $1944 over 24 months).
  • $17 per month on Vodafone’s $70 Plan for the 32GB Galaxy S6 Edge (minimum cost: $2,088 over 24 months).

“We’ve been big believers of the Galaxy since the very beginning,” said Ben McIntosh, Vodafone Director of Sales. “We love the way it looks, the way it feels, and its pure power. Galaxy is designed to keep up with you, and together with Vodafone Red and 4G, makes it a winning combination.”

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