Ditching My iPhone For The Samsung Galaxy S6

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My previous ride being the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch 960×640 pixel screen, at first I found myself continually taken aback by the Galaxy S6's remarkable visual punch. Of course, comparing a 4-year-old very-well-used device to Samsung's latest shiny flagship smartphone is akin to matching rabbits to ping pong paddles, but suffice it to say that the GS6 meets and even exceeds expectations with regard to beauty, build, and responsiveness. It is a delight to hold, and behold for this ex-iPhone user.

s6bottomsup

So there I was touching this icon, and pressing on that menu option, and stroking the GS6 screen left/right/up/down...figuring out my Galaxy S6 and Android Lollipop. Years of intense smartphone use no doubt prepared me for diving into the Galaxy S6's heretofore not-yet-known Android operating system, which I am sure gave me a distinct advantage over a user who might be coming to their first or even their second phone in these heady smartphone times. For instance, I have been conditioned to press-and-hold on an app icon to 'activate' it, which led me to easily recognize what had happened when I did the same on a blank portion of one of the GS6's Home screens and found all of those screens activated.

s6screensactivated

I then knew, of course, that as with activated icons I could do things with the activated screens...move them, reorder them, trash them, add another (and another). Next, with just a little trial (and no error) I figured out that dragging an activated app up to the trashcan icon at the top did not delete the app from the phone but simply removed it from the set of Home screens...that the app still existed safe and sound in a kind of dedicated catch-all area that can be reached by clicking the Apps icon (and from where it could be repurposed later to a Home screen, if I so chose to do so). Intuitive is as intuitive does, and with each new Android Lollipop revelation came pointers to others. And once I found Widgets and started laying a few among my Home screens (Google Play Music, Alarms, S Planner) I knew the smiles would keep coming.

s6widgets

Thus, with general Android Lollipop use figured out at the conceptual level — where the tools are and how they work — and a good deal of actual configuration achieved, I had one more feature I wanted to suss out before bringing the outside world in: the Briefing screen.

s6briefing

Accessed in the left-most Home screen at the start, Briefing offers up a pre-configured version of Flipboard that features news headlines from a diverse roster of subject areas. As a media maven I found this to be a very fine feature, however as a longtime Flipboard user I would prefer to configure the Briefing screen to display my own personal Flipboard configuration. I could not make this change happen, unfortunately, though the GS6 did allow me to entirely disable the Briefing page (press-and-hold on a non-Briefing screen to activate Home screens, swipe to the Briefing screen, untick checkbox at top of Briefing screen). Decision time, and after some hemming-hawing I decided to forego the cool function served Samsung's way in favor of accessing my Flipboard as I always have, via dedicated app. Bliss moment opportunity missed.

And as for TouchWiz? I haven't touched much upon Samsung's TouchWiz front-end interface up until now, and for good reason. Though I am aware of some of TouchWiz's vagaries and of the beating it has taken (and taken again...and again) from the Samsung user base and in the press since the company first entered the smartphone space, as one truly new to Android I picked up the Galaxy S6 without preconception and without a basis for comparison. What I can say is that up until now the GS6 has given me no cause to (1) seek out non-Samsung phones running Android Lollipop to note whether they offer a better user experience, (2) add my own slogging to the TouchWiz hatefest, or (3) wonder why Samsung did that like THAT. Yes, there are some app duplications that have caused me to utter a low "Huh.", and I'll step around the strangely unconfigurable Briefing screen I already mentioned, but so far my immersion into Android Lollipop via the GS6 has yet to confront me with a user scenario that feels counter-intuitive or just plain wrong.

Having at last wrangled the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Android Lollipop at least to the point of a good start, I finally felt ready to log into my Google account (and others, too) and let in the Internet...

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