Samsung Galaxy S6 is the company’s first flagship not to offer microSD expansion. Until the S6 and S6 edge duo all Galaxy Note and Galaxy S smartphones had memory expansion, and, in fact, it was one of the highlights of both series.
Samsung even supported moving App to SD card even when Google disabled the feature – a rarity these days. So, what happened with Samsung’s love of external storage?
Well, the company came up with its own UFS 2.0 storage, which uses “Command Queue” tech (as seen in Solid State Drives) for accelerating the speed of command execution. The new technology promises 2.7x faster performance than the eMMC 5.0 memory found in the previous crop of flagships and yes, the Galaxy S6 has one.
There lies to the key to the lack of a microSD slot. If you were to put an SD card on your Galaxy S6, you’d have compromised this blazing-fast performance. This is actually true for all 2014 high-end phones, but it seems Samsung wanted users to truly feel the difference this time around and has decided on not including the storage expansion on the feature list even if it made a lot of users sad.
Let’s see how fast it really is.
We ran AndroBench – a popular storage benchmark, which gauges the read and write performance of sequential and random operations. Samsung promised the new UFC 2.0 storage in Galaxy S6 is 2.7x faster in random read than the one used on the Galaxy S5. We found it to be even better – the Galaxy S6 did 20681 IOPS (input-output operations per second) at random read compared to 4858 IOPS of the Galaxy S5 on the same test. That’s 3.25x times better.
We also put the microSD slot to test, using the fastest microSD card we had around – a Transcend Premium 300x microSDHC UHS-1 Class 10 16GB. We tested the microSD read/write performance on both the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4. This should give you the idea of the performance drop you get when apps are accessing the microSD card instead of the fast internal storage.
The test results clearly put the Galaxy S6 on top of the sequential and random read, with massive lead over the competition. It was also the champ in random read operations, but is on par with the Galaxy Note 4 at the sequential write test.
And before you ask, all tested devices were on Android Lollipop. Also all tests were ran with h/w encryption turned off – which is the default setting under Android Lollipop.
Sequential Read, MB/s
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 317.85
LG G3 239.68
HTC One M9 239.19
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 212.45
Samsung Galaxy S5 206.85
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 microSD 78.41
Samsung Galaxy S5 microSD 43.02
Sequential Write, MB/s
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 126.69
HTC One M9 123.97
Samsung Galaxy S6 120.70
Samsung Galaxy S5 56.31
LG G3 39.53
Samsung Galaxy S5 microSD 11.25
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 microSD 10.73
Random Read, MB/s
MB/s, Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 78.03
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 22.10
LG G3 21.81
HTC One M9 20.27
Samsung Galaxy S5 18.79
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 microSD 7.62
Samsung Galaxy S5 microSD 7.08
Random Write, MB/s
MB/s, Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S6 20.74
HTC One M9 13.93
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 10.71
LG G3 9.42
Samsung Galaxy S5 6.91
Samsung Galaxy S5 microSD 0.69
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 microSD 0.67
As you can see, the new UFC 2.0 storage brought quite an improvement over the previous generation smartphones and the smartphone’s performance could have been seriously compromised if a microSD read or write was also in the equation. We know that cheap microSD storage is ideal for backup purposes and that is hardly going to change anytime soon, but perhaps it’s a fair guess that its days within high end smartphones are numbered.
Cloud storage can be just as effective for backups – being equally seamless when running in the background. And you do get 115GB worth of free OneDrive storage with each Galaxy S6, so that’s a start, isn’t it?