Could the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge take a slice out of Apple’s business?

Beckoned to The Saxon Hotel in Sandhurst on a Sunday night is a somewhat unusual occurrence, but the allure of a dinner at probably South Africa’s finest hotel combined with a mystery invitation from Samsung, cannot be unheeded. Could this be the much awaited announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S6?

It’s always great to be hosted at The Saxon Hotel, which has fast become a personal favourite retreat from the hullabaloo that is Sandton. Seated at Table 4, it’s soon evident that tonight’s dinner companions are ‘interesting’ in technology terms, dominated by one female protagonist. A lengthy three-course dinner is on the cards. Gareth Pon, the man with over 200’000 followers on Instagram, and a new ambassador to Samsung, is part of the dinner party. Not much of a conversation starter. Time to study the menu.

Samsung Galaxy S6

For starters, its Duck Confit with Brie served on a bed of Apple slices. Unfortunately the menu didn’t allude to the pie pastry that made up the center of the dish. Bit of a pity. The pastry makes it a somewhat heavier and more pedestrian starter.

Samsung Galaxy S6

After some more conversation about this and that, mains arrived. A beautiful fillet of beef served with a peppercorn reduction on a bed of steamed broccoli and carrots – delicious! The fillet is medium rare. Just right. Initially the Parmesan mash with ratatouille made up the sides but after negotiating with the waiter, the steamed vegetable option looked like a better and healthier accompaniment.

Dessert will have to wait. It’s time to head into the boutique cinema that The Saxon Hotel boasts to vicariously be part of the live announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge at the 2015 GSMA Mobile World Congress, via live streaming.

The room in Spain and in South Africa is full. It’s a panoramic feast of lights, AV and music as Samsung‘s senior global team take turn to introduce the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to the world under the banner #TheNextGalaxy. Then it’s time for the big reveal.

Samsung Galaxy S6

If the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s had a child, at first glimpse, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge would be it, with its metal and glass case, rounded corners, curved glass screen, profoundly similar position for ports and selection of colors. It’s not a complete copy but has some strongly inspired similarities. As the old maxim goes, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ – even if it comes with a few subtle and not so subtle blows at the opposition throughout the presentation.

The live streaming is over and as a group of journalists in the heart of Barcelona rush into a room to try out the new phone, destined to be released in 20 countries by April 10, it is time for the dinner party at The Saxon Hotel to retire back to Table 4, for dessert and a chance to touch a prototype of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Dessert is a rose and white chocolate cheesecake, raspberry sorbet with a litchi gel. It’s somewhat deconstructed but is an absolute treat.

Have a chance to briefly experience the prototypes that South Africa received a day before the global reveal. Not much time to get a proper feel for the device, so conclusions might evolve based on comprehensive experience with the smartphone. Powered by the Android platform, which generally leaves that feeling of lacking that je ne sais quoi, first impressions are not as awe-inspiring as anticipated.

Dinner is over. The deconstructed cheesecake is thoroughly enjoyed. And rubbing shoulders with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge prototype was comme ci comme ça. On the way out, an attractive hostess hands over a box – a thank you gift of sorts. An hourglass that runs for 45-minutes. Perfect for the next extended game of 30 Seconds.

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