Samsung Galaxy S6: accessibility review

Wednesday, 22 April, 2015

By Amóvil

The Samsung Galaxy S6 in black

The Galaxy 6, Samsung’s latest flagship, is a high performance smartphone featuring a powerful octa-core Exynos 7420 processor running at 2.1 GHz and 1.5 GHz. Powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, it comes with several interesting accessibility features that render it suitable for people with vision impairments, dexterity disabilities, limited comprehension skills and Deaf users. Amóvil was able to review this device thanks to a loan by Orange.

The smartphone weighs 138 grams and is housed in an elegant unibody casing made of glass and metal that measures 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Its display is a 5.1-inches QUAD HD Super AMOLED panel with 1440x2560 pixels resolution and a density of 577 per pixel.

It includes a rear-side 16 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a front-side 5 MP camera for videocalls.

The handset also comes with a touch fingerprint sensor, a heart-rate monitor and Samsung Pay. Connectivity options include 4G support, NFC, infrared port, Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi Direct. Wireless charging is supported, but the charger is sold separately.

Accessibility review

Accessibility menu

When the device is turned on for the first time, an accessibility shortcut icon appears at the bottom of the display. Users also have the option to open this menu by pressing the home key three times quickly. This feature must be activated on Settings>Accessibility>Direct Option. It is also possible to create a shortcut to each single accessibility feature.

Accessibility options have been divided into four categories which are vision, hearing, dexterity and interaction, and more settings. An interesting option included under “more settings” is Manage accessibility that allows users to import their own settings or share them with other devices.


The Galaxy 6 is suitable for blind users. It comes with an in-built screen reader called Galaxy TalkBack that is capable of reading these users through the entire visual content. The voice can be well understood when it reads the content at high speed. A downside is that it reads abbreviated content as it is. In other words, it will not convert it into full words.

Also, blind users can keep the screen turned off at all times and use the keyboard more easily by tapping the keys once instead of double tapping. Another interesting feature addressed to these users is Voice Label that allows recording short voice messages to NFC tags to provide information about nearby objects.

The Galaxy S6 is also accessible to people with low vision. It allows changing the size of the text and to customize the screen brightness. Besides including a screen magnifier, it comes with a magnifier window that can easily be moved around the display with one finger. Users can set the zoom percentage that suits them best.

Also, the screen can be converted to greyscale mode and to negative mode. The negative mode reverses background and foreground colors to improve legibility for users who are color blind or have a high sensitivity to light. This feature works in external website as well.

Another interesting feature is color adjustment that changes the colors of the display into more recognizable colors. For this feature to work users must take a short test after activating it in the accessibility menu. Depending on results, the device will decide whether the colors should be adjusted.


Samsung provides no information on the Galaxy 6’s Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating, so Amóvil is unable to recommend it to hearing aid and cochlear implant users. However, it is suitable for Deaf or hard of hearing persons that do not wear hearing prosthetics. The smartphone supports instant messaging and videocalls.

The Galaxy S6 can be muted and in addition to the standard notification light, the camera flash can be set to blink when a new notification or call enter. These users may also activate subtitles when watching videos, adjust the sound balance when using headphones and activate the auto haptic to make the phone to vibrate when listening to music, watching videos or playing games.

An additional feature included designed improve the lives of people with hearing impairments is sound detector. This feature sets the device to vibrate when a baby cries or the doorbell rings. However, for this feature to work correctly there must be no background noises in the environment and this may render it useless to some users. A common problem among people with hearing disabilities, particularly among those who are hard of hearing, is the inability to tell one sound from another when they are in noisy environments. So, it would be more beneficial for them if this feature were capable of detecting the cry of a baby or the doorbell when background noises are present.


The Samsung Galaxy 6 meets is suitable for users with dexterity disabilities. In addition to being lightweight and easy to hold, physical buttons are easy to press and cables can be plugged and unplugged without much effort. The only flaw is the method of inserting the SIM card, which requires using a special tool that must be inserted into a tiny hole. Users with tremors in the arms or hands or with vision impairments may not be able to perform this task on their own.

The Galaxy 6 includes S Voice, Samsung’s voice recognition system. Though it meets the basic accessibility requirements, users’ may not be able to control their devices completely hands-free. S Voice opens accessibility menu when receiving the command but if a user wants to open the vision menu, for instance, it won’t work.

To launch S Voice without touching the screen a wake-up command must be recorded. Because the system has trouble recognizing some commands, choosing a single word that is easy to pronounce is highly recommended.

Other options included and designed to improve the experience of people with dexterity issues are the following:

-Assistant Menu: this feature allows controlling the phone using hardware buttons or assistive devices such as styluses, mouth sticks or head wands. When it is activated, a floating icon will appear on the right side of the screen providing alternative ways of interacting with the touchscreen.

-Universal Switch: it scans and highlights the icons in the display and then reads them aloud. It offers the option to control the touchscreen making head movement. This function, however, did not work as expected during the tests.

-Gesture wake-up: it turns the screen with the movement of a hand above the display.


The Galaxy S6 is accessible to people with limited comprehension skills and cognitive disabilities. Icons comply with accessibility standards. In addition, the device provides an option to simplify the Home screen by selecting the Easy mode. The screen will display a simpler layout and bigger icons.

Users with concentration issues can activate the interaction control mode that turns off alerts, notifications and other inputs while using apps.

A downside, however, is the fact that the Galaxy S6 does not include an assistant that will guide users through the configuration process and teach them how to make common gestures, such as swiping or sliding.

For more information on the Galaxy S6 accessibility features, please consult the full accessibility report.

Rate this new:

Average: 4.3 (9 votes)

Leave your comment:

Log in or register to post comments

Accessible mobile search assistant

Amóvil helps you identify mobile devices that accommodate your personal preferences. Select your profile.

Search accessible technologies