Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 full review
They've both got '6' in the model name but the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6 are two different phones. Find out the difference in our Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 comparison review. Also see: Best phones 2015.
Samsung's new flagship smartphone is the Galaxy S6 and is undoubtedly one of the biggest arrivals of 2015. As usual, it runs Google's Android operating system but the online search giant also makes its own phones with some help from partners. The Nexus 6 was launched last year but remains Google's flagship handsets for Android Lollipop. Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 review: Price
A big lure of the Nexus smartphones was an outrageously affordable price but Google made the Nexus 6 more in-line with rivals asking £499 for the cheapest model. Most phones drop in price over time but Google is still charging that price if you buy direct and it's not much cheaper if you go elsewhere – it's £456 on Amazon at the time of writing.
Although the Nexus 6 isn't a bargain like previous generations, it's still cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S6 which will set you back at least £599 officially. It's comparable as both phones come with 32 GB of storage. Also see: Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the best Galaxy S6 deals
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 review: Design
The Galaxy S6 still looks like a Samsung flagship phone but when you take a close peek, there are a number of dramatic changes in the design. For starters there's a metal frame which follows on from the Galaxy Alpha and the flimsy plastic rear cover is gone in favour of a Gorilla Glass 4 panel.
Google's Nexus 6 is made by Motorola and looks like a bigger version of the Moto X. It has a similar metal frame to the Galaxy S6 but a plastic curved rear cover which isn't removable.
Both are well built but sitting in the phablet category, the Nexus 6 is a chunky phone at 10.4 mm and a heavyweight at 183 g. The Galaxy S6 is a much more slender 7 mm and 138 g which feels dramatically different in the hand.
Although the Galaxy S5 was waterproof, Samsung has dropped this feature from the design of the Galaxy S6. The Nexus 6 is not dust- or waterproof either. See also: Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison review.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 review: Hardware, specs and performance
As mentioned, the Nexus 6 is a phablet. It has a whopping 6in AMOLED display which has a Quad HD resolution so it packs an impressive 493 ppi. Samsung has stuck with a 5.1in SuperAMOLED on the Galaxy S6 but bumped up the amount of pixels with a Quad HD resolution so it's 577 ppi. They're similar in quality but the Galaxy S6 is a lot easier to handle. Also see: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review.
Processor, memory and GPU
Inside the Galaxy S6 is Samsung's own Exynos 7420 octa-core processor rather than the possible Snapdragon 810. It's quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 with 3 GB of RAM and a Mali-T760 GPU.
Although it launched last year the Nexus 6 is still well equipped with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 GB of RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU. Both offer top-end smooth performance and you can check the differences in benchmark results below. Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2015.
When it comes to storage, the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6 are pretty similar as neither has a microSD card slot for adding more. Both start at 32 GB and have 64 GB models available, too. The only difference is that Samsung offers 128 GB inside the Galaxy S6. Also see: How to add storage to Android.
Connectivity and additional features
Core wireless is on a par with the Nexus 6 and Galaxy S6 each equipped with 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and Cat 6 4G LTE. However, Google doesn't offer an IR blaster, heart rate monitor or fingerprint scanner, which are all key features of the Galaxy S6.
Battery life and charging
When it comes to power, Samsung's new design means a non-removable battery it, along with the Nexus 6, features wireless charging built-in and a fast charger so you can top up the device even if you only plug it into the mains for a few minutes. Also see: How to charge your smartphone or tablet faster.
These features should help you keep either phone with enough power but if you do find yourself away from an electricity supply we've found the Galaxy S6 to last a little longer –typically two days while the Nexus 6 will go a day and a half with average usage.
Although the Nexus 6 has a 13 Mp rear camera and the Galaxy S6 has a 16 Mp camera, much of the features are the same. Both offer optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording but Samsung has additional things like slow motion and fast motion video plus a pro mode which give you detailed access to settings. If you're a selfie fan then the Galaxy S6 has a higher resolution front camera a 5 Mp compared to 2 Mp.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6 review: Software
The Nexus 6, by definition, comes with stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google's mobile operating system unaltered and as the firm intended it to be. This is a good thing as the interface is better than ever with slick animations and the new Material Design.
Samsung pre-loads the Galaxy S6 with Android 5.0 Lollipop but puts its TouchWiz user interface over the top. Although that means some differences, the latest version is closer to stock Android than ever before. It uses the standard Lollipop recent apps menu and has a lot less apps pre-installed than normal.
You'll find Flipboard where you would find Google Now on the Nexus 6, a swipe away from the main homescreen and a different notification bar and settings menu. Samsung also adds other features such as Smart Stay, Multi-Window and various gestures but they are more hidden than usual.
There's no clear winner on software as it comes down to personal preference. While the Nexus 6 is simple and easy to use, the Galaxy S6 adds a lot of additional features which some users will benefit from.
Google Nexus 6: Specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor at up to 2.7GHz
- 32/64GB storage
- 3GB RAM
- Android Lollipop 5.0
- 13MP main camera with optical stabilisation, dual-LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps
- 2MP secondary camera
- 2560 x 1440 pixels, 5.96 inch Quad HD AMOLED, capacitive touchscreen
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S6: Specs
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- Exynos 7420 octa-core (1.5GHz A-53 & 2.1GHz A-57) processor
- 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
- 32GB/64GB/128GB storage (no microSD support)
- Mali-T760 GPU
- 5.1in (1440x2560, 577ppi) Super AMOLED screen
- 16Mp rear camera with LED flash, smart OIS, real-time HDR and IR Detect white balance
- up to 4K video recording @ 30fps
- 5Mp front camera
- 4G Cat 6 LTE
- SIMtype: nano-SIM
- dual-SIM as standard: no
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
- Bluetooth 4.1
- GPS, GLONASS
- USB OTG
- heart-rate sensor
- fingerprint scanner
- 2550mAh non-removable battery with Qi and PMA wireless charging
- 1-year warranty
- test scores: Geekbench 3.0: 4438 (MC), 1347 (SC)
- SunSpider: 1048ms
- GFXBench: 30fps (T-Rex), 14fps (Manhattan 3.0), 6fps (Manhattan 3.1)