The Nexus 6 is ready to head out the door with a November release window. It’s an amazing device, but we know it’s not the only phone you have in your scope. We have already compared it to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and now it’s time to put it up against the “next big thing”.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the most popular smartphones in the market, making it an obvious contender for the Nexus 6. Which one is better? Answering that question is not so simple, as both are high-end smartphones with great specs. Let’s take a look at all the details and find out.
Nexus 6 specs
- 5.96-inch QHD (2560x1440p) display (493 ppi)
- 2.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor
- Adreno 420 GPU
- 3 GB of RAM
- 32/64 GB of internal storage
- 13 MP rear-facing camera
- 2 MP front-facing camera
- 3220 mAh battery
- Wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S5 specs
- 5.1-inch 1080p display
- 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
- Adreno 330 GPU
- 2 GB of RAM
- 16 MP rear-facing camera
- 2.1 MP front-facing camera
- 2800 mAh battery
- Optional wireless charging backs available
Design and build quality
Much like with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Nexus 6 clearly has the upper hand in build quality. The only difference here is that the Not 4 is actually better in build quality than the Galaxy S5.
The Galaxy S5 is mostly made of plastic and has that leathery/rubbery material in the back. Meanwhile, the Nexus 6 has a great metal frame with a solid construction that is parallel with that of the Moto X.
Design and aesthetics will be much more of a personal factor. What do you prefer? The Nexus 6 is very sleek and clean. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S5 looks much flashier with colorful, dotted designs that you can see from a mile away.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is no match to the Nexus 6 in this department. The Nexus 6 sports a massive 5.96-inch display with a stunning QHD (2560x1440p) resolution that only the latest flagship smartphones have.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 wasn’t blessed with such a high definition screen, but that is because it’s a bit older. The Samsung Galaxy S5 will get some points depending on your preferences, though.
Some people believe a QHD resolution is going overboard. These users may think 1080p is perfectly fine (which, it often is) and more than that is just a waste of battery and resources.
And let’s not forget the Nexus 6 is massive, which may be good for media but not for maneuverability. Some people just prefer their phones smaller.
Performance and software
While the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a perfectly capable device, the improved Snapdragon 805 processor and 3 GB of RAM in the Nexus 6 will give it a boost in performance. Not to mention, the Nexus 6 features a pure Android experience, which is less intensive than Samsung’s heavy UI.
The high-definition screen will definitely slow the Nexus 6 down a bit, but we still expect it to be faster and more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S5. Regardless, that is yet to be seen.
As for the software, you will notice the Nexus 6 will have a plain, simple and clean UI that many of us have grown to love. Meanwhile, Samsung’s UI includes a plethora of features, different designs and crazy notification area widgets and tools. This does mean Samsung offers more features, though, if you are into that.
Nexus cameras have never been the best, while Samsung camera phones usually excel in the market. In addition, the Samsung Galaxy S5 does offer a higher-megapixel sensor. We will have to do further testing to really find a conclusion, but so far I am willing to bet the Samsung Galaxy S5 has the better camera out of these two.
Now, this is a part where the Samsung Galaxy S5 just may get close to beating the Nexus 6. Samsung’s flagship device does have an awesome battery life, with reports often showing over 7 hours of screen-on time.
The processor and 1080p screen will definitely help in here. The Nexus 6’s QHD resolution and higher specs will obviously be heavy on battery life, but we must also remember Nexus devices usually do better in this department thanks to their light UI.
With that said, let’s not under-estimate the Nexus 6’s 3220 mAh battery. Google claims the device can offer video playback for up to 10 hours, as well as internet usage for up to 10 hours.
If you are into it, though, the Galaxy S5 does offer a battery-saving mode that kills all major functionality in the smartphone, but can make the phone last for over a week on a single charge.
Which one wins?
It’s clear the Nexus 6 is the winner here, even if the Galaxy S5 does have its advantages. Samsung’s device is simply no longer in the same generation as the Nexus 6. Google’s smartphone offers much better specs, a much better display and Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s device will be stuck in Android KitKat for a while and its specs re becoming outdated. We must also take into account that, due to its size, the Nexus 6 is not for everyone.
If you don’t mind (or actually prefer) the size, though, the Nexus 6 may just be the one for you. Those who want more unique features, a better camera, a smaller display and don’t need a QHD screen will prefer the Samsung Galaxy S5.