Do we have a good one for you today – the always-popular Nexus 6 goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S6. Does the flagship Nexus 6 have what it takes to defend itself against the newcomer from Samsung? Both devices received radical updates from their previous models and both went up in cost to match their new specifications.
There are not too many similarities between these two models – they both use the Quad HD (QHD) AMOLED technology for their displays, they both have 3GB of RAM and they both offer a 32GB or 64GB model, although the Galaxy S6 also offers a 128GB version and neither device offers a microSD card slot to expand that storage. The main cameras are somewhat similar, they both offer the usual dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC capability, a microUSB port for charging, and data transfer and the both have built-in wireless charging, although the Galaxy S6 utilizes both formats. They both use active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone and both have non-removable batteries. The Nexus 6 and the Galaxy S6 are both running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Please take a look at the detailed specifications comparison found below – expand it by clicking on the "View Full Comparison" at the bottom and you will get a real sense of how these two devices match up against one another. After that, we will look at each individual device, talk about it, and weigh out some of the pros and cons in an effort to pick a winner for this comparison.
Motorola Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 was new from every angle – Motorola was plucked as the manufacturer after two successful stints with LG, the usually affordable and minimalistic approach were thrown out the window and purchasing through your carrier became a reality – Google was serious this time around to compete with the best. Motorola took a Moto X and stretched it in every direction, including into a 6-inch display, but was able to keep the curve backing intact.
Motorola selected the best processor at the time for their Nexus 6 – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, a 32-bit quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz. It is a terrific processor and was used in other flagship devices such as the Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge and Droid Turbo. However, the 64-bit Exynos octa-core used in the Galaxy S6 is light years ahead in speed and technology. Both the Nexus 6 and the Galaxy S6 have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage as standard, although the Galaxy S6 uses DDR4 RAM and Samsung's new UFS 2.0 Flash memory – both of which are much faster. The Nexus 6 has the option of 64GB of memory, as does the Galaxy S6, which also has a 128GB option. Neither device has room for expansion beyond the fixed memory.
As we discussed earlier, the cameras are somewhat similar, and for the first time, a Nexus smartphone will take a great picture. The Nexus 6 uses a unique dual-tone flash ring around the 13MP lens and has autofocus and OIS…it does not compete with the 16MP camera on the Galaxy S6 (see description below). It also has a 'normal' sized 2MP front-facing camera (FFC) while the Galaxy S6 has a 5MP FFC and a slew of extras. The Nexus uses a huge 3220mAh battery to make sure you will get through the entire day without having to charge…but when you do need a charge, you will be able to use Motorola's Turbo Charger that comes with the Nexus 6 and get up to a 60-percent charge in only 15 minutes.
As far as extras go, the Nexus 6 enjoys dual front-facing stereo speakers, water resistant nano-coating and shares the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop, completely unskinned and it receives the fastest upgrades available. It is available on all major US Carriers for $249 on a two-year contract or $649 off-contract in the Google Play Store and comes in Cloud White or Midnight Blue.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 needed a hit in order for Samsung to return to its smartphone domination and increase its revenues. Samsung re-engineered the Galaxy S6 series from the ground up – they used a solid aircraft grade aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 4 for the display and as the back of the device. It has a premium look from every angle and is very comfortable to hold in your hand.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 sports a 5.1-inch Quad HD (QHD) Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a whopping 577 PPI, as opposed to the 493 PPI on the Nexus 6. Samsung had to make some bold decisions when they designed the Galaxy S6. One of them is to drop the Qualcomm processor altogether and opted for the in-house 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor. It has four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. It is packing 3GB of much faster DDR4 RAM – a step up from the 3GB of DDR3 RAM used in the Nexus 6. It also comes with Samsung's new, faster, UFS 2.0 flash memory offered in 32GB/64GB/128GB models because of another bold decision they made by getting rid of the microSD card slot – a first for Samsung's Galaxy S series, but necessary according to Samsung because of the slowness of the SD Card.
Samsung has always delivered a decent camera in their Galaxy S series device, but this is quite possibly the best camera currently on a smartphone. It is using a Sony 16MP sensor, autofocus, LED Flash, adds a wider f/1.9 aperture, ISOCELL technology, Live HDR shooting and OIS. They also increased the speed of the camera – taking only 7/10s of a second to open and be ready to shoot and the pause between shots is also shorter. Samsung went crazy with the FFC as well by increasing it to 5MP, and then added the wider f/1.9 aperture, ISOCELL technology, Live HDR and a 120 wide-angle lens for excellent low-light group selfies and video chatting. The 2550mAh battery is small when compared to the 3220mAh in the Nexus 6, but should still get you through the entire day – the new Samsung non-removable battery can charge for up to 4 hours of usage in only 10 minutes. Samsung also included built-in wireless charging (Qi and PMA) for the first time.
The Galaxy S6 comes with the option of 128GB of memory, a fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor and oxygen saturation sensor. It also has a convenient IR Blaster, it comes with PayPal (approved fingerprint pay) and Samsung Pay. It is available in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Blue Topaz. It will be running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and is releasing worldwide on April 10. Pricing on a two-year contract will probably be about $250, and $699 full-price.
…And The Winner Is…
As much as I was impressed with the new direction that this year's Nexus 6 took, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 is just a cut above the Nexus in every category, except the front dual-speakers – so I have to go with the Galaxy S6 as winner of this comparison.
The Galaxy S6 has a better display size (5.1-inches) for an everyday device, and a better Super AMOLED display from Samsung. It has a 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, it uses much faster RAM and uses Samsung's new UFS 2.0 Flash memory which is also much faster. The main camera has more megapixels, a wider f/1.9 aperture, ISOCELL technology and Real-time HDR. The FFC is larger and has the wider aperture, ISOCELL technology, RT HDR and 120-degree wide-angle capability for better group selfies or video chatting.
It has an IR Blaster, wireless charging for both Qi and PMA standards, it has fingerprint sensor that is PayPal certified and is Samsung Pay capable. The Galaxy S6 also incorporates a heart rate sensor, an oxygen saturation sensor and with Samsung's new battery, you can expect four more hours of usage with only a 10-minute charge.
If you are a true Nexus fan, then nothing we say will change your mind…and the Nexus 6 is a great device that will certainly make you happy. However, if you want real state-of-the-art technology, you will have to look to the Samsung Galaxy S6.