Do we have a good one for you today – the Huawei P8 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active…another high-end Chinese smartphone goes up against the king of smartphones from South Korea, Samsung and its flagship Galaxy S6 series with some protective camo. The P8 is sporting an all-aluminum body and certainly looks more premium than the plastic camo coated S6 Active. This is not to say that the S6 Active is cheap looking or feeling, but it simply is not as nice looking as the all-aluminum P8.
These two devices do have a few things in common – for starters, they are about the same physical size and the displays are almost identical in size…5.2-inch on the P8 and 5.1-inch on the S6 Active. They both have an octa-core processor, although different manufacturers and technology. They both have 3GB of RAM, but again different technologies. The P8 and S6 Active both have large front-facing cameras (FFC) – 8MP on the P8 and 5MP on the S6 Active. They also have the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and microUSB port for charging and data transfer and both devices use non-removable batteries.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Huawei is a large Chinese conglomerate that would love to get into the US market and their Huawei P8 smartphone will certainly help endear them to tech enthusiasts. It is certainly considered a premium device even carrying an FHD (1080p) display…after all, the Xperia Z3+ and HTC One M9 both have the same resolution. It has a beautiful all-aluminum body and is available in several colors depending on the configuration.
The Huawei P8 sports a 5.2-inch IPS LCD Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI) as compared to the QHD AMOLED display of the S6 Active and 576 PPI. Huawei also makes chips, so it should come as no surprise that they used their homegrown 64-bit HiSilicon Kirin 930 octa-core processor to power the device. It has four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz and a Mali-T628 MP4 GPU. The S6 Active uses Samsung's own 64-bit Exynos octa-core processor. The P8 and the S6 Active both have 3GB of RAM and the P8 has either 16GB or 64GB of internal storage, expandable via a microSD card for an additional 128GB of storage. The S6 Active has 32GB of RAM, with no room for memory expansion.
The main camera on the Huawei P8 is a 13MP camera with autofocus, dual-tone LED flash and OIS…the front-facing camera (FFC) is a huge 8MP for social media selfies and video chatting. The P8 can take some very good photos in decent lighting conditions, but if you are in poor lighting or trying to zoom-in, the quality can dip to poor. The S6 Active has a 16MP sensor, wide f/1.9 aperture, autofocus, a LED flash and OIS and a substantial 5MP FFC and is one of the best cameras you can purchase on a smartphone at this time. Power for the Huawei P8 comes from a non-removable 2680mAh battery that will get you through an entire day of normal usage, as compared with the larger, non-removable 3500mAh battery in the S6 Active.
The Huawei P8 comes running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop with its Emotion UI on top and comes in Titanium Grey or Mystic Champagne in the 16GB configuration and Carbon Black or Prestige Gold in the 64GB model. It will cost you from $530 – $650 depending on your configuration and where you purchase it.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
The Galaxy S6 Active is definitely different from the normal Galaxy S6. Samsung stripped away the pretty glass and metal body and replaced it with a shock-resistant plastic…much as if you put a plastic case on your Galaxy S6. While it is not the prettiest looking covering, it will protect your device from falls and most damage. The camo comes in three colors – blue, white and gray…the nicest looking in my opinion. Thank heavens most of technology of the S6 is brought over to the S6 Active, but are a few changes. Three physical buttons replace the fingerprint sensor and capacitive buttons.
There are some added benefits as well, such as IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, but also adds a MIL-STD-910G certification, which means it is resistant to salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and is thermal shock resistant. The S6 Active also has an extra programmable button on the left side just above the volume rocker that defaults to the Samsung Activity app, but you could reset it to be a camera button or to perform one of many other duties. The Activity app has the camper or hiker in mind and immediately brings up a menu with a flashlight button, the weather, compass and other features an outdoors person might need to use.
The Galaxy S6 Active thankfully has the same display of the normal Galaxy S6, a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and about 576 PPI – this compares to the 5.2-inch FHD IPS display with 424 PPI on the P8. The S6 Active also uses the same processor found in the Galaxy S6 – a 64-bit Exynos 7420 processor…the first one to use 14nm technology. It is an octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This technology is more advanced than what is found in the P8's HiSilicon Kirin 930 octa-core processor. Both devices have 3GB of RAM, but the S6 Active uses the faster DDR4 RAM. The S6 Active has 32GB of internal memory that is the new, faster UFS 2.0 flash memory, but has no means to expand. The P8 comes with either 16GB or 64GB of memory, but has a microSD card slot for expansion.
The Galaxy S6 Active comes with a 16MP main camera with autofocus, LED flash, real-time HDR, f/1.9 aperture and OIS. It also has a 5MP FFC with wide angle with the f/1.9 aperture and Live HDR for great group selfies and video chats. This compares to a 13MP main camera and an 8MP FFC on the P8. The Galaxy S6 Active carries a huge 3500mAh battery, replacing the smaller 2550mAh battery found in the Galaxy S6, and should last into a second day of heavy usage. The P8 has a smaller 2680mAh battery, but it too will get you easily through a day and both devices offer a fast charge option.
Other things that the Galaxy S6 Active has the P8 does not, would be the heart rate sensor, built-in wireless charging for both Qi and PMA standards and a built-in IR Blaster. The price is the same as the regular Galaxy S6, so if you want this rugged version, it will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract or about $700 off-contract.
…And The Winner Is…
This comparison involves the Galaxy S6 Active, so we are walking down that same path – it is the technically superior smartphone, but also not a device that everybody would wait as an everyday driver…and only you can make that decision. Both devices do have 64-bit octa-core processors and 3GB of RAM. The S6 Active does have 32GB of storage to the standard 16GB on the base P8, however, the P8 has room for expansion and offers a 64GB model. The displays are about the same size, but different resolutions. The S6 Active does have a much better camera, but the P8's is nothing to sneeze at.
The S6 Active does have a few extras, such as the heart rate sensor, IR Blaster and built-in wireless charging, however, some people will not take advantage them. The other concern about the S6 Active is that it is designed for a specific user and many would rather have the beautiful S6 or S6 Edge…or even the Huawei P8 over the camo S6 Active.
The Huawei is a great smartphone but it is no great bargain coming in at $530 – $650 depending on your configuration…not that far off from the S6 Active at $700. So once again, it comes down to you – do you need a rugged smartphone, or simply want one? Do you want the better spec'd S6 Active over the Huawei P8 or would you rather save yourself some money and purchase the Huawei P8? You will be a winner with either device.
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