Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: in-depth specs comparison


Gone are the times of the affordable and relatively compact Nexus smartphones - the Google Nexus 6 arrived with a bang like a bolt out of the blue and marked Google's slightly belated foray into phablet territory. With its giant 5.96" AMOLED display, quad-core Snapdragon 805 humming at up to 2.65GHz, 3GB of RAM, 3,220mAh battery, and 13MP rear camera with OIS, the Google Nexus 6 has little to nothing to be ashamed of in the hardware segment. What's more, you'll hardly find any other device that can dwarf it specs-wise, the only other viable option being the greatest by Samsung, the Galaxy Note 4 phablet.

Being a member of one of the more popular line of devices, the Nexus 6 will clash with a number of smaller-sized smartphones and devices on the market, one of them being arguably the most popular Android device from the first half of 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S5. Well, you know where this is going - it's time to put the Nexus 6 toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S5 and take an in-depth look at how these fare specs-wise.

Design

Both are practical, unpretentious devices, but pocket-friendliness suffers a blow
We all know which device inspired the looks of the Nexus 6 (it's obvious!) - we are talking about the Motorola-made Moto X 2014, of course. Similar to the LG-made Nexus 5, which adopted a great portion of LG G2's exterior design, the Nexus 6 looks very much like a supersized version of the Moto X. Nothing can hide the fact that the Nexus 6 is a big device - with dimensions of 6.27 x 3.27, thickness that varies from 3.8mm to 10.06mm, and an overall weight of 6.49 oz (184 g), Google and Motorola have definitely raised a behemoth.
The Samsung Galaxy S5, on the other hand, is dwarfed in comparison with its stock Android contender. It won't be far fetched to say that the size difference between the two was similar to the size brawl that existed between pre-iPhone 6 Apple smartphones and their Android rivals. The Galaxy S5 is, simply said, compact when put next to the Nexus 6 - its dimensions of 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches (142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm) and weight of 5.11 oz (145 g) ensure that Samsung's still-current flagship is way more pocket-friendly than Google's newest.

The Nexus 6, as we said, resembles a Moto X with a metal frame on the side, while the Galaxy S5 relies on the "glam" design and comes with a disticnt pimpled rear cover. While the Galaxy S5 comes with a single speaker, the Nexus 6 has two front-facing ones, which will surely appeal to the audiophiles among the numerous Android devotees. Both the Nexus 6 and the Galaxy S5 are not afraid of water, yet there is an important difference. The new stock Android warrior employs a water-resistive coating, which only allows it to endure water splashes - it won't survive long underwater like the Galaxy S5, which is IP67-certified. 

Google Nexus 6

Google Nexus 6

Dimensions

6.27 x 3.27 x 0.4 inches

159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm

Weight

6.49 oz (184 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

Google Nexus 6

Google Nexus 6

Dimensions

6.27 x 3.27 x 0.4 inches

159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm

Weight

6.49 oz (184 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Display

AMOLED vs Super AMOLED: is there a winner?

Well, we know that Motorola has a thing for AMOLED displays, as it has used these across its more recent flagships. Measuring roughly 6 inches in size (5.96", if we have to be spot on correct), the Nexus 6 is the latest device from a major manufacturer to hop onto the Quad HD bandwagon. Its pixel-rich display has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, which works out a pixel density of 493ppi - the lowest among all Quad HD-equipped mobile devices on the market.

The Galaxy S5 is endowed with a Super AMOLED display with a more compact size of 5.2 inches. No Quad HD resolution here - it could very well be the last flagship smartphone of Samsung to tote a 1080p screen at its front. The resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels paves the way to a pixel density of 432ppi - noticeably less than the Nexus 6, yet still a very good result. We highly doubt that you could go wrong with either of these though. 

Processor and memory

The upper hand the Nexus has can't be neglected


Sporting the same SoC that the Galaxy Note 4 has, the Nexus 6 joins the ranks of the latter as one of the most power-laden devices at the moment. One can find a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset inside the Nexus 6, which is churning and ticking the gears of the pure Android machine at up to 2.65GHz. Samsung's offering, at the same time, relies on the older generation of Qualcomm's finest - a quad-core Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC SoC, which does its job at up to 2.5GHz. The multitasking prowess of Google's phablet is ensured by 3GB of RAM on board of the behemoth, whereas the Galaxy S5 puts its faith in slightly less - 2GB of RAM. 

Speaking of memory, the Nexus jumps over one of the first hurdles and will ship directly with 32GB of on-board storage, while the most basic version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with 16GB out of the box.

We expect the Nexus 6 to outscore the Galaxy S5 in pure processing power. The former, however, has to cope up with significantly more pixels (3,686,400) than the S5 ( 2,073,600). Of course, this doesn't mean that oth devices will be on par or rather close to one another - we are yet to measure the Nexus 6's raw processing power, but judging by the Galaxy Note 4's benchmark results, it will undoubtedly have the upper hand over the older Galaxy.

Interface and functionality

Both are powered by Android, yet can't be more different.

Let's start with checking the "About" tab in the Settings of each of the two devices. Galaxy S5? Android. Nexus 6? Android (doh!). However, this is where most of the similarities end. One of the signature features of Google's Nexus family is the pure vanilla Android they run, and the Nexus 6 is no different.

The standard-bearer of Android 5.0 Lollipop will undobtedly appeal to those that dig the unprecedented simplicity of Google's stock platform and the unrivaled level of user experience it totes.

The Samsung Galaxy S5, in the meantime, adopts a fundamentally different approach. The TouchWiz user interface it is adorned with is among the ones that are packed with the most features, many of which are somewhat gimmicky and only clutter the interface, leading to the occasional lag here or there. Don't get us wrong, we like added functionalities as much as the next guy, but the hodgepodge of features that the inconsistent TouchWiz UI is can only damage the otherwise excellent Samsung flagship.

Camera

13MP with OIS or 16MP sans OIS? Another fierce battle in tow

The Nexus 6 comes with a 13MP camera at its back, a notable improvement over the Nexus 5 (at least on paper, that is). With an F/2.0 aperture of the image sensor and optical image stabilization on board, the newest Nexus warrior has a strong argument or two to justify its arrival on the crowded smartphone market. The flash of the device is rather compelling as well - it's a dual-LED ring flash positioned around the camera sensor, which is a sight we don't see every single day. 

The Galaxy S5 was a champion of our blind camera comparisons not once or twice. Its 16MP rear snapper can't boast an optical image stabilization like the Nexus 6, but it surely has Samsung's proven camera formula running freely in its mechanical veins. Nevertheless, until proper camera samples from the Nexus 6 come along, we can't say which of these two warriors perform better in the camera department. 

Expectations


Well, some may argue that a comparison between the Nexus 6 and the Galaxy S5 is pointless because they belong to different segments, but we can't accept this argument. After all, the fact that both devices will inevitably clash on the market shelves once the Nexus phablet arrives mean that a lot of potential customer will ask a simple, yet important question: "Should I opt for an enormous, future-proof Nexus or go with an older, yet more affordable Galaxy S5?". A good question with a clear answer, we might add.



Related phones

Nexus 6
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3220 mAh(24h talk time)
Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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4 Comments

1. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The Nexus 6 is firmly in, well, perhaps even beyond, phablet territory. The Galaxy S5 is not. So maybe they have about the same off-contract price and AMOLED screens, but that is about all that is the same between these two phones. A more interesting comparison would be the Nexus 5 vs. the LG G3. The G3 shipped last of the various SD801 devices, and has a QHD screen. Obviously with IPS, the battery life of the G3 will not compare. But the G3 is a well liked QHD device that has sold very well. The new Nexus will win on CPU and graphics, but the G3 is far nicer in the hand and has good quality audio. I wonder what the audio quality will be like for the Moto. I think there might be a good comparison here.

2. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Onscreen graphics will be the same for both devices due to the resolution increase and we expect the S5 to have better sustained graphics by looking at data from other 2.5K S805 devices. The Krait 450 is not much of an improvement over the Krait 400

3. flipjzn

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

If only Nexus 6 werent that big );

4. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

The landscape keyboard looks horrible to use.

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