Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S5: first look

Samsung finally did what it probably should've done a long time ago – it revamped its design language to better adhere to what today's consumers view as a premium, high-class look. But the company didn't stop there – the Galaxy S6 is packed with tweaks, upgrades, and fresh technology. Here, in Barcelona, we have the chance to physically compare the new flagship to the good old Galaxy S5, so let's check them out!


As far as shapes go, the Galaxy S6 is not very different from its predecessor – when looked from the front, the device strikes us with the familiar oval shape that we've come to expect from Samsung. However, the materials used in the handset's construction are vastly different – instead of the Galaxy S5's plastic body, the Galaxy S6 rocks an aluminum unibody shell, sandwiched between two Gorilla Glass 4 panels – one on the display and one on the phone's back. The speaker of the S6 has been moved to the bottom, next to the charge port, whereas the S5 has its grille on the back. The new handset has a very nicely rounded-off frame around it, which is shaped with the subtlest of accents, just enough to keep it from looking boring, but not too much as to make it appear overpopulated. This contrasts to the S5's plastic frame, which had a shiny chrome finish and a rather dull pattern to decorate it.


Both handsets rock a 5.1” Super AMOLED display, but one would be mistaken if they think they look the same. The S5 sports a 1080 x 1920 resolution, while the S6 jumped on the QHD bandwagon, which means it has 1440 x 2560 pixels stretched across its diagonal. It is arguable whether one would be able to notice the individual pixels on each of the screens – the S5's PPI density lands at 432, while the S6's is up at 577 – both numbers are the telling signs of an extremely crisp display, so many may argue that the jump to QHD would just put an unneeded strain on the phone's hardware.

The Galaxy S6, however, makes use of Samsung's latest achievements in screen-making tech and its Super AMOLED panel is capable of showing much tamer, color-accurate images, instead of being punchy and vivid all the time. We've also seen this new tech in the Note 4, Note Edge, and Galaxy Tab S, and we have to say – we like it! Fans of the punchy AMOLED needn't worry, as the phone holds enough settings to satisfy their tastes as well.

Processor and memory

The Galaxy S5 is powered by Qualcomm's now aging (but still aging well) Snapdragon 801 SoC, while the Galaxy S6 will have a homemade chip humming under its hood – a 64-bit octa-core solution, built on a 14 nm process, which should mean, and Samsung promises it to be true, faster performance and more energy efficiency. From the short time we had with the handset – it felt snappy and pleasingly responsive.

The new flagship employs a new UFS 2.0 technology for its flash storage, which should be 2.7 times faster than the currently used NAND flash. Additionally, the S6 sports 3GB of super-fast LPDDR4 RAM, allowing more room and speed for multitasking.


The TouchWiz UI in the Galaxy S6 has been simplified and slimmed down to allow easier, intuitive operation, and snappy performance. It's sort of like it takes the Material Design ideology a step further, removing pictures, which could sometimes be confusing, and replacing them with words for the actual action (we are talking about “Send”, “Share”, “Delete”, etc. buttons). The interface definitely feels lighter and refined, compared to the one on the Galaxy S5, which felt like it was getting bogged down by all types of features and processes, which the user would, arguably, rarely need.


At first glance, both phones have similar cameras, as both use a 16 MP sensor. The Galaxy S6 has received an OIS upgrade, however, and its aperture has been widened to the impressive F1.9, which allows more light into the snaps and give us better depth-of-field effects, compared to the F2.2 one on the S5. Picture taking is fast, and Samsung has added a Camera launcher shortcut to help us make use of the snapper, no matter what we're doing on the phone at the moment – a double tap of the home button calls up the viewfinder, and it does so impressively fast, too!

The frontal snapper has also seen a significant upgrade – from 2.1 MP on the S5 to 5 MP on the S6, which also sports a wide F1.9 aperture, promising better, more detailed, well-lit selfies.


With a 2,800 mAh juicer under its hood, the Galaxy S5 lasted 7 hours and 38 minutes on our battery life test – a very good result, which guarantees that users will not find themselves out of juice very often, especially if they employ the Ultra Power Saving mode. The Galaxy S6 is armed with a 2,550 mAh power box, however, with its advanced processor and internal memory, and the lighter TouchWiz, we expect that its battery life should be very similar to its predecessor's. It does, however, employ a quick charge tech, which Samsung claims will give the phone a boost worth of 4 hours of on time with just 10 minutes of charging! Additionally, the Galaxy S6 now supports wireless charging from both major standards – WPC and PMA, making sure that you'd be able to charge the device, no matter what charger you have handy.


All in all, we view the Galaxy S6 as the right step forward for Samsung. It looks impressive enough to rectify the company's stubbornness to switch to premium materials, while its interface appears, at least at first look, to be snappier than what we're used to seeing from the often-criticized TouchWiz. The handset delivers enough bleeding-edge tech to have us drooling at its capabilities, and we have to tell you – we can't wait to get some time to extensively test it.

Related phones

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)
Galaxy S6
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2550 mAh(23h 3G talk time)



1. Craig747

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 01, 2014

Is it just me, or does the colour in the S5 camera samples look more natural?

2. HSN87

Posts: 109; Member since: Jan 09, 2015

The S6 camera samples are hurting ma eyes... too Much Yellow tint :-( S5's result looks more natural

3. rotkiv3451

Posts: 85; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

You could change that in pro mode. Warmer colors are more attractive, which is why the iPhone's camera is so hyped. Samsung decided to do the same with the S6, but you don't have to use it like that.

4. datagrab

Posts: 49; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

Waiting for TyrionLannister to say something about this article.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.