Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S5: should you upgrade?

Hey, there, Samsung fans. If you are reading this, we are guessing that you are either a proud owner of a Galaxy S5, or one that is interested in grabbing a Sammy flagship, and is curious to find out whether going for a cheaper buy with last year's top-of-the-line Samsung will mean you'd miss out on a lot. Well, let's take a look at everything that's new and improved in the Galaxy S6, so you could better make up your mind.

A design overhaul

Yup, Samsung has slowly been working towards giving its handsets a more premium look and feel for the past year. The S5's plastic body and uninspiring design caused many to turn away from the handset, and Samsung has learned its lesson well. Its design evolution first started with the Galaxy Alpha, which sported a solid metal frame and an overall sleek look. Next, the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge built on the Alpha's design, with a few tweaks here and there. The A series, which were only recently released, were the first Samsung handsets to sport an aluminum unibody design. And now, we have the culmination in the face of the Galaxy S6 – coated in aluminum unibody and having its front and back covered with Gorilla Glass 4 – it definitely oozes class and we expect that critics will have a hard time to bash the device for its looks.

QHD and color accuracy

Samsung isn't new to the QHD game – its Note 4 and Note Edge phablets both employed the super-crisp resolution. However, its "mainstream" flagship – the Galaxy S5 is still stuck to 1080 x 1960. Now, the difference between the densities on the two screens will possibly remain unnoticed by most, if not all users – the S5 has a 432 PPI ratio, whereas the S6 sports a 577 PPI one. Many would argue that a density of pixels that the human eye can't even discern puts an unneeded strain on hardware and battery life and is a redundant upgrade, however, some say that they enjoy the sharper looks and having 4K be native resolution for the phone.

The Galaxy S6, however, has another notable upgrade to its Super AMOLED display – it now has a much more accurate color reproduction, just like the Note 4 and Note Edge before it did. Consumers used to be polarized by AMOLED screens and their overly saturated, super punchy, and inaccurate colors, however, for the past year, Sammy has been working to add a more natural mode to its displays. It included a "Basic" setting in its options menu, which tamed the colors, and made them more accurate. Of course, fans of the AMOLED punch still have access to other modes, which deliver just that.

A thinned-down TouchWiz with themes

While we wouldn't really consider a themes option to be a selling point, it's still nice to have it. Especially in an interface like TouchWiz, which has become a bit stale with its looks throughout the years. Users who don't mind Sammy's UI will feel right at home from the get-go, while others will have the choice to customize it thanks to a new Themes app.

TW has also been getting some bad rep due to being brim-packed with features and processes, which a single user would most of the time not need, or even know of. As a result, the UI has been known to exhibit stutters and lags and consumers found this to be too high of a price to pay for features that they barely use. Well, Sammy decided to listen, and has now slimmed down and simplified the interface in strides to deliver a snappier, more responsive feel.

Next-generation processor and memory

Samsung decided to not use Qualcomm's Snapdragon line for its latest flagship and will instead rely solely on its own home made octa-core 64-bit solution, built on a 14 nm process, which should provide speedier, more power-efficient performance. Speaking of speedier, the storage unit of the new Galaxy S6 employs UFC 2.0 technology, which Samsung claims could be up to 2.7 times faster than the eMMC 5.0, which was used up until now. This is pretty much SSD territory in terms of speed, which is pretty exciting.

On the flip side, the Galaxy S6 does not offer internal memory expansion via microSD, but it does come in three different variants – 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB.


The new camera still sports a 16 MP sensor, though its aperture has been widened to F1.9, which means more light, shallower depth of field, and faster shots, according to Samsung. Still, the Galaxy S5's camera is quite the impressive piece of mobile tech and we are yet to write it off as obsolete.


As far as battery goes, the Galaxy S6 sports a smaller, 2,550 mAh juicer, which may be compensated by the more energy-efficient processor, but will still have to push a QHD display. So, whether or not it will provide a better battery life than the Galaxy S5's 2,800 mAh power box, is still up in the air.

The Galaxy S6 does, however, finally bring wireless charging to Sammy's flagships. It supports both PMA and WPC standards, making for a truly universal charging experience.

Fingerprint sensor

The fingerprint scanner hasn't really been the most popular feature on Sammy's previous devices – it required the user to swipe their finger across the sensor, which often introduced problems with proper detection, and was generally uncomfortable to use. Well, Samsung has heard all the users' woes and has went the "touch to scan" way, which should finally make the gadget much more responsive and thus – useful.


And there we go – the Galaxy S6 has notable improvements in many of its main aspects. A more premium look and feel, and a snappy, fast performance are surely enough to get users drooling over the new flagship. Add a sharper, and more color-accurate display, and a camera, which already improves upon a pretty impressive snapper, and you've got a very well-rounded 2015 flagship. If you are thinking about upgrading, and have the opportunity to do so, we'd say the Galaxy S6 is worth taking the plunge.

Related phones

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)
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)



1. TyrionLannister unregistered

If the 64 GB comes under 800$ here, I'll be all over it. Else I'll wait for 3-4 months and the price to go below 800$. It seems to destroy my GS4

12. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Too many conclusions without any real comparisons in the end. I'll wait too

17. MrET1

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 29, 2015

Same here and I'm also comming from GS4. I don't mind getting the non edge version though.

45. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I have a S4 and would surely go another year without an upgrade. Its faring quite well in all departments... S6's better construction is the only thing tempting me

2. Exempt1 unregistered


6. drunkenjay

Posts: 1697; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

i told it already. now im planning to sell my iphone 6

19. drunkenjay

Posts: 1697; Member since: Feb 11, 2013


7. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012


20. drunkenjay

Posts: 1697; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

if the lg g4 looks good ill think about it =] i hope lg delivers.

23. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

the price depreciation will make you cry. i promise.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I wonder if the GS6 will release on VZW at the same time as the other carriers?

4. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Why do phonearena keep going on about the battery taking a massive hit from the 2k screen? The note 4 went from 1080p to 2k and ended up lasting loafs longer on battery. With the new more efficient memory and processor why do they think it won't be the case here?

46. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

They are just saying.. not sure until they test it out

8. Dj_Yawar

Posts: 43; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

s6 edge 64gb or 128gb only, otherwise happy with s5

13. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

good thinking

10. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

It's a major upgrade except for the people who bought the GS5 for ip67 certification. Those people will have to wait for the active variant of this device.

11. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

if anything this is a downgrade. marginally better processor, smaller battery with unnoticebly higher res screen. no waterproofing, non removable battery/sd card. samsung took away all the things that matter and took the router to form over function.

14. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Who else doesn't like the cam pictures? It's too warm and too magenta. Auto WB not doing it's job well. Perhaps will be fixed in the final model?

16. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

copycat iphone 6. round out the homebutton on the s6 and its a clone if an iohone 6. the ssheep in here are in denial. so much for project 0

18. TheWeasel

Posts: 403; Member since: Dec 26, 2014

Make the homebutton on the iPhone 6 rectangular and it's a clone of an Ativ S. You are in denial. So much for copycat Samsung.

22. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

should i upgrade answer is no bcoz of non removable battery and no sd card slot i ll go for sony or nokia 830

24. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I have a Note 4 and the S6 Edge is making me want to switch. I've wanted to go with a smaller phone for the last year and the S5 could not touch the Note 3. This year is different. I don't see a non-phablet over throwing this phone for some time.

26. torr310

Posts: 1676; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

If you have the spare money, upgrade; if not, don't upgrade. Period. It is not going to change your life.

27. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

The battery life is the only thing that would have been a nice improvement. And it got reduced. Keep your current phones. There's nothing new to see here.

28. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010


30. Sondae

Posts: 291; Member since: Jan 02, 2013

With that price i am just happy with note 4 with sd and removable battery. So pricy.

32. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

s5 > s6 by far in my opinion. design ad gimmicks like wireless charging don't make up for the lack of features (eg waterproof, removable batt, sd slot) of the s5. the slight performance increase means next to nothing in my eyes also, the s5 performs more than well enough.

33. namanjain

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

I am gonna wait for the lg g4. I think it will be much better than the s6 or the htc one m9

34. kerginaldo17 unregistered

The trouble with s6 was the samsung don't listened their consumers.

37. TheWeasel

Posts: 403; Member since: Dec 26, 2014

They listened to the ones who wanted so-called "premium" design and materials. They also listened to the ones who wanted a streamlined TouchWiz and a better fingerprint scanner. But it also came with some compromise, some are willing to accept the compromise, other are not. But they did listen to some of the consumers.

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