Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ vs Google Nexus 6
Interface and functionality
The edge adds some clever functionality and notifications – it’s not a ground-breaking change, but it’s cool. Also, the new TouchWiz is cleaner and more refined. Still, stock Android on the Nexus 6 feels a bit faster in daily performance and comes with guaranteed updates.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ features the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with the newest version of TouchWiz on top of it. The Google Nexus 6, in contrast, runs on the latest 5.1 version of Android Lollipop in its pure, stock form. Stock Android is the bread and butter of the Nexus series - with the blessing of Google, Nexus phones are guaranteed to be first in line to get Android updates with new features and security patches. Samsung, on the other hand, has promised to be quicker with updates and we’ve recently heard a promise for regular security updates that bypass the time-consuming carrier approval process, but when it comes to big Android updates, fact remains that Samsung phones take a few months to get them.
As to the new face of the TouchWiz skin, they are evident from the get-go: there’s a slightly changed set of icons, now all of them have rounded corners and non-transparent backgrounds, with an evolved style. At the same time, the typical contrasty colors and cartoonish feel remains. Samsung has now introduced captions for everything, and we mean everything: even the toggles have ‘On/Off’ captions for extra clarity. Stock Android 5.1 differs in both feel and look: it uses the signature, flat Material Design language and seems better optimized for speedy performance.
Processor and Memory
The Exynos 7420 system chip is a monster that kills it in benchmarks, faster than the Nexus 6 in all testing and games.
Samsung was the first in the smartphone chip race to start 14nm manufacturing and it used this advantage fully with its Galaxy S6. Then, it was a surprise seeing Samsung ditch Qualcomm’s then-ubiquitous chips in favor of the new Exynos 7420 system chip, but benchmarks proved it was not a mistake. The same chip now powers the Galaxy S6 edge+, and it’s an octa-core 64-bit solution that runs at up to 2.1GHz and relies on a big.LITTLE configuration of four high-performance Cortex A57 cores and four power-efficient Cortex A53s. The Nexus 6, in comparison, sports the Snapdragon 805, a quad-core 32-bit chip that features four Krait 450 CPU cores running at up to 2.7GHz.
It’s also worth separately mentioning the fact that the Galaxy S6 edge+ is among the very first phones to come with 4GB of fast, LPDRR4 RAM. More RAM theoretically means better multitasking as more apps could remain open, and you have less of reloading times.
What about the perceived real-life performance, though? The Galaxy S6 edge+ is a step in the right direction for Samsung: it brings further improvements wtih a cleaner interface that works a bit better than before. At the same time, we still find the Nexus 6 running zippier and more stutter-free thanks to the excellent optimizations in stock Android.
Looking at benchmarks, it’s clear that the Exynos 7420 on the S6 edge+ brings some big improvements in comparison with the Snapdragon 805 on the Nexus 6: single-core performance is up nearly 40% improvement, and then there is the even bigger gain in multi-core scores.
For the gamers, good news is that the Mali T760 GPU used in the Galaxy S6 edge+ easily outdoes the Adreno 420 in the Nexus 6, and you’ll be able to play the most intense games with less dropped frames.
When it comes to internal storage, we’re glad that both devices come with the fairly abundant 32GB of internal storage in even the base model. At the same time, we’re also sad to see the lack of microSD card expansion options on the two - you’re stuck with the internal storage you have. The lack of microSD card feels particularly sore on the Galaxy phone, as Samsung used to include this option in its high-end products until recently, while the Nexus series have shipped without microSD card slots for quite a while. At the same time, we should say that the massive move to streaming music and cloud services for photos and videos, should alleviate a lot of the burden put on the internal storage before.
Internet and Connectivity
The large screen on both phones helps a lot with browsing, and surfing is speedy and without any major issues on both. Of course, you have 4G LTE connectivity.
Having a large screen such as the 5.7” one on the S6 edge+ and the 6-inch one on the Nexus 6 definitely helps for a better browsing experience. The vast screen estate allows for pages to load in their entirety and require less scrolling around.
In terms of browsers, both phones come with Google's mobile Chrome, but while that's the only pre-installed option on the Nexus 6, the Galaxy S6 edge+ actually defaults to a custom browser solution that offers a full screen view, and a few other perks. Web surfing speeds were fast on both – pages rendered fast, scrolling was not jittery, and zooming in and out of pages happened without a stutter, just as you'd expect.
When it comes to connectivity, both phones support 4G LTE with a variety of bands, depending on the market. Since both phones are officially sold in the United States and Europe, you should not worry about any inconveniences with unsupported bands – LTE works fine on both phones on the common in the Western world bands.
In addition, you have the typical dual-channel Wi-Fi modem, MIMO (2x2) antennas for better reception, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.2, as well as GPS.