Galaxy S6 vs Nexus 6 comparison: Samsung and Google go head-to-head

galaxy s6 vs nexus 6
© Samsung / Google Nexus / NextPit

The Galaxy S6 was finally revealed to us at MWC 2015 after months of speculation. With a beautiful screen, unparalleled camera technology and a slick design, Samsung came out all-guns blazing with its new flagship. But how does it compare to Google's QHD giant of the moment, the Nexus 6? Find out in our Galaxy S6 vs Nexus 6 comparison. 

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The Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Nexus 6 comparison: which device is the best? / © Samsung / Google Nexus / ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Design 

The Nexus 6, developed by Motorola, adopted the design of the Moto X (2014), featuring a similar body and button/speaker placement. The device is surrounded by an aluminum frame, with the front made entirely of glass and the rear featuring slightly curved polycarbonate. It's a well thought-out design and is easier to hold than might be expected for a 6-inch phablet.

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Nexus 6 does look impressive, even if it is similar to the Moto X (2014). / © NextPit

Samsung has gone all-out with the design of its S6, featuring luxurious glass front and back plates, sealed in with aluminium edges. It builds upon the impressive Galaxy Note 4 design and completely outshines that of the Galaxy S5. Samsung has clearly been listening to consumers and this sleek handset shows a new commitment to producing quality designs at the high-end.

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Samsung has chosen premium materials for the S6, but the rear is a fingerprint magnet. / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Display

The Nexus 6 offers a 5.96-inch display with QHD (2560x1440 pixels) resolution and 493 ppi. It's bold, without getting in your face; colors look realistic, but never aggressive. The Galaxy S6's Super AMOLED display also boasts QHD resolution, but only with a 5.1-inch screen.

The Galaxy S6 obviously can't compete with the display area of the Nexus 6, which is almost an inch bigger, but the S6 is certainly the stronger performer. Bright, pin-sharp, impossibly detailed - it's one of the best to arrive on the Android platform, if not the best. 

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The Nexus 6 display: 5.96-inches, QHD (2560x1440) resolution and 493 pixels-per-inch. Dreamy. / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Software

The Nexus 6 was the first smartphone to come with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Because it's a Google device, the Nexus 6 runs the stock version of the software. This is the pure Android experience. 

The Galaxy S6 features Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Samsung's own TouchWiz interface placed on top. Samsung claimed that the new OS would not come with the avalanche of apps usually pre-installed on Galaxy S-branded devices, but it still features a bunch. Having said that, the new UI is an improvement, it's faster and more intuitive, with some updated animations and effects.

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Lollipop with Touchwiz (left), and the stock Android interface (right). / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Performance

During our time with it, the Nexus 6 has always been fluid and responsive. Apps start quickly, animations never lag and gaming is a real pleasure thanks to its Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7 GHz processor, backed by 3 GB of RAM.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 features a latest Exynos 7420 octa-core 64-bit chipset, supported by 3 GB of RAM. We've only had a brief opportunity to experience its performance so far, but we anticipate it will be one of the best performers on Android. It's worth pointing out that neither device comes with expandable memory via a microSD slot. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Camera

The Nexus 6 offers a 13 MP main camera which produces quality snaps, even if the auto-focus can be hit-or-miss (though overall camera quality is a vast improvement over the Nexus 5). The Nexus 6 also features an adequate 2 MP front-facing camera.

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The Nexus 6 has a decent camera, but it won't blow your socks off.  / © NextPit

The Galaxy S6 has a 16 MP rear-camera, which provides brilliantly sharp images even in low-light conditions thanks to an f / 1.9 aperture, and some smart Samsung image processing. You can usually rely on Samsung to deliver on display and camera quality, and it has proved itself once again. A 5 MP front-camera ensures selfie fans will be satisfied, also.

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The Galaxy S6 camera app has been simplified and improved. / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Battery

The 3,220mAh battery built into the Nexus 6 delivers strong performance. We recently put it to the test by taking pictures, playing video and music files, checking emails and posting content on Facebook, and it provided us with a total of 27 hours, with 17 percent charge remaining.

The Galaxy S6 is powered by a smaller, 2550 mAh battery, though it can charge wirelessly like the Nexus 6 can. The S6 is also said to deliver four hours of battery life in just a 10 minute charge, but we haven't yet been able to fully test the S6's battery capabilities. For that we'll have to wait until our final review. 

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The battery of the Galaxy S6 can overcome that of the Nexus 6? / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Specs

  Samsung Galaxy S6  Google Nexus 6
OS Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop
Display 5.1-inch Super AMOLED qHD (577 ppi) 5.96-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel AMOLED (493 ppi)
Processor Exynos 7420 64-bit, octa-core, 14nm CPU Snapdragon 805, quad-core
Internal memory 32 / 64 / 128 GB (not expandable) 32/64 GB (not expandable)
Camera 16MP (rear), 5MP (front), HDR mode in real time 13 MP (rear), 2 MP (front)
Battery 2550 mAh + wireless charging + fast charging 3,200 mAh + wireless charging
Connectivity HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 GSM, HSDPA, LTE, NFC, Qi, Wi-Fi
Dimensions 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm 82.98 mm x 159.26 mm x 10.06 mm
Weight 138 184 g
Extra Fingerprint reader, heart rate monitor Water resistant
Price  32 GB: €699, 64 GB: €799 and 128 GB: €899 649 USD on the Play Store

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Price and release date

The Nexus 6 is available now at a price of 649 USD for the 32 GB version. The Samsung Galaxy S6 release date is April 10, and the launch price will be 699 euros for the 32 GB version. We expect this to be around 699 USD in the US. 

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The TouchWiz interface: simple and clean. / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Google Nexus 6: Conclusion

So, which device is best? The Nexus 6 has the same resolution as the S6, but on a bigger display. It also packs a larger battery, water-resistance, and delivers the Stock Android software experience. The Galaxy S6 is arriving with an unbeatable camera, one of the best displays on the platform, and an impressive new design. If it launches at 699 USD for the 32 GB version, it's looking like a superior product for the 50 USD extra asking price, but you will have to suffer its TouchWiz interface. 

Which device do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Geoffrey Aberle Mar 8, 2016 Link to comment

    I am a loyal Android fan. My decision between the two is very hard to make, but the Galaxy S6 is my choice. The Nexus 6 is great, but it is much too big . The Galaxy s6 is, by far, the BEST looking phone out there. Its screen is sooooo much better than any iPhone and even the LG G4. Dat Exynos processor destroys the Nexus. No camera is better than the S6. Nexus does have stock Android and a bigger battery, but the design, screen, performance and camera make up for the cons.

  • Jessie L Dec 2, 2015 Link to comment

    I love my Nexus 6 but I have decided to trade it in for a Samsung S6 instead. Everything has been working great so far and I love all the features, but it is just way too big. I'm a busy teacher, always bringing my kiddos outside, or running here and there. When i go out with friends, i bring as little as possible, so i dont lose anything. I just don't have time to deal with a purse. Since I've bought this phone I am forced to because it doesn't fit in my pants or coat pocket. This is my only complaint. Everything between the Nexus and Samsung this year seem to be about equal, except for size. Glad I have a worthy alternative!!

  • Radu Christodoulou Nov 22, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus 6 = BEAST
    Galaxy s6 = BASIC
    so ive tested both phones for the space of 31 days and ive come to the conclusion that overall the nexus is the powerhouse of the season. First of all its quad core therefore way better than octa core also its has a 2.7ghz chip which lets be honest for a phone with a lower ppi and basic interface is hugely better then the complex s6 ui with all its extra un used and to be honest quite random extras for eg... swipe a screen to bring it to the homescreen in a smaller version come on samsung the point in a big screen is to use it from edge to edge not to place 10 mini windows on it. Yes the camera is better on the s6 but if your into the camera of a phone thwn I suggest the xperia z5. The camera on the nexus is amazing for daily use and the pic quality is just as good as any other flagship when placed on social media or phone view. Gaming is fluent good frame rate and overall plays any game no matter what the graphic settings. And as for everything else yeah the nexus is better lol enjoy.

    • Jeff S. Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

      You do know that "octa" means 8 and "quad" means 4, right? Therefore, the octa-core processor has double the number of cores as the Nexus.

      Other than that, I agree with the rest of your points.

      • DR L Feb 3, 2016 Link to comment

        The S6 has two quad cores. One @ 1.5 Ghz & one @ 2.1 Ghz. The 6 has one quad core @ 2.7 Ghz. The S6's two cores normally run only one at a time. Both run when needed for running numerous apps, so the Nexus 6 is faster, 2.7 vs 2.1. Going into Developer Mode there are some tweeks to make the 6 faster. For most people I don't think it makes much difference.

  • Pranjal Jain Jul 10, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus also has turbo (fast) charging!

  • Bill sethman Apr 12, 2015 Link to comment

    The Nexus 6 rear camera 16mb not 13mb. Who writes this shit!?! Get it together

    • Dave Griffiths Apr 16, 2015 Link to comment

      what are you talking about ?

      From the Motorola website.

      13MP IMX 214 Image Sensor
      f/2.0 aperture
      Optical image stabilization
      Ring flash with dual LEDs
      4K UHD video capture
      2160p (4K) UHD, 1080p HD and 720p HD video capture modes (30fps)
      4X digital zoom
      Panorama, Photo Sphere, and lens blur​

    • DR L Feb 3, 2016 Link to comment

      It's not mb, it's mp as in megapixel.

  • Samantha Stephens Mar 19, 2015 Link to comment

    I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 and it was my first android experience from switching to iPhone. It is awful. I am NOT impressed. TouchWiz is awful, oh did I mention that whenever I try to use NY stock messaging app my whole phone freezes and goes into shock. Awesome. Just ordered a Nexus 6. My bf has one and is obsessed with it.

  • Nando Mar 15, 2015 Link to comment

    I wish Samsung would get completely rid of touchwiz, and just do a pure android experience, and give customers the option to get what ever extras touchwiz has, from the samsung app store or google play store, they would sale so many more devices that way, plus it would make them way more easy to update, they do not seem to get that people bashes them a lot because of this. They make rock solid hardware that it is just sluggish because of the software they have put on top of it, it is not even properly optimize for it.

    • DR L Feb 3, 2016 Link to comment

      It's called a Nexus.

  • An Droid Mar 15, 2015 Link to comment

    No sensible buyer is influenced by the rantings of hysterical fanboys. They buy what suits their needs, be it Samsung with TW, iPhone with iOS, or Nexus with Vanilla Android UI.
    So can the bloodthirsty fanboys please pipe the fuck down!

  • An Droid Mar 15, 2015 Link to comment


  • Lori Clark Mar 15, 2015 Link to comment

    I love my Nexus 6!

  • RodimusPrime Mar 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Come on guy really? You blatantly left out wireless charging, made no mention of the much better speakers, and then put a picture of kit Kat next to touchwiz instead of lollipop, which by the way is 5.1 now
    not 5.0. And if your being a stickler my nexus 6 came out of he box with 5.02. So can we be fair next time? I mean you get paid to do this right?

  • Leonardo Mar 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Nexus 6 for sure. I don't care how good Samsung phones are, they just take too damn long to receive updates.

    I will still stick with the source, plus I do a lot of reading from my mobile these days, so I will definitely be getting my N6 soon.

    • Stefanos Mar 14, 2015 Link to comment

      The samsung phones does not receive the new updates directly but having the newest android ui does not means that the phone is the best

  • Matt B Mar 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Glass front and back? Cool.. The Nexus 4 had that too... 2 years ago

    Touxhwiz or horrendous

    Samsung focuses too much on gimmicky BS than improving what they have. Take a nexus and a Samsung and see which is still running well 1-2 years down the road.. Guarantee the Samsung ( plagued with antenna, Sim, camera, and screen issues ) will never last as long

    • Stefanos Mar 14, 2015 Link to comment

      My galaxy s3 has aproximatly 3 years and it's running perfectly with its touchwiz ui

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