Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: comparing the newcomer and old favorite

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: comparing the newcomer and old favorite

Samsung's new S series flagship was just revealed days ago, and it hasn't even hit shelves yet. The Huawei-made Google Nexus 6P, on the other hand, has been around since September 2015. How does the long-time Nexus favorite stack up against the newcomer Galaxy S8?

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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: design and build quality

Out of the Nexus 6P and Galaxy S8, it's clear which has the better looking design. The Galaxy S8, as a 2017 flagship, is gorgeous and makes a great first impression thanks to its luxurious curves and seamless build quality. The metal frame is quite narrow because of the curved glass on both the back and front of the phone.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6P was the first all-metal Nexus, and still retains its premium feel despite being a few years old now. The front of the 6P is fairly minimal apart from the stereo speakers, but it has huge bezels when compared to the S8. On the back of the phone, though, there's an awkward-looking glass protrusion housing the camera lens and flash which also allows the NFC and antenna to work.

The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back of the S8 beside the camera, but the scanner on the 6P is easier to reach as it is lower. The S8 has an iris scanner and IP68 certification against water and dust, which the 6P doesn't.

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The back of the Nexus 6P (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S8 (right) / © ANDROIDPIT

The 6P is taller and wider than the S8, as it's an older phone with a less optimal screen-to-body ratio. The S8's dimensions are 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm, while the 6P's are 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm. The 6P weighs more than the S8 as well, at 178 g vs 152 g. The 6P is a tiny bit thinner, as despite having the bigger battery of the two, it doesn't have wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: display

Although the Nexus 6P being larger and heavier, the Galaxy S8 has a slightly larger 5.8-inch display, compared to the 6P's 5.7 inches. The S8 has a larger resolution and higher pixel density as well. The S8's resolution is 2960 x 1440 pixels, while the 6P's is 2560 x 1440 pixels. Their pixel densities are 568 ppi and 515 ppi, respectively. But that's enough about the numbers.

The main focus of Samsung's new flagship is the beautiful front of the device, and in addition to a low screen-to-body ratio, the display looks fantastic. In our hands-on test, the S8's display was sharp and bright. It's packing a Super AMOLED display with a wide color space, and it has Samsung's edge display design and functionality. It doesn’t interfere with the viewing angles as much as it did with the S7. When you look at the front of the phone, your view of the display isn't obscured as the curves are very subtle. 

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 display / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6P's display is also bright and crisp and the are colors well-represented. The viewing angles are also superior - even at a 70-degree angle, content is still readable. Until we do a full review of the S8, we can't directly compare both screens in our office side-by-side to provide you with specific details, but it seems that the S8's screen impresses us more in general.

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The Nexus 6P display / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: software

Both the Nexus 6P and S8 run Android Nougat, so the main difference between the two in terms of software is the UI. The 6P has stock Android, while the S8 has the latest version of Samsung's custom UI, which has been refined from previous versions.

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Samsung has chosen to include Android's familiar virtual navigation buttons  / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6P shipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and has since been updated to Nougat. As a Google device, the 6P has the advantage of fast updates and a speedy interface.

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The 6P and S8 both have virtual navigation buttons / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: technical specs

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Google Nexus 6P technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy S8 Google Nexus 6P
Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 152 g 178 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3450 mAh
Screen size: 5.8 in 5.7 in
Display technology: AMOLED AMOLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (568 ppi) 2560 x 1440 pixels (515 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12.3 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.0 - Nougat 6.0 - Marshmallow
User interface: TouchWiz Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB 3 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 32 GB
64 GB
128 GB
Removable storage: microSD Not available
Chipset: Samsung Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.3 GHz 2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: performance

Even though we haven't had a chance to do a full review of the Galaxy S8 yet, there is no doubt that it has better performance than the Nexus 6P based on specs alone. The S8 comes with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM, while the 6P has the old Snapdragon 810 and just 3 GB of RAM. In our review of the 6P, its performance was fast and reliable, even though benchmark tests showed that throttling occurred. For a device from 2015, it should still be adequate for use today, but the S8 is undoubtedly in another league.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: audio

The stereo speakers on the Nexus 6P really stand out. The speakers are located on the top and bottom of the front of the phone. This means that when you hold the phone in landscape mode for videos or games, it's superb. The speaker quality is clean, loud and without distortion. On the other hand, noise cancelling during calls wasn't optimal.

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The Nexus 6P has great audio for gaming / © ANDROIDPIT

The S8 and 6P both have a USB type-C port and the traditional headphone jack. Sadly, the newer device only has a mono speaker. We have high hopes for the headphones that come with the S8 since they're from Harmon Kardon, but have yet to test them out.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: camera

The camera of the Nexus 6P could hold its own when it was released in 2015, but it couldn't even rival that of the Galaxy S6 at the time, so it definitely can't stand up against the new S8. In recent years, Samsung has paid a lot of attention to the camera on its mobile devices. The S8 has a 12 MP sensor with dual-pixel technology and an aperture of f / 1.7. The S8 uses multi-frame processing, meaning it will take several pictures per shot and merge them into one, hopefully making for better end results. For selfies, the front camera now has 8 MP and auto-focus.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 camera in action / © ANDROIDPIT

We were generally pleased with the camera of the Nexus 6P back when we did our full review. The 6P has a 12.3 MP main camera with laser auto-focus. However, it lacks optical image stabilization. For video, the Nexus 6P is capable of shooting in 4K and slow motion at both 120 fps and 240 fps. The front camera has 8 MP, and is enough for selfies or video calling.

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The Nexus 6P's rear camera / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: battery

Samsung wasn't overly ambitious with the battery of the Galaxy S8 - for good reason after the Note 7 disaster. We haven't had a chance to do a full review of the Galaxy S8 yet, but based on its screen size and specs, we expect users to get a full day out of one charge of its 3,000 mAh battery.

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The Nexus 6P (above) and the Samsung Galaxy S8 (below) both feature USB type-C./ © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 6P on the other hand has a large 3,450 mAh battery, and our review proved that you can count on it to get you through at least 11 hours of use. Its capacity is more than enough to power its large QHD display. Even more, rapid charging means the 6P can be charged to last 7 hours in just 10 minutes.

The S8 has wireless charging, while the 6P does not (to keep it thin). Both have a USB type-C port for charging and data transfer, but the S8 has USB 3.1 while the 6P just has 2.0.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Nexus 6P: early verdict

The Galaxy S8's design gives a much more persuasive first impression than the Nexus 6P. It has a very modern look with curved glass on both sides surrounded by a thin metal frame, while the Nexus 6P's all-metal design and huge bezels identify it as an older premium smartphone.

While we haven't yet had the pleasure of doing a full review of the S8 yet, based on its newer processor and an extra 1 GB of RAM, it will clearly have better performance than the 6P by a long shot. Plus, the S8 has some untested, yet potentially exciting, special advantages like the Bixby AI assistant and the DeX docking station that turns it into a PC.

The Nexus 6P still has adequate performance to keep up in 2017, and thanks to it being a Google device, it has been updated to Android Nougat as well. But, the Galaxy S8 is setting a new bar for flagships in terms of design and its superior specs will give it more longevity than the 6P.

Let us know what you like about these devices in the comments.

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  • Ben D Apr 5, 2017 Link to comment

    I like the improved specs of the S8 especially the IP68. I'm confident the next Google phone will surpass these as usual and hopefully feature IP68 as well. Nexus die hards are probably laughing at your shotty comparison of an unreleased phone and subtle inaccuracies of the 6P. I suppose I'm even more anxious for the next Google release after reading this.

  • Josh Hill Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

    Eh. Samsung has always made the best hardware, and then ruined it with TouchWiz. I'll take my carrier unlocked and rootable 6P any day, with it's carrier/manufacturer independent, timely updates. I'm on the beta program so get them even sooner. And how is it an advantage to have Samsung's wannabe assistant? I'd much rather have Google Home, which by all accounts is light years ahead.

    Now if Samsung came out with a stock Android version, or Google added wireless charging, Sim card support, and interchangeable batteries, as well as dual cameras like the iPhone (but not with the loss of the headphone jack) ...

  • Steve Goossens Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

    In the comparison table, the Nexus 6P's manufacturer should be Huawei (the manufacturer), not Google (the brand).

  • Chris Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

    I have had the Nexus 6P since February 2016. Until late 2016 I found it to be a wonderful phone, albeit a little short in the battery life department. Not long after the Nougat update my phone started to shut down even though the display indicated it was 60-90% charged. Torn between varying opinions of it being hardware or firmware, I waited to see if an update would fix the problem, none ever did. Rooting and a new kernel and os didn't fix it, so I decided a couple of weeks ago to replace the battery, which I did successfully. Everything seemed great... for two days. Then it shut off and is now stuck in continuous bootloop. These are two defects this phone is known to have, they have affected a lot of users, and I consider the 6P to be shoddily built. I thought so when I first saw the cheap plastic cover on the bottom back of the phone after first receiving it, and my experience has proven me right. Don't buy this phone, and don't expect Google to help you unless you bought it directly from them, and Huawei blame Google's update, and will screw you over. You have been warned.

    • xgudwilx Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      Yeah, you prob shoulda bought the Google Nexus directly from Google. I had a couple small issues, one of late, both taken care of with ease. But I'm just one person of many who buy Google tek directly from Google. The best part, Google didn't require I use any of my Nexus Protect claims..who woulda thunk'd it right!! I'm still protected thru November!🤙
      Still a great buy for $399 compared to the $800 Pixel.. but def get the $89 accident & malfunction protection for 2 years total (along w the 1 year manufacturer's) Less headaches.

      • Chris Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

        Yes, I wish I had. After a couple of other prematurely broken premium phones from Samsung and LG, I thought buying a Nexus would ensure me some security. I have a stack of 3 premium phones on my bedside cabinet, accumulated in a little more than 2-1/2 years. Not sure what to get next, as neither of my leading contenders (Pixel XL and Galaxy S8) have stereo speakers, which I greatly prefer. Any suggestions would be appreciated btw.

      • Francesco V. Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

        You'll probably be best served by a middle-range smartphone :-) There're many out there that are excellent and if they break at least you'll not be so disappointed ;-)

    • Kody Schagen Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      I agree the battery life could be a bit better but I've had zero problems with the phone and I have had it since mid 2016. It's totally possible yours may have just been defective. To anyone reading, I'd totally recommend the phone.

      • Chris Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

        Feel free to do a little research. Google "Nexus 6P bootloop" and "Nexus 6P shutting down at (insert battery percentage here)". You will find dozens of forums, and hundreds... if not thousands of users affected. I agree, when working properly it was a nice phone to use. I wish it still worked. I'm just looking out for people out there.

      • Jean McDougall Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

        I've had my 6P for 18 months now with no issues at all. It's the first phone I've had in ages that I've not wanted to change after a few months.

    • Boris T Apr 28, 2017 Link to comment

      I have similar issues with my Nexus 6P. Short battery life, phone shutting down or freezing. There is currently no fix for this. Other than that its the best phone I ever had, but I have decided to move on since the update fixing these issues is taking too long. Rather dissapointed since I also bought this phone based on reputation of the Nexus line.

  • Greg Moffat Apr 3, 2017 Link to comment

    Couldn't agree more with you Francesco. I find the S8 rather underwhelming and quite expensive along with a rather useless curved edge display and no real camera advances - whereas i find the LG G6 a more interesting product.

    • Francesco V. Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      Thank you Greg. Although I have reserves for the LG G6, too, at least it should cost less. Btw, if the carrier doesn't support it, then the 5g ready feature on the G8 is useless. Better off buying a Huawei P10 Plus, which also sports the 4x4 mimo antennae tech, has a metallic body and exactly the same screen surface as the LG G6 (yep, it's the same).

  •   6
    Deactivated Account Apr 3, 2017 Link to comment

    It's pretty clear Nexus 6p is the past. A typical run of the mill boring, dull, uneventful formally Nexus product with poor battery life and poor camera. Google KICKED the Nexus line to the CURB for a reason now Pixel is BOSS of stock Android. Galaxy S8 easily over the Nexus 6p it's actually a silly comparison that's non existent.

    • xgudwilx Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      Actually most would agree the next Pixel will be "boss". The first one seemed like a half assed test run with an $800 price tag & almost equal specs as the 6P.
      No dual front speakers, (nexus 4 type) rear glass that cracks easily, a huge chin of wasted space that looks like an akward tablet, with a mono speaker that gets blocked when u hold the thing. And the camera issues like the ANNOYING lense flair.

      At $399 right now from Project Fi you can get TWO new 6P's with all the same hype for $800. You get Google Assistant & Imprint swipe for notifications, basically same Camera (which has been proven to take better pics than the Pixel at times), a battery that lasts 5-6 hours SOT which is plenty & a faster quick charge time, Nougat 7.1.2 (official is actually up & most been on beta anyway) updates & security patches. The next Pixel should be worth the price tho.

      • Matt Rutter Apr 5, 2017 Link to comment

        Completely agree. I'm holding out for the next Pixel before i think about changing my 6p. This Nexus has been one of the best phones ever made in my opinion, and the fact it was released two years ago and still being compared to the newest flag ship phones proves how good it really is. Yes there are a couple of quirks. And feel for people who have had issues with theirs as they won't have got the best out of it. I'll definitely be waiting until Google take the Pixel to the next level, or abandon the Nexus phones although, before i change

    • Kody Schagen Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      I have no idea what you mean by "poor camera". The picture and video quality I get is amazing. And as far as the comparison goes, the fact that they are comparing a yet-to-be-released phone with one from 2015 kind of leans in favour of the older phone don't you think? The s8 has barely better specs (in the stuff that is better) as estheticly, I prefer the look of the 6p. And the fact that it is a full metal phone as opposed to an almost full glass phone means it's way more durable.

    • Josh Hill Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      The pixel is just a heavily-advertised Nexus that costs more. the 6p's camera takes stunning pictures although of course it isn't quite the equal of newer flagships. As to boring, well, the reason the 6p is such a classic is that it gets most everything right, for less money than glitzy phones that catch fire. I'd have to concur with the reviewers who says that it's a joy to use, and friends are envious of the fact that I always have the latest version of Android, typically even before the formal release.

    • Rufus Driscoll Apr 5, 2017 Link to comment

      I can only assume you've never owned the phone or you had a faulty unit. There's a reason this phone has such a weirdly loyal fan base. This will be the first phone I've ever kept for longer than a year and I have no plans to upgrade any time soon until I see something significantly better than my 6P. Despite what you say, my battery surprises me almost every day with how much I can use it before charging (I am running purenexus ROM). Also I have absolutely no idea what you mean about the camera. The pictures I take on this phone are often comparable to my DSLR, in fact when I show pictures taken on this thing to people, the majority of the time people appear truly shocked at the quality of them... But then again, the most expensive camera in the world in the hands of someone who can't take photos will itself appear poor ;)

      Either way, no. The S8 seems great and yes, it is the better phone in most departments that aren't subjective, the comparison holds because somehow the 6P, at half the cost and already ancient in phone years is still the phone I would buy if tomorrow mine were stolen and the only other option were the S8 (even though that screen is pretty god damn nice looking).

      • Josh Hill Apr 5, 2017 Link to comment

        "This will be the first phone I've ever kept for longer than a year and I have no plans to upgrade any time soon until I see something significantly better than my 6P."

        Me too. And you now what? My old Nexus 5, which I replaced with the 6P, is still running beautifully and hasn't slowed down. I was thinking of selling it (I've been using it as a remote control) and looked on Ebay and 4 or 5 years after I got it for an absurdly low price, a used one still brings $100. Meanwhile, a friend who owns the 1-1/2 year old flagship of another maker looked his up on Ebay and it's worth only $50, despite being a $700 phone! (Not the exploding Samsung, either.)

        Glitzy features like curved screens look cool in the store, but I think much more important is whether a phone has the features you need, including an OS that gets timely updates and doesn't slow down over time the way Touchwiz does. Some of the features on the S8 are even detrimental -- I mean, who wants a glass back, when they're notorious for cracking?

  • Francesco V. Apr 3, 2017 Link to comment

    First off, the 5.8" screen with 18.5/9 ratio offers a smaller area (ie, less content) than the P6: it's 5% less surface!
    Even though Samsung's lead in flagship devices is appreciable, I think that its lack of stereo speakers, a smaller battery for more useless pixels, a fragile glassy back, the awkward positioning of the fingerprint reader, the mountain of bloatware and slow (if ever) OS upgrades are a hard pill to swallow. For a price that's now more than double the one for the Nexus 6P.

    • Josh Hill Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

      Exactly. Actually, I prefer plastic backs--tough, permit wireless charging, and everyone covers them with a case anyway. The fancy backs are just to make them look good in the store.

      • Francesco V. Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

        Exactly my thoughts! But hey, then you can also sell insurances with the phone ;-)

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