Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Introduction


Throughout the entire year, there has been no shortage of high-end, memorable smartphones – they just simply keep on coming, giving consumers a wide degree of variety to choose from. One of them in particular, the Samsung Galaxy S5, continues to be a relevant thing in the space, even though it’s regarded by many as an “older” handset. Despite that attachment, there’s no denying the steady momentum that’s still accompanying Samsung’s flagship, which it’ll no doubt need in order to stave off the heavy competition from the just arrived Google Nexus 6.

Design

Plastic, there’s nothing premium about it, but in this scenario, we prefer the Nexus 6’s design.

Plastic, that’s what’s on the menu for these two prized darlings, as the majority of their casings is comprised out of the material. Between them, though, we prefer the more pronounced and mature design language of the Nexus 6 – thanks in part to its sturdier construction. However, some people will appreciate the compact size and water-resistant construction of the Galaxy S5. At the end of the day, though, when it comes to attracting attention, the Nexus 6 surely employs all of the elements to catch our eyes from afar.

Unlike its rival, the Nexus 6 isn’t about the bells and whistles, but we do like that it features dual front-firing speakers – a quality that’s rarely adopted amongst smartphones in general. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Galaxy S5 is arguably the Swiss Army Knife of smartphones, as it bears a fingerprint sensor, IR blaster, microSD card slot, and a removable battery.

 

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Front view | Side view
Google Nexus 6
Google Nexus 6
6.27 x 3.27 x 0.4 inches
159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm
6.49 oz (184 g)

Google Nexus 6

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5



Display

Both employ AMOLED technology, but the quad-HD resolution of the Nexus 6 display is just a sight to behold.

Being the new kid on the block, the Nexus 6 drastically benefits from having the more attractive display – a monstrous sized 5.96-inch 1440 x 2560 AMOLED screen. In comparison, the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display isn’t necessarily cutting-edge per se, but nevertheless, it’s still the resolution of choice for the majority of flagships out there. From afar, it’s tough to notice any difference in terms of details, but it becomes painstakingly obvious upon closer inspection that the Nexus 6 can’t be matched.

Employing AMOLED technology, the two displays bear pretty much the same qualities – like their wide viewing angles, deep black production, and overly-saturated color tones. With the latter, it’s apparent that the two panels exhibit a cooler tone, one that generally appears bluish. However, when it comes to brightness output, the Galaxy S5 has a distinct advantage with its 442 nit brightness – in contrast to the weaker tally of 270 nits with the Nexus 6. Yeah, it certainly makes it tough to view the Nexus 6’s display under direct sunlight, but it still carries a significant amount of pleasing qualities over the Galaxy S5 to make it the preferred display.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
Google Nexus 6 270
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6551
(Excellent)
1.94
5.61
(Average)
2.32
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 6 45.2%
0%
unmeasurable
13.7%
1.5%
24.2%
151.7%
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Introduction


Throughout the entire year, there has been no shortage of high-end, memorable smartphones – they just simply keep on coming, giving consumers a wide degree of variety to choose from. One of them in particular, the Samsung Galaxy S5, continues to be a relevant thing in the space, even though it’s regarded by many as an “older” handset. Despite that attachment, there’s no denying the steady momentum that’s still accompanying Samsung’s flagship, which it’ll no doubt need in order to stave off the heavy competition from the just arrived Google Nexus 6.

Design

Plastic, there’s nothing premium about it, but in this scenario, we prefer the Nexus 6’s design.

Plastic, that’s what’s on the menu for these two prized darlings, as the majority of their casings is comprised out of the material. Between them, though, we prefer the more pronounced and mature design language of the Nexus 6 – thanks in part to its sturdier construction. However, some people will appreciate the compact size and water-resistant construction of the Galaxy S5. At the end of the day, though, when it comes to attracting attention, the Nexus 6 surely employs all of the elements to catch our eyes from afar.

Unlike its rival, the Nexus 6 isn’t about the bells and whistles, but we do like that it features dual front-firing speakers – a quality that’s rarely adopted amongst smartphones in general. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Galaxy S5 is arguably the Swiss Army Knife of smartphones, as it bears a fingerprint sensor, IR blaster, microSD card slot, and a removable battery.


Front view | Side view
Google Nexus 6
Google Nexus 6
6.27 x 3.27 x 0.4 inches
159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm
6.49 oz (184 g)

Google Nexus 6

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5



Display

Both employ AMOLED technology, but the quad-HD resolution of the Nexus 6 display is just a sight to behold.

Being the new kid on the block, the Nexus 6 drastically benefits from having the more attractive display – a monstrous sized 5.96-inch 1440 x 2560 AMOLED screen. In comparison, the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display isn’t necessarily cutting-edge per se, but nevertheless, it’s still the resolution of choice for the majority of flagships out there. From afar, it’s tough to notice any difference in terms of details, but it becomes painstakingly obvious upon closer inspection that the Nexus 6 can’t be matched.

Employing AMOLED technology, the two displays bear pretty much the same qualities – like their wide viewing angles, deep black production, and overly-saturated color tones. With the latter, it’s apparent that the two panels exhibit a cooler tone, one that generally appears bluish. However, when it comes to brightness output, the Galaxy S5 has a distinct advantage with its 442 nit brightness – in contrast to the weaker tally of 270 nits with the Nexus 6. Yeah, it certainly makes it tough to view the Nexus 6’s display under direct sunlight, but it still carries a significant amount of pleasing qualities over the Galaxy S5 to make it the preferred display.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
Google Nexus 6 270
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6551
(Excellent)
1.94
5.61
(Average)
2.32
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 6 45.2%
0%
unmeasurable
13.7%
1.5%
24.2%
151.7%
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Android 5.0 Lollipop in the Nexus 6 is that step forward for Google, but don’t count out TouchWiz and its insane arsenal of features.

Yes, we certainly know that they’re both Android phones, but in looking at their respective experiences, there’s barely any resemblance between the two. That’s because the Nexus 6 is running the most up-to-date version of the platform, Android 5.0 Lollipop, which benefits from having a cleaner presentation and an arsenal of new features that haven’t been otherwise seen before. Conversely, the Galaxy S5 is running Sammy’s TouchWiz UI on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Even though it’s technically an older build of Android, the customization that Samsung has done also enhances the experience appropriately for a phablet.

Before we get into how their particular software features enhance the Android experience, let’s first place our attention on their visuals. Without a doubt, stock Lollipop sports a better layout and presentation than TouchWiz – thanks in part to the bold colors, natural motion, new typography, and other new elements that accompany its Material Design. Meanwhile, TouchWiz’s design has evolved a little bit from its cartoonish looking beginnings, but it’s still in need of a modern touch to catch our attention.

UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

UI of the Google Nexus 6


Where TouchWiz lacks in the visual department, it undeniably makes it up in its supreme set of software features. Don’t get us wrong, Lollipop introduces several new elements on the Nexus 6 that elevates the overall Android experience to a higher level, like having support for multiple users, prioritizing notifications, and pinning apps, but TouchWiz running on the Galaxy S5 offers that exemplify its more is better mentality. For example, we have true multi-tasking with its Multi Windows feature, Samsung’s suits of S-branded apps, various Air Gesture features, and much more.

UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5


Processor and Memory

There’s just more snappiness with the Nexus 6’s performance.

Between them, basic operations are generally handled in the same manner – albeit, there’s a noticeably snappier performance out of the Nexus 6. That, of course, is mostly attributed to its newer quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC, coupled with a beefy 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 420 GPU. Not to mention, the optimizations with Android 5.0 Lollipop also contribute to the Nexus 6’s smoother operation. Well, the Galaxy S5’s quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU is still pretty great at handling all sorts of tasks, but it just can’t match the Nexus 6’s finesse.

At the bare minimum, the two prized stallions are stuffed with a spacious 32GB of internal storage, but the Galaxy S5 benefits from having a versatile microSD card slot to supplement its capacity.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 49480
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 2731
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 3644
Samsung Galaxy S5 3479
Sunspider
Lower is better
Google Nexus 6 797.6
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 27.9
Samsung Galaxy S5 27.8
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 12
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 1470
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 1062
Samsung Galaxy S5 944
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 3295
Samsung Galaxy S5 2900
View all

Internet and Connectivity


Donning the larger and higher resolution display, the Nexus 6 is the more practical device to use for surfing the web. It’s an aspect that marginally supplements the experience for the Nexus 6, mainly because they boast the basic elements that make the experience so enjoyable – like their LTE connectivity and smooth navigational controls.

Both handsets are available in an assortment of configurations; both GSM and CDMA. On top of that, they offer support for a variety of LTE bands – while also laying claim to the nearly the same set of connectivity features. They include aGPS, Bluetooth 4, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and NFC. We have to point out, however, that the Galaxy S5 also packs along an IR blaster, which doubles it as a universal remote.

Camera

It’s a close race to the finish line, with both phones doing a respectable job in the photography department.

Google’s direction with the stock Google Camera app in the Nexus 6 is quite clear, it’s simple and straight to the point. In fact, it only lays claim to a few shooting modes – and no manual controls whatsoever. In contrast, the Galaxy S5 takes a totally different approach, since it’s filled to the brim with all the controls and shooting modes to give the user complete control in how a shot is compiled.

Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Camera UI of the Google Nexus 6


The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5


Superficially, it’s pretty tough to declare a winner between the Nexus 6’s 13-megapixel camera, and the Galaxy S5’s 16-megapixel one, just because their qualities closely match one another. When it comes down to it, however, we’ll give the slight advantage to the Galaxy S5. In all fairness, the Nexus 6 is a fantastic shooter, but the Galaxy S5’s camera is able to produce just a smidgen more detail – and that’s about it! Under low light, neither one produces results that are dramatically better than the other. However, we will mention that the Galaxy S5 shots are somewhat brighter lit – at the expense of having the same soft detail as the Nexus 6.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243
Google Nexus 6 4
No data
393
303
View all

With their high-end statuses, both handsets are equipped with shooting video in up to 4K resolution – so that’s 3840 x 2160 pixels. Honestly, the qualities are very similar – with the exception that the continuous focus with the Nexus 6 isn’t as smooth in comparison to the Galaxy S5. Aside from that, we can’t complain about the results from either the two smartphones.


Multimedia

From its dual front-firing speakers, to the sheer size of its display, the Nexus 6 is an absolute joy for multimedia consumption.

Being a Samsung product, the Galaxy S5 complements the usual Google Play Music app with its very own TouchWiz music player – whereas, with the Nexus 6, we’re only presented with the Google Play Music app. Between them, we can’t stress enough about how we appreciate the dual front-firing speakers of the Nexus 6, which thankfully musters up a potent 75dB of power, though it’s pretty light on the bass. Conversely, the Galaxy S5’s single speaker somehow manages to produce an even stronger output of 81 dB – accompanied with a slightly deeper tone.

The Google Play Music app on Google Nexus 6 - Music players - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Music players - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5 - Music players - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Music players - Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

The Google Play Music app on Google Nexus 6

 

Samsung Galaxy S5

 

Music players


Videos play smoothly on both smartphones, but we prefer watching them more on the Nexus 6 and its larger display, which is an ideal quality for the occasion. Still, we do like how we’re given that multi-tasking aspect with the Galaxy S5.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 0.98
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 75
Samsung Galaxy S5 81
View all


Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Call Quality

Neither one really impresses us, but at the very least, we can handle conversations with some ease.

Neither smartphone delivers an outstanding call quality experience, so the results put them both in the average quality. Even though we’re able to handle conversations for the most part, they exhibit their own unpleasant qualities – such as the static tones through the Nexus 6’s earpiece, and the muffled sound of the Galaxy S5.

Battery

Battery life isn’t an issue with them, but we get a little more out of the Nexus 6.

Google Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
In our everyday usage, we’re content with the battery life we get out of them. Specifically, the Nexus 6, being the larger of the two, gives us a little bit more gas in the tank by the end of the day with its 3220 mAh battery. Well, the Galaxy S5’s 2800 mAh battery is still pretty good as well – giving us enough endurance to last us through a solid 8-hour work shift with ease.

Checking out their performances in our battery benchmark test reveals results that aren’t all that surprising, as the Nexus 6 achieves a slightly higher mark of 7 hours and 53 minutes – whereas the Galaxy S5 isn’t too far behind at 7 hours and 38 minutes.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 6 7h 53 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S5 7h 38 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Google Nexus 6 98
Samsung Galaxy S5 122
View all

Conclusion


Being new onto the scene, there are several reasons why the Nexus 6 stands out more profoundly than its rival in the Galaxy S5. For starters, there’s no arguing the fact that it’s the fresher of the two devices – aided by its cutting-edge hardware, future proof status, and stock Android 5.0 Lollipop experience. Naturally, too, the attachment to the fabled Nexus series means that it’s going to receive future Android software updates a lot faster than its customized rival.

Nevertheless, we still can’t count out the Samsung Galaxy S5, since it manages to deliver a solid package that’s still capable of contending with newer devices. Best of all, it doesn’t require a fortune to pick up as well. By now, it can be snagged for relatively cheap with a 2-year contract, as low as free in some cases, which is a lot easier to swallow than the Nexus 6’s $200+ on-contract cost – so there’s an incentive to go with the Galaxy S5 when we look at their contract prices.

If that’s not a route you wish to pursue, choosing instead to go the outright way, then it makes more sense to go with the Nexus 6 – that’s because the two are both slapped with the same $650 outright cost. For the money, you’re getting a newer and better spec’d smartphone, which of course, has the distinct privilege of being the first smartphones to run Android 5.0 Lollipop.