Google has announced a new flagship smartphone for Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but is it better than Samsung’s latest phablet? Here’s our Google Nexus 6P vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ comparison preview.
The Nexus 6P is Google’s latest stab at a phablet, this time built by Huawei rather than Motorola. It has a 5.7in screen and incidentally Samsung launched the larger version of its curved screen with, you’ve guess it, a 5.7in.
When it launched, only two months ago, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ was one of the most expensive phones you could buy. It started at £749/$1,124 and you could spend a whopping £829/$1,244 on the top model. However, Samsung has slashed the price dramatically and you can get it for £599/$899 from the official store or even less from Amazon at £579/$869.
Even with that massive price cut, the new Google Nexus 6P by Huawei is a more affordable option. Starting at £449/$674 it more like the good value which we know the Nexus range for compared to its predecessor. There are three models to choose from and you’re decision might be made straight away but we’ve got a lot of comparing to do still.
You’ll notice from the full price table that you can get the largest Nexus 6P for the price of the cheapest S6 Edge+ – going by official prices.
DESIGN AND BUILD
While the Galaxy comes in Black Sapphire or Gold Platinum the Nexus 6P is available in Aluminium, Graphite and Frost so there is more choice but that’s not the end of the story.
Paying for to go down the Samsung route means a thinner and lighter phone since the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is just 6.9 and 153g which impressive for a handset this size. Saying that, Google and Huawei have done a good job by making the Nexus 6P more manageable at 7.3mm and 178g.
The weight is the biggest difference here as both phones offer excellent build quality using a combination of metal and glass. Be aware that the glass rear cover of the Samsung does make it slippery.
You’ll know which you prefer appearance wise and this will no doubt influence your decision to a large extent. Both are attractive phones and while the black bar on the back of the Nexus 6P may divide the crowd, the Samsung’s edge screen is widely regarded as a real plus (sorry) point for style.
HARDWARE AND SPECS
These two phones are largely similar when it comes to specs. For starters they both have a 5.7in AMOLED screen with a Quad HD resolution (1440×2560) coated in Gorilla Glass 4. Ok, Samsung uses SuperAMOLED technology but it doesn’t make a big difference.
As you may have noticed in the price section, the Nexus 6P comes in 32-, 64- and 128GB capacities while the Galaxy S6 Edge+ comes in just the two smaller options (the regular Galaxy S6 Edge has a 128GB model). Neither has a Micro-SD card slot so its points to Google here but Samsung wins one back by having 4GB of RAM compared to 3GB which may come in useful for power users.
In the engine room are two different but similar processors as Google has gone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (v2.1) while Samsung went for its own Exynos 7420 instead. They both are octa-core 64-bit chips which use four A53 cores and four A57 cores. Look out for full benchmarks in our 6P review once we’ve had one but you can expect top-notch performance from either.
Other core specs are like-for-like with dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, GPS, 4G LTE support and NFC. Strangely, the IR blaster is missing from the Galaxy S6 Edge+ despite the original having it.
This means the main difference on the connectivity front comes with charging. It’s a shame to see wireless charging dropped on the Nexus 6P which is something Samsung does offer. However, Google has adopted the new USB Type-C port which is reversible and supports fast charging. It’s swings and roundabouts here.
The Nexus 6P does have a larger battery at 3450mAh compared to 3000mAh which should, in theory, mean better battery life. We’ve only had hands-on time with the Nexus so we can’t confirm this just yet. Look out for our full review soon.
Both phones have fingerprint scanner and while both work well, we prefer the location of the Nexus 6P’s which is on the back below the camera compared to the Galaxy S6 Edge+’s which is found in the home button on the front.
Moving on to a key area for a lot of smartphone users, photography, each phone has its pros and cons.
The Nexus 6P has the same 12.3Mp camera from Sony as the smaller Nexus 5X which doesn’t have optical image stabilisation (OIS) but this is made up for somewhat with large 1.55µmp pixels and a laser autofocus. On the Samsung side of the fence, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has the same 16Mp camera found in the other S6 models which does have OIS, however it only has a single LED flash against dual-tone on the Nexus. After a hands-on our impression is that the Galaxy just nips it.
Google does win when it comes to the front facing camera though at a whopping 8Mp with 1.4 µm pixels and an f/2.4 aperture. Samsung’s is still decent at 5Mp, though, and can record 1440p video compared to 720p so it’s not a complete white wash on the selfie front.
SOFTWARE AND APPS
When it comes to software there’s a fair amount of difference, even though both are Android-powered smartphones.
As you may know, buying a Nexus phone means getting stock or vanilla Android. The operating system in the form Google has made it and for us this is a good thing. A sort of blank canvas on which to install the apps you want and customise.
Due to the nature of Android, Google’s manufacturing partners can do what they will with it. As such, Samsung installs its own TouchWiz user interface. Like other phone makers, the firm’s custom software has got closer to stock Android over the last couple of years and now uses some elements without change like the card style recent apps.
However, Samsung does change quite a lot such as the drop down notification bar, pre-installed apps (which include Microsoft ones on the S6 Edge+) and the news aggregator homescreen panel. Swipe to the right and you’ll be greeted by Flipboard instead of Google Now.
None of this is necessarily a bad thing; it’s just quite different to the plain Nexus experience so you’ll probably prefer one over the other.
A key difference is that the Nexus 6P comes with the latest version of Android being a launch device. It comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and while Samsung will update the Galaxy S6 Edge+ there’s no telling when this will be and what features the firm will decide to keep. Google’s Nexus phones will be updated the quickest when future versions are released, small or big.
WHY BUY THE NEXUS 6P?
• Better value for money
• More storage
• USB Type-C
• 8Mp front camera
• Stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow, then quick updates in the future
WHY BUY THE GALAXY S6 EDGE+?
• 4GB of RAM
• High quality 16Mp rear camera with OIS
• Thinner and lighter with a better screen-to-body ratio
• Curved screen looks great
• Wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- 5.7in Super AMOLED dual edge screen Quad HD (1440 x2560)
- Exynos 7420 Octa-core processor
- 32/64GB storage
- 4 GB RAM
- 16 Mp rear camera with OIS
- 5 Mp front camera
- Heart rate monitor
- Fingerprint scanner
- IR blaster
- 11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth with atpX
- 3000mAh battery
- 6.9 mm
Google Nexus 6P
- 5.7in 2560×1440-pixel Quad HD capacitive touchscreen
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 octa-core processor at 2.0GHz
- 32/64/128GB storage
- 3GB RAM
- Android Marshmallow 6.0
- 12.3MP main camera, dual-LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps
- 8MP secondary camera
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.2
Our comparisons are written to help you decide which to buy rather than declare one an outright winner. In this comparison, it’s clear that the Nexus 6P is better value with 128GB on offer for less than the 32GB Edge+ and with no Micro-SD card slot this is a big deal. It also has an 8Mp front camera, USB Type-C and the latest Android. However, Samsung’s phone is arguably more stylish, is more manageable, has a better rear camera and has wireless charging.