Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. Nexus 5: What We Know So Far

With Samsung Galaxy S6 rumors gaining speed and with a Galaxy S6 launch date now rumored to be just weeks away, we’re starting to see consumers weigh the idea of buying Samsung’s Next Big Thing. With that in mind, we want to take an early look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. Nexus 5. Here, we examine the latest Galaxy S6 rumors and offer an early look at how the device could compare to the aging Nexus 5.

At the end of 2013, after weeks and weeks of rumor and speculation, Google announced the Nexus 5, a follow up to the popular Nexus 4 that had launched the year before. The Nexus 5, as expected, came equipped with a number of upgrades including a new design, 4G LTE data, more carriers, better hardware, and new software dubbed Android 4.4 KitKat.


The Nexus 5 is now a year old and no longer a flagship smartphone but it’s still on sale and still in the hands of people around the world. Some of those people (myself included) are in the hunt for a new Android smartphone this year. Thanks to the rumor mill, many people have their eyes on the Samsung Galaxy S6, a rumored successor to the Galaxy S5.


Over the past couple of weeks, Samsung Galaxy S6 rumors have started teasing consumers who are thinking about buying a new smartphone and specifically those looking to either buy or replace a Nexus 5. In response to these rumors, we’ve received a number of questions from curious consumers who are trying to decide what they want to do about the Galaxy S6.


The Samsung Galaxy S6 is shrouded in mystery and we cannot profess to have all of the details. What we do have though are a number of credible Galaxy S6 rumors and years and years of experience. While we can’t offer a full Galaxy S6 vs. Nexus 5 comparison just yet, we can help set the stage for those debating between the two devices. Here’s what you need to know right now.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Release Date

With Samsung Galaxy S6 rumors picking up steam, we’ve been bombarded with a series of questions about the Samsung Galaxy S6. Readers, friends and family want to know if the Samsung Galaxy S6 release date is worth waiting for and how far away it is. We can’t answer that first question for all of you, each situation is a little bit different, but what we can tell you is that we have some idea about when the Samsung Galaxy S6 release date might arrive.

One look at Samsung’s past will offer you a glimpse at what’s to come. The Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 both arrived in April while the Galaxy S3 release was spread out over May, June and July. Galaxy S6 release date rumors suggest that we’ll see the device land in the first half of the year, perhaps as soon as the first quarter. Galaxy S6 release date rumors have also hinted at the second quarter. And while they are rumors, they are believable.

The first reason is, you guessed it, Samsung’s track record. The company usually sticks to a year cycle for its flagship smartphone releases and this rumored window fits what its done in the past. It’s worth noting that Galaxy S4 users are coming off contract in April and Samsung will likely do everything it can to keep them in the Galaxy fold.



Second, the Galaxy S6 launch mirrors Samsung’s previous Galaxy S launches. Last year, Samsung was rumored to have shown off the Galaxy S5 behind closed doors at CES to select partners. This year, the Galaxy S6 was rumored to be at CES 2015. Even the timing of the first Galaxy S6 rumors has matched up with what we saw from the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5.

Finally, the few rumors we do have all put to a launch in a familiar window. A new report from Business Insider states that as of right now, Samsung is planning a Galaxy S6 launch at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. MWC 2015 kicks off on March 2nd which puts a possible Galaxy S6 launch date just a few weeks out.

If this is true, it means that the Galaxy S6 release will probably arrive in March, April or May. Samsung usually gets its devices out just a few weeks after their announcement date.

What this also means is that if you’re trying to decide between buying the Nexus 5 or Galaxy S6 or if you’re a Nexus 5 user looking for a change, you still have some time to think about your options. Make good use of your time.


Google’s Nexus 5 design is comprised mainly of plastic matte material. It’s a step up from the vulnerable glass back found on the Nexus 4 but it can’t compare to the premium builds found on the iPhone and HTC One. It is, however, comparable to the plastic designs found on the previous iterations of the Galaxy S series. It does lack features like a microSD card slot and fingerprint reader but the Nexus 5’s build quality remains solid.



This year, Samsung could put a gap between its Galaxy S and the Nexus 5. Samsung’s started to inch closer to the iPhone’s design language last year and this could finally be the year that Samsung puts a smartphone on the market that’s comparable to devices like the iPhone and HTC One. Samsung always keeps its designs under lock and key but the few design rumors that we have heard suggest that it could be a departure from the Galaxy S5 and perhaps, the Nexus 5 as well.

Design rumors suggest that the company’s Samsung Galaxy S6 is dubbed Project Zero behind the scenes and that it will be built from the ground up. It’s still not clear what that might mean though many suspect that the new design will include premium build materials. Currently, all signs point in that direction.

Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha arrived with a metal frame last year. So did the Galaxy Note 4. The company also released a Galaxy Note 4 with a curved display called the Galaxy Note Edge that incorporates a metal frame. One popular theory is that the company used these devices as a dry run for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and its design.


Metal Galaxy S6 concept.

Metal Galaxy S6 concept.

Business Insider believes that Samsung will introduce a Galaxy S6 design that features metal and one that features a curved display like the Galaxy Note Edge. Other rumors agree with that information. Another report from Italian blog claims that the new Samsung Galaxy S design will finally feature an aluminum chassis.

We haven’t seen the Galaxy S6 design leak out just yet and pre-launch Galaxy design rumors are extremely hard to buy into. That said, it’s clear that Samsung is trending toward a new design language. While it might not be a full-metal design, there’s a very good chance that Samsung will move away from the all-plastic designs that it has used in the past.


Google’s 5-inch Full HD Nexus 5 display was once considered one of the best displays on the market. However, over the past year, smartphone display technology has taken yet another jump up and now, flagships are coming with Quad HD resolution. DisplayMate, one of the leading voices in display technology, claims that the Galaxy Note 4’s Quad HD display is one of the best on the market and given its success, it’s hard to imagine a Galaxy S6 without an upgraded panel.


Alleged Samsung Galaxy S6 benchmarks have pointed to a jump in resolution and credible rumors suggest that the next Galaxy S will make the jump up to Quad HD. It’s a natural evolution and one that should put the Nexus 5 at a disadvantage in terms of quality. Full HD simply cannot compare to Quad HD resolution.

Samsung could be also be looking at increasing the screen size of the Galaxy S to 5.5-inches. Before you start to panic, note that this doesn’t mean there will be a huge bump in the overall size of the phone. LG’s 5.5-inch G3 is much smaller than the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 thanks to its thin bezels. It’s also comparable to the 5-inch Nexus 5. So there’s a chance that the Galaxy S6 won’t be too much larger than Google’s Nexus. Important, if you’re concerned about size and pocketability.

Galaxy Note 4 (left) vs Nexus 6 (right)

Galaxy Note 4 (left) vs Nexus 6 (right)

As for the curved Galaxy S6 display we mentioned, rumors continue to point in that direction though we’re still not sure if it will come with one curved edge like the Galaxy Note Edge or two. If Samsung does go this route, the curved Galaxy S6 Edge will almost certainly be more expensive than the non-curved model. And for many consumers, it will be unnecessary. We suggest checking out the Galaxy Note Edge so that you get some idea about what to expect.


Google’s Nexus smartphones are a spec showcase and are meant to show off the power of the Android operating system. The Nexus 5 comes loaded with high quality features including a camera that features Optical Image Stabilization and a Snapdragon 800 processor from Qualcomm. It’s no slouch even now, a year after its release.

Samsung’s also well known for upgrading the internal specifications on its Galaxy S year after year so it’s not surprising to learn that the company is working on a collection of upgrades for this year’s Galaxy S6. These specifications, on paper, appear to have the Nexus 5 beat, but until you’re able to compare them physically, it’s impossible to say. Here’s what we do know.

Galaxy S6 rumors point to the arrival of a Snapdragon 810 processor from Qualcomm. If true, the Galaxy S6 will feature one of the latest chips and one that is optimized with better graphics support, enhancements for battery life, and a whole lot more.

Samsung Galaxy S6 camera rumors suggest that Samsung is still trying to decide between a 16MP camera and a 20MP camera. The two alleged Galaxy S6 benchmarks that we’ve seen include both sensors so it appears that the company is weighing both. A recent leak suggests that Optical Image Stabilization, a feature found on the Galaxy Note 4, will be on board this year’s Galaxy S model. The front facing camera will also supposedly be a 5MP sensor.

We’ve also heard that Samsung will shift to a 32GB base model for the Galaxy S6 instead of a 16GB base like the Galaxy S5. The Nexus 5 comes in 16GB and 32GB form though it does not come with a microSD card slot for expanded storage. The Galaxy S is well known for its microSD card slot though one is not yet rumored for the Galaxy S6.


Now here’s what things are starting to get interesting. As many of you know, the Nexus 5 runs vanilla Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s a pure version of the software and one that many Android enthusiasts enjoy because it doesn’t come with the perceived bloat of a Samsung or HTC phone.

What’s interesting is that a Galaxy S6 rumor suggests that Samsung could be trimming its TouchWiz UI so that the device is more in line with the Nexus 6 and Nexus series. According to the intel, Samsung is looking to “reduce the capacity of system memory and greatly improve its function by strengthening core features and eliminating unnecessary ones.” It’s an interesting prospect but it’s certainly far from confirmed.


As for software support, the Nexus 5 is now a year old which means that it has at least one year of software support left. Google typically keeps devices updated for 18-24 months. The Galaxy S6, which should come stocked with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board, will likely get the same treatment though with it being a year younger, it could outlast the Nexus 5.

Something to think about if you’re planning to keep your smartphone around for years to come.


Google’s Nexus 5 is limited to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint in the United States while Galaxy S6 rumors point to a much wider launch. The Galaxy S6 is rumored for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon but smaller carriers remain out of the picture for now. Even if the Galaxy S6 sticks to those five, it should be available on more carriers than the Nexus 5.


Google’s not stocking the Nexus 5 right now though it charged $350 for the 16GB model and $400 for the 32GB model. The Nexus 5 comes unlocked. Retailers will probably charge somewhere around that for the rights to the Nexus 5 though we’ve seen the price fluctuate.


The Galaxy S6 will almost certainly be more expensive both on-contract and off. We haven’t heard anything yet but the Samsung Galaxy S usually checks in at the $199.99 on-contract mark so that it can compete with the iPhone. With two Galaxy S6 variants rumored to be on the way, we could see Samsung shift the price of the Galaxy S6 to $199.99 and $299.99.