Specs comparison Between Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy

The new Samsung Galaxy S6 is shaping up to the big smartphone smash of the year. Samsung has completely redesigned its flagship handset for 2015, leaving behind the incremental improvements we've seen in recent years. That new fancy design doesn't cheap, though, and last year's Galaxy S5 is still a highly capable smartphone.
These factors will make choosing between the handsets hard, but we're hoping to help with our specs comparison on both handsets. We've only had a hands-on play with the Galaxy S6, so this article is a comparison of what we know so far: we'll update with benchmarks, battery life and full-on camera comparisons once we've had a chance to review the new handset. It's also worth pointing out that this comparison largely goes for the Galaxy S6 Edge, too, which has the same specs as the S6, but with a curved display.

We'll be comparing both handsets here but from two points of view. There will be those looking for a new smartphone and attracted by the inevitable price drops on the older model, at present we've seen the Galaxy S5 for free on a £22 a month contract, but is it worth making the saving? Then there will be those so wowed by the new look that they are considering selling their S5 to buy the new phone.

Design, size and weight

The new Galaxy S6 is a very good-looking phone. It has a metal chassis with a polished finish, which you can see around theedges of the handset. The front bezel and backplate have glass bonded to them, giving bright colours and a slightly translucent finish. Available in four colours, it's the best-looking phone Samsung has ever made.

The S6 Edge takes the 'basic' models design and tweaks it to include that double-curved-edge display. While it gives the phone a look like no other, the curved display is far from essential, and the tweaks to use it don't add a huge amount. It too comes in four colours.

The old Galaxy S5 wasn't a bad-looking phone. It had a huge screen that dominated the front, while the edges were finished in silver and had lines running down them, the soft touch back was dimpled for a better grip. It looked pretty smart, but it didn't feel very expensive when you actually held it, as it was made entirely of plastic.

The key advantage of this design is that the backplate comes off, letting you get at lots of useful stuff underneath. The SIM card was accessible (without having to lever it out with a little pokey thing), you could add cheap storage in the form of Micro SD cards, and you couldswap out the battery. Better still, keeping all this stuff behind a single panel meant that the handset was waterproof too.

In terms of dimensions, the Galaxy S6 is 143x71x6.8mm with the Edge version being a little bit smaller at 142x70x7mm, and they weigh 138g and 132g respectively. The Galaxy S5 is a little wider and a touch thicker at 142x73x8.1mm but it's hard to tell in the hand, and it weighs a few grams more at 145g.

We think the new Galaxy S6 is the better-looking phone, and it has a much nicer feel to it than the previous model. However, if you want to swap out your battery, add lots of extra storage at a low cost or need waterproofing, then the S5 is probably a better bet.


Screen size:
Both the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S5 have 5.1inscreens, with the new S6's display protected by Gorilla Glass 4, and the old S5 using Gorilla Glass 3. Glass manufacturer Corning is convinced that the new glass is far tougher, you can see its comparisons here – Gorilla 3 vs Gorilla 4. The S6 Edge also has a 5.1in screen, but the curved off edges mean it doesn't look as big square-on.

Both the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge have huge 2,560x1,440 resolutions, which amounts to a pretty amazing 577 pixels per inch, the highest figure we've ever seen. The Galaxy S5 has a 1,920x1,080 resolution, which is a still impressive 432 pixels per inch. With careful studying of test images, we found we could tell the difference between the similarly detailed LG G3 and a typical Full HD display, but it makes no odds in day-to-day use.

Screen technology:
Both the S6 and S5 use Samsung's AMOLED screen technology. Both phones also use the company's latest diamond-shaped PenTile subpixel array, which provides better colour accuracy and brightness than previous models. Some people prefer LCD screens, but we like the superior contrast of an AMOLED. In short, they're both great.


Processor and Graphics: In previous years Samsung has confusingly used different chipsets for its flagship phone in different regions. Here in the UK we got a Qualcomm SnapDragon 801-poweredGalaxy S5. This quad-core chip has four cores that ran at up to 2.5GHz. It's a 32-bit chip that  and was made with a 28nm manufacturing process(more on this shortly). All backed up with 2GB of RAM.

This year we're getting Samsung's own-branded 8-core chipset in all handsets: the Samsung Exynos 7420. This uses ARM's clever big.LITTLE architecture with four low-power 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores for power efficiency and four high-power 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 cores for tougher tasks. The two sets of cores work seamlessly together to provide power and efficiency in one package. And you get more RAM too, with 3GB to run your apps in.

Better still the new chipset is manufactured with a more power-efficient 14nm process and is a 64-bit processor, so it can make the most of the new 64-bit friendly Android 5.0 operating system.

From early scores, the Galaxy S6's Exynos 7420 looks to be very quick, indeed. Android Police has reported that the S6 is scoring a very impressive 70,000 in the AnTuTu benchmark, compared to 31,000 for the S5. From Computerbase.de we have scores from Geekbench 3. Here the S6 again outscores the M9, with a multi-core total of 4,547 compared around 2,900 for the Galaxy S5
In our own testing with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, we got a score of 17fps in the GFXBench Manhattan test, compared to 11.7fps from the S5. Which shows that the newer phone is far faster in tough graphics tests.
As mentioned above the older Galaxy S5 had a memory card slot, letting you add up to 128GB of extra storage for around £60 or 64GB for as little as £20. It was a great way to expand you storage for photos, music or movies, without having to pay out for an expensive handset with additional memory. The Galaxy S6 comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions, although they won't be cheap; the S6 Edge Samsung comes in 64GB and 128GB versions. Samsung has said its new flash memory is much quicker, so files should open faster.
We were surprised to discover that the S6 uses a smaller 2,550mAh (the Edge has a 2,600mAh battery): 250mAh less than last year's model, which had a 2,6800mAh battery. However, the phone should be more power efficient overall, thanks to its more power-efficient chipset. The S5's larger battery and efficient AMOLED display made it one of the best performing handsets in our battery test roundup of 2014. A bigger thing for some people is that the battery is not replaceable on the S6 or S6 Edge, while the S5's removable back meant that people could carry a spare, fully-charged battery with them.

Operating system 
All of the phones now run Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the Galaxy S5 having recently got an update. In terms of features and interface, then, all of the handsets are very similar, but there's one important thing about the S6 and S6 Edge: less bloatware. Samsung has removed 40% of pre-installed apps, making the new phones cleaner and leaner.

Samsung pay
The S6 and S6 Edge also support the new Samsung Pay mobile payments system, which will let you pay for goods in-store using your mobile phone, securing the transaction with the fingerprint reader. It's not that important in the UK yet, with the system only rolling out in the US and Korea for now, and here later on, with no confirmed date set.

Both phones use a 16-megapixel camera, but the S6 has a brighter f/1.9 lens, which lets 34% more light hit the sensor than the S5's f/2.2. Samsung has also added optical image stabilisation, which should significantly reduce camera shake when shooting in low light. It's hard to make any real comparisons based on these figures alone, but the S6 is looking like a healthy step up.

Samsung has just announced the pricing for its new phones. SIM-free the S6 costs £600 for the 32GB version, with no pricing available for the higher-capacity models; the 64GB S6 Edge costs £760. The Galaxy S5 is cheaper at £489.

It's a similar story contract-wise, with the new phones costing a lot more than the older handset. At the moment Vodafone is offering the S6 for free on a £44 a month contract; the S6 Edge is free on a £49 a month contract. Vodafone starts the S5 for free on a £31 a month contract. Better deals can be had, depending on how much you pay up front and the type of contract you get, but one thing is clear: the older S5 costs less.

There's no denying the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a great phone, and it's something of a bargain right now. It's still incredibly fast, has a great screen, a brilliant camera and a battery that you can replace. It's build quality lets it down, though. With the S6 and S6 Edge, you get a faster processor, leaner install of Android and much better build quality. The trade-off is that you pay more and you don't get a replaceable battery or a memory card slot. From this, you should be able to work out which features are most important to you, and which phone suits your needs. We'll update this article soon once we've fully reviewed the S6 so that we can bring you a more in-depth comparison of features.

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