The Nexus 6 is 5 percent taller and 9 percent wider and 33 percent thicker than the Galaxy Note 5. Both are big, but the Note will make a subtler impression in your pocket.
The Galaxy Note 5 is 7 percent lighter than the Nexus.
Both handsets have solid-feeling aluminum frames.
The Note is the overall more premium-feeling phone, though, with its Gorilla Glass 4 back. That glass is also curved on the back; basically the mirror image of the Galaxy S6 edge+, which has a curved front.
The Galaxy Note 5 will ship in four different color options, compared to two for the Nexus.
The Nexus 6's enormous screen makes it as much of a tablet as a smartphone, coming out 9 percent bigger than the Note's already big display.
Both handsets have super-crisp Quad HD resolution.
We're also looking at rich-colored, deep-blacked AMOLEDs on both handsets.
A big part of the Galaxy Note's identity is its S Pen stylus.
This year it has a few extra tricks, like a click-out feature that makes it easier to pull out of the phone,multi-page screenshots and the ability to scribble notes on its darkened screen without waking the phone up.
The Note 5 has the same touch-based fingerprint sensor we saw in the Galaxy S6. No such luck for Nexus 6 owners.
You'll have the same 32 GB and 64 GB storage options for each phone.
There's no expandable storage on either handset.
The Note 5 has the same blazing-fast chip found in the GS6, though nine months after launch, the Nexus 6 still impresses us with how seamlessly it zips through Android Lollipop.
The Note has an extra GB of RAM over the Nexus.
The Nexus has a slightly higher-capacity battery, but that doesn't necessary mean it will have the better battery life. Stay tuned for our full Note review for some tests.
Both batteries are sealed shut.
When using the default (included) microUSB cables, both handsets' batteries can juice up quickly from a nearly-dead state.
Both the Note 5 and Nexus 6 also have built-in wireless charging.
Fast wireless charging
Here's something new: the Note combines the last two categories, juicing up faster than typical (usually pretty slow) wireless charging times.
The Nexus 6 will be compatible with the NFC-based Android Pay (the successor to Google Wallet) when it launches, but Samsung's payment service won't require NFC terminals at stores, also playing nicely with most standard credit card readers.
The Note 5's cameras are likely the same as the ones found in the GS6, and will almost certainly be a better choice than the Nexus for photography.
The Nexus doesn't have a bad camera by any means, but we also found it to be just a "good enough" feature in an otherwise outstanding flagship.
Physical camera shortcut
One of our favorite Galaxy S6 features returns in the Note 5, the home button double-tap camera launch shortcut. At least on the GS6, we could go from sleeping phone to snapped pic in less than two seconds.
Camera aperture (rear)
The Note's rear camera aperture is just a smidge wider.
Both phones run Android Lollipop, but the Nexus has the "pure" version (Google's vision, without any customizations), while Samsung's TouchWiz gives the Note a cosmetic makeover along with some extra features (including all those S Pen goodies).
The Note 5 launches this month, but we may only be two or three months away from a new Nexus phone (or two).
Starting price (full retail)
Most outlets have shaved US$150 off of the Nexus 6's original $650 full retail price. If you don't mind rocking an aging phone and skipping the stylus, it can save you some significant cash compared to the smaller Note 5.
Just keep in mind most people won't pay these prices upfront; the more popular option (at least in the US) is saving down payment money by agreeing to a two-year contract or installment plan.