Nexus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S5

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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Motorola/Google Nexus 6 (left) and Samsung Galaxy S5

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With the Nexus 6, Google and Motorola are ditching budget pricing and making a whale of a high-end flagship. How does it stack up against the most popular Android phone? Let's compare the features and specs of the Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

Size

The Galaxy S5 isn't a small phone, but it looks it next to this beast. The Nexus 6 is 13 percent taller, 14 percent wider and 25 percent thicker than Samsung's flagship.

Weight

The smaller Galaxy S5 is also 21 percent lighter.

Build

The Nexus 6 has a plastic back, but it does have some metal onboard, in the band running around its edge.

Unlike its big brother, the Galaxy Note 4, the GS5 has a plastic edge that joins its (dimpled) plastic back.

Colors

Motorola gives you two color options, while Samsung offers four.

Display (size)

You won't see many phones with bigger screens than the Nexus 6. Its 6-in display makes it a toss-up as to whether you're looking at an enormous smartphone or an undersized cellular-enabled tablet.

Display (resolution)

We're looking at 1080p in the GS5 vs. Quad HD for the Nexus. Once you take their different screen sizes into account, though, the Nexus 6 doesn't have as big of a sharpness advantage as you might expect.

Display (type)

Samsung has been the biggest champion of AMOLED displays through the years, but Motorola is joining that party as well with the Nexus 6.

Fingerprint sensor

The GS5 has a swipe-based fingerprint scanner in its home button.

Water resistance

If you ask me, the GS5's killer feature is its IP67 water resistance. It can soak in 1 m (3.3 ft) of water for 30 minutes, and come out as good as new.

Though it doesn't have an official rating, the Nexus 6 should have some light splash protection onboard (like its blood brother, the 2014 Moto X).

Heart rate sensor

The GS5 also has a heart rate monitor sitting below its rear camera.

Cameras

Speaking of cameras, the Nexus 6's camera could potentially mark a big step forward from the Nexus 5's. The GS5 has been around for half a year, but its camera is still hard to beat (though annoyingly slow to load from the lock screen).

Aperture

Another encouraging sign for the Nexus, as its rear shooter has a wider aperture than the GS5 does.

Dual LED flash

... and for the icing on the cake, the Nexus has a dual LED flash. These can help flash shots to look more colorful and evenly lit than flash shots taken on single-LED phones.

Battery

We'll have to wait for testing before commenting on the Nexus 6's battery life, but Google is advertising up to 9.5 hours of internet use over Wi-Fi.

The GS5 has very good battery life, and is one of the longest-lasting phones we've reviewed.

Fast charging

When the Nexus 6 conks out, it supposedly only takes 15 minutes to fill up with enough juice to last 6 hours.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

This is one of my favorite new software innovations from the last year: Samsung's Ultra Power Saving Mode can keep you on the grid if your battery gets low. It can stretch 10 percent of juice into about 24 hours of extra battery life.

Front-facing speakers

We'll have to wait and see if they're as booming as the ones in the HTC One, but the Nexus 6 also has front-facing speakers.

Split-screen multitasking

This might make more sense the other way around, as split-screen multitasking is a great match for big screens. But in this case, the smaller GS5 has it, while the bigger Nexus 6 doesn't (though you never know what Google has up its sleeve with future software updates).

Infrared

Like all Samsung flagships since early 2013, the GS5 has an infrared blaster, so you can use the phone as a remote control for your TV and cable or satellite box.

Processor

The Nexus has the newer and faster Snapdragon 805 under the hood.

RAM

We're also looking at an extra 1 GB of RAM in the Nexus.

Storage

This is a mixed bag, as the two storage tiers of the Nexus double those of the GS5 ... but Samsung's phone has an ace up its sleeve with a microSD card slot.

Software

Like every other Nexus device, the Nexus 6 is launching alongside a new version of Android. In this case, it will run stock Android 5.0 "Lollipop."

The GS5 is one version behind for now, though Samsung's TouchWiz UI dictates your experience much more than the underlying KitKat does.

Release

The Nexus 6 is set to launch in early November.

Starting price (full retail)

The last two Nexus phones married high-end specs (at the time) with budget pricing. Well, you can kiss that goodbye with the Nexus 6, as its price matches top-tier flagships like the GS5, iPhone 6 and HTC One (M8).

Starting price (on-contract)

I'd bet that we'll see Nexus 6 on-contract pricing that's roughly the same as the GS5's, but we'll have to wait for an official word on that front.

Stay tuned for more on the Nexus 6, as we move towards its launch. And if you're leaning in Samsung's direction, you can check out our full Galaxy S5 review.

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