Samsung Galaxy S6 (and GS6 edge) vs. Galaxy S5

33 pictures

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 (far left) and Galaxy S6 edge (middle) vs. last year's Galaxy S5

View gallery - 33 images

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are by far the series' biggest steps forward in terms of design. Wondering if they're worth the upgrade over the GS5? Let's compare their features and specs.

Size

Their faces only have minor size differences, but you'll notice that the two 2015 models are much thinner. Compared to the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy S6 is 16 percent thinner and the Galaxy S6 edge is about 14 percent thinner.

Weight

Both new models are pretty light, with the Galaxy S6 coming in at 5 percent lighter than the GS5 and the Galaxy S6 edge measuring 9 percent lighter than last year's flagship.

Build (back)

While the back of the Galaxy S5 had a slightly soft plastic texture (complete with dimples), the Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge have a much more premium glass finish (Gorilla Glass 4, to be precise).

Build (sides)

The GS5's frame was a metallic-looking plastic, but the new models' sides are made of aluminum.

Colors

Each phone has four color options, with a blue/green discrepancy standing as the only difference between the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Also keep in mind that the shades of simple colors like black or blue will look very different on those glass backs than they will on that dimpled plastic in the GS5.

Display (size)

No differences here, as all three phones have 5.1-in displays. It's going to be a nice sweet spot for lots of people, giving you a fairly big screen, but without feeling like a bulky phablet in your pocket.

Display (resolution)

The GS6 and GS6 edge jump up to Quad HD resolution, with about 78 percent more pixels (and 34 percent higher pixel density) than the Galaxy S5. Make no mistake, though: the GS5's 1080p is still very sharp; those Quad HD screens just take the eye candy factor to a new level.

Display (type)

Like all Samsung flagships, these three have Super AMOLED displays – known for rich colors, deep blacks and low power use on mostly black screens.

Curved display

Like 2014's Galaxy Note Edge, the Galaxy S6 edge has a curved display – only here it slopes over on both sides.

The curved portions of the GS6 edge's display will flash notifications, and you can swipe over it to activate some shortcuts when you want it to. Otherwise the edges will display normal content (as if they were flat), and they appear to be largely a cosmetic addition.

Fingerprint sensor

Both new models have fingerprint sensors, and they should be a big step forward from those found in the GS5. The old model required a swipe to register your print (and could be a little finnicky at times), but the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge are touch-based. Similar to Apple's Touch ID, you just rest your finger on the home button to unlock your phone.

Samsung Pay

Well, you can't say Apple isn't still an influential company. Several months after Apple Pay arrived, we have … wait for it … Samsung Pay.

Samsung's works a little differently, though, and due to a proprietary technology that lets it work at standard swipe-based credit card terminals (in addition to using NFC, like Apple Pay), Samsung estimates the number of terminals that Samsung Pay will work with at around 30 million. In other words, it will be nearly universal from the get-go.

Processor

If you're a mobile processor geek, then 2015 will go down in history as the year Samsung dropped Qualcomm Snapdragons from its phones. The octa-core Exynos chips in the new pair of GS6 phones should be very fast, and may also do better at avoiding overheating in our next category ...

Gear VR

Samsung and Oculus VR have a new version of the Gear VR for the GS6 and GS6 edge. The original Samsung virtual reality headset was one of our favorite wearables of 2014, and the new version adds USB compatibility, so you can plug it in and keep your phone's battery from draining (at least as much) while you're playing.

Battery

Speaking of battery, these are the capacities of the new models. We wouldn't read too much into that, though, as many other factors determine actual battery life. Stay tuned for our full review for more on this.

Removable battery

When you're shopping for a new phone, you're usually going to have to choose between a fully premium build and a removable battery (it's hard to think of any phones that combine the two). The batteries in the new GS6 models are sealed shut, something we aren't used to seeing from Samsung.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Samsung's Ultra Power Saving Mode, which can keep you on the grid if your battery level hits the danger zone, returns in the new models. You can revisit our GS5 review for a refresher on this nifty feature.

Fast charging

Though it's no longer based on Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0, the new pair still has a fast charging feature. This time Samsung is estimating about 4 hours' worth of battery life after just 10 minutes of charging (though you should only see that boost when juicing up from a nearly dead battery).

Wireless charging (out of the box)

With past flagships (including the Galaxy S5) you've had the option of buying a separate battery cover for wireless charging, but with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, this technology is built-in.

RAM

The last couple of Galaxy Notes have had 3 GB of RAM, but the GS6 and GS6 edge are the first in the Galaxy S series to jump up to 3 GB.

Storage

The new models now start with twice the internal storage: 32 GB vs. the GS5's 16 GB.

MicroSD

Part of that, though, is to make up for the lack of a microSD card slot in the new handsets.

Heart rate sensor

Samsung's heart rate sensor sticks around in the new models.

Rear camera

We're still looking at 16 MP for the new models' rear cameras.

Front camera

The pair of GS6es does get a front camera boost – for better selfies, perhaps.

Camera aperture

The GS6 and GS6 edge also have wider apertures in their rear shooters.

Water resistance

One of the most marketed features in the Galaxy S5 goes the way of the dodo with the Galaxy S6. Though it would have been nice to have both in one package, we think a much more premium build in favor of water/dust resistance is a fair tradeoff.

NFC

Like just about every Android flagship from the last few years, all three have NFC chips.

Infrared

All three phones give you the option of using your handset as a remote control for your TV.

Software

All three phones run Android Lollipop at their core, but the two variants of the Galaxy S6 have a lighter smattering of the TouchWiz UI, with Samsung taking its bloatware reduction trend much farther than it did last year.

Release

April 10 is the big day for the two new Galaxy S6 phones. As is usually the case, that's almost exactly a year after last year's model launched.

Starting price (on-contract)

One thing Samsung didn't announce was pricing for the new phones. US$200 on-contract has been the standard starting price for this series, but, who knows, maybe Samsung will add a premium for those high-end materials (though a higher price would certainly carry some risk for Samsung when it comes to sales numbers).

Starting price (full retail)

Ditto for off-contract pricing, as Samsung hasn't announced this yet. It will also be worth keeping an eye on what kind of premium Samsung wants for the Galaxy S6 edge. The Edge variant of the Note 4 was so expensive it was hard to recommend.

Just keep in mind that these prices listed for the Galaxy S5 will likely be lower very soon (if not already), as retailers clear stock to make way for the 2015 models.

For more, you can hit up Gizmag's reviews of the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S5.

View gallery - 33 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Latest in Mobile Technology

Latest phone comparisons

Editors Choice