The Samsung Galaxy S6 is still the highest selling Android flagship phone. The South Korean company have built their legacy on years of research and development that culminated in the Galaxy S range of smartphones which spurred the huge success of Android worldwide. Ever since the range was launched, though, many other manufacturers have come into the fray and are also delivering great products.
Huawei have made massive advancements in a short time period. The Chinese firm is now actually the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, mostly driven by high sales domestically, but they have now started making waves around the world. Let‘s see how these two giants stack up, Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Huawei P8.
Before you look at our comparison review, check out our reviews of the Huawei P8 Review and Galaxy S6 Edge Review.
Design and Build
Samsung‘s design language has changed quite a bit over the last 12 months. Long gone are the horrible plastics and faux-metal casings, replaced with a much more premium metal chassis. It also has a glass back in addition to the Gorilla Glass front. The device feels so much better in the hand when compared to previous generations of the Galaxy S range, even though it is now a fingerprint magnet.
Enough can‘t be said about how premium the Galaxy S6 now feels. Many people might have some issues with the new design, however, as it means the Galaxy S6 has no more expandable storage capabilities, and you also cannot remove the battery.
The Huawei P8 also has a uni-body design, so no removable battery here either. It does have a microSD card slot, however. It is housed within the beautifully chamfered metal rim, part of a full metal body with a matte finish on the back. It makes the device extremely comfortable to hold and more grippy than you might think. It is much easier to hold than the iPhone 6, which is remarkably slippery in the hand in comparison to the P8.
When it comes to one handed use, these devices are par for the course. Both are easy to handle, and comfortable when making phone calls. The largest difference in quality would be the buttons on the devices.
The Huawei P8 only has a volume rocker and power button. That power button, though, is a thing of beauty (you have to see it close up). The Galaxy S6, on the other hand, has separate buttons for volume up and down, as well as the power button and the obligatory home button up front. The S6 buttons are improved over previous iterations, but the home button has started showing some signs of wear and tear earlier than is ideal. It doesn‘t feel as “˜clicky‘ as it used to. Overall the quality feels slightly better on the Huawei P8.
Overall, the Huawei‘s build quality marginally surpasses that of the Samsung. The design languages are completely different, so it will come down to subjective opinions which one you prefer. We prefer the full metal design of the Huawei P8 though, because it feels slightly easier to hold and we prefer the metal back to the glass.
Samsung has consistently remained a serious player when it comes to display, and the Galaxy S6 is no different, with 577 ppi in the 5.1-inch QHD screen. The pixel density on the P8 is not as impressive, having “˜only‘ a 1080p Full HD display. Sitting at 424 ppi for a 5.2-inch display, it might seems completely inferior on paper, but as we‘ve said countless times before we don‘t think a device needs a QHD display.
A Full HD display is the perfect amount of pixels on a smartphone display, but some advances have been made with the QHD displays this year. Even though the P8‘s display is one of the best 1080p screens out there, you can‘t deny the beauty of Samsung‘s display. The colours pop, and there is something special about that AMOLED panel. We‘d have to say Samsung takes the screen battle.
User Experience
Both of these devices come with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, but both have received software updates in the interim.
TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 looks pretty much the same as it has done for the last three years, with some slight changes in look and feel. The Emotion UI skin on the Huawei P8 is an extreme departure from the usual Android formula, and they have tried something completely different.
Samsung has tried to clean out some of the clutter and unused nonsense that has plagued their phones for some time, and introduce some more intuitive settings. It might not seem like much of a difference, but it makes the device much easier to use.
The Emotion UI tries to differentiate itself by being very different from anything else you will see on Android. With rounded-edge icons it has a bit of a retro style. Also, the tones are much more mature, markedly darker, but can also be tweaked in the theme engine.
Over all, the OS on the Note 4 looks too cartoonish (still), and suffers in aesthetics and performance because of the masses of options and settings in the menus. At the end of the day, preference comes down to the user. We felt Emotion UI was more intuitive, and would prefer to use that on daily basis.
The hardware in these two devices do differ quite a bit. The Samsung came out with the latest and greatest you will find in an Android device, including their proprietary chipset. It includes an Exynos 7420 64-bit chipset, octa core processor with four 2.1GHz Cortex-A57‘s and four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores. The Huawei P8 also includes their proprietary HiSilicon Kirin 930 chipset ““ quad-core 2GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53.
In everyday use, the Samsung takes the prize here, though. The pricier hardware does shine through, even though Samsung does everything in its ability to kill the performance with the TouchWiz interface. This race was close, but the Galaxy S6 still won out.
It is a shame that the Huawei P8 doesn‘t include that great fingerprint scanner we saw on the Mate 7, and on the new Huawei Mate S.
The rear-facing 13-megapixel sensor can‘t match the Galaxy S6 or One M9 for resolution, but Huawei claims its “˜world‘s first‘ 4-colour RGBW imaging sensor. It is said to cut noise in low light conditions by 78% while providing 32% higher brightness and contrast levels.
Exposure on the P8 was great, better than most other Android devices. As most Android devices, it tends to slightly oversaturate colours, but just the right amount to make the photos extremely enticing. Photos in general are of a high quality, with a good level of detail although colours aren‘t quite as vibrant as the Galaxy S6 ““ possibly the best mobile camera currently on the market.
It is definitely one of the best experiences you can have on a smartphone camera. The Galaxy S6 camera is easy to launch, with a quick double tap on the home button ““ even from sleep ““ and from there the experience doesn‘t ever let you down.
All of the settings are easily changed, and some avid photographers might actually find extremely interesting options when taking that next shot. We can‘t fault the Galaxy S6 camera when compared to competition, there simply isn‘t a better camera on any Android device today.
If you look at all the pieces of the pie we have discussed thus far, you might think this is a one horse race. That couldn‘t be further from the truth.
There is one important aspect we haven‘t discussed yet, and that is price. The Galaxy S6 is about R3,000-R4,000 more expensive than the comparable version of the P8. In our books, that is a huge difference in today‘s cash trapped society.
Even if money is no object, I would seriously consider buying the P8 over the Galaxy S6, mostly for one reason. Software. Sure, Emotion UI isn‘t as good as some other Android skins you find out there, but it is better than that of Samsung‘s TouchWiz.
On all the other fronts, the Galaxy S6 only slightly outweighs the P8, but not enough to make our choice the Huawei at the end of the day.
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