Samsung's Galaxy S6 is expected to be announced at this year's MWC, but how does it differ to the current Samsung Galaxy S5? We compare what we know about the S5 and what we think we know about the S6 to find out. It's S5 vs S6.
We should point out that the Samsung Galaxy S6's specification has not yet been confirmed, but many details have leaked. We will update this article once new information is available. Note that the imaghes used here are of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Also see: Best phones 2015and best new phones coming in 2015.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Price and UK availability
When the Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced it had an RRP of £579, but even before its release it was reduced to around £550, and within a month or two, £500. A year later and the Samsung Galaxy S5 costs £383 SIM-free at Amazon.
We expect to see exactly the same pattern with the Samsung Galaxy S6, so you may find that it will pay to wait a month or two following its March release before you buy.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Design and build
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a plastic hanset with a removable rear cover that has a perforated texture, supposedly in order to feel more natural and aid grip in the hand. It's a removable cover, allowing access the also removable battery and microSDXC slot.
With the Samsung Galaxy S6 expect to see a more premium looking design with a metal chassis. The removable cover will still be plastic and removable, but the overall design will look more similar to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha.
The screen will mark a key difference between these two smartphones, if rumours are correct. While the Samsung Galaxy S5 packs a 5.1in full-HD (1920x1080, 432ppi) display, the S6 is expected to get a 5.5in Quad-HD (1440x2560, 534ppi) panel. Both will use a Super AMOLED screen, so the only differences will be in their size and resolution. Expect it to be protected with Gorilla Glass 4, rather than the S5's Gorilla Glass 3, too.
All the screen software tweaks built into the S5, such as Smart stay and Adapt display, should also be found in the Galaxy S6.
Given the larger screen it's possible that we may see a slight increase in size and weight over the Samsung Galaxy S5's 142x72.5x8.1mm and 145g, yet the S6 is rumoured to come with slimmer bezels.
As with the S5, the S6 will include a heart-rate monitor on the rear, plus a fingerprint scanner built into the Home button - but this one should be more intuitive to use, with touch- rather than swipe-based input. Like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4it will also get a UV sensor. Leaked case designs, which may or may not be accurate, suggest the dual-LED flash will be moved to the other side of the camera.
One other rumoured change is that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will no longer support IP67 dust- and waterproof protection. However, the source of this claim says that's because there will also be an Active version of the S6, yet we also saw an Active version of the S5.
In common with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy S6 will be available in two versions: the standard Samsung Galaxy S6, plus the Galaxy S6 Edge. This will be similar to the Galaxy Note Edge, which has a curved edge to one side of the screen to show notifications and the like, except this handset may offer two curved screen edges.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is expected to be available in Charcoal Black, Copper Gold, Electric Blue and Shimmery White, matching the options available with the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Hardware and performance
Originally thought to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip in the UK, fears over overheating issues have reportedly led Samsung to reconsider and fit the Galaxy S6 with its own Exynos 7420, a 64-bit octa-core processor with four Cortex-A53 cores and four Cortex-A57s. This has seemingly been backed up by the fact that in its latest earnings call Qualcomm admitted it had lost a big client.
This Exynos 7420 chip may also be backed up with 3GB of RAM and 32-, 64- and 128GB storage models, although we doubt we'll see any more than 32GB in the UK. You will also be able to add microSD cards up to 128GB in capacity, of course.
By comparison, in the UK the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 2GB of RAM and 16GB (or apparently 32GB) of storage with the same microSD support. It performs very well in our benchmarks, netting 2869 points in Geekbench 3.0 multicore, 824ms in SunSpider, and 28fps in GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex. We don't know exactly how much faster the S6 will prove to be, but we do expect a significant performance bump. Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2015?
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Audio
Sound quality in the S5 is acceptable, but nothing out of the ordinary. However, Samsung's hoping to appeal to audiophiles with its upcoming Galaxy S6 if reports are to be believed. It's thought to come with Sennheiser uni-directional earbuds, which look similar to Apple EarPods. Rumour has it they will feature apt-X, which may mean they are wireless.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Cameras
One area in which there have been contrasting rumours is photography. While all sources seem to confirm the S6 will get a 5Mp front-facing camera, boosted from the S5's 2Mp and appealing for use in video chat and selfies, no-one seems to be able to make up their mind as to whether it will stick with the S5's 16Mp camera, with optical image stabilisation as seen on the Note 4, or upgrade it to 20Mp. This is one area in which we will have to wait and see.
Expect at very least everything you get with the S5, Note 4 and Galaxy Alpha, however. That means 4K UHD video at 30fps, plus all Samsung's software tweaks, including real-time HDR, Beauty Face, Dual Camera, Panorama, Selective Focus, Shot & More and Virtual Tour.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Connectivity
We're not expecting much to change on the connectivity front, although it wouldn't be unreasonable to think Samsung might improve the S6's LTE support. In S5 and S6 you'll get 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. In the S5 Samsung also specifies MIMO technology and offers a unique Download Booster that combines the power of 4G LTE and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to deliver downloads at a theoretical max of 400Mb/s, so expect to find these in the S6 too.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Software
While the Samsung Galaxy S5 is sold running Android KitKat, the S6 will come with Lollipop. You can read up on the key differences in our Android KitKat vs Android Lollipop review, but keep in mind that Samsung will also upgrade its S5 to Lollipop.
TouchWiz features on both S5 and S6, but in the S6 Samsung is expected to slim down its preinstalled offerings with much of it available as free downloads. We're sure you'll still find S Health, S Voice, the Galaxy Apps store and its Magazine BlinkFeed-style UI at the very least.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is also expected to offer enhanced themes, with a Themes Center letting you change system sounds, fonts and Events (such as Christmas or Valentine's Day). There will also be a Themes Store.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Battery life
The Samsung Galaxy has a 2800mAh removable battery and an Ultra Power Saving mode that ekes out every bit of life (up to 24 hours) from the last 10 percent of juice by turning off all unneccessary functions and using a greyscale display. The S6's battery capacity has not leaked, but we do know that it will support the same Ultra Power Saving mode plus fast charging - in the Galaxy Note 4 the battery can go from zero to 50 percent in just 30 minutes, which is twice as fast as most phones, and something we hope to see in the S6.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Verdict
We're going to hold off our verdict until we've seen the finished Samsung Galaxy S6, but from the sounds of it Samsung has made a lot of improvements - the Quad-HD screen alone would make it a worthwhile upgrade over the S5.
Buying Advice We're going to hold off our verdict until we've seen the finished Samsung Galaxy S6, but from the sounds of it Samsung has made a lot of improvements - the Quad-HD screen alone would make it a worthwhile upgrade over the S5.