We review and compare the best Android mobile phones you can buy right now, to see which is best for you: the Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z5 or Xperia Z5 Compact, LG G4 or Nexus 6P? Check out our full comparison review, where we take a look at battery life, screen quality, camera performance, specs and other important features.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: At a glance
|Phone||LG G4||Nexus 6P||Galaxy S6||Xperia Z5||Xperia Z5 Compact|
|Processor||Snapdragon 808||Snapdragon 810||Exynos 7420||Snapdragon 810||Snapdragon 810|
|Storage||32GB + micro SD||32/64/128GB||32/64/128GB||32GB + micro SD||32GB + micro SD|
|Cameras||16MP + 8MP||12.3MP + 8MP||16MP + 5MP||23MP + 5.1MP||23MP + 5.1MP|
|Wireless charging?||With cover||No||Yes||No||No|
|Bonus features||Q Slide etc||Android Marshmallow||Heart rate sensor||Remote Play||Remote Play|
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Design
The good news is that Android phones are now just as sexy, if not even more gorgeous, than Apple’s iPhone - with the added bonus that you can pick from a range of styles, rather than the same all-metal look each time.
So if you’d like a premium glass finish, check out the Sony Xperia Z5 or the Samsung Galaxy S6. Their glassy front panels extend to the back end, broken only by a metallic rim for added support. They come in a range of colours too, to stand out from the slew of plain black and white mobiles out there.
Read next: Top 10 Android phones in 2016
However, the Galaxy S6’s shiny surfaces are unfortunately a magnet for fingerprints and greasy marks, while the Xperia Z5's frosted glass frame tends to hide scuffs well. The trade-off is that the Z5 is very fragile. Just a short drop onto a carpeted floor has already cracked the rear of our review handset. That said, the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact are the only water-resistant phones here, so they’ll survive an unexpected tumble into the bath. Great news if you can’t even take a quick dip without checking your Twitter.
The Xperia Z5 Compact shares its bigger sibling’s water resistance, but opts for a much more fun design, with the seriously bright yellow model proving particularly stand-out. It’s definitely eye-catching, but also well suited to smaller hands thanks to its compact build (even if it is a bit of a chunky monkey).
At the other end of the scale you have the 5.5-inch LG G4, which is definitely one for leather lovers, with a soft-touch premium backing that helps to aid grip (unlike those slippery glass handsets). Of course, you can get it in a ‘ceramic’ finish too, but that’s nowhere near as exciting and loses that essential grip.
And then you have the biggest phone here, the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P. Despite its size, the Nexus 6P actually fits quite well in the hand thanks to its carefully considered design, with curves in all of the right places. Of course the 6P is quite difficult to use one-handed, especially compared with dinky rivals like the Xperia Z5 Compact. However, if you want that all-metal iPhone style, the Nexus 6P is definitely the one to grab. It’s reassuringly rugged and has bags of style.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Screen and media
The Galaxy S6, LG G4 and Nexus 6P all boast incredibly sharp WQHD ‘Quad HD’ displays, packing a meaty 2560x1440 pixel resolution for crisp results. You can press these phones right up to your face and still stand no chance of making out individual pixels. However, even though the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact displays aren’t as sharp (1080p and 720p respectively), they’re still detailed enough to make the most of HD video.
Of course, if you spend a lot of time browsing the web or consuming video on your phone, then you might want to look at the G4 or the Nexus 6P. With a 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch screen respectively, these phones make for a comfortable viewing experience. By contrast, the Xperia Z5 Compact’s 4.7-inch screen sometimes seems a little cramped, especially when you’re checking out a very busy website.
As for picture quality, all five phones here impress with strong brightness levels and contrast. The Xperia Z5/Z5 Compact and the LG G4 allow you to tinker with colour dynamics in the display settings to suit your own tastes, while Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and the Nexus 6P both produce eye-poppingly vibrant colours thanks to their AMOLED panels. We’re personally big fans of those bright, rich images, but anyone who prefers more realistic and subdued images should look elsewhere.
When it comes to audio quality, we'd recommend using earphones with all of these handsets - especially the Xperia Z5, which boasts noise cancellation (with compatible headphones) and support for High-Res Audio. The built-in speakers on all of these phones are merely fine for kicking back with a TV show in a quiet environment, lacking the punch of HTC’s BoomSound speakers for instance. However, the Nexus 6P is possibly the best here, producing a surprisingly clear sound considering the size of the speakers (which are thankfully front-facing).
If you aren’t a fan of media streaming, or you spend a lot of time offline/abroad, or you simply can’t afford a lot of data on your contract, then you’ll probably want a phone with expandable storage so you can carry around a respectable music and video collection. You might therefore discount the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6P, which don’t support micro SD memory cards. You can of course upgrade to a model with more storage, but this is much more costly than simply slotting a £10 memory card inside your phone, and less flexible.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Features
Security-conscious users will love the Xperia Z5/Z5 Compact, Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6P, which come with accurate and responsive fingerprint sensors. Forget PINs and passwords, which can be read over your shoulder. Fingerprint sensors are quick and convenient and help to keep your private data super-secure.
The G4 doesn’t have a sensor, although you do at least get LG’s Knock Code feature. This is a simple variation on the standard pattern unlock method, which is harder for would-be thieves to register over your shoulder.
Besides the scanner, all of the Android phones here offer very similar features, although the Nexus 6P is the only phone that comes with the latest version of Android (Marshmallow) already installed. In terms of look and feel there’s not much difference, although Marshmallow is more efficient, for longer battery life, while also giving more control over your privacy (by limiting what features your apps can access).
That said, all of the other phones here will be updated to Marshmallow in the coming months - hopefully very soon, in most cases.
Playstation gamers might want to check out the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact, which boast a nifty Remote Play feature. This allows you to stream games direct from your PS4, complete with full controller support, so you can blast terrorists while you’re on the lavvy. If you'd rather go for a jog than veg out over the latest games, then the Galaxy S6 will be more up your street, thanks to a built-in heart rate sensor and the decent S Health app to track your daily efforts.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Battery life
The Galaxy S6 offers roughly a day of life per charge, providing you don't go nuts with streaming kitten videos on YouTube or anything. However, the award for best battery life belongs to the other phones here, which can keep you going for a full day and a half between charges.
The Galaxy S6 may be a little behind in terms of longevity, but it does offer out-of-the-box wireless charging; of course, you'll have to stump up for your own compatible wireless charging pad if you want to ditch the cables. The LG G4 can be charged wirelessly too, but only if you buy LG's Quick Circle case, while the other phones here have no support for cable-free charging.
If you find yourself always forgetting to charge your phone until ten minutes before you step out of the door, the Nexus 6P, Xperia Z5/Z5 Compact and Galaxy S6 are your best bets. These phones all support some form of fast charge, which gives you hours of use from just a few minutes at the mains.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Performance
Samsung's Galaxy S6 is still the best performer here, thanks to the excellent Exynos 7420 processor. Not only does it rule in benchmarking tests, but it provides silky smooth everyday performance, even when multi-tasking or playing memory-hogging games.
Of course, the Snapdragon 810 processor that powers the Sony phones and Nexus 6P is also strong enough to keep things running without a hitch. We did see the occasional stutter on the Xperia Z5 during the early days, but this seems to no longer be an issue with our review handsets. Meanwhile, the LG G4’s Snapdragon 808 processor is also consistently effective.
For true future-proofing, the Galaxy S6 is the way to go. But any of these handsets will do the job for gaming and staying productive on the move.
Galaxy S6 vs Xperia Z5 vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs LG G4 vs Nexus 6P: Cameras
If you’re all about snapping your surroundings, then the good news is that all five of these Android phones pack best-in-class cameras.
Ignore the camera specs, because although the Nexus 6P has the ‘worst’ snapper on paper (12.3-megapixels), that rear camera is easily as strong as the others on offer. Huawei has used a Sony Exmor R sensor which can cope admirably with a range of conditions, from dimly lit massage parlours to busy street scenes.
The best camera for taking shots in dark environments is undoubtedly the LG G4’s, but all of these snappers are backed up by effective flashes for lighting up even the gothiest of nightclubs. And we’re impressed that Sony has once again packed the same all-new 23-megapixel camera into both the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact, including a wide range of shooting modes; kids will especially love the augmented reality features, which add mad effects to your shots.
All five phones here can also shoot HD video, or even 4k footage if you want your home movies to look super-sharp on your expensive telly. As for selfie cams, all five phones are perfectly fine for shooting your mug, with a minimum five-megapixel snapper on offer. They certainly more than do the job for a quick Facebook update.