Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 (by Huawei) full review

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones?

Chinese manufacturers are well known for creating smartphones with specs to rival industry-leading flagships at much lower cost, but would the end user really notice the difference? We compare the Honor 6 (made by Huawei) and Samsung's Galaxy S5 spec for spec to find out whether that extra money is money well spent. Here's our Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review. Also see Best smartphones and Best Android phones. 

Also read our Honor 6 review and Samsung Galaxy S5 review. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Price and UK availability 

SIM-free the Honor 6 is a full £120 cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S5, coming in at £249 and the Samsung at around £370. Both are available to buy now, and if you can afford to pay the full amount up front they will work out much cheaper when paired with a SIM-only deal than when purchased on a two-year contract. Also see our Best mobile phone deals 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Design and build 

Despite its mid-range price tag the Honor 6 is a fairly decent-looking phone. It's very thin and light - both thinner and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S5 at 139.6x69.7x7.5mm and 130g against its 142x72.5x8.1mm and 145g - especially for a phone that has a 5in screen. We're not so keen on the glossy (slippery) finish, and the faux-metal edges look as though they have been spray-painted by hand, but the diamond-style textured rear cover is a nice touch. 

Samsung's Galaxy S5 is a nice phone but it won't appeal to all users, with a dimpled plastic rear cover that is removable and therefore a little flimsy, but good for grip. It looks just like all Samsung Galaxys before it, with a very familiar design. Unlike the Honor 6 it is IP67-certified dust- and waterproof (for up to 30 mins in 1m of water), and it features both a heart-rate monitor and fingerprint sensor. 

The Honor 6 is available in black or white, while the S5 also comes in Copper Gold and Electric Blue. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Display 

With Honor fitting a 5in screen and Samsung 5.1in, there's really very little difference in the amount of screen estate on offer here. Both feature a full-HD (1080x1920) resolution, although that extra 0.1in for the S5 means pixels must be stretched further, thus the Honor 6 is sharper, at 445ppi against the 432ppi of Samsung's S5. 

It's also an IPS LCD, which tend to be sharper than the Super AMOLED panel favoured by Samsung. IPS screens are also typically brighter and with better viewing angles, while Super AMOLED is usually better for contrast and places less of a drain on the battery with no need for a backlight, but they can produce oversaturated colours. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Hardware and performance  

With an octa-core processor (1.7GHz Cortex-A15 + 1.3GHz Cortex-A7), 3GB of RAM and Mali-T628 MP4 graphics inside, the Honor 6 stormed the Galaxy S5 and its 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics in Geekbench 3. Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2014  

In the multi-core component of that test the Honor 6 was beaten only by the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with 3103 points against the S5's 2869. It outperformed even the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. 

But the S5 turned things around in our web and graphics benchmarks. In SunSpider there was very little difference between the phones, with the S5 turning in 824ms and the Honor 6 828ms (lower is better). And in GFXBench T-Rex the S5 proved the better gamer with 28fps against the Honor's 17fps. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Storage, connectivity and extras 

Both these phones come in versions with 16- or 32GB of storage, and both support additional storage through microSD. Whereas the Honor 6 accepts up to 32GB in this format the Samsung can handle 128GB, although the high price of 128GB microSD cards may mean you settle for a 32GB card in any case. 

Connectivity stretches to 4G LTE for both these phones, but while the Samsung is specified Cat 4 (up to 150Mb/s) the Honor has Cat 6 (up to 300Mb/s). In other respects the Galaxy S5 bests the Honor 6 in this category. While both feature NFC, an IR blaster, GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack and Wi-Fi Hotspot, the S5 adds Wi-Fi Direct, plus support for 802.11ac to the Honor 6's dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity, and apt-X to its Bluetooth 4.0. The S5 also has a heart-rate monitor, fingerprint sensor and Download Booster that pairs Wi-Fi and 4G for faster downloads, but lacks the DLNA and FM radio of the Honor 6. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Cameras 

Judged purely on paper, Samsung takes the lead on the primary camera with a 16Mp snapper with LED flash able to shoot 4K video at 30fps. The Honor 6's rear camera is slightly lower-specified with a 13Mp sensor that can shoot 1080p video at that same framerate, although it does have a dual-LED flash that will come in useful in low light. It can also take a photo in 0.6 seconds - and without you even turning on the screen. Note that it will shoot 10Mp 16:9 photos as standard, but you can instead select 13Mp 4:3 photos. Both primary cameras support the likes of HDR, filters, panorama modes and everything else you might expect from a top-end smartphone. 

It's a different story around the front. While Samsung fits a fairly standard 2Mp front camera, the Honor 6 has a 5Mp webcam with a wide-angle lens that's ideal for selfies as well as video chat. Also see: Best selfie phones. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Software 

Both Android KitKat phones, the Samsung and Honor differ in the UI software preinstalled by their manufacturers. The Honor 6 runs Emotion, while the Galaxy S5 has TouchWiz. We expect both to be upgraded to Android Lollipop. Also see: Android KitKat vs Android Lollipop  

Emotion is smooth and simplistic, but it ditches Android's app tray and places everything on the home screen. It's a very iOS approach, and you'll probably want to use some folders to stop things getting cluttered. Also like iOS is a handy quick settings bar that slides in from the bottom of the screen. You can read more about Emotion in our full Honor 6 review.  

TouchWiz has many fans (and many enemies). You get a customisable Flipboard-style Magazine feed a swipe away from the home screen, and the ability to run two apps side by side with Multi-Window. Samsung preinstalls a lot of software, including S Health and S Voice. Read more about TouchWiz in our full Samsung Galaxy S5 review 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Battery life 

Huawei claims 2.7 days of battery life for the Honor 6. It's good, but in reality we wouldn't expect that much difference between these handsets. The Honor 6 has only a slightly larger-capacity 3100mAh cell than the Galaxy S5's 2800mAh battery, and both feature an ultra power saving moded that can long out the last 10 percent a whole 24 hours. Only the Samsung has a removable battery; if you need extra juice on the road with the Honor 6 try a power bank. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Honor 6 comparison review: Verdict 

Samsung's Galaxy S5 has several features the Honor 6 lacks, including that fingerprint sensor, heart-rate monitor and IP67 certification, but arguably not a lot that you couldn't live without - especially if it meant saving £120. While we aren't going to suggest the Honor 6 is better than the Galaxy S5, it does offer better value. So, can cheap Chinese handsets live up to top smartphones? Absolutely.


Honor 6 (by Huawei): Specs

  • Android 4.4 KitKat OS
  • 5in IPS display (1080x1920), 445 ppi
  • Octa-core Kirin 920 CPU (4 x 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 & 4 x 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7)
  • Mali-T628 MP4 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 32 GB)
  • 13Mp rear camera, AF with dual-LED Flash
  • 5Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 1080p
  • dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • NFC
  • IR blaster
  • A-GPS
  • Micro-USB (SlimPort)
  • 4G LTE (Cat 6)
  • Micro-SIM
  • 11.5Wh (3100mAh) battery
  • 70x140x7.5mm
  • 130g

Samsung Galaxy S5: Specs

  • Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.25 inches
  • 32/64 GB storage, 3 GB RAM, microSD, up to 64 GB
  • GPRS
  • EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • Infrared
  • microUSB v2.0
  • 16Mp, 3.2Mp cameras, [email protected]
  • Android OS, v4.4.2
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
  • Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery