The Nexus 6P and the more recently launched Galaxy S7 (and S7 Edge) are the two most talked about Android handsets right now. Why? Because the Nexus 6P is…a Nexus. And Samsung’s Galaxy series has the most Android market share, so its releases are always huge. Therefore, it’s only natural that we question how their performances compare.

Nexus cameras have historically been lackluster. Even when the Nexus 6 showed a lot of promise, it sort of fell flat with a hit or miss sensor. Google’s meh camera software implementation hasn’t really helped either. But the Nexus 6P (and Nexus 5X) set out to change that. Rather than just upping the megapixel count, Google put a big focus on the camera’s efficiency. The Sony IMX377 module has larger pixels than you would typically find, to counter those tricky low-light situations. The software also catches up, with a faster shutter and Auto HDR+.

The Galaxy S7 on the other hand continues Samsung’s excellence in the camera department. Samsung has consistently offered one of the best camera qualities in the Android space. So the question we’re asking today is, has the Nexus caught up with the best? Or does it still have plenty of work to do.

Let’s compare some samples! Note that I used auto mode, and left both cameras are their native aspect ratios and resolutions. The Galaxy S7 (I actually used the S7 Edge) has a 12MP camera while the 6P is at 12.3MP. Their native aspect ratios are 4:3.

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Outdoors

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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So the S7 images are definitely more colorful…almost too much. While the images are generally more lively, I would say that the 6P’s capture is more realistic. Take a look at the S7’s saturation on this one:

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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However, although both sensors have about the same resolution, the S7 images look sharper to me (i.e. compare the fur on my dog on the third set).

Indoors

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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As we move indoors, I’m seeing the 6P struggle slightly, at least in comparison to the S7. All these images look sharper to me on the S7. I’m not sure if it’s the 6P’s focusing. The 6P’s auto-focus is hit or miss in my experience, and definitely not as fast as the S7.

Low-Light

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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Galaxy S7
Galaxy S7

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The sensor on the Nexus 6P has a f/2.0 aperture and considerable 1.55μm pixel size. The S7’s pixels aren’t quite that large but still above average – 1.4μm. However, it’s aperture is f/1.7. This definitely makes for some interesting results.

The S7’s combo wins in the first pair – it’s brighter and clearer. When we remove even more light, things get more interesting. The 6P’s image is clearer, but the color is off. The S7 captured the real color better.

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Final Thoughts

I think that this was a good standoff. To my eyes, the colors from the 6P’s sensor are more accurate (except in extreme low-light situations), but the S7’s camera is sharper and is blazing fast to focus and capture.

I discussed my observations, but by all means, you be the judge. We’d like to hear what you think and which camera you like better. Let us know in the comments below.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Samsung hater site. Check out camera expert site- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Sony, and Galaxy Note 5 gets Top ranking (camera) on DxOMark, Sorry nexus-6P, old Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ still best. http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles

    Nexus-6P – No Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) for the camera, The 32GB Nexus 6P device components cost only $180.

  2. I think the biggest shame is that Google finally took camera hardware seriously and produced one of the better phone cams available, but still couldn’t give enough of a damn to update their camera app. Every other flagship has a much better app.

  3. I have acheived much better results with the “Camera VF-5” camera app than with Google’s camera app. The differences were really astonishing.

  4. Always the debate on phone camera. They’re both very good and will get the job done. Who is a true photographer using a phone to take photos? Sure if one day they become like a DSLR then maybe a debate. It’s still a phone and device to communicate via electronic means.

  5. Low Light: “The 6P’s image is clearer, but the color is off. The S7 captured the real color better”.

    You’re kidding right? The S7 has appalling colour reproduction in low light. It’s completely washed out and desaturated. Any worse and it could easily be mistaken for a black & white sepia effort. The 6P on the other hand actually preserves the colours. 6P wins by a country mile under low light, even when it comes to colour reproduction.

  6. I just bought the s7 edge. I think I’m going to return it. I like my nexus 6p better. The camera is overrated on the galaxy. The images have less clear detail. The pictures are brighter but so what when they lack detail. There is too much smoothing going on and highlights get blown out. I’m just not impressed by the galaxy. The curved screen looks nice and that’s about it. I gave it a chance.

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