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By 18 August 2015 | Categories: sponsored content

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If you're a smartphone user whose flagship diet does not consist of Apple, then chances are an Android device will be your go-to choice. As such, the options are endless when it comes to picking just one flagship Android smartphone, but as we speak, there are a handful that stand out. Two in particular come from East Asia, and serve as the best flagships on the market at the moment - the Huawei P8 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

Eastern Promises

These two devices could not come from more different backgrounds. Huawei is slowly making an impact locally, unveiling a number of impressive devices over the past 18 months. One such device, is the Huawei Ascend P7 (review), the P8's predecessor and a solid all-round offering. As such, Huawei did not have to improve on much for their follow-up iteration, the P8.

Contrastingly, Samsung had a lot of work to do. For many, ourselves included, the Galaxy S5 (review) was quite disappointing. It featured far too much plastic and not enough improvements on the previous model. Thankfully though, Samsung stepped up in a big way, using far better materials and making the Galaxy S6 (review) feel like a true flagship device.

Design and Build

They say imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery, and for the Huawei P8 and Galaxy S6, inspiration behind their respective designs seems to come from everywhere. First the P8, which features an aluminium unibody akin to that of the iPhone. The similarities to Apple's flagship end there though, as Huawei has opted an almost bezel-less edge to edge 5.2" (diagonally) display up front. It's big, bright and crisp, and for those that have a hankering for mobile gaming or watching content online, the P8 will tick all the right boxes given its 424 ppi pixel density.

As mentioned, Samsung had its work cut out for the Galaxy S6 in terms of design. Thankfully though, the South Korean manufacturer answered its critics, dropping the plastic in favour of a far more luxurious glass and metal combination. It's the same kind of setup as Sony favours for its high end Xperia devices. The S6 features an aluminum frame, which is slightly curved at the corners, and utilises a glass back cover. As such, tactileness takes a slight dip, but measuring 70.5 mm wide, can still be cradled comfortably in-hand. In terms of display quality, the S6 is almost unbeatable at the moment, with its 5.1" (1440x2560) display producing a sumptuous 577 ppi pixel density.    

Although the P8 does not get much wrong in the looks or durability stakes, the Galaxy S6 is our winner here, as it makes such a vast improvement on its predecessor.

Performance and Specs

Based on the listed specs, both the Huawei P8 and Galaxy S6 should be on an equal footing, but it is in fact the latter that performs best in our benchmarking tests. More specifically, the Galaxy S6 is one of the top performing smartphones we've benchmarked to date. It achieved a total score of 71 022 on AnTuTu, whereas the Huawei P8 registers 44 108. The Galaxy S6's dominance in this regard, is pegged down to its Exynos chipset, which pairs a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57. It's the latter that gives the S6 its edge over Huawei's own HiSilicon octa-core setup found in the P8.

Both devices are on an equal footing in the RAM department, housing 3 GB of RAM respectively, but the Huawei does hold a bit more sway in terms of internal storage. Integrating a microSD slot, the Huawei P8 can add an extra 128 GB, ensuring users aren't limited by the 16 GB or 64 GB storage options. Samsung has opted to do away with a microSD slot altogether, relying on the 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB onboard storage capacities, giving the P8 a slight edge in this aspect.  

Despite the above storage factors, the Galaxy S6 just takes it for us, as the performance of its chipset is simply too good to overlook or be overshadowed at the moment.  

Extras

Now for the extras, of which they are many to consider. Battery life gets the first look in, as both the Huawei P8 and Galaxy S6 can manage a full day's heavy use, thanks to their 2680 mAh and 2550 mAh units respectively. The Galaxy S6 does however feature a fast charging feature, which certainly comes in handy in a bind, and as a result sees it come up tops in this category.  

Next is the cameras, and both flagship smartphones have enviable options in this regard. The Galaxy S6 sports the bigger MPs here, on the rear only though, with a 16 MP primary lens getting the job done. Although slightly less well specced, the Huawei P8's 13 MP camera is still a fantastic one to have at hand, and the plethora of shooting modes, as well as Huawei's selfie-focused 8 MP front facing camera make it a standout in that department. It must be mentioned that the camera on the P8 is by far the best the company has come up with yet, performing well in low light, with an amazing Light painting mode that is actually quite incredible.

Despite conceding to the P8 in terms of camera quality, the S6 does have a few more bells and whistles to call upon. To that end, Galaxy S6 users can put its fingerprint sensor and NFC-aided Samsung Pay (still to officially arrive in South Africa) through its paces. The former is somewhat erratic, but it is a nice security feature to have at hand.

All in all however, the P8 gets our thumbs up here, as the quality of its camera, as well as feature functionality thereof is simply too good to ignore.   

Overall Verdict

As far as value for money goes, the P8 looks the better option, and delivers a lot of flagship smartphone for its R8K price tag. Even though the Galaxy S6 is more expensive at R12K for the 32 GB version, it feels like the kind of device that will prove hard to beat for the next couple of years. As such, its processor setup, camera quality and fast charging make it a worthwhile investment. Added to this, is the vastly improved design and choice of materials, which makes the R12K price tag a little easier to justify.

That said, those that opt for the Huawei P8 will still be receiving one of the best Android-powered smartphones on the market to date. Despite the margins being so close between these two flagships, the smartphone hailing from South Korea takes home our winner's medal in this contest.

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