With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, smartphone consumers will have four massive devices to choose from in 2015. With two premium iPhone 6 models already available to consumers after Apple released its latest handsets in October 2014, anyone looking to purchase a premium smartphone is currently spoiled for choice. But how do those four market-leading devices compare to one another? Here ValueWalk assesses the qualities of these heavyweight smartphone contenders.
The Apple iPhone series is absolutely renowned for providing the coolest, sleekest and sexiest smartphones available on the market. Apple has relied on this element of the iPhone range to a certain extent, and it has certainly been a major selling feature of the handset. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were no exception to this rule, but the two devices certainly appeal to different marketplaces.
Undoubtedly the smartphone-sized iPhone 6 appeals to people who want a convenient smartphone. With its 4.7-inch display, it is significantly smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus, which features a 5.5-inch screen. One-handed operation is essentially impossible with the iPhone 6 Plus, and this could be a major consideration for Apple customers. Nonetheless, both devices have been praised for their appearance, and are pretty much universally considered to be market leaders in this regard.
Samsung had a lot of catching up to do with the Galaxy S6 series considering that the Galaxy S5 was criticized for its primarily plastic body. This has necessitated a rethink and redesign of the Galaxy S series, and the early critical reception to the new Galaxy S6 is that it is far superior in design terms to its predecessor.
Of course, the Galaxy S6 Edge has created the bigger splash of the two devices thanks to its unique curved screen. This has ensured that the Galaxy S6 Edge is $100 more expensive than its Galaxy S6 cousin, but the appearance of this revolutionary device has already received considerable praise. While the Galaxy S6 Edge may not yet have the brand identification and sheer coolness of the iPhone 6, it is probably the most sought after device that Samsung has produced thus far.
Speaking of displays, Samsung has been praised for some time for the quality of screens which it includes in its mobile devices, and the corporation has evidently attempted to maintain this trend with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Samsung has decided to retain the extremely popular Super AMOLED Technology which it utilized in previous Galaxy S devices, but has also improved the resolution of both handsets.
Both of these devices have been armed with a quad HD display, which means that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are capable of displaying 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. This is a pretty exciting prospect for Samsung Galaxy fans, as anyone who has utilized a quad HD mobile, tablet or laptop having previously owned a full HD device will immediately notice the difference in screen quality between the two.
Apple is lagging some way behind in this department. Although the iPhone 6 Plus was its first ever full HD smartphone, the larger screen size of this phablet-sized mobile ensures that the number of pixels that it can display per inch is significantly lower than either of the Galaxy S6 devices. Although the iPhone 6 is smaller in screen size than either of its Samsung rivals, it doesn’t even offer full HD resolution, and there will unquestionably be pressure on Apple to upgrade the iPhone 7 smartphone to at least full HD resolution, while delivering a quad HD iPhone 7 Plus.
Samsung has always relied on the Qualcomm Snapdragon series for the Galaxy range, but it was rumored long before the unveiling of its latest smartphones that it would break with this tradition this time round. This prognosis has proved to be correct, as both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have been fitted with Samsung’s own Exynos technology. The octa-core Exynos 7420 features two bundles of four cores which are clocked at different speeds, with one bundle running at 1.5 GHz and the other at 2.1 GHz.
The dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone included in both of the iPhone 6 models looks relatively underpowered by comparison, but there are several factors to take into consideration before jumping to this conclusion. Firstly, the iPhone 6 is significantly smaller in screen size and resolution than the Galaxy S6, so this processor actually performs quite ably. Secondly, the combination of proprietary Apple hardware and software has always ensured that this device delivers more bang for its buck than raw specs would suggest.
So it’s hard to say that Samsung has an advantage in this department, even though it has cut down on Android-related ‘bloatware’ with the S6 series. But Apple will still be looking to increase the processor capacity in the iPhone 7 to in line with other expected improvements.
Many analysts expected the Galaxy S6 camera to be significantly upgraded in megapixel terms from its predecessor. However, this did not come to fruition, and both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge feature 16-megapixel snappers. Improvements in the Galaxy S6 camera have come in features such as improved low-light shooting – a particular bugbear of the Galaxy S5 – and enhanced optical image stabilization.
The Apple iPhone 6 camera is inferior in spec terms to the Galaxy S6 series, but has been praised for its low-light shooting ability. Additionally, the iPhone 6 is a particularly nifty video camera, and the optical image stabilization functions included have also been praised. So although both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus features 8-megapixel cameras, these are still relatively competitive. But with rumors indicating that Apple may have a unique dual-lens or periscope device in the next iPhone, it seem certain that the iPhone 7 will feature a significantly upgraded camera.
Samsung has surprised mobile market analysts by including batteries in both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge which are smaller than the one utilized by the Galaxy S5. The non-removable Li-Ion 2550 mAh and 2600 mAh batteries may induce Apple to significantly upgrade the battery in the iPhone 7, particularly as this series has been criticized for limp battery life in the past. For the record, the iPhone 6 Plus now has the largest battery of the four devices, with its Li-Po 2915 mAh battery larger than those fitted in the Galaxy S6 range.
Samsung Pay vs Apple Pay
Another major element of each of these four smartphones, and a battle which will intensify during the remainder of this decade, is the mobile payment functionality and systems included. Samsung went on the offensive during its unveiling event by suggesting that Samsung Pay is significantly superior to Apple Pay. However, analysts have already suggested that Apple Pay will be a major player in the mobile payment market by 2020, and Samsung will have a lot to do to compete with the market-leading smartphone in this department.
Although the Apple Watch has yet to be released, and was but a twinkle in Apple’s eye when the iPhone 6 hit the stores, it is certain that Apple will backdate functionality in the iOS operating system to ensure that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus collaborate with this forthcoming smartwatch. This could be another very powerful string in the bow of the iPhone series.