Samsung has finally unveiled the Galaxy S6 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a device which it hopes will compete directly with the iPhone 6. Apple’s flagship smartphone has been a huge achiever for the consumer electronics giant, firmly establishing itself as the leading device in the smartphone marketplace.
This time last year, Samsung had explicitly expressed its intention to overtake Apple at the top of the mobile standings, but this was far from achieved during a 2014 in which Samsung experienced a 60 percent slump in profits. Meanwhile Apple has gone from strength to strength, topping $700 billion in market capitalisation, and posting the highest single-quarter profit in recorded business history.
But Samsung actually sells a similar number of mobile devices to Apple, even if these are spread over more handsets. So by producing an outstanding Galaxy S6, the corporation believes that it can begin to steal some of the iPhone’s thunder. This may not be a realistic prospect for the Galaxy S6, but by comparing the two devices we can at least gain some impression of how successful Samsung is likely to be.
The Galaxy S6 can perhaps be most reasonably compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, considering that it is significantly larger than the iPhone 6 smartphone, so here is a comparison of the two devices.
Firstly, Samsung has delivered the quad HD device which was expected by most analysts. The Korean corporation could really have blown the market away by releasing a 4K resolution device, but this was never particularly likely given the full HD capabilities of the Galaxy S5. The screen resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 pixels and high-end Super AMOLED display delivers a pixel density of 577 ppi, and the curved aspect of the Galaxy S 6-page will undoubtedly attract a lot of attention and accreditation.
Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus by comparison has a full HD capacitive touchscreen, which is capable of displaying 16 million colors. The 5.5-inch display included in the iPhone 6 Plus ensures that the resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels delivers a significantly smaller 401 ppi pixel density than its Samsung rival.
Over recent generations of Galaxy releases, Samsung devices have garnered a reputation for delivering outstanding display quality, and the Galaxy S6 certainly looks to add to this already established impression.
The Galaxy S6 has been based around its own proprietary Exynos technology. This was predicted by many analysts in the build-up to the release of the device, as the Samsung supply chain seemed to indicate that the corporation was ready to ditch the Qualcomm Snapdragon series. Thus, the Galaxy S6 features an Exynos 7 octa-core processor, with four cores running at 1.5GHz and four at 2.1GHz; a powerful package indeed.
Apple’s iPhone series has been praised for its processor and chipset previously, and the A8 setup in the iPhone 6 Plus certainly handles most smartphone-related tasks extremely ably. The iPhone 6 Plus is driven by a dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone, although it does feature quad-core graphics. Clearly this is a less powerful processor than is fitted in a Galaxy S6, but Apple has always compensated for this with its combination of proprietary software and hardware.
Again, the Galaxy S6 considerably outperforms the iPhone 6 Plus in this department. With its 3 GB of internal RAM, it dwarfs the amount of memory available to Apple smartphone users, with the phablet version of the iPhone 6 only featuring 1 GB. Although Apple has always ensured that the iPhone series is extremely nifty via its aforementioned hardware and software combination, coupled with excellent iOS functionality, there will be pressure on the corporation to significantly increase the memory quotient of the iPhone next time out.
Both systems are extremely similar in this area. The only significant difference between the two is that Apple did not offer a 32 GB version of the iPhone 6 Plus. While Samsung was reportedly toying with the idea of producing a 256 GB version of the Galaxy S6, this did not come to fruition, and thus the maximum amount of storage possible in both devices is 128 GB.
The Galaxy S6 comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop, while Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus offers an iOS 8 OS, which is upgradable to iOS 8.1.3. Personal preference really comes into play here, but it must be pointed out that iOS has perennially been considered an outstanding operating system.
Many industry observers expected Samsung to improve the megapixel rating in the Galaxy S6, but once the device was revealed it became clear that Samsung had frozen this figure at 16-megapixels. However, optical image stabilization has been improved in the device, and Samsung states that particular effort has been made to iron out the bugbear of the Galaxy S5; low-light shooting.
The iPhone 6 Plus would seem to have a significantly inferior camera, considering that its specifications are 8-megapixels. However, the Apple device has been praised for the quality of its low-light shooting, along with its superb optical image stabilization and video recording. Phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash also feature in what is a pretty nifty camera.
Apple possibly has the chance to supersede the Galaxy S6 with the iPhone 7, with numerous sources already suggesting that it will include a professional-standard dual-lens camera.
Apple has been criticized for the standard of battery life which the iPhone series delivers, and the iPhone 6 Plus was no exception to this rule, despite Apple’s best efforts to improve the situation. It is perhaps surprising then that the iPhone 6 Plus includes a larger battery than the Galaxy S6; 2915 mAh as opposed to 2,550mAh. Samsung has always relied on outstanding power-saving functionality in order to ensure that Galaxy S users get more bang for their buck, so it will be intriguing to see how this performs in the real world next to the iPhone 6 Plus.
Both smartphones now embrace fingerprint reading features, and the next few years will also see a battle between the Samsung Pay and Apple Pay mobile payment systems, after Samsung unveiled this feature for the Galaxy S6.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 delivers the raw specs, the iPhone 6 Plus has the street cred and ease of use on its side. There is nothing new from the Galaxy S6 which suggests that this perception will change, but at the moment the Galaxy S6 is probably the most advanced smartphone on the market, and Apple will have some catching up to do with the iPhone 7 range.