With Samsung having released two major phablets this week, the battle between the Galaxy series and the existing iPhone 6 Plus is truly underway. So here ValueWalk assesses these three major phablet competitors.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference in size between the three phablets, with both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ featuring slightly larger displays. The 5.7-inch screen utilized in both of the Samsung devices are marginally bigger than the 5.5-inch display favored by Apple. It is also notable that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is the only one of the three devices to feature a curved display.
In terms of the build quality, there is no doubt that Samsung has upped its game in recent years. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is unquestionably an extremely attractive device, and one that is probably the most iconic on the market today. But the Gorilla Glass front and aluminum rear of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ also makes this an extremely attractive competitor.
The Galaxy Note 5 is fairly similar in construction to the Galaxy S6 Edge+, but is characterized by not featuring the curved edges of its cousin. Nonetheless, it is hard to argue against the notion that the iPhone 6 Plus remains the definitive phablet design.
This is where the three devices ca really begin to separate themselves from one another, although it is notable that there is little to distinguish the two Samsung devices. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is based on Samsung’s octa-core (2.1GHz quad in partnership with a 1.5GHz quad) Exynos processor and 4GB of RAM, while the iPhone 6 Plus is powered by Apple’s 1.4GHz A8 chip, complete with M8 motion co-processor and 1GB of RAM.
Although this indicates that the Samsung device is the more powerful performer, it is notable that Apple can always draw upon its proprietary software and hardware package. Indeed, the corporation has recently promoted this aspect of the iPhone series in its advertising and marketing, and this has always ensured that the Apple iPhone punched well above its apparent weight.
The Galaxy Note 5 also features a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 processor based on a 14nm architecture and 4GB RAM. Certainly the Samsung devices have the more impressive specifications, but the iPhone hasn’t attracted consumers all over the world for no reason, and it delivers an outstanding software and hardware package.
It is difficult to predict which of the devices will perform the best in terms of battery life. Samsung has been keen to emphasize the power saving functionality that has been built into the Android operating system recently, which ensures that the recent Galaxy devices deliver in this department. Thus, the notional difference in battery site between the two Galaxy devices and the iPhone 6 Plus is allegedly misleading.
But it is still important to note that the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 feature 3,300mAh batteries, while the iPhone 6 Plus is powered by a 2,915mAh pack. Despite the claims of Samsung, the opinion of analysts is that none of the models features game-changing energy efficiency, and any disparity between the three phablets is likely to be relatively small.
Apple has the advantage in this department owing to the fact that it has delivered a 128 GB model of the iPhone 6 Plus. It was mostly expected that Samsung wouldn’t follow suit, or at least offer micro SD functionality when its two Galaxy phablets were released. But neither the Galaxy S6 Edge+ or Galaxy Note 5 have been armed with this form of technology, which ensures that the Apple range provides a higher quotient of storage.
It is interesting that both Samsung and Apple are now rejecting the concept of expandable memory, as this was considered a flexible aspect of smartphones at one time. The ethos of the companies certainly seems to differ significantly from Google’s Ara project, and it must be hoped that micro SD is introduced to both Apple and Samsung ranges in the foreseeable future.
For the time being, Apple is out in the lead in terms of storage, intending to deliver a package that is particularly attractive to music lovers. Apple has invested heavily in this niche in recent years, and is clearly aiming to get a return on its investment from a smartphone range.
Rumors regarding the cameras in both the Samsung and Apple handsets have turned out to be more interesting than the reality at this point in time. Thus, we have not seen the DSLR professional standard camera that was anticipated for the Apple series as of yet, nor the jaw-dropping specifications that were linked with the Samsung snapper.
Nonetheless, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 both feature the superior lens technology of the S6, and both make use of optical image stabilization technology. These handsets are also notable for an impressive 5-megapixel front-facing camera that is considered ideal for capturing selfies, producing ideal results in almost all conditions.
Apple relies on its combination of hardware and software in order to power the Apple iPhone range, with the iPhone 6 Plus considered a prime example of this. Nonetheless, the Apple phablet only features an 8-megapixel resolution, even though recent reports have suggested that this will increase by 50 percent in the next generation. Despite this relatively paltry figure, the Apple iPhone camera delivers decent results, and also features a nifty optical image stabilization system.
Video shooting on the Apple device has also been particularly praised, but this has now seemingly been superseded by the 4K shooting and live streaming options that are delivered by the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5.
Samsung’s Android-based TouchWiz interface is utilized as expected in both of the Galaxy devices, and the ongoing argument between which of the operating systems delivers the slicker experience goes on. iOS 8 was perhaps not one of the more impressive operating system releases from Apple, and so it can be asserted that Samsung is slightly ahead in this department ahead of the next Apple phablet release.
But with iOS 9 expected imminently, complete with smarter Spotlight and Siri and innovations in Maps and keyboard features, don’t expect Apple to be left behind in the software niche for very long.
Samsung Pay vs Apple Pay
When Samsung delivered its new Galaxy phablets, it certainly trumpeted the release of Samsung Pay very strongly. This is hardly surprising considering that the mobile payment niche is expected to become extremely fertile in the foreseeable future.
Comparing the two systems really comes down to two fundamental issues. Samsung offers two forms of mobile payment connectivity that ensures that Samsung Pay is accepted in a larger proportion of retailers. The simulation of a magnetic strip could be a game-changer for both of the Galaxy devices. But the Apple system is quicker and slicker, and Samsung clearly has work to do in this department to match the market-leader.
At this point in time, both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ plus deliver a superior phablet experience to the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. This is to be expected considering that the Apple device has been on the market for nearly an entire year. What should be noted is that the iPhone 6 Plus provides a more affordable option at this point in time, with some analysts surprised about the high price point of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ in particular.
Consumers will have to balance performance against price, but it is arguable that at the time of writing the Galaxy Note 5 actually offers the best bang for your buck. Featuring extremely similar spec lists to the Galaxy S6 Edge+, it is also competitively priced, suggesting that it could be the value for money offering of the three.