With an excellent camera, chipset, and display, as well as stellar design, Samsung has revealed a direct and serious rival for the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. Yes, Apple is slated to release a follow-up, likely dubbed the iPhone 6S Plus, in a few weeks. But for those that need a phone now, which is the best phablet?
The similarity between these two phablets is more than just the shared “six plus” in the name. Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 edge+ is essentially a blown-up version of their Galaxy S6 edge model, much in the same way the iPhone 6 Plus is a larger version of their flagship iPhone 6.
With a unique design and omission of the S Pen, Samsung is heralding the Galaxy S6 edge+ as the true Android alternative to the iPhone 6 Plus. The Galaxy Note5, thanks to the S Pen, has no real iOS competition.
Those that want the best possible phablet for everyday use (and not particularly business use) may struggle to decide between Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices offer exceptional performance, fantastic displays, a modern and enticing design, above average battery life, and cameras that take impressive photographs. Still, there are slight differences when it comes to these features. The question is, are there enough significant differences to proclaim one better than the other?
Build & Design
The fact is that the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ surpasses the iPhone 6 Plus on both a practical and aesthetical level. Weighing 153 grams (5.40 oz), Samsung’s device is indeed lighter than Apple’s, which weighs 172 grams (6.07 oz). Despite a larger display (5.7 inches compared to iPhone Plus’ 5.5 inches), its dimensions are smaller: 154 x 76 x 6.9 mm (6.08 x 2.98 x 0.27 in) compared to iPhone’s 158 x 78 x 7.1 mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 in). The iPhone 6 Plus’ screen rims are larger and offer less function (home key, speakers and the front facing camera) than the Samsung display.
The S6 edge+’s larger display comes in part from the left and right curved edges, which completely eliminate the display bezel. The familiar Android control keys under the screen, (back and tasks) reside underneath, between the physical home key/fingerprint sensor. The Samsung phone has glass on the front and back with metal edges, while the iPhone 6 Plus has an aluminum back with fused edges. Both designs mean that neither device has an exchangeable battery, nor do they have a microSD cardslot. That said, they both feel well-crafted and reliable, (don’t worry too much about “Bendgate” as it was overhyped).
Unfortunately, these smartphones aren’t waterproof, which is typically an advantage associated with unibody smartphones. It seems that both Apple and Samsung were prepared to compromise, crafting a modern and enticing device that is both sleek and slick. Looking at both, Samsung has had the advantage of 10 months to perfect its device, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ is simply a better looking smartphone, with attractively round edges, svelte weight, and modern appearance.
It is impossible not to be thrilled with the Samsung and Apple phablet screen quality. They each offer exceptional imaging, with industry-best sharpness, contrast, and color saturation, despite the fact that technical specifications show a certain difference. The iPhone 6 Plus has a smaller resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, compared to 1440 x 2560 for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, resulting in a smaller pixel density of 401 pixels per inch , in relation to Samsung’s 518 ppi. These figures seem arbitrary when comparing the two devices side-by-side, however as both have great displays, with only a few differences.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ brings more powerful color saturation, thanks to its Super AMOLED technology, which is particularly evident with the more vibrant parts of the spectrum, like red and yellow tones. Compared to the screen on iPhone 6 Plus, games and photos taken in daylight that feature these colors are slightly more impressive on the S6 edge+.
On the other hand the iPhone 6 Plus offers a better contrast with whites, as its whites are purer and lighter. Reading website texts or documents is more pleasant on the iPhone 6 Plus.
But again, we are talking about small nuances here and not overtly noticeable differences. Contrast sustainability is very good on both devices, overall, and both the Apple and Samsung phablets offer excellent visibility when exposed to direct sunlight, as well as with wider viewing angles.
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ could be a better choice for users who play more games and enjoy multimedia content, while those who browse the Internet and work with documents on their phone might find Apple iPhone 6 Plus more pleasant. But keep in mind we are straining to find a difference between what are two of the best displays on the market as of this writing.
It is no secret that Android OS devices require a much more modern hardware than iOS devices, in order to provide equal fluidity. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ comes with a powerful in-house chipset: the Exynos 7420, based on four Cortex-A53 cores running a 1.5 GHz clock and four Cortex-A57 cores running a 2.1 GHz clock. It also includes the Mali-T760MP8 graphic processor and 4 GB of RAM (an additional gigabyte compared to the regular Galaxy S6 edge). It should be noted that Samsung uses the same type of module for memory storage as it does in SSD discs, which is nearly three times faster than classic smartphone memory storage. Furthermore, Galaxy S6 edge+ is available with either 32 or 64GB of storage.
On paper, Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus seems incredibly humble compared to the Samsung handset. It comes with a dual-core Apple A8 chip running a 1.4 GHz clock and a quad-core PowerVR GX6450 graphic system. It is equipped with just 1 GB of DDR3 RAM; but this is not evident in everyday work as all the software runs smoothly. It ultimately leaves users wanting nothing more. Perhaps synthetic benchmarks prove otherwise, but the reality is that the iPhone 6 Plus offers the same performance as the S6 edge+.
Still, Apple’s phablet has an immense flaw which many users will find difficult to forget: the basic version comes with just 16GB of memory storage, which is simply insufficient. Apps now take up more room than they did two or three years ago, we take more pictures at higher resolutions, and emails include larger attachments. That is simply not enough space, and most users will have to opt for the more expensive 64 or 128GB models (there is no 32GB model). This is ultimately what makes the S6 edge+ a better performer overall.
In the last year, Apple and Samsung both focused on improving the cameras for their newest devices. Apple’s iPhones have long had above-average cameras and the iPhone 6 Plus is the first to have optical image stabilization. With a resolution of 8 megapixels and f/1.9 lens, it takes better photographs than any other Apple device.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has a camera with twice the resolution, 16 megapixels. It also includes optical image stabilization and a greater aperture size, f/1.8. In the end, photos taken on either device turn out well and are exceptionally exposed most of the time, with plenty of visible details and a low level of noise. Any issues are usually the result of poor lighting conditions.
Generally speaking, the Galaxy S6 edge+ takes better pictures of static objects, while the iPhone 6 Plus access at dynamic objects Due to a highly saturated display, images on the Samsung phablet’s screen appear more lively, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ has the better camera overall.
Software, Battery Life, & Innovations
The intuitive and easy-to-use Apple iOS is one of the biggest draws of the iPhone, with some users staying loyal to the Apple brand solely because of it. The iPhone 6 Plus introduces several features, some straight from the iPad, not found on the regular iPhone 6, like a two-column Mail app. Samsung’s phone includes the classic TouchWiz UI with Android 5.1.1 OS, and several additional functions for curved display edges, which are more neat than actually useful. Both have unique features and it is ultimately a matter of personal taste.
The large iPhone supports Apple Pay, while the Samsung S6 edge+ supports Samsung Pay. We’ll hold out on commenting until Samsung Pay launches later this month, but early hype suggests it could prove useful thanks to its support of MST technology. Whereas Apple Pay is limited to NFC terminals, Samsung claims Samsung Pay will work just about anywhere that accepts credit and debit cards.
They devices are also equals when it comes to battery life. Samsung’s phablet has a 3000 mAh battery, while the iPhone 6 Plus comes with a 2915 mAh battery. In practice, both devices will provide the user with two full days of intense use before any need to recharge. Both also charge quickly.
When weighing the specs and features of the two phablets the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ appears to be a better pick. The edge+ has a better display, memory options, and a slightly better back-facing camera. However, the differences are small enough that users should base any decision on price and operating system. Right now, the S6 edge+ starts at about $800 off contract for the 32GB model, and $900 for the 64GB model. The iPhone 6 Plus costs about $750 for the 16GB model, and $850 for the 64GB model.
It should be noted that the Galaxy S6 edge+ was released almost a year after the iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple’s follow up is set to be announced September 9. Expect to see a 6 Plus price drop, in addition to a new phablet alternative.